The battle for top billing in the RLN Premiership continues as we enter the penultimate round of 2017.

Just one point separates between leaders Otangarei Knights and Takahiwai Warriors. Both sides face big challenges this week as they take on fellow top four sides.

Otangarei made the leap to the top without stepping on the park last week as they accrued two points from the bye.

Takahiwai, meanwhile, had to settle for an 18-all draw with Moerewa Tigers, which was made possible only with a Ross McFarlane try at the death.


Otangarei are in the box seat to hold on to the minor premiership and the Harry Clyde Challenge Cup, but face a tough test against Moerewa.

Moerewa came within seconds of knocking off the defending champions last week so will no doubt be confident of stopping Otangarei.

Boasting both the top two try and points scorers in Te Tuhi Tipene (24 tries and 102 points) and Jaydenn Bentley-Hape (23 tries and 182 points), Moerewa lack no attacking spark and have proven to be a stingy defensive side.

But that won't intimidate the Otangarei, who've dropped just one game all season.

Meanwhile, Takahiwai will be aiming to return to their winning ways when they face off against Hikurangi Stags.

Takahiwai will be disappointed they let Moerewa get on top of them last week but will be chomping at the bit to get back on the positive side of the ledger.

The experience of McFarlane, Kyle Hool and Nicolas Poutuma have been focal points for a strong effort in 2017 but Hikurangi won't be letting them walk all over them.

Hikurangi have made an excellent fist of their return to the RLN Premiership, amassing five wins and two draws from their 10 matches.

They've clinched a playoffs berth but will want to continue gaining momentum heading into the finals.

The last match pits Portland Panthers against Hora Hora.

While both sides are out of playoff contention they've still got a lot to play for.

Portland will want to add another win before season's end, but Hora Hora will want to deny them that accolade by breaking their 2017 duck.

All games kick off at 2:30pm.