Defending champions Moerewa Tigers and Takahiwai will slug it out for a place in the Rugby League Northland Premiership final after the last round of games.

Whoever wins will face Otangarei Knights, who qualified after beating Takahiwai 35-20 on Saturday and to finish top of the table.

The Tigers beat Portland Panthers on Saturday to finish third behind Takahiwai.

The final will be played at Okara Park on August 4.

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Takahiwai coach Joel Freeman said, although he was disappointed at losing last weekend, his side has another chance at making it to the final.

"Obviously devastated by the loss, which means we'll have to take a long route to the final but the loss will help build character in the team. We've got positive out of Saturday's game."

A high penalty count at crucial moments let his side down against a good Knights' team, he said.

"The feeling in the shed after the match said it all. We don't have to look far for motivation in order to come on the right side of the scoreboard this week."

Damian Palmer of Moerewa Tigers gets a pass away during his side's win over Portland Panthers. Photo/John Stone
Damian Palmer of Moerewa Tigers gets a pass away during his side's win over Portland Panthers. Photo/John Stone

Looking forward to this weekend's match, Freeman said his side defeated the Tigers convincingly in the second round and would be looking at repeating that feat to qualify for the final.

Takahiwai will welcome back fullback Hori Tuhoro, who's been out injured for two weeks, and, Freeman said, the star player would stabilise the team's attack a bit on Saturday.

They earlier humiliated Otangarei Knights 36-12 at home.

The Panthers miss out on the finals.