Auckland's best teams will face off tonight in the Secondary Schools Rugby League finals at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland. Tonight is a special one for Te Pūtake, from James Cook High School, who have made the grand final for the first time.
The team was at their final captain’s run before the final.
It was an obvious surprise to many who did not expect them to make it this far.
Captain Kayden Takawe-Kingi says, “The morale in the team is good. I didn't think we would make it to the final.”
“In their initial discussions, ultimately they said they wanted to go to the national tournament,” says coach Hammond Matua.
According to Takawe-Kingi, the secret to their success has been the coaching the boys have received.
“Our coaches Hammond Matua and Rusty Matua are the epitome of rugby league coaches.”
Pakuranga College is what stands in the way of a maiden title.
The boys will need to put that loss against Pakuranga behind them quickly.
“Very soon we will see if the hurt that the boys experience from the loss will be beneficial or detrimental,” says Matua.
A win today would be nice, but both the captain and coach insist on staying humble.
Takawe-Kingi says, “I don't want the team to boast if we win.”
“Regardless of today's result, there's still a mountain for them to climb,” says Matua.
That mountain will come after the final when the team turns their attention to the national tournament next month.