The Bay of Plenty Premier Rugby League competition has a habit of producing epic grand finals and today's contest looks no different.

Pacific Sharks and Taupō Phoenix will go head-to-head for the title at Rotorua's Puketawhero Park, and looking at this season's results, it's hard to split them.

Of the four times they have met this year, both have won twice. The most recent was the major semifinal two weeks ago which Taupō won 32-30 to take the direct route to the final.

Pacific then hammered minor semifinal winners Pikiao 52-6 last week to book a rematch against Taupō in the final.


Taupō coach Henare Pitiroi said making the final for the second time in the club's history was a great achievement but they were determined to go one better and win it.

"It's been three years since we made the final for the first time. That was against Pacific as well but we just lost by two points.

"We're very excited, it's been a long time since we've been in the final. A lot of the players who played in that final are playing again."

Pitiroi said the Taupō side came together at the start of the year and made a pact to "do the best we can, both individually and as a team".

"The biggest thing is we've held on to that dream of making the finals and every single person involved in the campaign has worked hard to give our best to reach the goals we set at the start of the year.

"They've been playing well all year. We've worked hard off the field to come up with a game plan that suits our style of play. We've got a lot of leaders within the playing group who have contributed to coming up with the different plays so it suited the individuals in the team.

"The first time we made the final, they were all quite young, straight out of high school, but three years on, they're quite experienced. They're men now and they're up for the challenge this weekend."

Meanwhile, Pacific are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year and would love to celebrate with a Premier title.


Coach Paniora Daniels, whose grandfather helped lay the foundations of the club in 1969, said the team had lost its way a little leading up to this year but had refocused for the 2019 season.

"There was a change in culture for us, changing the attitude and mindset. It's more about not only what's on the field but what happens off the field as well - getting that brotherhood back.

"We started in November last year and had huge numbers which there has been at every training since. It's a big year for us, being our 50th, and everyone's on board."

He said to beat Taupō, Pacific would have to carry that positive attitude on to the field.

"If we all turn up and turn up for each other, that's where we need to be. I think we were probably a bit flat last time we played them. It's been a long season and this is the fifth time we've played them.

"They're a big team and they really bullied us last time and got over the top of us. They've got a couple of key players who, if you let them run, they'll make you look stupid."

The Pacific club has two shots at a title at Puketawhero Park today, with their reserve side taking on the Central Lions in the Bay of Plenty Premier Reserves final at 1pm.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Leave Finals Draw
Saturday, August 17 at Puketawhero Park

1pm, Pacific Sharks v Central Lions
2.45pm, Pacific Sharks v Taupō Phoenix