Parsons savours win but it's only a start

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Sunday, September 3, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

He has been through the dark days with the side as it struggled through the lower reaches of the Mitre 10 Championship before they bloomed under Steve Jackson's coaching last year to claim the title and win promotion to the Premiership.
There had been opportunities to ply his trade elsewhere but Parsons stuck with the side and while there were some spectacular tries posted on Sunday few drew greater appreciation than the 40m intercept run to the line that he made to score in the second half.

But Parsons has also been around long enough to know that one swallow doesn't make a summer.

He was careful in digesting the win because while they had given themselves a competitive chance in the competition, they had Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Thursday and they couldn't rest on a Battle of the Bridge win.

"We really want to springboard our season from here," he said.

The nature of the competition meant that other players would need to be given opportunities while others rested their bodies if they were to keep their momentum going.

Remaining grounded to handle the short turnaround would set the side up for some key home games against Canterbury and Taranaki later in the competition.

Parsons said new coach Tom Coventry was building on Jackson's foundation set over the two previous years. What Coventry did was focus on the 'dirt work' and encouraged the pack to take pride in their set-piece play and their cleanouts and the work that came naturally to them.

Coventry's different voice also had an effect on shifting the way the game was looked at and the different opportunities that could be seen.

"It's been a breath of fresh air for me and I'm working really hard with him and I've got some good young hookers behind me pushing me as well so that always helps," Parsons said.

But there was no doubting there was an element of satisfaction in Sunday's win.

"I pride myself on loyalty and everyone knows I'm a pretty proud Harbour man, obviously born and raised here and to be here for this moment 57-10…

"I think these are the moments why I've stayed. It's moments like these I know I'll treasure a lot more later in life once I've retired. It's pretty exciting.

"The biggest thing we wanted to show this week was that we're no-one's little brother and we're our own men and our own union," he said.

Parsons acknowledged North Harbour had a nine-day turnaround while Auckland had played on Wednesday and again on Sunday so his side had an advantage which carried a warning with it – North Harbour couldn't get too ahead of themselves.

Auckland had clearly flagged in the second half reflecting the tough schedule they had faced.

"I feel for them in that sense just because of the structure of the competition and how big this game was and it probably didn't play into their favour.

"But at the same time you've still got to win and still get the job done and we're pretty proud of that," he said.

The turnaround for the side had been based on the power they now had up front in their scrum while lock Jarrad Hoeta had been outstanding in running the side's lineouts.

His own intercept and runaway try had been a fine line and if he had missed the ball he would have been in trouble but it stuck and he was able to race 40m for the try but he was happy about it, he said.

Auckland had come out to try and give a message at the start of the second half but North Harbour knew they had played well in one half each against Otago and Southland in their earlier games, but they got the mix right in both halves against Auckland.