Kelston Boys’ High School are the kings of Auckland secondary school league once again, after powering past Mt Albert Grammar School 14-6 to claim the 2018 SAS College Rugby League title.
The west Auckland school scored two converted tries in the first half and kicked a penalty in the second, to claim their first title in four years, in front of a vocal crowd at Mt Smart Stadium #2 on Wednesday night.
Centre Mark Rasmussen opened the scoring on five minutes, grabbing onto a looping Konrad Tu’ua pass to crash over in the corner, for a try which Tu’ua converted.
A well-constructed set play 10 minutes later then saw Tasi Lotima barge over from close range to double Kelston’s lead at the break.
Mt Albert flew out of the gates in the second stanza, and within five minutes Uelese Levasa got onto the end of a pinpoint Emmanuel Kelly kick, with Sam Kamu converting from the sideline to halve the deficit.
Both sides traded blows over the ensuing minutes, with a number of dropped balls and periods of poor discipline meaning neither side was able to assume control of the contest.
With two minutes to go, a penalty just to the right of the uprights, from 20 metres out, presented Tu’ua with an easy two points, which he converted to put the result beyond doubt.
Post-match, Kelston fullback Connor Lopesi spoke of the joy of experiencing Grand Final success, 12 months on from a defeat at the hands of St Paul’s College in the same game.
“It feels good, coming off last year we just knew what we had to do to win the game,” he said.
“In that final ten minutes or so, I was thinking about last year, I’m just happy we did it.”
Earlier in the day at Mt Smart Stadium #2, Southern Cross Campus won a golden point thriller 26-22 over St Paul’s to claim the U15 title, before Sir Edmund Hillary ran away with the girls’ title ahead of Aorere College, 30-8.
St Paul’s College won the Senior A (second-tier) title 16-6 over James Cook High School.
Kelston 14 (Mark Rasmussen, Tasi Lotima tries; Konrad Tu’ua goals x3) def. Mt Albert 6 (Uelese Levasa try; Sam Kamu goal). At Mt Smart Stadium #2.