Home sweet home for Marlins
The Titahi Bay Marlins have led a nomadic existence, but finally have a home.
The rugby league club has a single senior men’s team, which competes in Wellington’s senior 1 competition. Last year it lost in the semi-finals.
For much of the club’s 30-year existence the Marlins were based at Cannons Creek Park, sharing the ground with St George.
A desire to call a patch of grass their ‘‘home’’ over the years has led to the team playing at Rangituhi Park, Elsdon Park and, last season, on Titahi Bay Intermediate’s field.
This year, things have changed and the club is approaching the new season with confidence.
Marlins captain Jeff Risati said getting the support of Wellington Rugby League and Porirua City Council to play home matches on Onepoto Park was a turning point.
‘‘We’re overwhelmed to get the confirmation [two weeks ago] that Onepoto is our home. It’s massive,’’ Risati said.
He is not sure what configuration their pitch will take. Rugby and football is also played on Onepoto Park during winter.
The Marlins have one senior team this year and about 23 players to call on. The average age, in the mid-20s, boded well, manager Mike Hall said.
There were plans to get a second senior team and the club would field an under-6s team this coming season, he said.
‘‘Our big focus has been to be based in the Bay, get that local support and get a junior programme going.
‘‘We want somewhere for the kids in Titahi Bay to play their rugby league.’’
For their 30th year, the Marlins are going retro, with new strips made to show off colours from many years ago.
‘‘We’re honouring what’s come before us,’’ Risati said. ‘‘Our hope is that, during the season, some of the old players will come out and talk to us.’’
Marlins pre- season matches include fixtures against Harbour City and Manawatu champs Whiti Te Ra, and the Wainui 9s.
Risati said the goal was to earn promotion to premier reserve.
Mana Community Grants Foundation, Big Barrel and Superloans were crucial sponsors for the Marlins, Hall said.
Home at last: From left, Titahi Bay Marlins skipper Jeff Risati, son and likely under Marlin 6s player Lockyer Brown-Risati, Marlins’ manager Mike Hall and loose forward Namu Kara at their new home, Onepoto Park.