If you had left Greerton Park 20 minutes into Saturday's Premier clash you would have thought Whakarewarewa would beat home side Greerton Marist.

It was a fair bet as Greerton had barely got out of their own half, had no ball to speak of and trailed 17-0 with Whakarewarewa seemingly in total control.

But from that point Greerton outscored their Rotorua visitors 36-10 to win a hugely important match for the new-look team and coaching staff.

A few key things happened to turn the game Greerton's way.


Whakarewarewa, so assured with ball in hand and with a potential new star in former Hawke's Bay player Matt Garland dotting down twice from centre, began kicking good ball away aimlessly.

Finally gifted some ball to play with and with their impressive tight five rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in, new signing in former Waikato and All Blacks Sevens player Luke Masirewa inspired the turn-around in dazzling style.

He wasted little time after coming on from the bench with his team trailing 17-0 to change the course of the match and set new standards in colourful hairdos.

With their first attacking raid Greerton scored through prop Shaun Roberts and then captain Taylor Jones was driven over the line from a lineout drive right on the stroke of halftime to reduce the deficit to 17-12.

With the wind at their backs in the second spell and the boot of first-five Elliott Davies driving them forward, Greerton clicked and put some superb attacking rugby together.

A tighthead 40 metres out from Whakarewarewa's line in the opening minutes of the second half led to a try to mobile lock Yuta Onodera and a major momentum change.

The connection with Japan is paying dividends for Greerton with prop Chang Taeyook also impressing on Saturday.

Greerton coach Brendon Brill says the relationship with Japanese rugby is working well to benefit both parties.


"Last year was our first time we had that relationship with Horie Kyosukie who ended up making the Japan squad. We have three or four more we have a relationship with," he said.

"They are very, very good players, very professional and they are here to learn and are showing our guys some things as well."

Brill says his players knew they started poorly so it was not hard to get them up at halftime.

"They knew they just had to hold possession and our tight five was dominant to be fair. Luke (Masirewa) turned the game and gave the backs confidence they could run off him. He is dominant on attack and defence. Unbelievable.

"But you can't win this competition if you don't have a tight five."

Teenaged referee George Haswell added to the game with his assured performance.

In other Premier games Rangataua Sports defeated Tauranga Sports 26-24, Mount Maunganui won a thriller over Te Puke Sports 25-24, Te Puna beat Rotoiti 34-21, Arataki defeated Whakatane Marist 23-16 and Paroa beat Poroporo 43-12.

Judea made a strong statement in the opening round of Division One by beating Rangiuru 41-7.