Whakarewarewa have beaten Rangataua 27-10 in miserably wet conditions to book a spot in the Baywide Premier Women's final and set up a fairytale finish for one of their stalwarts.
Kaci James started playing for Whakarewarewa in the JAB grade as a 5-year-old.
Now, more than 30 years later, she has decided this will be her last season. She and her teammates ensured she will get to wear the red and black one last time by winning their semifinal against Rangataua at Puarenga Park yesterday.
They will meet last year's beaten finalists in the semifinal after they beat Waimana 93-5 in their semifinal. James said knowing her last game would be a final was overwhelming.
"This was my last home game. The last three years have been building up to this moment here. The expectation this year was to make the finals, anything from that is just a bonus.
"It's really overwhelming, I'm so proud and honoured to be playing in a final in my colours that I've been born and bred into. My whole family, my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my brothers, my cousins, all of us have played for Whaka. So to come home and play for Whaka and get into a final, there's no words to describe it."
The rain was coming in sideways during the semifinal but that did not stop either team spinning the ball wide. Whakarewarewa started strongly and scored through No 8 Aneta Mihinui on the back of a stunning offload from flanker Sequoia Te Aonui.
Rangataua hit back through hooker Paris Hart to tie things up at 5-all.
Whakarewarewa were the dominant side though and late in the first half it was James herself who crashed over from close range to give her side a 10-5 lead at the break.
The second half was all the home side and James was in the thick of it. She was sin binned 10 minutes into the half but her side were able to extend their lead while she was off, through fullback Autumn-Rain Stephens.
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Mihinui scored her second before James, who had returned from the bin, also completed a double to make it a comfortable 27-5 lead.
Rangataua scored late in the game but it was little more than consolation as the fulltime whistle was blown and their season ended.
James said her side "did really well" to get the win.
"We had a lot of work-ons at training but mostly just asked the ladies to bring their mana and heart and give their all today. It was everyone's last game on home turf for the season and to come away with the win in front of all our families - you can't beat that."
It's really overwhelming, I'm so proud and honoured to be playing in a final in my colours that I've been born and bred into.
One of the main messages for the team was "doing everything with conviction" which was especially important in such wet and slippery conditions.
"Most of us have been here since 2017 and when I initially started the team I wanted to start a positive learning environment for women, even women that didn't want to play.
"From there we've just been developing players and building that positive environment, mana and sisterhood to get where we are now. It didn't just start this year, it started in 2017."
When asked what Whakarewarewa would need to do well to beat Rangiuru in the final, James said "everything".
"They've got speed in the backs and for us I think we have to play 80 minutes. The last time we met, we had a good 40 and we were winning 20-0 at halftime but then in the second half we gave it away and they brought it.
"It's going to be a hell of a match. We know them, they're all our sisters as well, we're all quite tight with the Rangiuru girls but when we're on the field it's just us against them for 80 minutes.
"To have two Māori clubs in the final is awesome."
Baywide Women's Premier Semifinal Results
Rangiuru 93 Waimana 5, Whakarewarewa 27 vs Rangataua 10.