This was a classic case of an alleged fleeing driver walking into a "perfect storm"- a 25km police chase at speeds up to 170km/h, a dead-end road, a dash for freedom through a rugby field before a thumping tackle by players at training.
Hikurangi premier club backs Jordan Hauraki and Ewi Karena used the fleeing driver as a tackling bag and held on to him until police arrived minutes later.
The drama began when a police patrol car flagged a car heading north to stop at the intersection of State Highway One and Maungakaramea Rd about 7.40pm on Thursday.
Northland police acting operations' manager, Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson, said the 35-year-old driver had allegedly been clocked doing 144km/h and initially stopped but sped off as an officer walked up to the car.
He led police through a couple of loops in the Avenues area of Whangarei before heading north via the Kamo Bypass.
The car was doing more than 100km/h during the pursuit and is believed to have reached 170km/h at one point.
Mr Dickson said the driver turned into George St, Hikurangi, and then on to Park St that led to a rugby field used by Hikurangi premier team for their weekly club games and training.
Team coach Troy Raitt said his players heard the police siren and flashing red/blue lights during training before seeing a man running towards them.
"There's a closed off gate at the end of Park St because the council people are working on the water or sewer line. We saw the police car following close by and he happened to run around the corner and on to the field.
"I asked the two players closest to him to tackle him. He tried to avoid them but the players ran about five to 10 metres and tackled him to the ground. They then held on to him until police arrived and actually thanked us for the help," Mr Raitt said.
He said the team as not far from finishing off their training.
"We don't need those sort of people in our community. It was one of those occasions where we were able to help. We could see the police cars on the highway and on the streets near the field."
Mr Dickson said it was perfectly alright for people to assist police in the way Hikurangi players did as long as they did not put themselves or others at risk.
Regrettably, he said drivers still did not stop for police.
"Their actions put everyone unnecessarily at risk of injury which isn't worth it. Just pull over, stop and deal with the situation," he said.
"Worst case scenario when people are fleeing from police, they are under stress and pressure so they drive at speeds and the consequences of that can be far greater."
The alleged fleeing driver is facing charges of driving while forbidden, failing to stop and reckless driving.
He has been bailed to appear in the Whangarei District Court on Wednesday.
His car has been impounded.