Greerton Marist are the dark horse of the 2019 Baywide Rugby competition.
They have quietly but effectively gone about their business this season, producing five wins and one draw from nine games in the first phase of the season to progress to Premier 1 in third place.
Now, they have kicked things up a notch. In the first three rounds of Premier 1 they have beaten Whakarewarewa away, Rangiuru at home and Tauranga Sports at home.
Their 34-27 win over Tauranga on Saturday, as well as Te Puna's loss to Te Puke, means Greerton are now the only unbeaten Premier 1 team. Quite a turn around for the team who finished sixth last year.
Greerton coach Kane Parker said Saturday's win over Tauranga was "a hell of a game of rugby".
"Looking back now, it was a really good advertisement for club rugby. I think both teams played really, really well.
"Both put everything into their defence. Tauranga has a really good attacking game and it was just a good spectacle. Both teams had a fair share of the ball and it really was about who wanted it the most that came through in the end."
He said his players buying in and trusting the structures their coaches had put in place played a big part in them getting across the line.
"Really understanding and keeping within the system and trusting each other to do what needs to be done has gone a long way with our guys this year.
"We have [been working on that all season]. I think preseason has really set us up for the rest of this season."
Parker was well aware that, while being top of the table was a pleasing achievement, there was plenty of work still to be done.
"So far, so good but that leaves four games before finals footy and even though it's only four games, a hell of a lot can happen in that time. We've got Te Puke this week and as we all know, they're pretty much the benchmark so that's going to be another tough game.
"For us, and what I keep telling people, is in the top eight no team is going to lie down for the first 30 minutes or even the first half. You really have to be able to break a team down and actually find a way to win.
"I think what we've got this year is we've got senior players sprinkled throughout the team who are really understanding about game management and finding a way to win. At the end of the day, us as coaches we're not on the field."
He said good sides could create tries by manipulating the defence.
"That's the key. I've got a pretty simple philosophy. On attack, what are they doing? How are they getting their go-forward? On defence, who's winning the race to the gain line and why are they winning that race? They're pretty basic principles."
Greerton's run home comprises home games against Te Puke and Rangataua and away trips to Mount Maunganui and Te Puna.
Baywide Club Rugby Results
Te Puke Sports 20 Te Puna 18, Greerton Marist 34 Tauranga Sports 27, Rangiuru 25 Whakarewarewa 26, Mount Maunganui Sports 59 Rangataua 18.
Premier 1 Development
Te Puke Sports 7 Te Puna 57, Greerton Marist 10 Tauranga Sports 14, Rangiuru 40 Whakarewarewa 12, Mount Maunganui Sports 11 Rangataua 26.
Arataki 5 Te Teko 25, Waikite 30 Ōpōtiki 12, Ngongotahā 22 Kahukura 16, Ruatoki 24 Marist St Michael's 66.
Premier 2 Development
Arataki 15 Te Teko 34, Waikite 15 Ōpōtiki 30, Ngongotahā 80 Kahukura 10, Ruatoki 17 Marist St Michael's 20.
Whakatane Marist 15 Judea 34, Reporoa 10 Paroa 18, Pāpāmoa 21 Rotoiti 55, Murupara 46 Poroporo 10.
Katikati 38 Eastern Districts 20, Matata vs Waimana (win by default), Edgecumbe 34 Galatea/Waiohau 12.
Te Puna 48 Greerton Marist 13, Matakana 40 Ngongotahā 38, Tauranga Sports — Bye.