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St Johns Whanganui Metro are more than ready to run back the 2020 MRU Colts final against rivals the Feilding Yellows after blitzing their town-mates in Saturday's semifinal at Spriggens Park.
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua had not previously made the trip to Whanganui due to a mid-season default, and it proved no better for them to be there after a 78-0 mauling in the mud, struggling as several of their squad got hurt.
By mutual consent, the game was ended about 15 minutes early, with Metro happy to retreat to the showers and avoid the worst of the wet weather that struck the township less than an hour later.
"We were happy with that [stoppage] – didn't get any injuries so got the full squad for next week," said coach Mark Cosford.
"It got a bit out of hand at the end. They were running out of players. Injuries left, right and centre.
"The boys came out with real good intent."
Metro tried a few too many 50-50 passes in the opening 15 minutes, but once they settled into their rhythm, it was all over.
"There's always nerves in the semifinal because you don't know what's going to happen, but very, very impressed," said Cosford.
Midfielder Jack O'Leary's stellar season continued with his hat-trick of tries taking him to 27 for the competition.
First-five Joey Devine picked up a double, as did winger Cody Davy.
But Cosford was most pleased by the men in the engine room with all three props scoring tries – a double to Keightley Watson, plus five-pointers from 2018 title winner Emanuel Savage and Jacob Gedye, son of co-coach Russell.
"[The Yellows] are a very forward-dominated game, but the way our forwards are going, they might get a bit of a shock," said Cosford.
Having taken the squad to a third-place finish in 2019 and then runners-up last year – losing 44-14 to the Yellows in the Gordon Brown Memorial Cup final – Cosford believes his side now has the experience and confidence to finish strong.
"It means a lot to them. Only one more spot to get.
"At the end of the day, they beat us at the beginning of the season – we're only one apiece."
It must be noted that the Yellows' (10-2-1) only loss this campaign was also to Metro – beaten 34-10 at Spriggens Park on May 29, after winning 16-15 in the season opener at Johnston Park on April 10.
The final tomorrow will be at the neutral Massey University grounds, the first of three MRU championship games with the Senior 2-3 titles also being decided.
Cosford said they have fully booked a 55-seater bus with parents and supporters, while sponsor St John is also arranging a van.
Kick-off is 1pm.