The Otumoetai Eels premiers made amends for their humiliating loss to Taniwharau the previous weekend by beating Ngongotaha Chiefs 44-16 at Rotorua's Puketawhero Park in driving rain on Saturday.
In doing so, they secured a place in the top four nearing the halfway point of the Waicoabay (Waikato-Coastline-BOP) Cross Country Rentals premiers competition.
With the club currently going through a player availability crisis, over 30 players out due to injuries and work and family commitments, coach Stan Nicholas had to call on five of the reserves who fronted in the curtain raiser to help out.
After an hour-long battle of attrition, the Chiefs succumbed to the visitors' continuous pressure, letting in four tries in the last quarter.
Flying winger Ryan Gordon scored three tries and captain Josh Weeden grabbed two, plus six conversions, as well as steering the team.
Other tries were scored by prop Vance Te Utupoto who was everywhere in his 80-minute effort to claim player of the day, brilliant centre, Thomas Mahutionga and pocket rocket Tai Stephens.
There were huge games from loose forward Peter Bidois, hooker Tane Leef and livewire 17-year-old half Tyrus Campbell who, with prop Bailey Nicholas, have stepped up from last year's powerful Eels under-17s.
In other results Pikiao drew with Turangawaewae 28-28 in Ngaruawahia, Hamilton City Tigers beat Taniwharau 18-12 and, because of bad weather conditions in Hamilton, Tokoroa's Pacific and Hamilton United's game was postponed after the council closed the fields.
On Saturday Otumoetai Eels host Turangawaewae at Mitchell Park at 2.30pm, Ngongotaha travel to Pacific, Taupo Phoenix host Rotorua's Pikiao Warriors and the hapless United are at home to Taniwharau with competition leaders Hamilton City taking the bye.