Despite not reaching top gear on attack in Friday's Mitre 10 Cup Championship final, in the dying minutes of the game the Steamers made their biggest statement of the season - on defence.

With a five-point lead, the home side were camped on their own try line, repelling wave after wave of Hawke's Bay attack. The crowd cheered every tackle and willed their side home. For more than 25 phases the Steamers defended and finally forced a turnover.

To me, that was the moment that showed how far they have come.


Bay of Plenty Steamers beat Hawke's