Harbour Rugby – “Packed middle order promises battle”

ODT – Kick for Touch

Varsity stayed in top spot with a solid win over Taieri out at the Eel pit.
With the turmoil of last week and the highly paid new coaching structure in place, Taieri catapulted from fourth to seventh in the comp, behind their beloved neighbours GI.

The supporters will be “loving” that at the Eelpit!

But such is the closeness of the middle of the table it will be a fascinating battle over the next few weeks.

GI, on the back of three Ross Geldenhuys tries, sits fifth-equal with Kaik.

Predictably, Harbour trounced Pirates to sit in second, one point off Varsity but 11 ahead of third-placed Dunedin.

Varsity and Harbour have already confirmed spots in the final four.

Kaik did itself a big favour in beating Dunedin and holding it pointless after a couple of bad weeks.

The Sharks just can’t beat Kaik and were apparently awful in trying.

Instead of being safe in third they are now back in the dogfight for the bottom two spots in the four and with their inconsistent performances look anything but safe.

Southern bought Zingers back to earth with a thump.

The Magpies are the team on the rise and are now a solid bet to finish third.

The southern pearl

I’ve been mouthing off (unusual for me) over the last few weeks about Southland raiding our playing stocks, so it’s time for us to rise up and make a stand.

I hear Hoani MacDonald, the Southland coach, is a regular attender of club rugby games in Dunedin.

If you see him skulking around your games (check his picture in this column) pour a bucket of cold water on his head, give him a parking ticket or trespass notice, call in Campus Watch, fine him heavily or generally just make him unwelcome.

So who have they poached so far?

Lachie Moore, Josh Clark, Aleki Morris and, I hear, Elioti Tonga the Harbour lock is playing for Star, in their club competition this weekend.

At least Hoani won’t have to travel to watch him.

I’ve previously mentioned Sala Halaleva and George Bower from Harbour have already been approached.

An interesting aside here is that a lot of these players from Harbour and isn’t their coach already playing for Southland and a player agent?

Roman (Lance Spence) Abramovich, have you checked into this double agent theory?

Regardless, is it time for us to fight back.

The four best players in the OB’s V SB’s game recently were Southland players in the form of the hooker, halfback, first five and fullback.

We need to sign them up. Is it time to approach the rugby/business community to establish a fighting fund to war off the evil empire, the Invercargill Licensing Trust and their war chest.

I understand the union has approached Southland to “back off” but that is falling on “headgeared” ears.

The ideal situation would be for us to lend them players as required which means we keep our club comp strong and give our players two pathways.

As always, I’ll keep you informed of developments.

Speaking of Southland

Has the Taieri Club started a consultancy business to offer expertise in the field of changing coaching structures?

You may ask why I’ve posed this question and fair enough.

I see Blues, one of the traditionally strong prem clubs down there, although they’ve had a lean patch over the last few years, dumped their coach last weekend in Grant Dermody and he has been replaced by Dave (Goof) Henderson, the former Southland coach. Even more interesting, Grant is on the board of Southland Rugby.

Knowing the Hendersons as I do “Goof” wouldn’t have come cheap.

Are you starting to see the parallels now??

The gift that keeps giving

How good has Highlanders prop Ross Geldenhuys been for coach Moeahu and the Spannerheads?

Really good, that’s how!

Unwanted by “big Jake” for most of the year, he has now been a fixture in the GI front row, which has been dominant and, to boot, he scored three against the “Onion” at the weekend, to win the game on his own.

A great bloke to boot, apparently, and he has imparted a lot of knowledge to a young team.

Give him a life membership!

The tipping comp

The ground-breaking ODT/Speight’s tipping comp is in full swing again this year and is being led by Peter Holmes, closely followed by Blair Bezett.

I’ve been supplying unbelievably accurate tips to the punters every week, as you can imagine.

If they had followed that advice they are close to the top.

Last week, I asked where were all the loyal Zingers supporters, as nobody in the comp picked them, which Shona Preddy, from Romahapa, quickly informed me was wrong.

Her husband Mark picked Zingari to win, as their son Chris, who plays for the team, was having his 100th game – so apologies to Mark.

But as I was scanning the results,

I noticed mum Shona picked Taieri, so imagine my consternation!! Shona, a ‘‘please explain” is in order.

Country rugby

In Central, Matak just keeps on winning and Clyde declared at 107 over Roxburgh – ouch. In the South, in the clash of the Titans, which yours truly witnessed, Lawrence pipped Clutha by six to remain unbeaten and has upset my pre-season predictions big time.

The Clutha clubrooms were heaving after the game and there were a couple of Lawrence “heavies” with big smug grins on their hefty jowls – namely Willis Paterson and Jock Martin, who were basking in the afterglow of success.

Most town clubs would have been happy with the extremely brisk bar trade at the Clutha clubrooms, and the prices were a revelation.

Town clubs take notice and it’s not as though they brew their own.

By the way, the Mighty Dunedin Dog Sharks had a win over Clutha in junior colts grade.

We ran into the Toko Prem II side in the Waihola Tavern on the way home, who were resplendent in pink tops.

Brave attire in the country, I would have thought.

But they thrashed AU by one in the Town Senior grade.

Good work lads.

This weekend

Steve Baughan from Zingers went the way of the previous nine club captains – dispatched – so the streak continues. On to the sponsor of the column, Brian Morris from Mitchells Tavern, this weekend, so the streak is still alive.

Brian is a former Values Party supporter with his flowing locks and his rugby knowledge is questionable, although he thrives this weekend, as it is Colin Meads’ 80th birthday (get well Tree!!) Kaik (13+) bank 5 points at the Yardarm over Pirates.

Under-strength Hawks (12-) outfit are under threat from GI this weekend but get it done.

Varsity (13+) have too much strength across the park at home against Southern, but they are getting back to form.

The Eels (13+) should win comfortably and they have Willis Scott back, who is their talisman and AU still have no players, due to crippling injuries.

The Sharks (13+) won by 70 last time but Zingari are a far tougher opposition at Boot Hill and I can’t take the same picks as the bohemian Brian Morris.

The late mail

Harbour are hit by more defections, as winger Sala Halaleva is trialling for the Samoan 7s and I hear the coach is off on a jaunt.

To Brent Edwards, mate you will be missed at the ODT.


– Paul Dwyer