It was ugly at times, but the scoreboard was pretty reading for Mako fans as their side remain unbeaten with a ninth win in Nelson on Sunday afternoon.
With a guaranteed home semi-final, the Mako opted to give some of its wider squad members a run and they made the most of their chance running in eight tries in a 52-6 rout of Northland at Trafalgar Park.
Impressive performances from the likes of Fetuli Paea, Jamie Spowart, Ryan Coxon and Te Ahiwaru Crikidaveta illustrated the depth the premiership table toppers possess.
The Mako butchered two tries in the opening five minutes and allowed Northland to draw first blood after 15 minutes.
Tasman finally crossed the chalk through Te Ahiwharu Crikidaveta and its powerful rolling maul, but Jack Debreczeni kept his side in front with two quality penalty goals.
It wouldn’t last however as the Mako took the lead with a scorching second try – Mitch Hunt breaking through and linking with Will Jordan who was far too quick for the cover.
The hosts put the early errors to bed and followed up with a third soon after, again on the back of a clinical lineout drive with Sione Havili the beneficiary.
Tasman’s backs began to cut their opponents apart with a bonus point right after half time as Jamie Spowart waltzed over after Alex Nankivell split the midfield defence.
The Mako were getting full value from their bench with Pari Pari Parkinson, Levi Aumua and Wyatt Crockett all making early impacts.
Jordan’s second try set the crowd alight after he swooped on a loose ball and sped 90 metres to score under the sticks.
It was a more subdued sixth for the Mako as Crockett rumbled his way over to pile on the points.
They weren’t done yet, as Tim O’Malley sold a dummy which was bought by the whole park and he strolled over for a seventh.
The fifty was brought up from the restart on the back of a blockbusting break from Parkinson, and Taina Fox-Matamua went in to seal a dominant Mako performance.
Co-head coach Goodman says there were some little frustrations with execution and option-taking in the first half, but he was happy to claim the five points.
“The boys fixed that up though and there was some pretty good stuff out there, we scored some good tries.”
Facing a trip to Napier next Saturday to meet the Hawke’s Bay side, the big challenge for the Mako coaches will be how to balance the need to maintain the winning momentum, while ensuring key players are fighting fit for the play-offs.
Goodman says the game against the Magpies was an ideal fixture heading into the semi-final and suggested the Mako management would field a strong side for their final round robin encounter.
“Hawke’s Bay are a quality side; they have lost just one game all season. We want to have a good performance heading into the first final which will give us confidence for the next week, hopefully keep that roll on.”
Goodman says momentum is a big factor.
“Our boys are already talking about going up there, so it’s going to be a great challenge.”
That match kicks off at 2.35pm next Saturday.
Tasman 52 (Crikidaveta, Jordan 2, Havili, Spowart, Crockett, O’Malley tries, Hunt 6 cons)
Northland 6 (Debreczeni 2 pens)