Bond is Norths’ se­cret weapon

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Ross Bond rubs his hands when he talks about the tal­ent at his dis­posal in his new role as North­ern United premier coach.

In charge of Poneke from 1998 to 2004, he won the Ju­bilee Cup in 2003 as his teams made five fi­nals dur­ing his ten­ure. He was on the wrong end of the 20-18 score­line in 2004, as Poneke fell to Norths, when the Porirua out­fit won its first ti­tle and went on to cast a large shadow over the club rugby scene.

‘‘ The two clubs have had a rea­son­ably good re­la­tion­ship, they’re quite tight, so it wasn’t a huge stretch for me to put my hand up for this [Norths coach].

‘‘When I was at [ITM Cup side] Horowhenua-kapiti I used a lot of the Norths play­ers, guys like Rob Aloe and Anare Ko­li­avu, so it’s al­ways been some­where I’ve had a con­nec­tion to.’’

Bond was at Horowhen­u­aKapiti for two stints, be­tween 2005 and 2009, and has been in­volved with the Welling­ton un­der-20s for the past two years. He could also be heard on the Satur­day af­ter­noon rugby show on New­stalk ZB and re­cently took up a job as gen­eral man­ager of Shan­don Golf Club.

The af­fa­ble and can­did coach said he had ap­plied for other jobs higher than the club rugby level but was told he needed more ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt.

‘‘I feel com­fort­able here al­ready, Porirua Park is a great fa­cil­ity and I like the fam­ily, com­mu­nity feel. I love the way Norths play rugby – in my time at Poneke I was en­vi­ous of the tal­ent pro­duced here and I re­ally want to con­trib­ute.’’

He is meet­ing play­ers this month, with pre-sea­son un­der way in Jan­uary. Bond knows of ru­mours swirling about who Frank Rees has taken to Pe­tone and who is stay­ing but in­sists the tal­ent pool and depth that ex­ists can cater for what­ever per­son­nel losses they may in­cur.

The club con­sis­tently loses play­ers at the rep­re­sen­ta­tive stage of the sea­son any­way, so a good coach must know how to man­age that, he said.

Mak­ing whole­sale changes and a ‘my way or the high­way’ phi­los- ophy is not his style and he is con­tent to bed in slowly, us­ing a full pre-sea­son cam­paign – at least four games are planned – to put struc­tures in place and al­low ‘‘the cream to come to the top’’.

He has no in­ten­tion of sup­press­ing the nat­u­ral flair and run­ning, open style that has made Norths the most feared premier side in the re­gion.

A closer re­la­tion­ship with the first team coach, bet­ter con­tact with the Porirua basin’s col­leges and util­is­ing the likes of Lions star Ala­p­ati Leiua are among his pri­or­i­ties.

‘‘I’m not a closed book coach and nor do I want the top team to be a closed shop. I’ll be work­ing with the other coaches while I hope guys like Ala­p­ati, who you won’t see for much of the sea­son, are in­volved as well.’’

Want­ing to stay out of the pol­i­tics that ex­ists at ev­ery rugby club, Bond is more than aware of the ex­pec­ta­tion Norths have among its faith­ful. Vic­to­ries are due from the first match on April 7.

‘‘I haven’t come here to come sec­ond.’’

New colours: He might be new to the blue of North­ern United but Ross Bond’s ex­pe­ri­ence around the traps should win over his new charges soon enough.

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