In a season already disrupted by Covid-19 it was fitting the week leading up to the Central Bay of Plenty final was full of controversy.
Unbeaten table-toppers Whakarewarewa were set to host second placed Rotoiti in the final, only for Rotoiti to be docked points for playing unregistered players.
That saw Rotoiti lose two of their wins and drop below Ngongotahā on the ladder, meaning it was Ngongotahā preparing to take on Whakarewarewa.
Late in the week, Rotoiti appealed the decision, had one of the wins reinstated but still narrowly missed out on the final.
So it was Ngongotahā faced with the task of toppling the high-flying Whakarewarewa today,and they certainly gave it a good nudge.
Whakarewarewa won 38-9, claiming the Central Bay of Plenty title as well as retaining the Rotorua banner and Tai Mitchell Shield.
A late flurry of tries meant the score didn't necessarily reflect how close the game was for a time but the home side always seemed to be in control.
Whakarewarewa coach Jeremy Hikuroa said it was always pleasing to get a win but his side had to fight for it.
"It was an enjoyable game to watch, we knew it would be a lot tighter than last week. Ngongotahā certainly came out firing at us in that first half. We struggled to get into our structure.
"We scored a few points but it wasn't as clean as we'd like. Obviously, we're happy to win the championship and there's a bit of relief as well. There was definitely pressure today and all season, knowing every team we played would throw everything at us.
"I guess we'd given ourselves a bit of a reputation and we didn't want to lose that."
Hikuroa said his players, particularly the leadership group, made his job easy.
"The biggest thing is how well this team gets themselves up for everything. The other thing on field was, even though we couldn't quite stick to our structure and plan, we managed to play some enjoyable rugby and have a good time."
He said the controversy leading up to the final did threaten to become disruptive but he felt more for the other teams involved who did not know whether or not they would be playing.
"They didn't know who would actually be playing but for us, we just focused on what we were doing, whoever it is we can't control that. I was a little bit concerned but I feel more for the opposition."
The opening 10 minutes of the game were brutally physical, Whakarewarewa taking a 3-0 lead after kicking a penalty.
They extended the lead to 8-0 after 18 minutes when centre Timoti Marr reeled in a wild pass on the left wing before bumping off an attempted tackle to score in the corner.
A try to hooker Jesse Mason-Grant extended the lead to 13-0.
Ngongotahā kicked two penalties and after 35 minutes had reduced the deficit to 6-13.
Marr scored his second try, with another barnstorming run, right on halftime to give Whakarewarewa an 18-6 lead.
Ngongotahā kicked another penalty shortly after halftime and at 18-9 were right in the game.
The second half was a grind as both sides struggled to maintain possession.
Whakarewarewa kicked a penalty to make it 24-9 before really breaking the shackles. In the final 10 minutes they scored two more tries, through second-five Cassius Misa and first-five Ryubyn Vaipo, to claim the big victory.
It was a day of double delight for Whakarewarewa, their second team beating Ngongotahā 14-11 in the Central Bay of Plenty Development final.