Hold the phone because the Citizens Shield season might be about to explode.
A big result up the valley and a what-if result in town injected a good touch of spice to the competition ahead of the Town-Country break.
If Excelsior had managed to upset Old Boys (more on that soon), this would be labelled The Round That Changed Everything.
It started with the hugely significant – for the visiting team – news that filtered through of Maheno upsetting Kurow 42-41.
Yes, an upset. The teams might be second and third on the table, but 12 points separated them at the start of the round, and Maheno was missing nine regular players as it sought to avoid a third straight loss.
Kurow dominated the first half but Maheno produced some green-and-black magic to seal a memorable win.
At Weston, Valley recovered from a poor start and a second-half red card to fullback Mark Roney to beat Athletic Marist 34-25.
Athies jumped to leads of 10-0 and 17-3, but barely fired a shot for the rest of the game.
Valley is charging, even with players of the calibre of Dan Lewis and Brad McKenzie sidelined with injury, and its forward pack could take it a long way.
Finally, to town, where Old Boys banked yet another five points but had an almighty scare before beating Excelsior 26-23.
Blues, arguably now as good as any team in this competition yet 10 points clear in the wooden spoon race, put the runaway leaders under huge pressure.
Right, that’s the end of the second round, so we can do a formal run-in with five games to play (“@” being an away game, “v” a home game):
Old Boys: @ Valley, @ Athies, v Kurow, @ Maheno, v Excelsior. Not exactly in top gear, sure, but can coast into the finals from here.
Kurow: v Excelsior, v Valley, @ Old Boys, @ Athies, @ Maheno. Some real class there, and a home semifinal beckons.
Maheno: @ Athies, v Excelsior, @ Valley, v Old Boys, v Kurow. Tough finish but should be able to bank enough points to stay in the four.
Valley: v Old Boys, @ Kurow, v Maheno, @ Excelsior, @ Athies. On the up, but next two games will be tough. Every chance final weekend could be do or die.
Athies: v Maheno, v Old Boys, @ Excelsior, v Kurow, v Valley. Up and down. Good enough to be in semi-finals. Maheno and Valley clashes will be key.
Excelsior: @ Kurow, @ Maheno, v Athies, v Valley, @ Old Boys. What might have been? The hole is just too big.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Llew Johnson is making waves in the cricket world but he gave a nice reminder of his rugby talents, bagging a hat trick at fullback on debut for Maheno.
Taina Tamou scored two cracking tries for Athletic Marist, but otherwise it was a weekend for the forwards.
Props Petelo Pouhila (Kurow) and Logan Dunlop (Valley) barrelled their way down field for two tries, Filipo Veamatahau had another blinder for Old Boys, and star No 8 Mika Mafi was predictably immense in his Excelsior debut.
“Holy moly. I’m not even sure what to say. The boys just played out of their skins, and put into place everything we had practised. Just a huge amount of heart. We’ve looked for a performance like that all year. It puts us in a really good spot.” – Chris Jennings (Maheno)
Union and Kurow continued their ding-dong season battle, Union claiming a 10-5 win in a tough and physical clash.
Excelsior pipped Athletic Marist 19-17 in the other game.
Club rugby takes the weekend off, but there will still be plenty of interest in the Town-Country game at Weston.
Round 10 scores
Maheno 42 (Llew Johnson 3, Jake Day 2, Sam Tatupu, Kieran Byrne tries; Tatupu 2 con, pen), Kurow 41 (Harvard Fale 2, Petelo Pouhila 2, Jesse Porter, Dean Fenwick tries; Tyler Burgess 4 con, pen). Halftime: Kurow 20-10.
Valley 34 (Logan Dunlop 2, Meli Kolinisau, Cameron Rowland tries, penalty try; Dylan Edwards 2 con, pen), Athletic Marist 25 (Taina Tamou 2, Simon Lilicama tries; Mason Kinzett 2 con, 2 pen). Halftime: Athletic Marist 25-20.
Old Boys 26 (Anthony Amato 2, Ralph Darling, Filipo Veamatahau tries; Inoke Naufahu 3 con), Excelsior 23 (Antonio Misiloi, Bryan Hazel, Frank Kelly tries; Kayne Middleton con, 2 pen). Halftime: Excelsior 13-12.
Maheno v Kurow
2 – Petelo Pouhila (K)
1 – Glen Robertson (K)
1 – Jackson Attfield (M)
1 – Sam Tatupu (M)
1 – Llew Johnson (M)
Valley v Athletic Marist
2 – Logan Dunlop (V)
1 – Sam Sturgess (V)
1 – Cedric Laurent (V)
1 – Jared Whitburn (AM)
1 – Taina Tamou (AM)
Old Boys v Excelsior
2 – Filipo Veamatahau (OB)
1 – Ralph Darling (OB)
1 – Anthony Amato (OB)
1 – Mika Mafi (E)
1 – Antonio Misiloi (E)Running sneakersNike Shoes