Hard yards ahead
While the rest of us have been enjoying the summer weather, Northern United’s senior rugby players have been sweating it out as the new club season approaches.
Norths have their third coach in three years with Thomas Perenara now at the helm. He has an experienced coaching team that includes Steven Bachop and Richard Higgins, and is confident his side will hit the ground running come the first Swindale Shield match on April 1.
But the number of players turning up for pre-season training is not as high as Perenara would like.
‘‘We’ve got plenty of guys who are just finishing up flag and touch football, and some of them now have national and international obligations in those sports. We’re not going to get in the way of that but it does make it harder to get prepared for the new season in a few weeks; there’s had to be a lot of adjustment,’’ he said.
The core of the group that reached the Jubilee Cup semifinal last year are back for another tilt at Wellington club rugby’s silverware.
Perenara said Henry Smith, Dean Brunsdon and Tomasi Palu are among the senior leaders but a number of young players will also get their opportunity.
‘‘The Porirua basin is full of natural talent and there are some great kids coming out of the colleges. But talent only takes you so far and it’s important we’re all on the same page in terms of what we want to achieve.’’
Although Perenara’s son TJ and Hurricanes’ squad members Faifili Levave and Eric Sione are unlikely to feature, they will turn up to training and games where possible to support their club.
Winning the Swindale or playing open, running rugby on rock-hard turf is not on the new coach’s radar yet.
‘‘We’re all feeling our way a bit here. We’re developing good processes, working the players pretty hard and each one knows what is expected of them. We’ll create game plans for each opponent we face. It’s an exciting time for all of us at Norths.’’
Norths leader: Flanker Dean Brunsdon, battling through the Tawa defence last season, will lead from the front for Northern United in 2013.