Veteran North Otago prop Ralph Darling was already one of the most popular men in Oamaru.
North Otago will host Whanganui this Saturday after a couple of pulsating Meads Cup semifinals on Saturday.
North Otago knows it will have to be on top of its game when it hosts Wairarapa-Bush in a Meads Cup semifinal this afternoon.
North Otago ventures to Ruatoria to take on East Coast tomorrow in a vital match for the visiting team.
The North Otago-Mid Canterbury Heartland game this afternoon will be a double-barrelled contest with more than Heartland Championship points at stake.
Halfback Anthony Arty scored a late try to enable North Otago to snatch a vital bonus point against a strong Wanganui side.
With half of the regular season over, minds start to switch to playoff projections as unbeaten North Otago heads to Greymouth this weekend.
North Otago went to the top of the Heartland Championship after a last-minute penalty from Robbie Smith gave the side a 22-21 win over Thames Valley in Oamaru on Saturday.
It will be quite an occasion for North Otago when it meets 2018 Meads Cup winner Thames Valley today, in its first home game for the Heartland Championship.
Patience and a strong finish late in the second half enabled North Otago to retain its unbeaten run in the Heartland Championship.