Mar­lins eye­ing big sea­son

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

The Ti­tahi Bay Mar­lins are be­gin­ning to make their pres­ence felt.

The rugby league club’s se­nior men’s side are pumped about their pro­mo­tion to the Welling­ton club re­serve grade.

There they will be fac­ing off against the sec­ond teams from the likes of Rand­wick, Uni­ver­sity and Porirua Vik­ings.

The Mar­lins would hit the sea­son run­ning, coach Riki Ru­pa­pere said.

‘‘We’ve been train­ing since just af­ter Christ­mas,’’ he said. ‘‘What we lack in size we’ll make up for in fit­ness and mo­bil­ity. We’re not go­ing to roll over – there’s some class in this team.’’

Ru­pa­pere said the team’s av­er­age age was about 22, which boded well for the fu­ture; but there was a group of old heads to pro­vide ex­pe­ri­ence too.

Though the club has been around for more than 30 years, it’s only since a hand­ful of league lovers in Ti­tahi Bay, no­tably Mar­lins chair­man Jeff Risati, took con­trol that the club has been on the up.

For much of its ex­is­tence, the Mar­lins shared Can­nons Creek Park with St Ge­orge Dragons, be­fore be­gin­ning a no­madic trek around grounds in Els­don and Ti­tahi Bay. Onepoto Park be­came its per­ma­nent home last year.

Club manager Mike Hall won ad­min­is­tra­tor of the year at the Welling­ton Rugby League awards last year and his ster­ling work had helped the club de­velop, Risati said.

There is a women’s team this sea­son for the first time and the two ju­nior teams in the un­der-6 and un­der-8 grades in 2014 had now be­come four.

Hall said the sup­port of Mana Com­mu­nity Grants, Su­per­loans and BLK Sport was cru­cial in en­sur­ing play­ers had the right kit to rep­re­sent their club.

Se­nior men’s sides from the Mar­lins, Porirua City Phoenix, Dragons and Vik­ings will play in a nines tour­na­ment at Can­nons Creek Park on March 13 and 14.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

League time: Key Ti­tahi Bay Mar­lins per­son­nel gear­ing up for the sea­son. Back row, from left, Rawiri Holmes, Jeff Risati, Mike Hall, Riki Ru­pa­pere and Sa­muel Ike­na­sio and front row, Tawny Burgess, Lock­yer Risati and Sherri Burgess.

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