Paroa got a taste of the Baywide big time last season, and if their early season form is any judge they might just be headed back to the top flight in 2015.

Last season's premier strugglers have transformed into this season's division one darlings, and will take an unbeaten record into this weekend's match with seventh-placed Ngongotaha at Lawson Park.

The title favourites were troubled by Poroporo last weekend - trailing at half-time before turning the tide to prevail 31-24 - so will be looking to send a message to the rest of the competition this weekend.

Ngongotaha were outgunned by Whakatane Marist last weekend and really need a result to keep their play-off hopes intact.


Second-placed Te Teko have a tough road trip in prospect against Arataki, while fourth-placed Kahukura will host third-placed Waikite in a match with huge implications for the playoff picture.

Last season's beaten finalists Poroporo, who have already dropped matches to Te Teko and Ngongotaha, might be at full strength for the first time this season at home against Katikati.

Director of rugby Waata Heathcote said his side likely needed to win three of their remaining four regular season matches to make the playoffs in the abbreviated competition that was cut from an 18-round home and away format last season to a nine-week round robin this year.

"We're still not sure why the union decided to cut down the competition, it seems it's been streamlined for the premier clubs," Heathcote said.

He believed players in division one had not been properly considered for Steamers selection, and raised the example of hulking winger Rob Maxwell, who has left Poroporo to chase opportunities in Perth, to illustrate the danger of not considering players from all over the province.

Marist St Michael's will be visited by Whakatane Marist in the round's other match.

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Baywide Division One standings: Paroa 24, Te Teko 17, Waikite 17, Kahukura 16, Poroporo 13, Arataki 11, Ngongotaha 10, Whakatane Marist 9, Katikati 6, Marist St Michael's 4.

Baywide Division One draw, June 28: (Kickoff 2.45pm) Arataki v Te Teko (Arataki Park 1); Kahukura v Waikite (Kuirau Park 1); Marist St Michael's v Whakatane Marist (Marist Park 1); Paroa v Ngongotaha (Lawson Park 1); Poroporo v Katikati (Poroporo Park 1).