League challenge ahead for college
Western Springs College stepped on to the field for their opening match of the 2015 SAS College Rugby League competition on Wednesday night.
They romped to a 40-0 win over Massey High School and coach Peter McIntyre is confident his team has plenty of exciting league to offer this season.
‘‘If we’re at our best, we can beat the best.
‘‘We proved it last year and we should be able to knock off a few more,’’ he says.
Last year the team had a very up-and-down season.
Injuries saw key players watching from the sidelines and cracks in discipline made for some missed opportunities, but overall there were some impressive highlights.
Western Springs managed to defeat all of the big teams including NZRL National Secondary Schools champions Kelston Boys High School.
‘‘With the competition, everyone is pretty much a threat,’’ McIntyre says.
‘‘Everyone will be very big, very fit and very fast.
‘‘We have to make sure that we keep it consistent and that we’re disciplined.
‘‘There were a few games last year we could have won if we had just sorted ourselves out.’’
Now with a long season ahead of them, captain Conrad Collins says the team is determined to make every game count.
‘‘Peter has taught us not to rely on our achievements from last year, but start fresh and go hard this year.’’
Western Springs College has not traditionally been known for rugby league – three years ago they didn’t even have a team in the in the competition.
But with McIntyre and assistant coach Dion Griffiths at the helm that changed.
‘‘We’ve tried to keep boys here who have left to play league for bigger schools like MAGS or St Paul’s that have gone on to play in the NRL,’’ Griffiths says.
‘‘We’re trying to change the culture.’’
With half of 2014’s players having left school, Griffiths says rebuilding the team will be challenging.
‘‘We’re a family. We eat together, we train hard together. Ninety-nine per cent of our days are spent with these boys keeping them on the right path.’’
Developing the depth that some of the bigger schools have, is a key step in solidifying a strong presence in the college rugby league scene.
‘‘Our main concerns are the tiers under our top tier,’’ McIntyre says. ‘‘We like to test ourselves and we like to test the boys . . . it’s all about setting up a pathway, something for the boys to follow.’’