Focus on the Land
Victory has Gis-Tairawhiti hungry for more
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Shaan Te Kani
RUGBY LEAGUE - GISBORNE Tairawhiti’s appetite for more rugby league at a representative level was whetted by a 34-28 win against Coastline at Barry Park on Saturday.
While it was the home side’s only game for the season, they showed plenty of enthusiasm and a good mix of talent, including captain and league stalwart Chris Brown, who scored two tries and set up two from the second row.
Fellow second rower Turupa Green also delivered a solid performance, making strong hit-ups during times when the local side were struggling to move forward.
Props Esse Oti and Seymour Lambert were formidable in breaking the line and acting as human walls on defence.
Trailing 12-16 at halftime, Gisborne-Tairawhiti came out with a strong defensive effort in the second half, holding Coastline out for four sets of six on their own goal-line.
Capitalising on Coastline errors and a bit of individual brilliance from Brown helped put the home side in front.
“The boys were rapt with their performance and you could see there was potential to do even better — we just wish they could get more games,” said assistant coach Tim Walker.
Walker said Gisborne-Tairawhiti could not draw interest from other provinces.
“It is a shame, especially with a strong line-up of talented players and the experience of coach Herewini Rangi — a former Warrior and New Zealand Maori rep,” he said.
“With a bit more time Herewini could have developed the team even more. The problem is that New Zealand Rugby League only have zoned competitions, which for Gisborne is the upper central zone.
“The team for this zone consists of Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Coastline and Gisborne districts. All of the training is either in Rotorua or Hamilton, which makes it a logistical nightmare for us to get anyone in the team.
“So we have to try and find rep games for the boys to play on our own.
“We are working with the chief executive of the upper central zone to organise a better rep programme for next year, which we hope will include teams from our zone.
“I definitely think our boys would have developed a lot more with a few more games. But it was a highlight just to get the boys a home game.”
Walker was grateful to Coastline for making the effort to come to Gisborne and the idea of having an annual shield match is in the pipeline.
Coastline manager Stan Nicholas said it was a deserved win for Gisborne-Tairawhiti and he hoped the relationship between the two areas would continue to grow.
“We hope this game helped provide a little representative status rugby league to your players as it certainly did for our players,” he said.
Later bro: Gisborne-Tairawhiti player Hayden Stuart leaves a Coastlines player grasping thin air in a representative rugby league match at Barry Park on Saturday. The home side won 34-28. Picture by Paul Rickard
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