An undermanned Horahora Broncos side showed their skill under pressure with a 24-22 win over the Northern Wairoa Bulls on Saturday in Dargaville.
Playing against a full Bulls side, the Broncos team with a bare 13 men jumped out to a 18-6 halftime lead in their second championship fixture of Northland's premier rugby league competition. The Bulls retaliated in the second half to come close to the win.
It's hard to fault our boys when they are playing short," Broncos coach Neville Rodgers said.
"They had good attitudes so they represented us really well."
Rodgers said the game was a good contest throughout with his team showing great defence and character to hold out the home side in the second half.
"At halftime we spoke about how it was inevitable [the Bulls] would come back and it was a matter of how well we could weather that storm."
He said prop Chris Ngahiwi was a leader through the midfield, giving his team the motivation to continue defending against more players.
"[Ngahiwi] has always been that type of guy and he did really well for someone in his more mature years compared to some of the younger guys."
Rodgers said the team needed to continue a now three-game winning streak, which was one of the most successful runs in the team's short history.
"I think our culture has come a long way but it's just about the guys having a bit success and dealing with it in a positive manner."
In the round's other game, Takahiwai defeated the Portland Panthers by default after the latter could not field a team.