There was so much to celebrate in Northland rugby over the weekend that a mini festival could have been organised at Semenoff Stadium.
First up, the Northland Kauri sent their counterparts from North Harbour off, tail between their legs, scoring 11 tries in a 65-5 pasting in the Farah Palmer Cup match preceding the Mitre 10 Cup clash between the Northland Taniwha and Taranaki.
And it wasn't a nudge that they gave the visitors. It was a bloomin' great wallop in the ribs, reducing them to not just mere mortals but also-rans. The victory was more emphatic than the scoreboard indicated.
North Harbour were no match for the pace, power, and handling skills of the likes of Portia Woodman, Tyla Nathan-Wong, and Tyler Nankivell on a balmy Saturday afternoon in front of their home fans.
Woodman, Murray, Nathan-Wong, Erwin, and Tupe scored a brace each while Nankivell also dotted down.
The party didn't end there.
• Northland Taniwha open Mitre 10 Cup campaign with a roar
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• Northland rugby: Taniwha captain Jordan Olsen eyes Southland as pivotal clash
Up next was the Mitre 10 Cup clash and the first to walk on to the field, flanked by his tiny tots with his teammates forming a guard of honour, was prop Ross Wright who played his 100th game for the Cambridge blue on Saturday.
The last Northland player to reach centurion status was Bronson Murray in 2013.
Wright wasn't the only Taniwha player to notch a milestone. Younger brother and fullback Matt Wright, openside flanker Kara Pryor, and halfback Sam Nock all played their 50th games for Northland.
Not just played, but won 35-25 in front of a strong crowd— the biggest since Northland came back down to alert level 1 two weeks ago.
But it wasn't all one-way traffic as the amber and blacks, down 15-0 at one stage, not only fought their way back into the game but led 20-18 midway through the second spell before ill discipline began to creep in.
A brain fade by replacement Jared Proffit who had a go at Northland skipper Jordan Olsen after the whistle earned the home side a penalty which resulted in a try to Jone Macilai.
After receiving the ball on the right flank, Macilai bumped off Codey Rei before stepping inside as Pita Gus Sowakula was closing in and thudded the ball on the tryline, to the delight of the fans.
Taranaki got into trouble minutes later after a chip kick ahead by Nock forced fullback Jayson Potroz to hurry back, re-gather the ball on the tryline before swinging a pass across the field to fringe All Black Lachlan Boshier, who managed to put boot to ball in the nick of time.
Although down on the scoreboard in the first half, Boshier led his team superbly upfront, had a few decisions go their way, played a bit of rugby and were starting to dominate physically.
A much-needed try before the breather gave his side hope and they did befriend the scoreboard midway through the second spell before imploding.
They didn't nail the door shut and in truth, while they played some rugby, they didn't play enough when it mattered most.
And when first five Stephen Perofeta was sin binned for repeated offside play with 10 minutes remaining, Semenoff Stadium became the Nakis' graveyard.
Pryor spotted a crevasse of daylight after fielding a pass from Nock and grabbed a one-way ticket to the line.
Taranaki kept the pressure on with time almost up and when Northland debutant Rob Rush was sent to the naughty chair, the visitors pulled one back to close the gap.
Explosive No 8 Matt Matich of the Western Sharks— without a contract at the start of the season— also had cause for celebration on Saturday after he was named man-of-the match in his first game for Northland.
He fully deserved the accolade. There's so much to like about him and the way he strikes fear into opponents. He was always on hand to grind out a few more hard yards or get off the line and shut down Taranaki.
He worked well in tandem with Tom Robinson, Pryor, and Josh Goodhue.
Northland used every man they had, and if Olsen wasn't pumping hard into contact, Scott Gregory would be scampering somewhere, or Ross Wright would be crushing somebody.
In Tom Robinson, Northland have a thunderous force with the aggressive defence to shake people up. Man mountain Pita Gus Sowakula found out just that when he came rampaging down the midfield channel hoping to crash through the Northland defence.
A thundering right arm/shoulder from Robinson proved to be a double whammy for the visitors— the barnstorming Fijian dropped the ball on impact.
Northland head coach George Konia was pleased with the huge win but said they needed to tidy up a few areas, particularly their discipline before the next home game against the Southland Stags in Whangārei on Sunday.
"We can't give teams a head start which has been a trend in this competition. We'll address that this week. Southland are a side that keep improving, they are not the team of old, they believe in themselves, they've had two good wins so they can't be taken lightly.
"It's a really competitive competition so for us, we take week by week, game by game. Our focus is on the now," he said.