Takahiwai have picked up their second win of season in emphatic style, winning 56-6 against the Portland Panthers in their Northland premier rugby league round two game on Saturday.
In a beautiful, cloudless setting at the Takahiwai rugby league club in Ruakaka, the home side ran in 10 tries in what was a near-complete performance against the visitors from Portland.
It only took five minutes for Takahiwai's Taylor Turnock to open the scoring and from then on, the home side dictated proceedings with much of the possession and territory early in the first half.
The Panthers were able to get back into the game with veteran playmaker Thomas Wihongi at the centre of the action, copping a couple of big tackles from Takahiwai big man, Mike Hauraki.
A try from the visitors late in the first half pulled the score back to 10-6 and the game looked likely to be a closely fought contest if Portland could keep the home side under pressure.
But it was the excellence of a handful of Takahiwai players which kicked them into second gear and decimated any hope of a Portland victory. Playmaker Richie Levita was devastating in the centre of the park, picking up three tries for himself and setting up numerous others.
Turnock and fullback Ross McFarlane both crossed the line twice with some strong runs at the Portland defence and Nick Poutama was accurate with the boot, only missing two of the 10 conversions.
Levita was at the heart of Takahiwai's offensive plays and was the creator for McFarlane's second try as Levita ran with the ball to the left before kicking the ball with the outside of his right foot to loop over the oncoming defence for the fullback to chase and take over the line.
This weekend's win backed up Takahiwai's first-round win against the Otangarei Knights 54-12 which showed the side was here to play in 2019.
"You know Portland are going to be solid every time so it was just about improving on last week's effort and putting it out there on the park," Takahiwai coach Hori Tuhoro said.
Tuhoro said his captain McFarlane led the team well which allowed his exciting attacking players flourish when it came time to hit the Portland defence.
Portland coach Robert Nathan said it wasn't the result his side wanted but one they could have expected from such a strong Takahiwai team.
"At the end of the day, we are lacking a bit of cohesion with a few new guys so it's a bit of a hard ask to get them to do things as a coach when they are just coming in."
Nathan said the key was to ensure a consistent squad turned up week to week so they could improve the connections between players.
"They are a good bunch of boys and I think with a bit more tweaking and some honest trainings, we might be able get back to winning ways."
In the other game of the round, the Horahora premiers beat the Northern Wairoa Bulls in Horahora on Friday night.
In the next round on Saturday, the Knights play the Bulls at 2.30pm in Otangarei while the Bulls take on Takahiwai in Dargaville at 2.30pm.