IT was not exactly a game a doctor would have advised his heart patients to watch for entertainment and relaxation purposes as Naitasiri escaped with a nail-biting 25-25 draw against gallant challengers Nadi on Saturday at the ANZ Stadium.
A powerful young Nadi side laced with Fiji under-20 players, recent and past, took the game to the defenders and won the respect of thousands of fans after a three-try romp.
The perfect kicking boots of Waisale Luveniyali and powerful defence against the bull-locking pick and drive runs by the Jetsetters in the dying minutes plus several fumbles near the tryline by Nadi were the heart-stopping moments.
And with the game obviously up, replacement fullback Vatemo Ravouvou coolly lobbed a drop goal from almost in front of the posts and every breath at the packed stadium got caught and soared with the ball.
It hit the post and bounced back into the melee of Nadi and Naitasiri players and a scramble ensued.
Finally, Naitasiri fans breathed a sigh of relief as the ball went back to Luveniyali to boot out of the ground followed by referee James Bolabiu's final whistle.
A slight miss at goal or linekicking certainly would have given the galloping Nadi cowboys the win they have relentlessly pursued all season.
But cup or no trophy, they certainly can hold their heads high especially for master tactician coach Iliesa Tanivula and team officials.
Luveniyali has certainly brought a certain class to the local rugby competition with his perfect kicking whether for goal or gaining ground and has showed maturity that the highlanders definitely need.
Having been in the shadows of Nicky Little since 2007 and the experience in the English rugby competition has developed his rugby considerably.
His boots will play a big part in the remaining two defences of the trophy against Tailevu and Nadroga.
The scoreline and play certainly proves that Naitasiri are into a new era and their team has a number of policemen now that they are camping at the Police Mobile Unit in Makoi instead of the village camps they are used to.
They will have learnt from their mistakes against Nadi who played wide and expansive rugby and mistakes against such teams turn into points.
But one has to realise that Naitasiri's forwards did their work well and only had to maintain their composure in the opposition half to force a penalty. Up steps Luveniyali and hammers home the points.
With a marksman on your side, three points on offer should be taken rather than the energy-sapping forward drives so as to rest your forwards and use them where they really are needed later in the game.
That's smart play from Naitasiri and having a new coaching team led by master Vereivalu, Ilivasi Tabua and Sam Domoni certainly adds depth to local rugby as a whole.
While local rugby has developed into the right direction we still carry on with some old Fijian rugby attitude that we should all dump into the rubbish bin.
I don't think a modern coach will tell his player to make a head high or late tackle against the opposition goalkicker or star player as part of the game strategy. It comes from ill discipline having made the plans through the week to commit the crime.
They may have been told to hit him hard but not illegally.
Premeditated murders and crimes warrant maximum penalties like life sentences and hanging.
Saturday's game as well as the Suva-Naitasiri game saw players sent off for dangerous tackles on goalkickers. Luveniyali survived a dangerous tackle against Suva and again on Saturday both offenders getting yellow cards while Ben Ratubalavu was taken out and the offender yellow carded also.
Since it is a local festering Fijian rugby sore it should be nipped at the bud and our rugby laws should be made especially strict for such offenders and James Bolabiu and his mates are called to begin giving red cards instead of yellow to curb this offence. That's why we do not develop such kickers of Luveniyali's calibre.
Anyway players who make dangerous tackles prove that they have yet to master the art of tackling.
To take a leaf out of the tackling book of an expert whom I won't name, a straight flying tackle, legally done, aimed at the solar plexus or pit of the stomach will wind him temporarily and produce the needed result. The solar plexus has a large network of nerves that goes to all parts of the body.
The affected player will stay on and continue the game but not 100 per cent all there.
Tailevu and Nadroga also played each other at Lawaqa Park on Saturday and if a team has to beat Naitasiri then its goalkicker will have to be as accurate as Luveniyali and they will have to score more than 25 points.
Against Suva Naitasiri scored 25-23 and yesterday it was 25-25.