Don’t blame the ref – ODT Paul Dwyer

Varsity destroyed AU all over the Pony Pit as they were too big, too strong and sent out the message to all other clubs – we win this thing, no apologies!

Dunedin with God on their side (it was Easter after all) and Sheldon, apparently pulled off a miraculous upset at the Shark Tank.

Southern on the back of their pack of Mastodons trod on the Kaik skinny wraiths (not a demon in sight!) Taieri efficiently dispatched Zingari with only a modicum of effort.

In a cliffhanger Pirates just got it done over G. I.

The hoary chestnut

I said last week that the Hawks needed to get the discipline into their game to have a shot at getting to the final.

Well, going on their first up performance they didn’t read my well-conceived script.

Two yellow cards during their game against the Sharks cost them big time and the first one was none other than the coach himself, Hale T-Pole.

I hear their bellicose supporters were incensed at ref Sheldon’s performance and if the story is true, Mrs Abramovich is filing a complaint.

University flanker blindside flanker Nick O’Connell bursts through the Alhambra-Union defence with supporting players (from left): Dillon Hunt, Daniel Lienert-Brown and Josh Dickson at the North Ground last week. Photo by Gerard O’Brien.

I doubt they will get much change out of Harty who is judge, jury and executioner of refs’ performances.

The bottom line to Hale and his boys, get it sorted or you don’t make the final!

It’s not about the refs; look internally not externally.

Here endeth the lesson.

Who gets the signature

I reported last week that Elioti Tonga, the Hawks lock, had been spirited away to the Magpies by Super C. C. (Tim Belcher) for big sums, including houses, cars and cash.

I couldn’t believe at the time Abramovich (Lance Spence) had been outbid.

Even as I penned that column the Chipmunks Oligarch was reconstructing his bid to lure big Tonga back.

As you may have now guessed, nobody outbids the “big dog” and Elioti Tonga is back at the Crayfish Emporium.

I hope Super CC cancelled the cheques in time!

The mind boggles as to what the final deal was but if you see a three-storey mansion being hastily erected at St Leonards, you will know who for!!

The complaints have started

I’ve had the ex Eels Godfather (I thought he left?) who shall remain nameless but he may be running the supermarket in Twizel, on my case.

He is still having sleepless nights that Jase McDonald was pulled as coach of the Eels as he was a full time RDO for the Union.

He wanted to know how Ben Herring can coach the Ponies when he is in Cory Brown’s set-up at Otago.

Good question, so I’ve followed up.

Ben is set to be announced as the Otago assistant coach as big Cumby (Steve Cumberland) has accepted a position in Japan on the big “yen”.

Perhaps we should have called in Abramovich!

Anyway that’s why Ben Herring is stepping up.

But as I see it, Ben was already signed to the Ponies late last year, so in fairness, you can’t change the status quo now.

But it will be interesting to see what happens with Ben next year. Watch this space.

The Highlanders

The Highlanders have certainly started the comp like the playing through champs.

After a blip in week one and a sphincter-grabber in week two, they are certainly looking the business and with few injuries, especially in the forwards, competition for spots is intense.

So when players are released to club sides those performances are intensely scrutinised by Jon Preston and his merry men.

Some of the games have even been filmed, as the Varsity v AU game was on Thursday night.

It didn’t work out so well for young “Froody” the hooker straight out of Otago Boys’ for the Ponies, as he had to play prop against Highlander Daniel Lienert-Brown.

As you can imagine, the Ponies scrum needed a reversing camera for most of the night!

But rest assured if you are lucky enough to have Highlanders on loan this year you’ll be getting real value.

Country rugby

So last week Roxburgh beat the defending champs Alex (who lost again by the way!) and then turn around at Easter and get thrashed by newcomer Clyde 94-0.

What is going on??

One of their subs who escaped the big shoot (Paddy Rabbitt) scored five tries.

We need to drug-test everybody in that comp.

The Maggots have retained “The Horse”, so some sanity remains.

South Otago kicks off this week and the big news is Lawrence is back.

Paterson and Martin have scoured the globe with chequebooks nearly as generous as Abramovich’s and have the United Nations fronting with Helen Clark as manager, or so the rumour goes. But don’t worry, Clutha win in a canter.

In North Otago, Old Boys just win – there’s a shock.

My spies tell me Kurow are the only threat and if it gets really cold, they may win.

I hear Rob Verbakel (ex Otago lock) is even turning out.

Perhaps they could get “Hotty” the piemaker to make a comeback!!

This weekend

Destroyed Taity from the Onion last week and on to Lee Piper, the deposed chairman at the Sharks, this week.

He is a tired radio jock and his specialty is netball commentary, so really, Sharks, is he the best you’ve got?

The Hawks (13+) should be too strong for Pirates at the Lobster Tank. Varsity (13+) too big all over the park for the Eels at the Oval.

The Sharks (12-) don the aqualungs and head to the high Veldt and just get it done over Kaik but I smell an upset.

The Magpies (13+) crush Zingers at Boot Hill.

The Ponies (13+) over the Spannerheads at the Toolbox, only because all my picks are the same as Pipers!!!

• P. S. Don’t forget to get your entries into the Speights/ODT picking comp today. Just go to odt.co.nz/clubrugbypicks right now!! The form XV will be up and running next week and, hopefully, ODT Rugby Chat will rear it’s ugly head next week from my new bar no less. It will be a must-watch.

Credit – Paul Dwyer 

Full Otago Daily Times Article