Northland's premier rugby league team, the Northern Swords, have finally broken a 20-game losing streak stretching back three years with a 40-22 hammering of the Central Vipers at Ohaeawai.
The Swords' eight-tries-to-four win will come as a relief to new coach Jim Larkin who made the call in July that this year would be different.
Northland rugby league fans' delight yesterday was doubled as the Swords 17s side claimed their third win in a row with a 44-28 victory over the Vipers 17s side, leaving the Swords sitting happily near the top of the table. The 17s win is their seventh in two seasons, and their first hat-trick of wins.
The premiers' win comes on the back of record player registrations which saw club registrations rising this season from 1300 to 1900, and more than 600 players taking part in various school competitions.
"Our playing numbers in Northland have doubled in the last year and there is a ton of natural talent here but our challenge is getting the boys together at the same time and refining their skills collectively," Rugby League Northland general manager Alex Smits said earlier this year.