It’s official. The 2018 Swindale Shield winner will be decided in the final week of the competition after Northern United defeated Old Boys University 50-45 in a dramatic match at Jerry Collins Stadium.

The high-scoring match saw Norths claim five valuable competition points to join OBU at the top of the table on 50 points after the Billy Goats picked up two bonus points in the loss.

The bonus point for finishing within seven points was hard earned by OBU after found themselves down 50-28 with just 15 minutes left on the clock, running in 17 unanswered points to gain what is a very important extra point.

That came after a rampant start from the hosts with Junior Time-Taotua scoring from a Jackson Garden-Bachop cross-kick just three minutes into the game.

Esi Komaisavai then scored two tries in five minutes to put Norths up 19-0 before Sam Reid and Will Mangos hit back with two tries of their own.

The fast-paced footy carried on late into the half as Norths dotted down a further two times, with Kamaisavai scoring his hat-trick try in the process, though Dale Sabbagh made sure OBU would have the last say before the break, plucking a Norths pass out of the air to cross the chalk and make it 33-21 to the hosts at the half.

Greg Mullany finished off a great try, set up off a Tai Neli break and infield kick, to get the second half underway though as they had done all game, Norths hit back as Denny To’o got on the end of a Garden-Bachop grubber kick to add to Norths’ tally.

Kienan Higgins’ second five-pointer of the afternoon brought up the half century for the home team, which seemed to kick OBU into life. Loosies Will Mangos and Sam Coventry crossed the whitewash in quick succession, though Norths’ lead was just out of reach for the Goats with lock Chris Middleton stealing an OBU lineout 10 metres from Norths’ line to seal the win for the Blue and Whites after what was a golden opportunity for OBU to steal a win at the death.

All this has made for a hectic final round of Swindale Shield action, with Hutt Old Boys Marist just one point behind OBU and Norths on the ladder. For OBU to win the Swindale Shield next week, a win is required against Petone. Should Norths and OBU finish the competition on the same amount of points, Norths will be winners of the Swindale Shield due to today’s victory over the Goats.

However, if OBU, Norths and HOBM all finish on equal points it will then go down to points difference across the Swindale Shield competition which OBU has a considerable advantage in; OBU: 179; Norths: 146; HOBM: 159.

Obviously, that points difference can change dramatically next weekend for all three teams and all OBU can focus on now is getting a bonus point win against Petone. Be sure to get down to Nairnville Park at 2:45 on Saturday to spur the boys on.