‘No ego, I just want to get on with it’

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

One of Porirua Vik­ings’ favourite sons has taken over the ship’s helm.

Antz Akavi, who has held al­most ev­ery coach­ing po­si­tion at the As­cot Park-based rugby league club, has signed on as the 2017 premier coach.

He will forgo his du­ties as Welling­ton’s top rugby league ref­eree to help re­store the Vik­ings’ pride, on and off the field.

It fol­lows the un­suc­cess­ful stew­ard­ships of Peter Rikiriki and Matt Kil­gour, with the premier side not com­ing close to mak­ing a run at a se­nior ti­tle since los­ing the 2011 grand fi­nal.

This win­ter, the team fin­ished sev­enth and Kil­gour left the club.

Off-field drama, such as a fraud com­plaint made to the po­lice over miss­ing cash from the Vik­ings’ bank ac­count, has not over­shad­owed poor re­sults on the pitch.

Se­nior play­ers left the Vik­ings fold and ru­mours per­sisted of other first-team play­ers not hav­ing the right at­ti­tude to dig in and fight for pre­cious vic­to­ries.

Akavi said it’s time his club - once ably ad­min­is­tered by the late Bernie Wood and coached by the likes of David Lo­max and Julius Kuresa to three suc­ces­sive ti­tles - got back to ba­sics.

He said he didn’t in­ter­view for the po­si­tion but was only too happy to step in.

‘‘I went to the first train­ing the other week and [chair­man] Da­mon [Ron­go­taua] in­tro­duced me as the new coach,’’ Akavi said.

‘‘There were some smiles from the boys and I said ‘you know who I am and what I ex­pect’.

‘‘There’s no ego - I just want to get on with it.’’

Akavi faces an up­hill bat­tle to get the Vik­ings back to the top ta­ble, at least in 2017.

Welling­ton Rugby League has de­cided to split the com­pe­ti­tion into two tiers, with the likes of Rand­wick, Whiti Te Ra and Te Aroha in the top grade and the Vik­ings, St Ge­orge, Ti­tahi Bay Mar­lins, Porirua Phoenix, Up­per Hutt and Tren­tham in the group be­low.

‘‘I’m spew­ing about what can you do?

‘‘All I can do is pre­pare us well, win the pro­mo­tion-rel­e­ga­tion play­off and get back into that top tier.’’

He has re­ceived a lot of sup­port it, but on so­cial me­dia since his role was an­nounced, and he was con­fi­dent of get­ting play­ers like Jay Bol­stad, Lolo Eti­mani and Rocky Ma­soe to turn out again.

‘‘There’s ta­lent in Porirua in the game I love and I want to build on that.

‘‘I’m do­ing this for the right rea­sons and want the play­ers to play for the em­blem on that jersey that I’m so proud of.’’

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO/FAIR­FAX NZ

New Porirua Vik­ings premier coach, Antz Akavi, is hop­ing to take the team to great heights in the next year’s rugby league season.

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