Blen­heim could get taste of footy fi­nals

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

In the past five years, Can­ter­bury have been the only other team to make it to the semi-fi­nals each year.

Lewis said the con­tin­ued suc­cess of the prov­ince had been a ‘‘mar­vel­lous achieve­ment’’.

‘‘Most teams that have come up from the cham­pi­onship get rel­e­gated the next year, which hap­pened with Manawatu¯ [in 2015] and Hawke’s Bay [in 2016].’’

Lewis said the suc­cess had been tes­ta­ment to strong lead­er­ship and player de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘We’ve had good lead­er­ship on all fronts, from the board, man­age­ment and staff through to the coaches and play­ers.’’

‘‘In 2015 we con­vinced the Cru­saders to open up an academy here ... since then I think the re­cruit­ment and player de­vel­op­ment has been un­sur­passed in New Zealand.

‘‘Just look­ing at the match played on Thurs­day, dur­ing the last 20 min­utes, we had 11 lo­cal club play­ers play­ing out on the field.’’

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