Second place last year and centenary celebrations this year are fuelling Te Puna's quest for the 2019 Baywide premier rugby title.

The team lost their final to Te Puke last season, ending a strong year for the club, where its premier and development sides were unbeaten in the first half of the season. While the club's triple-figure milestone will not be marked until Labour Weekend, premier coach Aidan Kuka says it is important for the side to perform well this season and they have taken away some learnings from last season to implement into their 2019 season.

"We have been building to this as a club for five to 10 years. But it is not a weight or burden, we have to be cool and calm and put the processes in place that we have worked on at training," Kuka says.

Kuka says learning from the 2018 campaign is important for them to improve this year.


"As a club we set goals and it is probably just learning from where we went wrong last year and putting a lot more time into that this year.

"We are going to try and change things a bit. With video footage and things that are out there, you have to change. The bones of how we play will still be there, but we will tweak things."

Kuka says there are no easy games in the competition and the team's first goal is to finish in the top eight in the first half of the season, when the three, eight-team divisions are finalised, to ensure they can have a crack at the title. That journey begins with a massive test against the defending champions today on home ground.

"Te Puke have big forwards that will run at you all day. They will want to bring that confrontational edge to the game so we will have to be on guard and be prepared for a physical battle.

"You want to insure you have players out there that are willing to tackle and are courageous. You try and get a bit more contact training leading into these sorts of games, but we have had to park that up as we have a few bumps and bruises."

Kuka says there will undoubtedly be week-one errors, but it is important to see the product of the pre-season work.

"In the first three weeks we really want to see the subtle changes being tested. We want to see players being able to play their role."

The centennial backdrop of the campaign is a proud one for the club, a milestone widely treasured by rugby clubs.


"We will have three days of celebration with dinner and matches but it we also want to celebrate the youth."

There is French touring group expected to take part in the celebrations, most likely in the form of a game of touch. Their visit further tethers the celebration to the history of the Te Puna region, which included French settlers in the late 1800s.