Kamo's deserved win - 35-10 - in the Bayleys Premier club rugby final was built around throwing the ball about and tiring the big Waipū forwards.

It was a classic game of two halves and, for all the pressure Kamo absorbed in the opening spell, they came out firing in the second to the delight of a partisan crowd at Okara Park on Saturday.

Relentless attack was Waipū's weapon in the first half that saw their opponents lose shape for a period.

But only for a period, and it felt like the longer the game went on, the more Kamo were in control.


They owned possession for much of the second half. Comfortable with it and patient. They rode the tackles, found a way to continue under immense pressure and built their game.

It was a sign of how good a team they have become— composed and resilient as well as skilled and intelligent.

Kamo players try and stretch the Waipū defence on their way to winning the club final. Photo/John Stone
Kamo players try and stretch the Waipū defence on their way to winning the club final. Photo/John Stone

They can look a little punch drunk, as if they are swaying on their feet, almost about to topple and then suddenly give the impression they are virtually unstoppable.

Some of their one-on-one tackling was a touch weak, but then there was this overwhelming feeling that it wasn't really part of the story.

Even if Waipū had been spot on in that regard, it would only have delayed the inevitable because Kamo were going to stretch the defence at some point, find space, and score.

Kamo otherwise offered little creativity or subtlety but pounded so hard for so long that eventually they broke all resistance.

That's why it wasn't utterly peculiar that they erupted the way they did after the breather, played most of the rugby, looked a million dollars and wouldn't let go the game that mattered.

Coach Cam Goodhue relished the outcome.

"The boys just dug deep. We were only up by one (point) at halftime and they threw the kitchen sink at us, they played some great footy and we were dead on our feet.

"But I said 'look, that's the best they've got and we manned up in the second half and we were able to bring on some great subs and it's just an awesome feeling," he said.

Goodhue said his players didn't stick to the game plan, in the first half, which was to throw the ball around a bit more and to tire Waipū's big forwards out.

For Waipū, they didn't do enough with their attack despite enjoying more possession and playing a better territorial game in the opening half.

They lost their shape too easily, didn't have enough direct, bruising, and straight running.
When it became apparent their attack wasn't yielding the desired result in the first half, Waipū should have changed tack instead of keeping it tight.

Waipū hooker Michael Lea charges upfield during the Bayleys Premier final at Okara Park. Photo/John Stone
Waipū hooker Michael Lea charges upfield during the Bayleys Premier final at Okara Park. Photo/John Stone

Coach Graham Dewes said little mistakes proved costly but he was proud of the way Waipū played throughout the season.

"I guess a few little mistakes happened and Kamo got on top and closed the match.

"That's what happens in finals rugby ... it comes down to the little things being done really well."

Some of the tackling from both sides was ridiculous. Huge. High impact stuff that both sets of players will be feeling even when those lucky ones run out for Northland in the Mitre 10 Cup next month.

There was venom in much of the individual tackling— as if the All Blacks selectors were taking note.

The opening half was a bit loose, a bit breathless and with both teams playing with an ambition their execution couldn't quite fulfil, there were going to be opportunities because there were going to be mistakes.

But five minutes into the match, Kamo opened the scores off a brilliant set piece move that allowed No 10 Myles Thoroughgood to slice through the Waipū defence at an angle before offloading to centre Daniel Wells who barged over.

Thoroughgood was always looking to conjure some special play for his side and brought the sort of chicanery Carlos Spencer produced at his mercurial best.

Waipu replied not long after, also off set piece play.

Fijian prop Taniela Koroi picked the ball off a ruck, threw a dummy pass and dived over.

Waipū led for much of that half but went to the breather one point down after a yellow card to No 8 Nick Murray saw Kamo nail a penalty to take the lead.

Three tries in the second half sealed the final for Kamo, even after lock Reuben Wright saw red for throwing a punch during a scuffle between both teams.