Moerewa Tigers have moved one step closer to winning the RLN Premiership after defeating Otangarei Knights at Toll Stadium.

They picked up the 38-24 victory after setting the platform with a sublime first half.

Both sides took a moment to settle the nerves as they tried to make a quick start.

It was Moerewa who took the early initiative after an Otangarei error, something that occurred way too often for the Knights' liking, gave them excellent field position.


Forward Peter Prime took a quick tap off a penalty leading to a try out wide for halfback Brodee Palmer.

Not too long after that Otangarei failed to secure a towering bomb from fullback Jayden Bentley-Hape, giving Moerewa a repeat set.

They took full advantage of it with prop Herewini McGregor busting over to hand them a 10-0 lead.

Otangarei, try as they might, continued to be their own worst enemy as they couldn't maintain possession in an error-riddled first spell.

Moerewa captain Eli George had no such issues as he broke through five tackles to extend Moerewa's lead.

Moerewa kept attacking Otangarei who showed a lot of heart on defence. However they couldn't hold out at the end of the half when Rock Wiki busted over to give Moerewa a 22-0 halftime advantage.

Otangarei came out of the break executing their plays a lot more consistently. They lay in wait before a sin bin to Moerewa prop Blair Roberts-Sionetali opened the door.

In a seven minute spell, Otangarei picked up three quick tries to put them firmly back in the hunt.

The right edge combination of centre Linn Hunapo and winger Shaquille Ormsby proved deadly.

Otangarei Knights standoff Shane Herbert proved elusive throughout the match. Photo/John Stone
Otangarei Knights standoff Shane Herbert proved elusive throughout the match. Photo/John Stone

Ormsby picked up two tries in as many minutes as the numbers advantage created overlaps.

The halves combination of Shane Herbert, who rattled off a superb 40/20 in the first half, and Verne Wilson came into life and put players into space.

And when Hunapo crashed over, Otangarei were just 22-14 down with 19 minutes to play.

However the Moerewa second row pairing of George and man-of-the-match Haylin Rogers terrorised the Otangarei defence, making metres at will.

Rogers crossed to put the buffer out the 14 before a try to centre Wilson Hona essentially confirmed the result with 12 minutes to go.

Otangarei and Moerewa then traded four pointers before Otangarei lock Sua Sosopo added a consolation try two minutes from the end.

Moerewa will return to Toll Stadium on August 5 to take on the rested defending champions Takahiwai Warriors in the grand final.