Vik­ings look­ing good

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

There is a buzz around Porirua Vik­ings’ se­nior train­ing as the new rugby league sea­son draws near.

Play­ers don’t need to be re­minded that the highly-fan­cied club has not won a ti­tle since 2010, coach Peter Rikiriki says.

‘‘They’ve been work­ing hard, we’ve had a few play­ing flag foot­ball [ over sum­mer], but the num­bers at train­ing have been bet­ter than they were this time last year.

‘‘You can see the work’s been put in, some of our big boys have dropped a few ki­los. Los­ing to Wainui in the semi­fi­nal [ last sea­son] hurt, es­pe­cially af­ter we beat them all year, so we’re not lack­ing mo­ti­va­tion.’’

Rikiriki did not let his charges touch a ball for the open weeks of train­ing, ‘‘ just run­ning and cir­cuits’’ were the or­der of the day. Get­ting sys­tems, team­work and the fit­ness up is cru­cial at this point, he says.

They put their pre-sea­son work into prac­tice in front of a good crowd at Creek­fest on March 9, wal­lop­ing their St Ge­orge Dragons coun­ter­parts 66-18 on a hard and dusty Can­nons Creek Park.

Porirua will play to their strengths this sea­son, Rikiriki says, util­is­ing pacy backs and a mas­sive for­ward pack. De­fence has be­come para­mount.

‘‘Our tack­ling around the edges [of rucks] was not good last year, other teams tar­geted our fringes and we are work­ing to fix that. We have the wood on most packs so we’ll play to that strength – this club has some great for­wards and there are play­ers coming through, cre­at­ing com­pe­ti­tion too.’’

Rikiriki in­tends to un­leash some teenagers, in­clud­ing one young player from the SG Ball com­pe­ti­tion who will play in the sec­ond row or cen­tres. Along with youth, the core of the Vik­ings premiers will be fronting up once again, in­clud­ing Jon Masaga, Rocky Ma­soe, Greig Dean and Va’a Kiri­some.

The at­tack will again hinge around stand­off An­ton Wereta.

Rikiriki says the club has en­dured some frus­tra­tions in the off­sea­son, with NRL clubs en­tic­ing a hand­ful of promis­ing young­sters across the ditch. But that is par­tand-par­cel of pre­mier club rugby league and Rikiriki does not dwell on the losses, rather he is thank­ful for the tal­ent he has.

‘‘We lost two guys, to Mel­bourne and the Bulldogs, and it is a dou­ble-edged sword. We are de­vel­op­ing them, we want them to be turn­ing out for the Vik­ings, but we cer­tainly don’t want to stand in their way when th­ese chances come up.’’

The new sea­son kicks off with a dou­ble-header at Porirua Park on March 28. In the 6.30pm game the Dragons take on Pe­tone. The Vik­ings face Univer­sity at 8pm.

Revving up: Porirua Vik­ings’ AJ Akavi fends off a Rand­wick de­fender last sea­son. The Porirua side had no trou­ble scor­ing tries – it was on de­fence they were found want­ing in 2012.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.