For Rangiuru, the season started with a bang - a big win over Judea - and coach Simon Rolleston is looking for it to go out the same way.
In the club's 125th year, Rolleston was brought on board by chairman, the late Wehi Clarke, to help get it "back where it should be" — playing in the highest level of Baywide rugby. With little fanfare, that goal was achieved prior to the final Premier 2 round robin game last weekend, as Rangiuru claimed one of the coveted top four spots that brings with it premier division rugby in 2019.
With points differential and wins over other top four contenders potentially coming into play, Rolleston had to check with the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union to confirm what he suspected — that whatever happened in the final round robin game, a top four spot was assured.
When he was given the nod, he decided to tell the players before last Saturday's game, but not make it into a huge issue.
"We kind of kept the lid on it a little bit and didn't celebrate, but we did mention it, just to relieve a bit of the pressure because the way we've been playing the last few weeks, we've had to win [every game] and that was maybe getting to us a little bit."
In the end, last Saturday's 40-5 win over Waikite made everything academic — and secured a semi final game away to Ōpōtiki on Saturday.
With the season-long goal achieved, targets have been reset.
"We're in the play-offs now and we want to go all the way — 100 per cent," says Rolleston.
''But the pressure's off a little bit — I think we're going to enjoy the next few weeks because we've maybe not been enjoying it as much because the pressure's been on.''
Rangiuru's two previous games against Ōpōtiki have gone with the home side.
"It's a tough place to go — we know that."
Rangiuru's development side have also qualified for the play-offs and were due to play Ōpōtiki development at Centennial Park on Saturday. But to ensure both teams have as
much support as possible, that game will also take place in Ōpōtiki.
"It means we'll have a lot of support — it also means we can support our development team.''
The development semi-final will kick off at 1pm with the premiers' game starting at 2.45pm.
■ The Baywide women's competition also reaches the semi final stage at the weekend, with Rangiuru taking on Whakarewarewa at Centennial Park on Sunday. Kick off is at 1pm.