Marlins want premier spot
Titahi Bay Marlins are making all the right moves to become the first club to have a team promoted into Wellington rugby league’s premier grade in 15 years.
The premier reserve grade ladder makes happy reading for the Marlins club. In just their second year at this level, the team, based at Onepoto Park, have played 13, won 13.
They have scored the most points ( 514) and conceded the least (184) and are six points clear of rivals the Trentham Titans.
The Marlins, who have been around for more than 20 years in the lower grades, were a one-team club based at Cannons Creek until the 2013 season.
Since then, playing in Titahi Bay, the club has blossomed with a surge in playing numbers and a solid management structure.
‘‘It comes down to training and commitment. There’s a real brotherhood at the Marlins,’’ club manager Mike Hall said.
‘‘On the field, the results are coming for the men, because they train like premiers, and our available numbers for that team are about 26. Three junior teams and a women’s team – the only one in Porirua – shows we are growing well.
‘‘Off the field, we’re in a solid financial state, with brilliant sponsors.’’
Playing in the premier grade in 2016 was a realistic goal for the Marlins, Hall said, and the club has officially submitted a request to Wellington Rugby League.
‘‘ We’re pushing for this and hope to be given a good hearing. It’s exciting times.’’
Wellington Rugby League general manager Jason Hemson confirmed the Marlins’ approach.
It is timely because a review of the Wellington senior competition is being carried out, he said.
There has not been a team promoted to premier level since Te Aroha in 2000.
‘‘It’s feasible they [Marlins] can be involved in the premier grade,’’ Hemson said. ‘‘They are doing the right things on the field, but the most important thing is that they have the right people managing things off the park.
‘‘You look at where they came from about three years ago to where they are now with sponsors, good kit and a number of teams representing them across the region.’’
Hemson said a second men’s team would be needed at premier reserve or senior 1 level, something Hall said would not be an issue.
Marlins skipper Jeff Risati said coach Riki Rupapere should be given credit for training the team’s socks off.
The fitness levels are extremely high, with props playing 80 minutes.
Risati said it was hard to single out players, but the spine of the team of hooker Aaron Arthur, halves Noora Hosking and Marcus Moate, and fullback Rawiri Holmes had been outstanding.
Hall said floodlights could be installed at Onepoto Park next summer, after healthy discussions with Porirua City Council.
Titahi Bay Marlins halfback Nooroa Hosking kicks during his side’s 32-30 win over University Hunters.