Dunedin could have kicked the winning penalty 15 minutes earlier but kept turning down opportunities to go for goal.
Had Harbour been able to get just one kick over it would be playing in the final.
The boot ended up deciding the opening semifinal and it was Dunedin’s Louis Tili who kicked the winner with a few minutes remaining. He got that opportunity thanks to some wonderful work by the forwards.
Abrasive Harbour loose forward Naulai Dawai had scored from a lineout move to give the Hawks a 20-18 lead with time running out.
Dunedin did the smart thing.
It got hold of the ball, kept it in close and marched it ever so slowly up the middle of the paddock and waited for the penalty.
Who knows how many times Dunedin recycled the ball or how many times captain Mark Grieve-Dunn, playing in his 100th game, hit the ball up during those final tense moments?
Lots is probably the most accurate answer and eventually Dunedin’s prayers were answered.
The whistle went and Tili strode up in an oversized shirt with no number to knock over what was a very easy kick.
Dunedin still had a few minutes to survive and its forwards kept hold of possession to seal the win.
Harbour scored four tries to two but fullback Logan Allen had a tough day with the boot, missing all four of his attempts.
Dunedin could have saved itself some angst had it kicked for goal midway through the second half.
It led 18-15 and had three very handy opportunities to extend its lead.
It battered away at the line instead but could not get over.
For Harbour, first five-eighth Joe Collins had an inspiring game. He bagged two tries, as did Dawai who produced another mighty effort.
No8 Ben Whale and lock Hale T-Pole got through a ton of work as well.
Openside Hame Toma and hooker Sam Anderson-Heather carried the ball strongly for Dunedin and were part of an excellent forward effort.
It was not a game in which there was much sparkling play in the Dunedin backline but fullback Tim Cossens did seize one opportunity.
He ran back a poor clearance, found Tim Tolovae, who cut through a gap and passed to winger Liam Ward, who ran around Whale to score in the corner.
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