De­lighted to be back near home turf

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

The club cap­tain of Ti­tahi Bay’s only se­nior rugby league side is hop­ing to at­tract sup­port from the side­lines at a ground that has not seen se­nior play for ‘‘decades’’.

The Mar­lins, who made it to the semi-fi­nals in Se­nior 1 last year, were to play their first pre-sea­son match on Satur­day against St Ge­orge’s premier grade side at Ran­gi­tuhi Park in Taka­puwahia, but it was called off due to the storm. They will hope for bet­ter weather against the Tren­tham Ti­tans on March 10 and the Kapiti Bears on March 17.

Ran­gi­tuhi Park does not have chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties or toi­lets and is not likely to be used for se­nior games dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son.

But Mar­lins’ skip­per Jeff Risati says they would love to play more matches there as Ran­gi­tuhi is the clos­est park to the part of Porirua the club rep­re­sents.

He and friends can re­call se­nior club matches on the sub­ur­ban park ‘‘ back in the 1980s’’, but there has not been any sport, aside from ju­nior footy, played there in many years.

‘‘Kura St is too small and we’ve been told that Onepoto [Park] is for soft­ball and touch in sum­mer, rugby and soc­cer in win­ter.

‘‘I’d love to have more home games in or close to Ti­tahi Bay, it just seems fair.’’

The Mar­lins’ of­fi­cial home ground is ac­tu­ally Can­nons Creek Park, which is a source of con­ster­na­tion among the play­ers, Risati says.

Af­ter a cou­ple of lean years, the Mar­lins are hop­ing to im­prove on their semi­fi­nal loss to the Ti­tans last sea­son. They had a year to re­mem­ber, knock­ing out the Porirua Vik­ings in the play­offs.

‘‘We have fresh, new tal­ent in the side. There is bat­tling for some po­si­tions, which is good.

‘‘Most of us are Bay boys and want to be play­ing for the lo­cal team, rather than other Porirua sides. I hope that, with some games at Ran­gi­tuhi, we might gen­er­ate some lo­cal in­ter­est – this is a team that the west side of Porirua can sup­port.’’

Spon­sors have come on board too, with Low Cost Bins, Thirsty Liquor and Dy­namic Sports back­ing the Mar­lins in 2012.

Each of the pre-sea­son games at Ran­gi­tuhui kicks off at 1pm. The reg­u­lar sea­son gets un­der way for all se­nior grades on March 31.

Mar­lins’ mile­stone: Ti­tahi Bay Mar­lins’ club cap­tain Jeff Risati says they are ‘‘very proud’’ to be bring­ing rugby league back to Porirua’s west, with a se­ries of pre-sea­son

games at Ran­gi­tuhi Park.

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