The drought is over for Marist
‘‘Don’t underestimate the power of the supporters.’’
It was the message Marist Rugby Club president Bill Dowling delivered on Saturday night after the club claimed its first Galbraith Shield Southland club rugby title since 2001 - just the sixth in the club’s history.
In front of hundreds of vocal Marist supporters, they toppled Star 26-15 at Rugby Park to claim the prized shield.
The celebration party started as soon as referee Kirk Rae blew the fulltime whistle and, as of yesterday evening, it was still going at the Miller St clubrooms as they reflected on ending a 16-year drought without the Galbraith Shield.
‘‘The backing we’ve got from everyone has been amazing; it’s not just about the players,’’ Dowling said.
‘‘All the hard work that everyone has put in behind the scenes, that is what it is all about.
‘‘Like I said, don’t underestimate the power of the support we’ve got.’’
Captain Scott Eade echoed those thoughts.
He said Saturday’s win was for the club’s passionate supporters.
‘‘It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? It was quite emotional at the end, just seeing our supporters and our manage- ment,’’ Eade said. The long wait that they’ve had for this to come to fruition is for them, words can’t really describe it.’’
So can Marist now go back-to-back for the first time in the club’s history come 2018?
‘‘We are keeping our feet on the ground. We’ll have to do a bit of rebuilding,’’ Dowling said.
‘‘But [coach] Marty Smith has signed on for another year, which is great. The effort he puts in is absolutely amazing.’’
Marist captain Scott Eade holds the Galbraith Shield aloft after they beat Star 26-15 in the 2017 Southland premier club rugby final on Saturday.