A double overtime thriller has seen the Hikurangi Stags claim the 2015 Rugby League Northland Premiership after they beat the Takahiwai Warriors 20-16.

Rugby league fans got a thrill in the form of the golden point rugby league on display and a bustling try from Eric Abraham secured victory for the Stags " preventing the game from venturing into triple overtime.

Making amends for their clutch grand final loss to the Otangarei Knights last year, Stags captain Joe Rau had no qualms in hanging up the boots on his lengthy career after his gallant Hikurangi outfit secured the narrow win.

Takahiwai's Joel Freeman makes a break towards the try line during the Rugby League Northland Premiership grand final.
Takahiwai's Joel Freeman makes a break towards the try line during the Rugby League Northland Premiership grand final.

"I'm definitely happy to get the win. We did it the hard way, but full credit to our opposition; they played well," Rau said.


"I'm definitely hanging the boots up. I've got two young fullas that are better players than me so it's about time that I start chasing their dream and not mine.

"I didn't expect it, but it was quite exciting being a part of it," he said, of the game going down to golden point.

"It came down to making the most of opportunities and we were fortunate that we had a big, powerful runner on the end of a pass to seal the deal for us."

With the scores remaining relatively even throughout the first 80 minutes, venison looked to be on the plates of the Takahiwai Warriors for dinner, after they put on a beautiful display of attacking footy inside the dying minutes of the second half.

A scintillating try from Takahiwai playmaker Joel Freeman put his side ahead by two points, 16-14, and it appeared the Warriors had done enough to scrape through for the win.

However, a lapse of discipline in front of their posts gave Hikurangi captain Joe Rau a golden chance to level the match to 16-all and send the game into extra-time.

17 Aug, 2015 8:39am
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"It was a great game of footy. We had our opportunities, the boys fought hard but it just didn't come together," Takahiwai coach Mark Freeman said.

"They worked bloody hard for it and took it.

"Up until 80 minutes, it was the two best teams in the competition."

Also getting a taste of victory on Sunday was the youthful Otaua Valleys side, after they dismantled the Pawarenga Broncos, 28-12, in the curtain-raiser to the premiership grand final.

Never really looking like losing it, Otaua stayed on top of their game and on top of their opponents to leave Toll Stadium with the inaugural RLN Championship trophy held high.

Otaua have now won promotion into the 2016 RLN Premiership as a result of the Kerikeri Makos being relegated after they pulled out mid-season.