The Ngongotahā rugby league team have quietly, but consistently, gone about their work this season, but this weekend they are set to take centre stage.

Having finished second in the Bay of Plenty/Coastline Premier Rugby League round-robin, they travel to first-placed Mangakino tomorrow for the first round of knockout matches.

The winner will progress straight to the grand final on Saturday, August 4, while the loser will have a second chance against the winner of the match between Pacific (3rd) and Otumoetai (4th).

Last year Ngongotahā's season was cut short after failing to make the top four. Having turned things around this year, coach Paul Nahu said one of the keys to playing well was enjoyment.


Kia ora to our Ngongotaha whanau💪.We have an exciting weekend of rugby league head of us🏉. Its semi finals time......

Posted by Ngongotaha Chiefs - Rugby League Club on Thursday, 19 July 2018

"It's a sport, it's a game and we all play for lots of different reasons, but you can never lose sight of the fact that you play because you enjoy the game. This weekend is no different, we want to enjoy this game and that's one of the things we've focused on all year. They're enjoying their footy at the moment, so that's a good place to be.

"The team's looking good, I wouldn't say they're over confident but we've had a good week's preparation. We need to lift the intensity and play for the full 80 minutes - it's going to be a great day for rugby league over there in Mangakino, I'm sure there will be a lot of support for them on the sidelines so we have to get past all of that and focus on what we need to do as a team."

He said Mangakino were strong across the park, but especially in some key positions.

Johnson Peri will be the danger man for Mangakino this weekend. Photo/File
Johnson Peri will be the danger man for Mangakino this weekend. Photo/File

"Their halves are very good, Johnson [Peri] is one of the best halves in the competition, without a doubt. He's a very smart footballer, a very clever footballer and he has a good all round game, he's a key.

"They've actually got a very big, strong forward pack as well, on top of some more than capable backs. They're not at the top by chance, they've been the form team all year, so we know we have a big challenge ahead of ourselves, but we're going over there to win."

Bay of Plenty/Coastline Playoffs

(Kickoff 2.30pm)
Mangakino (1st) v Ngongotahā (2nd) at Mangakino
Pacific (3rd) v Otumoetai (4th) at Memorial Park, Tokoroa

Premier Reserve
(Kickoff 1pm)
Tauhara v Taneatua at Mangakino
Pacific v Otumoetai at Memorial Park Tokoroa


The round two semifinal games and the grand final will all be played at Puketawhero Park.