What an ironic final flourish to the Magpies' sad season.

My wife took our four children for the obligatory hotdogs and occasional glimpse of footy on Sunday. The kids had earlier bad-mouthed their broken home team, which wasn't ideal, but not unexpected.

Unfortunately the youngest fell ill on half time so the five of them had to decamp.

In doing so they obviously missed the best 40-minute stand from the black and white hoops this year.

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Read more: Rugby: Magpies end season with victory and trophy

The performance, and dare I say it the rare melee in the first half, went some way to appease fans who've waited most of the season for something to cheer about.

It was a rugged derby, the likes of which we haven't seen for some time. Manawatu were playing for a semifinal spot - Hawke's Bay for a piece of old-fashioned hometown pride.

Maybe the now defunct Manawatu Gorge had something to do with the fiery encounter - the two provinces are now further apart and we're witnessing some sort of geo-political angst.

Magpie Tony Lamborn was red-carded with a Manawatu player involved in the donnybrook. Both could face a few weeks on the sideline next year but the altercation certainly seemed to set the game alight.

From where I was sitting, the forever hirsute Richard Buckman was the pivotal player.

Foresight, raw aggression and a defence next to none. They're his unwavering hallmarks.

His consequent cult-figure status in this province is well-earned.

Sure, it's a results-based industry, but thanks regardless for the final hurrah chaps.

Here's hoping for a few more wins next season.