Paul Dwyer giuves his take on the club rugby scene.
Southern got the five points over GI to get its season back on track and get within five points of the four. But it was a turgid old affair and Southern scored two tries in injury time to win by a flattering margin. Varsity emphasised how good it is by putting 60 around top-four pretender in Kaik to pull well clear in the four, seven points clear of third. Kaik’s flirt with the four was brief, to say the least. Dunedin put 60 on Pirates in an awful game of touch rugby to leapfrog up to third in the standings. Harbour was too big and too strong in the forwards for Taieri to stay top and well clear. Taieri clings on to fourth by a point after three straight losses and its season is in freefall and there is ‘‘trouble at mill” – more soon. AU held off a surprisingly competitive Zingers outfit after last week’s shellacking. AU storms to seventh after two straight victories over the cellar dwellers – but the word is it plays Varsity this week – don’t tell AU!
There is a bad smell!
All is not well out at the Elver pit. The Eels have lost three straight after a promising start. They have lost to Dunedin, Kaik and then Harbour at the weekend. Poor old ‘‘Eric V”, the coach, has no assistant coach and, if rumours are true, is at odds with the ‘‘heavies” at the club and there could be some player unrest, to boot. My spies tell me the roving horde of fanatical supporters was less than half the normal populace at the home game at the weekend. At the after-match function, which is normally particularly well run out there, if a little long, only the Taieri coach and captain were present. The rest of the team was still skulking in the changing rooms. If this is true, that is a long black mark in my book and shows disrespect to the game and the opposition. Please tell me this isn’t true. Sure they are having a tough run with injuries and the odd fugitive to the high veldt but, lads, it’s time to get back on the horse and get your season back on track both on and off the field. A little birdie tells me there may have been words between the Hawks coach and the Eels videographer to add fuel to the fire. These teams palpably do not like each other and this latest series of incidents won’t have helped. When they meet late in the Gallaway round at the Lobster Pot it could be monumental. I may have to cover that game!
The strangest comp ever!
A certain former sports editor of the ODT and now Oamaru Mail editor – who shall remain nameless – tells me the North Otago comp is unbelievably strong with six teams. He keeps telling me the Metro comp should come down to eight. Please explain then why the playing-through champ defaulted last weekend? I know it could default every second week and still win the banner in a cakewalk but really! Not a good look – ‘‘Jacko”, the North Otago Godfather, needs to sort this! Speaking of Jacko, I hear North Otago is making a pre-season tour of Canada with his United Nations XV. Bill English should employ ‘‘Jacko”- we’d have tax cuts every six weeks! Where does all the money come from? That’s a lot of oyster raffles. On Country rugby, ‘‘Matak” is my new favourite team up in Central after beating Queenstown and Arrowtown in recent weeks with the ‘‘Jenkins family” to the fore – good on you lads!
Memo to Brownie
Brownie, you really need to listen to Cory more often. It took me a whole season of columns to convince Cory to play Matt Faddes in the midfield but he finally grasped the concept. Good to see you’ve come to it albeit a bit slowly. Great to see the South Otago Supersonic grab the opportunity. Who is Kieron Fonotia by the way?
The word on the street is that the Sharks are merging with either Pirates or the Magpies. A left-field call, you may think. But after I witnessed all the Sharks colts teams wandering their clubrooms in their new ‘‘black & white” polos on Saturday night what other conclusion was there to draw? Apparently the supposed chairman (rumour is in name only) Lee Piper is colour blind and thought they were blue – a very sad look for a once proud club.
Comings and goings
Replacement Highlanders hooker Hame Faiva turned out for Southern on Saturday, I see. Isn’t the Magpies pack of Mastodons big enough as it is? Don’t they have a few hookers already? I hear there are a few angry clubs out there. Despite my ‘‘open letter” to big P. G. (Paul Grant) last week I have failed to change his mind. Cash is king and he has disappeared up to the High Veldt and into the clutches of Kaik – disappointing. Cory Brown has been scouring the globe looking for a replacement first five for Hayden Parker and I hear he has met with success. Scotty Eade, who has played for Southland the past couple of years and was a wider training squad member of the Highlanders, has signed up. Apparently, he has been playing in Italy and is due in town in a couple of weeks. Good work, Cory – a good sub for Hayden. Is there a mad arsonist chasing down the Sharks? A demented marine biologist perhaps? The Kettle Park far grounds were torched last Thursday night and it was four junior colts from the Sharks whose whole flat was gutted in Castle St on Saturday morning. I’ll have to get the intrepid Sergeant Ed Baker on the case! If he is occupied on that, that should reduce the number of speeding tickets being handed out!
Annihilated Marty McArthur from the Eels at the weekend (is that why he wouldn’t come on Rugby Chat this week?) to go eight straight so the streak is still alive. Now it’s ‘‘Hydey” (John Hyde) from Varsity this week so nine it will be. The Magpies (13+) are back to full strength this weekend so even at the High Veldt they are too big, too strong for Kaik. The Hawks should keep on winning at Crab Corner but Sharks (12-) eat Crabs if there is nothing else available! Varsity (13+) will make it an extremely long day for the Ponies at the Oval. The Spannerheads (13+) will de-cutlass Pirates at the Toolbox to exact revenge for the first-round loss. The troubled Eels (13+) will wipe the floor with Zingers up at Boothill.
The late mail
Tom Coventry is the new favourite for the Highlanders job as Coops may be out of the running and don’t be surprised if a few assistant coaches at the Highlanders disappear to the Land of the Rising Sun.
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