Porirua Vikings will not contest the premier club rugby league grand final for the first time in five years after they were defeated by Wainuiomata 32-28 in Saturday's semi-final.
In front of a good crowd at Fraser Park, the Porirua side will forever rue their sluggish start on the soft track, which saw Wainui race to a 22-6 halftime lead.
By the time his team got going in the second spell, coach Peter Rikiriki says the damage had been done.
"We made more mistakes and Wainui hit our fringes really well. We didn't really try to push things until well into that second half, and we didn't have enough time left. We got close when it was 22-16, but they kept pulling away.''
Down by four points with time nearly up, the Vikings broke through the line but a crucial ankle-tap saved the day for Wainuiomata.
Rikiriki says his charges were disappointed, but thoughts were already turning to next season.
"We have some great young players coming through, ready to take that step up to the premier level. Some of the older guys, like Jay Bolstad, are really key, he's a major asset."
Rikiriki expects Randwick to be too strong for Wainui in the grand final at Porirua Park this Saturday, 3pm.
- Kapi-Mana News