Ōtaki's premier rugby league side Whiti te Rā beat Wainuiomata Lions 28 – 20 to secure their fourth consecutive Premier Championship in the Wellington Competition at the Hutt Recreation Ground earlier this month.

It was believed to be the first time in the 107-year history of Wellington Rugby League that a team had won four consecutive titles.

This championship marks seven consecutive titles for Whiti te Rā Premiers as they had won Manawatū titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and now every Wellington title since then.

Whiti te Rā utility back Dylan Winiata was named Man of the Match for the Grand Final.

Advertisement

But that achievement of players on the field was in danger of being overshadowed by the behaviour of people off the field.

The game at Wainuiomata was marred by unruly supporters who appeared to be more interested in fighting than the rugby league.

Players on both sides found themselves playing in what can only be described as a hostile environment. A large police presence was required for the game to continue.

A high tackle on Whiti te Rā player Manaia Osborne saw another fight erupt with supporters taking to the field and attacking Whiti te Rā players.

Whiti Te Ra captain Manaia Osborne ochestrates another opportunity in their match against Wainuiomata.
Whiti Te Ra captain Manaia Osborne ochestrates another opportunity in their match against Wainuiomata.

Regardless of the off-field behaviour, Whiti Te Rā captain Manaia Osborne preferred to concentrate on what they were there for in the first place - rugby league.

Osborne said they got the result that mattered.

"No-one can take that away from us," he said.

Both sides had proved themselves the top two teams in the 2019 competition, but having lost to Wainuiomata Lions in round one, Whiti te Rā was prepared for a physical match.

Advertisement

Whiti Te Rā co-chairperson Kelly-Anne Ngatai said it was important the crowd behaviour at Wainuiomata didn't detract from what was an amazing result for the club.

"As a club we want to move on from the negative behaviours of a few sideliners towards our players and club that tried to ruin our Prems' big day," she said.

"We do not want to lose sight of the achievement of our Prems; the quality of rugby league our babies and juniors can aspire to, the sportsmanship and camaraderie shown, and making history."

"Whiti Te Rā Ōtaki Sports Club thanks all their supporters for maintaining their composure during this grand final game and keeping the mana of our club at the forefront of their behaviour and actions."

Ngatai said Whiti te Rā Premiers thanked their sponsors Tall Poppy Real Estate, Concrete Doctors, Streetwise Coffee Ōtaki, About Kitchens Limited, Body & Soul Fitness, All Area Scaffolding, Unite Recruit, and Duane and The Telegraph Hotel.

"A true example of Manaakitanga, Duane has hosted, fed, sponsored and supported Whiti te Rā Premiers throughout all seven campaigns and has provided a space for the team in lieu of our soon-to-be completed clubrooms," she said.