Sportal.co.nz 24.Oct.2009Getty Images
The Turbos scored five tries to one as they outclassed North Harbour to increase their points tally to 24.
Manawatu blitzed North Harbour in the second spell, when it was rampant in scoring 34 points to nil, with accomplished right wing Andre Taylor contributing 27 points through two tries and some accurate kicking.
Nick Crosswell was an inspirational leader, Brent Thompson a powerful No 8, while Aaron Cruden and the classy Taylor were the standouts in an inventive backline.
It was a meek end to the season for Harbour, which did not fire a shot in the second spell after taking a handy lead into the break.
A large crowd, including the inevitable Bucketheads, faithful to the last, turned out to watch what may be Manawatu's last game in the premier division for the immediate
The Turbos began the match in 12th place on 19 points, one point behind the 11th-placed North Harbour, but they had never beaten Harbour in 10 previous games.
Michael Harris kicked an early penalty goal for Harbour but Manawatu replied with a stunning try, created through a turnover by captain Nick Crosswell, after 12 minutes.
Manawatu moved ball to the right where wing Andre Taylor outstripped the cover as he raced 50 metres to give Manawatu the lead.
Harris kicked a long-range penalty to regain the lead for Harbour, which scored its first try after 25 minutes to extend it to 13-5.
Harbour won clean lineout possession, Rudi Wulf received a long cut-out pass on the left wing and he dummied a defender and sprinted 45 metres to the line. Harris converted from near touch.
Harbour's lead became 16-5 after 33 minutes when Harris, from 55 metres but with the breeze behind him, kicked his third and longest penalty.
Taylor kicked a penalty just before halftime to reduce Manawatu's deficit to eight points at the break.
Harbour had an edge in territory in the first half, partly attributable to the wind, and it against won three lineouts against the throw.
Manawatu struck first in the second spell when Taylor kicked his second penalty, just after flanker Cullum Gibbins had been denied a try when it was ruled he was in touch before he grounded the ball.
Manawatu was playing with much more energy in the second spell and it regained the lead after 16 minutes when, after good leadup work from Crosswell and Grant Polson, hooker Rob Foreman crashed over. Taylor converted and the Turbos were ahead 18-16.
It was Manawatu again four minutes later when, after Aaron Cruden probed, the ball was moved right and midfielder Johnny Leota crashed over to score. Taylor converted and the Turbos led 25-16.
Manawatu was on a roll and, with 10 minutes remaining, Taylor the loose ball and let fly with a fine long-range dropped goal.
And Taylor wasn't finished. Three minutes later he chipped through and gathered his own kick to score his second try. His conversion made it 35-16.
Centre Tomasi Camas scored Manawatu's fifth try almost immediately after and Taylor's conversion stretched the lead to 42-16.
Manawatu 42 (Taylor 2, Foreman, Leota, Tomasi Cama t; Taylor 4 con, 2 pen, dropped-goal)
North Harbour 16 (Wulf t; Harris con, 3 pen)
HT: Harbour, 16-8.