Win boosts col­lege’s rep­u­ta­tion

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PJ TAY­LOR

Rugby league and sport in gen­eral is on a pos­i­tive high at Paku­ranga Col­lege fol­low­ing their Se­nior A grade side’s 18-8 win over James Cook High School in the Auck­land Rugby League (ARL) Col­lege sea­son grand fi­nal last Wed­nes­day.

The team’s coach and man­ager Ni­cole Jensen, a sports co­or­di­na­tor at the col­lege who won the grade’s ARL coach of the year award last week in her de­but sea­son as a league coach, says she’s ‘‘ex­tremely proud the boys were able to take out the grand fi­nal’’.

‘‘They worked re­ally hard to get there. Any­thing past the first round of semi-fi­nals was a bonus for us. To win in the style we did was ab­so­lutely awe­some.

‘‘It’s been re­ally ex­cit­ing for Paku­ranga Col­lege. We have a num­ber of tal­ented ath­letes at this school and rugby league is an­other sport we ex­cel at.’’

Jensen, 23, says the vic­tory suc­cess has re­ceived a lot of sup­port from staff, stu­dents and par­ents, and has raised the pro­file of Paku­ranga Col­lege sport in the wider East Auck­land com­mu­nity.

‘‘We couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter fi­nal. Both teams showed great skill and it was a great game of rugby league. It had bit of ev­ery­thing. I was re­ally ner­vous for the team, es­pe­cially when we were up in the first 10 min­utes and then went into half­time even af­ter two quick tries from James Cook High,’’ Jensen says, of the grand fi­nal played at Mt Smart Sta­dium No 2.

‘‘We had been in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions through­out the year, so I had com­plete faith that we could take out the win in the last 25 min­utes, and the boys de­liv­ered.

‘‘It was a great feel­ing in the last two min­utes to know we had won. See­ing the ex­cite­ment and joy of the boys af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle was def­i­nitely a high­light.’’

Paku­ranga Col­lege Se­nior A grade rugby league team, Auck­land col­lege cham­pi­ons:

Ken­shin Tsut­sui (cap­tain, co­coach), An­drew Mana (cap­tain, co-coach), Caleb Ika, Praises Lau­fiso, Bren­dan Sofeni, Finau Holani, Te­vita Lavakeiaho, Ty­rone Le­manu, Sam Lynch, Te­ich Manuel, Jarvis Kahi, Bos­ton Wai­hape, Ja­cob Tuisalega, Mark Tuisalega, Melvin Tu­u­laupua, Josiah Kara­pani, Stan­ley Farani, Kanyon Taoa, Tupe Taefu, Ja­cob Hol­lobon, Braithan An­der­son, Calais Murray. Co-coach-man­ager Ni­cole Jensen.

Ac­tion pho­tos, page 28

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