Mar­lins want premier spot

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

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.

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Ti­tahi Bay Mar­lins half­back Nooroa Hosk­ing kicks dur­ing his side’s 32-30 win over Univer­sity Hun­ters.

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