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Taranaki Grand Final Countdown

It's the first big one of the year in New Zealand, and is coming to you all the way from the Ngamotu Domain, home of the Western Suburbs club for the 2003 Taranaki Grand Final, Saturday 12 July kick off 2.
Taranaki Grand Final Countdown
by NRL

It's the first big one of the year in New Zealand, and is coming to you all the way from the Ngamotu Domain, home of the Western Suburbs club for the 2003 Taranaki Grand Final, Saturday 12 July kick off 2.30 pm.

The Dragons from Bell Block Marist, will be taking on the Mighty Waitara Bears who have arguably the best rugby league record of any rugby league club in the country.

The following information gives a run down on both clubs seasons to date, and also some views on what the scores may be. More importantly is some interesting facts on how both clubs began and what they have achieved over the years.

Good luck both of you. The clubs phone numbers are mentioned, so you can all give them a ring tomorrow about 4.30 and join in on the occasion.

Message for the website from Hon Harry Duynhoven MP for New Plymouth

st wishes to Bell Block Marist and Waitara Rugby League Clubs for the Grand final to be played at Ngamotu Domain on Saturday 12 July 2003.

Harry Duynhoven - MP for New Plymouth)

HISTORY OF BELL BLOCK MARIST DRAGONS
Clubrooms - 755-0684
The club was started in the 60's, as the Waterside club was too strong in the local competition, so some members decided to start another team. Doug Harwood, Johnny Erawata and Barry Christiansen formed the side, and at a meeting of the players, decided to go with the name Marist, so they could play in the annual National tournament with Christchurch, Greymouth, Wellington, Auckland and Rototua clubs, all called Marist. According to Christiansen it may have seemed a bit devious, but they did have some Catholics in the new club, and if anything, it was an avenue for more members should they come to New Plymouth. Although the new club weakened the Waterside club, in a round about way, it strengthened Waitara as well, says Christiansen a club and NZ Marist Life member.

So they started out, chose the Dragon as their club mascot, and the green and gold as their colours and moved to Hickford Park at Bell Block which did'nt go down to well with the local rugby club who showed the expected 'anti' when it came to sharing the facilties.. But according to another club life member, and former club administrator Micky Mason, they get on well now.

The club's only Kiwi was Willie Southorn, and some believe that Paul Christiansen who played to Central Districts level, should also have been a Kiwi in the 70's.

With a town population of 5000, Marist have their own identity and a good relationship in the town

Marist's first ever premiership came in 1999, and they had to pick up three straight
victories in the play offs to achieve that result. Of more consequence was that current skipper, Aaron Warner, was the sides player coach in that particular year.

League is struggling in the area at the moment, although they can still field one senior team and 7 junior sides as well.

Current coach Kevin Gupwell is doing well, and is a fitness fanatic. He has coached
from Juniors right through to the premiers, and himself played into his 40's.

BELL BLOCK MARIST

1975 Had a very young side

1977 During 1977 Marist player Willie Southorn became the first rugby league player in New Zealand to play 100 matches for his province. Had two players in the Taranaki representative side – Willie Southorn and Paul Christensen.

1986 Marist beat Western Suburbs 14-12 in the semi final to take themselves through to the grand final for the first time in about 13 years.

1999 Marist's first ever premiership. They had three straight victories in the play-offs. Player/Coach Aaron Warner had only taken over the coaching role at the start of the season.

NOTABLE DRAGONS
Other Taranaki Kiwi's are Willie Southern 1969.Waterside and Marist. Paul Christiansen

SEASONS RESULTS

MARIST STATISTICS

Stats
Games Played 11
Games Won 8
Games Drawn 0
Games Lost 3
Win % - 72.7%
Points For 476
- Pts/game 43.3
Points Against 262
- Pts/game 23.8
Premiership Points 16
Points Differential 214

Home Games 6
- Home Wins 6
- Home Draws 0
- Home Losses 0
Away Games 5
- Away Wins 2
- Away Draws 0
- Away Losses 3

GAME INFORMATION
Round - Opponent - Score - Result
Round 1 Midhurst
62-14 W

Round 2 Western Suburbs
46-32 W

Round 3
Coastal
30-52 L

Round 4
Ngati Ruanui
68-0 W

Round 5
KeyWest
28-46 L

Round 6
Levin Knights
52-16 W

Round 7
Whiti-Te Ra
28-18 W

Round 8
Waitara
40-18 W

Round 9
Kia Ora
72-18 W

Round 10
Linton
20-26 L

Round 11
Castlecliffe
30-22 W


PRICE CUP AND LISLE SHIELD (The first 5 rounds doubled up as Western Alliance games)

Stats
Games Played 9
Games Won 7
Games Drawn 0
Games Lost 2
Win % - 77.8%
Points For 401
- Pts/game 44.6
Points Against 192
- Pts/game 21.3
Premiership Points 14
Points Differential 209

Home Games 7
- Home Wins 5
- Home Draws 0
- Home Losses 2
Away Games 2
- Away Wins 2
- Away Draws 0
- Away Losses 0

Round - Opponent - Score - Result
First Rounds
Ngati Ruanui
68-0 W

First Rounds
Coastal
30-52 L

First Rounds
Western Suburbs
46-32 W

First Rounds
Waitara
40-18 W

First Rounds
Midhurst
62-14 W

Round 4
Waitara
26-28 L
Date: Sat May 24 .
Venue: Hickford Park

Round 6
Western Suburbs
42-16 W

Round 7
Ngati Ruanui
52-4 W

Round 8
Coastal
35-28 W

HISTORY OF WAITARA BEARS
Clubrooms - 06 754-7538
The Waitara story includes a period of time in the 60's where the powerful side was built around workers from the local freezing works. Grand Finals were begun in the '70s where before then it was the top team was awarded the championship.
Teri Tamati and Ray Kearns took the Bears through those early 70's period

Go the Bears. Thanks for your email. Hope the bears can turn on the Waitara style and cause an upset over the Marist boys. Just remember all before you! I wish you guys the best.

Kia Kaha
Kempy - Tony Kemp
1975 - Won Champion of Champions trophy. Provided most of the players in the Taranaki team. Graeme Waite's six tries during the season made him the top try-scorer for Taranaki

1976 - Won the Lile Shield, Price Cup and the Champion of Champions trophy. Ten members of the Premier side played for Taranaki and players Benny Greenlees and Michael Isaacs played for the North Island.

1977 - Won the Lile Shield, Price Cup and championship title. Ten members of the Premier side played for the Taranaki representative team. Went through the season unbeaten.

1983 - The biggest crowd to ever turn out to watch a club match was at the grand final between Waitara and Western Suburbs of 3,500. The Waitara side included Taranaki representatives: Willie Tangira, Bill Rona, Toi Simeon, Alan Jackson (current coach of the Taranaki Wildcats Bartercard Cup team), Peter White and Kiwi Howie Tamati.

1984 - Crowd of an estimated 4,000 at the Grand Final between Waitara and Western Suburbs.

1985 - Won the Lisle Shield, Newton King Trophy and grand final titles. During the 1985 season, Waitara often scored past the half-century mark and once posted 100 points for the first time in more than 10 years in Taranaki premier grade rugby league. Current Warrior Assistant Coach, Tony Kemp, from Waitara is part of the 1985 Junior Kiwi's.

1986 - Waitara won all the championship titles – Premier grade, Reserve grade, Under 17's and Under 15's. Kent Martin (who is currently captain of the Taranaki Wildcats) was chosen at the age of 15 as one of the Kiwi Schoolboy side and Karu Abraham was chosen in the New Zealand Under-17 tournament team. Waitara had an undefeated run of 42 matches since April 1984 until Western Suburbs beat them 14-12 during the 1986 season.

1987 - Waitara won all the championship titles – Premier grade, Reserve grade, Under 17's and Under 15's.

1988 - Two age-group Kiwi's came out of Waitara in 1988: Kent Martin was in the Under 17's and Boxer Flutey was in the Under 15's. After playing his first season of rugby league after converting from rugby, Gary Kitto became Taranaki's player-of-the-year and made the Kiwi's summer train-on squad.

1993 - Went through the 1993 season unbeaten extending their unbeaten record in club play to two years.

1996 - Waitara's Reece Vesty was named Taranaki Rugby League's Sportsman of the Year and Michael Waiwiri was named TRL's Most Outstanding.

1998 - Up until 1998, for the last 21 years Waitara had won 14 premierships and Western Suburbs 7.

2001 - Player/coach Stacey O'Carroll (now Assistant Coach for the Taranaki Wildcats) played his 18th Taranaki grand final and his first as a coach.


SEASONS RESULTS

WAITARA STATISTICS
Competition: 2003 Western Alliance Rugby League

Stats
Games Played 11
Games Won 6
Games Drawn 1
Games Lost 4
Win % - 54.5%
Points For 340
- Pts/game 30.9
- Tries scored 8
- Goals scored 4
- FGoals Scored 0
Points Against 246
- Pts/game 22.4
- Tries scored 0
- Goals scored 0
- FGoals scored 0
Premiership Points 13
Points Differential 94

Home Games 6
- Home Wins 3
- Home Draws 1
- Home Losses 2
Away Games 5
- Away Wins 3
- Away Draws 0
- Away Losses 2

Round - Opponent - Score - Result
Round 1
Western Suburbs
58-10 W

Round 2
Ngati Ruanui
28-10 W

Round 3
Linton
30-46 L

Round 4
Levin Knights
44-6 W

Round 5
Whiti-Te Ra
16-14 W

Round 6
Castlecliffe
16-20 L

Round 7
Midhurst
34-4 W
Tries: Shane Hoskins 2, Simon Moore, Cody Rona, Chris Shaw, Jamie Hoskins, Peter Masters, Wiremu Parker tries
Goals: Cody Rona 4 gls
Date: Sat Apr 19.

Round 8
Marist
18-40 L

Round 9
Coastal
30-32 L

Round 10
Kia Ora
28-26 W

Round 11
KeyWest
38-38 D

PRICE CUP AND LISLE SHIELD(The first 5 rounds doubled up as Western Alliance games)
Stats
Games Played 9
Games Won 7
Games Drawn 0
Games Lost 2
Win % - 77.8%
Points For 348
- Pts/game 38.7
Points Against 186
- Pts/game 20.7
Premiership Points 14
Points Differential 162

Home Games 2
- Home Wins 2
- Home Draws 0
- Home Losses 0
Away Games 7
- Away Wins 5
- Away Draws 0
- Away Losses 2

Round - Opponent - Score - Result
First Rounds
Midhurst
40-4 W

First Rounds
Western Suburbs
58-10 W

First Rounds
Bell Block Marist
18-40 L

First Rounds
Ngati Ruanui
28-10 W

Round 2
Coastal
30-32 L

Round 4
Bell Block Marist
28-26 W
Date: Sat May 24 . Venue: Hickford Park game click here

Round 5
Coastal
42-28 W

Round 7
Western Suburbs
52-30 W

Round 8
Ngati Ruanui
52-6 W

NOTABLE BEARS
Waitara Kiwis
Fred White 1963,
Howie Tamati 1979 to 85
Tony Kemp 1989 to 95,
David Watson 1989 to 91, 93
At least 15 Junior Kiwis, and 12 NZ Maori representatives.

“Madman” Lewis, an affectionate term for a really good man. It was the
way he played not the way he behaved. He was from a family of really good RL player . His tackling was fearless and respected by all of the league fraternity in Taranaki hence the nickname.

HISTORY OF TARANAKI RUGBY LEAGUE CLUBS
Waterside were a very strong club in the early 50's, the Waitara had a dominant period in the early 60's until Wharfies clawed their way back in the mid 60's before Waitara have become as dominant as they are now.

Western Suburbs
Wests started from an amalgamation of the Ngamotu Power Project club, and the Fitzroy club in 1977. While Fitzroy were strong in the 70's, Norman Chadwick was the first coach of Suburbs, and their greatest arch rivals then were Marist for a number of years, then Hawera who had Graeme West playing for them. Under Chadwick, Suburbs won the last championship under first past the post rules, in 1981. Then won the first grand final in 1982. Jack Knuckey came out of retirement in 1988 and coached the side, before Kiwi hooker Barry Harvey headed south to Wellington, and won the Grand Final of that year. But when the Motunui gas field was closed, Wests nearly lost their whole side due to the closure.

Bruce Gall was at Fitzroy, then went to Inglewood before playing for the Kiwi's.

JACK KNUCKEY
Former Waitara,Western Suburbs, Taranaki and Central Districts halfback, Jack Knuckey gave some interesting insights into local league. He currently works for a radio station, and still has some interest in the local game. “The game has scaled off to what it was a few years ago.”

This 80's was a period of time important to Knuckey who went to Wests in 1981, after being “sacked” by Waitara the previous season 'for losing the championship to Hawera in 1980!' In that game, both Howie Tamati (Waitara) and Graeme West (Hawera) were not available as they were away playing test football. He also played for the successful Central Districts side that beat Auckland four years running in the early 80's, after starting out in premier football as a 14 year old.

“As soon as the district got into Grand Finals, it changed everything locally, and everyone aspired to it.”

Knuckey recalls the fights 'Sporty' Allan Marshall used to have with the late Ossie Butt over Central Districts selection. In the training before they were to face Auckland, Butt turned up with Whetu and Whare Henry, both current Kiwi forwards. But they couldn't train, and when the team was announced live on the radio, both the players weren't named and Butt hit the roof. “We could only name 15 then, and we went on and beat Auckland anyway,” says Jack.

He also said at 34, he was senior for a halfback in the Districts team, and had as is under study, either Gary Campbell (Petone) or Monty Henry (Upper Hutt).
“It seemed in those days, that everyone made the Kiwi's except for me!”

TARANAKI GENERAL
Did you know, that Hawera Primary schools still play annually in a rugby league tournament sponsored by one, Graeme West !

OTHER KIWIS FROM TARANAKI
Grahame West - Hawera - 1975 , 1979 to 1983 and 85.
Bruce Gall - Inglewood - 1980 ,82.
Barry Harvey - Western Suburbs - 1986

GRAND FINAL RESULTS

1975 - Waitara Winner, Marist Runner-up

1976 - Waitara Winner, Marist Runner-up

1977 - Waitara Winner, Marist Runner-up

1979 - Waitara Winner, Hawera Runner-up

1980 - Hawera Winner, (west/Tamati at tests), Waitara runner up

1981 - Western Suburbs Winner

1982 - Western Suburbs 14 Waitara 4

1983 - Waitara 16 Western Suburbs 12

1984 - Waitara 8 Western Suburbs 2

1985 - Waitara 50 Western Suburbs 12

1986 - Waitara 46 Marist 0

1987 - Waitara 26 Western Suburbs 12

1988 - Western Suburbs 9 Waitara 7

1989 - Western Suburbs 14 Waitara 12

1990 - Waitara 24 Western Suburbs 16

1991 - Waitara 12 Western Suburbs 8

1992 - Waitara 42 Western Suburbs 8

1993 - Waitara 68 Coastal 10

1994 - Western Suburbs 22 Waitara 20

1995 - Waitara 16 Western Suburbs 14

1996 - Waitara 29 Western Suburbs 16

1997 - Western Suburbs 30 Waitara 28

1998 - Waitara 43 Midhurst 10

1999 - Marist 28 Waitara 20

2000 - Waitara 24 Marist 12

2001 - Waitara 14 Marist 10

2002 - Waitara 26 Marist 12


THE TIPSTERS

MARIST RUGBY LEAGUE
Micky Mason 10 points to Marist, took direct path to final.

Barry Christiansen “It'll be a good Grand Final, and tight!”

Fabian Niwa Marist: 17 Waitara: 12
Fabian predicts that Waitara will lead 8-0 at half time

Daryl Christensen: Marist 18 Waitara 12

Geoff Tangira: It will depend on the weather, Waitara have good cohesion, but Marist are very strong up front, in fact all round. If Marist stick to their guns, and get a good sniff of a chance, they will take that opportunity. Even though I played for the Bears, I'm leaning towards Marist who have more mobility and also good cohesion. But if the Wildcats players are available like Kent Martin and the Hoskens, that could make a difference. Both teams are good to watch, and it may come down to kicks in the end.

Barry Harvey (ex Western Suburbs) Since 1988 Bell Block had a good crop of young players who stayed together and went though the grades and they could be a good chance. I played in 3 finals against Waitara and they always seemed to be at the top.In fact in one season, I think they had two premier sides in the '90's.My Uncle was Willie Southorn who was a Kiwi at Marist and he was always one of the people I always looked up to. Marist always had lots of juniors for a number of years. My fondest memories were with some of them as Taranaki juniors we would do a 10 hour bus trip all the way to play Northland, then turn around and come all the way back in one trip. A bit rough but it was memorable.


WAITARA RUGBY LEAGUE

Kent Martin: Waitara 22 Marist 13

Stacey O'Carroll: Waitara 26 Marist 18

Deegan Tamati: Waitara 24 Marist 6

Malcolm Lewis (ex Bear, now Petone) Waitara 24 Marist 18
I left in '95, my brother Dave was a second rower, and Dad was a winger. I played all the grades for Waitara and Taranaki and Lion Red. All my school mates used to play right through the grades and Phil Kemp, Tony's Dad, used to coach us from Under 13's to Premier. One of the real characters of our teams was the captain Kent Martin and I believe he might even be playing Bartercard now. I can't say what he got up to though.

Howie Tamati: Waitara to win by ten points

Bibliography
Jo Stephenson (Wildcats), Howie Tamati, Micky Mason, Barry Christiansen, Jack Knuckey, Malcolm Lewis, Geoff Tangira, Barry Harvey

TARANAKI LEAGUE QUIZ

Prizes: Some small memorabilia for prizes. Two sections. One for those in Taranaki, and one for those outside of Taranaki or overseas.

All correct answers received by Friday 18 July, and one correct one will be drawn from each section.

Answers by e-mail or post. Pat Knox 20 Elizabeth Street, Moera, Lower Hutt NZ

Questions:
1. Which Sydney league club did Bruce Gall sign up for?

2. Name two Wellington clubs that Waitara front rower Brendon Te Pania used to play for?

3. Which Taranaki and Manawatu sides are nicknamed “The Cobra's”?

4. Taranaki League used to have a Waterside club. Where else was there a Waterside or a Maritime club?

5. What was Petone centre, Malcolm Lewis's Dads nickname at Waitara?

6. Name the former Taranaki player who played National League for the Rockets, played for Te Atatu Roosters, and coached Te Aroha to a premiership win in 2000 ?

7. Which club plays out of the small township of Hawera ?

8. Who coached Central Districts to four wins over Auckland in the early 80's ?

9. Which club did Wildcats coach Alan Jackson play for to win a National Interclub title with?

10. Which two clubs amalgamated to form Western Suburbs (Taranaki)?

e-mail answers with name and address please.

Authors Note:
I've had the pleasure of talking to coaches Kevin Gupwell (Marist) and Teri Tamati (Waitara) all this season, since the start of the Western Alliance season, along with coaches and club members from Coastal, Ngati Ruanui, Western Suburbs and Mr Manuel at Midhirst. And it's been an honour to share with you all, the 2003 Rugby League season of one of the special league districts in our country.
Over the passed week, I have spoken to some great people who have shared the joys they have had in being involved with our great game and also from those who gained a good career from league.

To all you clubs and players of the Taranaki, it has been a pleasure following your competition, and on behalf of rleague.com and both the Sunday papers, I hope this season will provide reason to come back and do it all again next year in a bigger and revamped Western Alliance, and Price and Lisle competitions.

This Grand Final Presentation is dedicated to you all.

Warmest Regards Pat Knox


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