League chal­lenge ahead for col­lege

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

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.’’

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