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Wellington Grand Final Programme 2003

The Wellington Rugby League Grand Final will be kicking off at 3pm Saturday between neighbours Wainui and Petone.
Wellington Grand Final Programme 2003
by NRL

The Wellington Rugby League Grand Final will be kicking off at 3pm Saturday between neighbours Wainui and Petone. Petone have extra reason to celebrate as it is their 90th birthday this year.



Saturday 13 September 2003


Wellington Rugby League Draw

September 13, 2003

Premier Grand Final

Wainuiomata v Petone Maidstone Park No.1 3.00pm

Under 11 Exhibition

Upper Hutt v North City Maidstone Park No.1 2.25pm

Reserve Grand Final

Wainuiomata v Randwick Maidstone Park No.1 12.30pm

Senior 2nds Grand Final

Randwick v Petone Wise Park Sat Sept 20 2.00 pm

Wellington Rugby League


Please note that ALL Grand Final games are being played at Maidstone Park, Upper Hutt on Saturday, September 13th.

Clubs are advised to notify members and supporters, who may be attending, that the consumption of alcohol at the grounds outside the Clubrooms is not permitted. There is a facility for those who wish to drink available.

If the weather should determine the removal of games then the following shall occur:
1) Under 11 game cancelled
2) Senior 2nd game postponed
Snr 1st / Reserve game transferred

Grand Final Maidstone Park 3.00pm
Mulqueen Shield Petone 48 Wainui 30
Appleton Shield Petone 36 Wainui 18
Preliminary Final Wainui 12 Petone 6
Mulqueen Shield Petone 36 Wainui 18
Appleton Shield Petone 24 Wainui 18
Major Semi Wainui 30 Petone 26

It's the Big One of the Wellington Rugby League's 2003 season against two sides who both league and non-league people always identify as true hard working class areas typifying rugby leagues hard image.

And what better teams to show case what has been an amazing season of club football than to have the only clubs in Wellington that have won National Club titles in Petone and Wainui.

Both sides offer a wide range of talent and skills to you today and for varying reasons, why THEY should take away the 2003 Wellington Premiership Title.

Petone have had an amzing season, which saw them pick up the Mulqueen Shield for the first round, and the Appleton Shield for the second round and therefore the title of Minor Premiers coming into the play offs.
They have gone away from their usual strong physical up front game, and have adapted a game plan to maximise the speed and line breaking abilities of a truly gifted and exciting backline

Wainui on the other hand will display the youthful enthusiasm from the benefits of their development programme, with three newly named Junior Kiwis and a NZ Secondary Schools player, all to play their Australian counterparts this month, in the side today.
They have been well mixed with some very experienced club and National league players in what will form the other side of a strong challenge for this years top club honour.


Two young 19 year old fullbacks with great counter attacking abilities will have you on the edge of your seats. Wainui's Chris Fox has had half a season in the Bartercard Cup side under the coaching of Gerard Stokes and has come up trumps in these games.
Opposite him is a young'star' who is safe on defence, and often pops up in the Petone backline for some long distance tries. Both are very confident runners.
His may be where the game will be won. Two sets of centres that would grace any representative side, containing players about to leave for NRL training.
Petones pair or Vila Apu'ula and James Toala have quickly formed a great attacking partnership in the latter part of the season. Apu'ula has shown his talents in the Bartercard side, and Toala has been probably the top line breaker in the last part of this season.
They will face a centre pairing that has been well matched, with a big crashing player in Tama Renata, and the silky finishing ability or NRL bound Willie Pohoutaua who is the competitions top try scorer with 41 tries.
Youth versus experience here, as the young age grade play makers, John Monu and Marvin Karawana, take on the experience of Grant Toatoa and National league veteran Malcolm Lewis in the important pivot area.
Monu and Karawana may have some youthful cheek up their sleeves, but when it comes to experience, Lewis and Toatoa know how to use the possession well.
Two experienced second rowers, both with National League experience, and both on top of their game at the local level. Mounga Sikuvea has really hit his straps since being given the captaincy late in the season, and we have seen him develop into one of the most constructive players this year with a high offload ability.
Likewise Wainui's Delaney Edmonds has played in a number of positions this season, but the second row will see the club get the best mileage from him.
Two players who can dominate a game well.

Name Tries Goals F/Gols Total
Willie Pohoutaua Wainui 41 164
Tino Tato North City 11 46 136
Feta Luamanu Randwick 28 6 124*
Wesley Henry Randwick 5 50 120
Noel Woods Te Aroha 14 24 104
Tautoko Ratu Te Aroha 6 31 86
Chad Elliott Petone 8 23 78
Danny Ngatai Petone 12 15 78
Delaney Edmonds Wainui 8 20 72
Buddy Death North City 12 10 68
Hamish Pohoutaua Wainui 2 30 68*
John Wilson North City 14 56
Vila Apu'alu Petone 12 48
Poto Latele North City 12 48
Wayne Paki Wainui 11 1 46
Jay Bolstad North City 11 44*
Ralph Leafe Randwick 11 44
Alapati Manuseuga Randwick 10 40
Nathan Rolls Upper Hutt 1 18 40
Thomas Paki Wainui 7 5 38
James Toala Petone 3 12 36
Maunga Sikavea Petone 9 36
Rakene Tangihaera Univeristy 3 13 38*
Jeruse Paul North City 9 36
Jeff Ingi Upper Hutt 9 36
Lima Fata-Meafou Te Aroha 9 36
Tama Renata Wainui 9 36
Mike Price Wainui 8 32
Denzel Hokianga Te Aroha 8 32
Doug Tafili Petone 8 32
Chris Savaali Petone 8 32
Wellington Premierships: 1989, 1991, 1992, 1999.

John Lomax, David Lomax, Emosi Koloto, Karen Dougall, Jean Kellett,

LIONS Coached by: Clinton Buchanan
Played 17 Won 13 Lost 3 Drew 1 For 644 Against 387

Coach's Comments
Clinton Buchanan (Coach) Thursday Night
The side trained well this week, much better than last week but things were positive, I'm comfortable and confident and you just need to look at the players we left out, and the calibre and strength of our bench this year.

"I feel Petones strength is now their backline, and they have boosted their depth. James and Vila at centre are very dangerous, and the halves Grant and Malcolm will just have to throw them more ball. To be honest they didn't see much quality ball in the major semi final, but it could be different this time."
We have Tama Renata and Willie who are both big, so we could be even par their, it will be interesting I'm picking that the game will be settles more infield. We both have good sets of halves so it will probably be won in the forwards.
Clinton says that the side is rearing to go, Wayne Paki was out last time against Petone, and he will be back. He's rated highly in the club.
And the young ones of Chris, John Te Reo, John Monu and Marvin Karawana have big game experience from the Bartercard and Under 18s finals, and they'll enjoy playing against a passionate team like Petone. It will be a test and hopefully the enthusiasm of the young ones will rub off on the older ones!"

Wainui 2003 Results

Vs St George Won 40 29 Home
Vs Bye
Vs Te Aroha Won 32 30 Away
Vs North City Won 52 28 Home
Vs Upper Hutt Won 42 36 Away
Vs Petone Lost 18 36 Away
Vs Randwick Lost 30 32 Away
Vs Kapiti Won 78 16 Home
Vs University Won 46 12 Away
Vs St George Won 28 24 Away
Vs Bye
Vs North City Won 28 20 Away
Vs Randwick Won 36 12 Home
Vs Te Aroha Won 44 20 Away
Vs Upper Hutt Won 52 10 Home
Vs Kapiti Drew 26 26 Away
Vs Petone Loss 18 24 Home
Vs Univeristy Won 42 6 Home

Vs Petone Won 30 26 Major Semi

Name Tries Goals FG Total
Willie Pohoutaua 41 164
Delaney Edmonds 8 20 72
Hamish Pohoutaua 2 30 68*
Wayne Paki 11 1 46
Tama Renata 9 36
Mike Price 8 32
Chris Fox 4 8 32
Vern Whatuira 6 24
Marvin Karawana 3 6 24
John Te Reo 2 5 18
Sene Fa'ate'ete 3 2 16
Chris Tuhaka 3 2 16
Mike Sharpe 4 16
Dan Murphy 3 12
Hapi Awa 3 12
Awahou Weepu 4 8
Dan Cowden 2 8
Dane Taleni 2 8
Dury Tuari 2 8
John Monu 2 8
Junior Tago 1 4
Ese Oti 1 4
Ryle Sautia 1 4
Richard Sharpe 1 4
Donavan Maxwell 1 2
*Hutt Valley

The Lions had always been a threat from the start of the season, with the return of
their players from up north, Price, Edmonds and Sharpe, and also the top form that
centre Willie Pohoutaua has been in all season scoring 41 tries to date.
They stopped the Eels from getting too far away in the first round, and although they
went down to Randwick and Petone, they dealt to the Vikings at Wise Park.

In the second round, they beat all the other topsides but were hamstrung with a draw with Kapiti, and while they looked confident against Petone leading 18-6 at one stage, still went down in that game.
Wainui have always been close to the top, and were rewarded with a stint at the top themselves towards the end of the Appleton shield round.
While they won the majority of their games, they were not all straight forward. A number of times they would fly off to an amazing lead, like the point a minute against Te Aroha in the second round, then that was it! The power was turned off and they struggled through for a win. Funnily enough they struggled against the lower teams like St George and Kapiti.

The Lions have experience all over the park, and now have some amazing youth coming through who have been named in either Junior Kiwis or other national age grade sides who have all picked up training sessions with NRL sides. Its now up to these combinations to work today..

The Randwick one at Naenae Park was an early season blip, but the loss to the Panthers in the first round was a physical hiding to say the least.
The draw wth Kapiti was costly to the Lions chances of taking the second round, and
everything looked rosy for 55 minutes against the Panthers a few weeks back, until again, the power was turned off in the rolls royce motor.

Both games against Norths were good for Wainui. In the first round again, they dealt to the Vikings who failed to use the Wise Park northerly in the second spell. Then in the return game at a blustery Ascot Park, a two man bench saw the Lions hang on for all their worth.
But probably the game that saw their confidence rise, and that their season was back
on track, was the hiding they gave Randwick at Wise Park, when they faced a 10 nil
deficit, and the forwards took over in the second spell.
Then their come from behind win against Petone in the major semi final, after the Panthers finally hit the front, midway through the second spell.

The Lions have got strike players all over the park. Delaney Edmonds and Mike Price in the back row, then a host of celebrities in the back line with Junior Kiwis John Monu at half, Chris Fox at full back and John Te Reo on the wing, and St Bernards College star Marvin Karawana at five eighth. Then you have the towering strength or Tama Renata in the centres, paired with the amazing finisher, Willie Pohoutaua who will be playing his last game here in Wellington today, as he is off to Parrammatta!

So many of the players have reason to want to win the premiership with Wainui, as so many of the players may be heading off to big NRL contracts.

I don't know if this weakness will still happen as I'm sure it's been knocked out of them at trainings, but a lot of Wainui's games this season have followed the usual
pattern of going out to an early big lead, then sitting back and watching proceedings.

Also, Lions coach Clinton Buchanan said last week that this may be the first time all
season that he can put his full side on the park. That may mean some combo's could
be a bit rusty.
But the experience of the side means that if someone is not firing as they should. There will be someone else who can step in and fire the shots.

Delaney Edmonds. The guy has been cruising for a lot of the season, just doing enough to win games and doing some of his job which was usually in the unusual role of five eighth which he did very tidily.
It was only some times that you would see glimpses of what damage he could do, and one of those times was at Norths, when the referee missed some cheap shot which saw Edmonds do the next 5 tackles on Norths players by himself.
Another is Mike Price, who while he is still young, seems to have been around a very long time. He does a lot of un-noticed play on the field, with his support, timely passing, and his positioning always to the benefits of team mates. This game however should be the one that lifts him back up into that 'experienced player' category who has the knowledge for this level of the game.
I don't think Willie Pohoutaua has scored only one try in a game this season. They've nearly all come in three's at least, and he doesn't sit back and watch his team mates do all the donkey work. He has shown some of those skills that will see him head off to the NRL, so everyone had better get down and see him this weekend. When he gets the ball, he is that much a cut above everyone else on the field.

History of the Club
Back in 1958, the first AGM of the Wainuiomata Rugby League Football Club was held at the Fire Brigade Hall on the Main Road.

President at the time was K L Dawson, Vice Presidents were J E Napier, R Carlton A Harry, W E Simpson, S Hazelwood and I Logan. The treasurer and secretary was Bob Gell.
The committee consisted of D Gall, P Wilson, N Wilson, Earl Pilcher, T McPherson, E Plaistow, L Dalton and J Lewis.

Delegate to the Junior Board of Control was D Robinson, Club Captain D Gall and Patron K Ham.

According to the annual report, there was a consciousness amongst members to make a good impression in both Wellington Rugby League and the local community.
Secretary Bob Bell said “this being our first year of operation, the club is most likely to be judged by Wellington Rugby League and the Wainuiomata district in the playing performance and club activities, bearing in mind that first impressions go a long way.”
The club was proud of being the only one in the Wellington District to have arranged for the rugby league code to be taught in a school.

Membership stood at 41, and it was the intention right from the start to encourage social involvement of both playing and non-playing members.

Early club activities included a “Smoke Concert” in which, Mr Gell recalls, was a night for the men where they all 'got drunk, sang dirty songs, told dirty yarns and had a good all-time.”

But the ladies weren't forgotten. A cabaret avenge was arranged especially for them.
Other activities were a schoolboy field day, a cricket match and annual picnic.

On the competitive side, the club managed to field teams in the Senior Reserve grade, and two schoolboy teams. In the report, Mr Gell says the seniors did well during the season despite a lack of training facilities, finishing third in the competition and reaching the semi final of the knock out cup for the grade.
The schoolboys ten a side and seven a side teams had done 'extremely well' especially the seven a side team, which had reached the final of the knock out competition.

Presentations were awarded for: Most Outstanding Senior: D Gall; Most Improved Senior: G Keating; Most Outstanding Schoolboy player: John Francis and Most Improved Schoolboy player: Brian Cooper.

Mr Gell says the opening of the clubrooms “is a proud moment for me.”

“Earl Pilcher, a referee at the time wanted to get a premier team (seniors then) at the time going in 1971, as the senior side of the club had been in recess then. So he recruited a few of us premier players who lived in Wainui, like Austin Whittaker, Mick Rawiri, Ivan Kwocksun, James Hemi, and Dave Eru who was a rep player then, plus some local guys who had been playing rugby. He talked us all into it. We started up that season, it was'nt a very good one, but we got it off the ground. Earl was president, and Pauline Tuhakaraina was the very good secretary.
The clubrooms was the small green building where the cricket is, now which has been there since 1952.

The next year, Mick went back to Petone, Ivan and Austin went back to Randwick, but I stayed because I still lived here for another few seasons, but it was hard to get players. We were always scratching to get players and often tried the pub. One of the staunchest guys we had was Sonny Ruru.
One time at Whakatiki Street, we had only 8 players, and Darky Tauri brought his brother along called Baldy Tuari who was only 14. He had to play otherwise we would have had to default. He didn't want to, so what we did was that we put him on, and said at the first scrum, pull up with an injury, and you could leave the field and we could keep playing.

We had a good base of about 9 players, which included Russell Hemmingway, Russell Cook and Mike Koko. We got the rest from the pub.

We had a good spirit, had a lot of fun, often got our arse kicked but one of the reasons to keep us going was that in those days Wainui had its own district council, and Pauline our secretary was on the council, and they were going to take the ground off us, so we had to field a side. Jimmy Wi had a good Under 19 side about 1974 and they were coming through well for the next few years.
We used to run raffles in the pub and I had a great right hand man in Billy Gibbs, a West Coaster who never played, but was always there, got players gear etc. I remember when Wainui won their first Premiership in 1989, I got this phone call out of the blue from Billy who said to me, "see Kina, it was all worth it!" And that always stuck with me that.”

“The big guns in those days were Randwick, Petone, Upper Hutt and Wharfies. The Tavern was always a meeting place for us and after the game and on Sunday we'd have 11's at the green shed.”

"Our best players were Sonny Ruru, Mike Koko was very staunch, and Hemmingway gave his all. We had faithful players but didn't have money to get photos.”

Delaney started playing Under 13s with Wainui and became age grade and Under 17 and 19 representative, followed by Wellington senior, Bartercard Cup with Wainui and also skippered the Central Falcons last season.
While he prefers the loose forward position, he has played in all positions, including front row for the NZ Maoris.
His motivation of rugby league stems from his enjoyment of the game and has come through the grades with a good group of players, the same group that through school, played some rugby which includes Mike Price, Eugene Whatarau, Mike Sharpe and coach Clinton Buchanan. "We played together, and hung out together."

Edmonds believes that the young players have come up through the grade have helped the Lions this season, with a mixture of the 'old hands', "although we're not really old."

He's noted that the Petone centres have had good games; they have a young fullback who can cause problems. "Chris is so hard, Maunga is always a handful and you have to watch the Crown brothers around the ruck as well. But I feel if our forwards can contain them, it will be pretty tit for tat."

On improvement of the local game, Delaney feels that getting rid of the Bartercard Cup and returning to club football would help. "There's no support for anything above club footy and there's not much money around." He feels that perhaps a major sponsor for the local game, perhaps upgrade of facilities like at Cannons Creek, perhaps club rooms wise as well, and gear and tackling bags etc.

Edmonds has only shown some of his immense array of skills this year on the local league fields, and with this big game today, watch for the awakening of a talented back rower out to prove himself yet again.

Because Mike Price has been around a long time, many think he is of the veteran grade, but perhaps that is only of the mind, as his body started taking premier football when he was 17.
Like Edmonds, Price started off in Under 13s, and went through the age grade Reps as well. He sent his playing CV to the Bronco's who arranged a season with the West Panthers in the Queensland Cup competition, as a feeder to the Cowboys.
A Penrith supporter, Price enjoys playing loose forward, although fullback also has its appeal.
His motivation is playing with his mates. "I just love the game. It was a struggle-losing week in week out in the Bartercard though for the last two seasons."
"The reason Wainui is going so well is because most of us have been brought up together, and the young players used to be our ball boys, we've known them since knee high!"
Price admits to being nervous before games, and this one won't be any different. "I'll probably try and sleep and try and keep the build up normal, but unlike the rest of us, I've never won a Grand Final, so it's a big one for me."

Mikes inspirations have always been his partner and his parents, as they have always been behind him.

Of Petone, Price picks out Chris Savali, Sikuvea, and centres Toala and Apu'ula as the dangers. "And Malcolm Lewis has a lot of experience." While he rates North City's Tino Brown as the hardest to tackle, he says that Chris Savali just goes all day. "They will be strong around the ruck area where Jason and Jacob Crown are always strong, and they go for 80 minutes. You can't write them off until the final whistle goes."

Price believes that the administration of the game needs looking at as he is aware of the "s*#!" off the field.
"The grounds need looking at, but mainly the administration and to look after the players, and the young one coming through."

Price is a competitive player no matter which position he takes for the Lions, and admitting that he has never won a grand final, should tell us all that he will put his body on the line in today's encounter.

Eugene was both a Randwick and Petone Junior because of his parents movements, then started at Wainui as an Under 14 years old. He has played for them year in year out. He played for Wellington in 17s and 19s with Billie Weepu, and was undefeated with the seniors in '95 provincials.
A Canberra raiders fan, with Penrith a close second,Whatarau likes the 'away from work' side of league giving him something to do.

Eugene puts the Wainui success down to firstly, Clinton the coach, then getting the players in the right mood, also getting some of the Bartercard players back from Manawatu. Also having guys like Delaney and Willie around as well.
Whatarau confessed to playing some rugby for Eastbourne when the league was on Sundays, and during school they forced us to play. "But I'm a born and bred league player."

His preparation for this game will be limited to watching the footy on TV the night before. “Then I'll lay in till ten, have something light, then wonder off down to the field at 11am, laying off the beers. "I usually get into the footy on TV on Friday nights. That gets me in the mood!"

The physical aspects of the game are what inspires Eugene. “I like playing alongside Willie and with Johnny Lomax. Playing alongside those types of guys are great.”
He enjoys playing against the likes of Chris Savali. “I sometimes struggle against him, but we have a close friendship.”
Whatarau see's the Panthers centres as defeinite dangers to his sides hopes of picking up a premiership. “They can score from anywhere. Malcolm Lewis has a good head, Chris and Mounga are strong around the ruck, and those darty runs from the Crowns!” “Their combinations from the halves to the centres can catch us out on the back foot. They have class outside backs."
Eugene believes that the local league needs to provide little incentives, like boots and training gears, perhaps mileage for trainings, compared to rugby, a lot of guys find it hard.

The nuggety Lions hooker began playing league at Parkway College under the persuasion of Jackie Awa in 2000. He had a couple of games for Wellington Secondary Schools and is in this years Wellington provincial squad.
A bit of a Bulldogs fan, Dane prefers the positions of hooker or halfback and enjoys his time with the Lions and the good team atmosphere. "I hope to keep in the rep scene if it comes and to keep playing for Wainui. There's such a family and strong cameradie atmosphere in the side. Like the time we played Kapiti and we only had two on the bench. We managed a draw, everyone pulled their weight with some good spirit and we did it."

In the lead up to today's game Dane will try to get more sleep in this week. "We didn't do to well last year , so my usual routine will be to go for a drive, chill out and listen to music."

Dane's inspiration is definitely his Dad, former Randwick Senior 3rd blockbusting centre, Tony. "He's my biggest fan alright and my biggest critic." He's also inspired by Wainui legend, Heston Patea who has also been helping the side as well.

Young Taleni looks at both Chris Savali and Mounga Sikuvea as being obstacles in this weeks game with their sheer physical presence. "They put everything into it and while North's Tino Brown would be the hardest runner, Chris is definitely there too! The have danger out wide with Vila and Dion, but our guys have speed as well."
"They (Petone) seem to have changed their tactics and depending on what they use against us, it will come down to who can dominate up front."
Dane says that the local game is'nt very organised. "We need more sponsorship, more publicity. Only the Hutt News covers the games where the Dom Post is nearly all rugby." (Thanks Dane !)


MOST GOALS(excludes Bartercard)
Wesley Henry Randwick 50
Tino Tato Norths 46
Tautoko Ratu Te Aroha 31
Hamish Pohoutaua Wainui 30
Noel Woods Te Aroha 24
Chad Elliott Petone 23
Delaney Edmonds Wainui 20
Nathan Rolls Upper Hutt 18
Danny Ngatai Petone 15
James Toala Petone 12
Buddy Death Norths 10

Wellington Premierships: 1913, 1919, 1920, 1922, 1926, 1937, 1938, 1943, 1972,1973, 1974,1978,1980, 1981, 1982, 1988

Kevin Tamati, Peter Mellars, Nolan Tupaea

90 years old this season 1913-2003

PANTHERS Coached by: Chris Savali Assistant: Eddie Elliott
Played 18 Won 14 Lost 4 For 617 Against 338

Coach's Comments
Chris Savali (Coach) Wednesday Night

Chris believes the referee will have a lot of say on how the game goes, and it will make the players compete. "I did tell the players that we have other obstacles besides Wainui, We have the linesmen, the referee and the crowd. And we have to rise above it all."
"I'll still prepare myself the wayI do for most of the games. I'll keep it simple."
Savali hopes that all of his players will stand up in the final. "It's a team game! I will lead from the front and I hope they rise above that!We have some young talent and they need to rise above it. It's our last chance, and it could be our last chance for some of the players!"
Savali isn't concerned where Wainui may be strong. "I just want to punch it home and take that premiership. Nobody is a threat, again it's a team game. And it will come down to who wants it the most!"

Savali noted that the Young Lions had a good game last time in the major semi final, "but that was then, and this is now! I am focussing on defence, and defence wins games."


Vs Te Aroha Lost 24 44 Away
Vs St George Won 52 22 Home
Vs Bye
Vs University Won 32 20 Home
Vs Randwick Won 22 20 Away
Vs Wainui Won 36 18 Home
Vs Upper Hutt Won 28 4 Away
Vs North City Won 36 28 Away
Vs Kapiti Won 74 0 Home (Te Whiti)
Vs Te Aroha Won 46 10 Home
Vs St George Won 48 18 Away
Vs Bye
Vs University Won 24 14 Home
Vs Upper Hutt Won 46 0 Home
Vs Randwick Lost 16 30 Away
Vs North City Lost 18 28 Home
Vs Wainui Won 24 18 Away
Vs Kapiti Won 38 16 Home

Vs Wainui Lost 26 30 Major Semi
Vs Randwick Won 27 18 Preliminary

Name Tries Goals FG Total
Chad Elliott 8 23 78
Danny Ngatai 12 15 78
Vila Apu'alu 12 48
Thomas Paki 7 5 38
James Toala 3 12 36
Maunga Sikavea 9 36
Doug Tafili 8 32
Chris Savaali 8 32
Beck Gray 5 5 30
Jason Crown 6 2 28
Malcolm Lewis 5 2 1 25
Dion Laulu 6 24
Teepa Parekura 4 16
Eric Reriti 4 16
Mike Orbell 3 12
Grant Toatoa 3 12
Bill Toopi 2 8
Jason Martin 2 8
John Tafili 2 8
Jacob Crown 2 8
Malingi Ioane 2 8
Arthur Ropotini 1 4
H Paul 1 4
J Samu 1 4

The Panthers have just had a great season to date picking up two lots
of silverware in the Mulqueen and Appleton Shields and being minor premiers
which hasn't happened since the 80's for the most successful club in Wellingtons
league history with 16 championships.
They lost the season opener to Te Aroha when coach Chris Savali was ironically a bit
unsure as to how his side would perform, then they went through and stayed at the top
of the table as the Panthers started picking up real momentum and the belief that
perhaps things might be different this year. We also began to see some confidence
and the old support network starting to show at their McEwen Park headquarters, and except for round two losses to Randwick and North City, and a little time off the top of the pile, Petone found their season was back on tracks when they dealt to Wainui at their season looked down and goooooone with 25 minutes of the game left and 6-18 Wise Park, when down.
Te Aroha in game one when the Eels were on fire. Randwick and Norths consecutively late in the Appleton round which many thought that perhaps, just perhaps, the Panthers were beginning to lose the plot.


Grand Final Maidstone Pk 12.30 pm

Wainui 34 Randwick 18 31 May Naenae Pk
Randwick 32 Wainui 30 19 July Wise Pk


1. Ryle Sautia Sly 1. Hayden Tairua

2. Isaac Courtier 2. Ben Cowan

3. Soona Lote 3. Dave Simao/Hepa Pene

4. Alex Tupu 4. Tim Leatuau

5. Barry Rangi 5. Andrew Dominic

6. Esi Oti 6. Jerol Lajpold

7. Neville Rangi 7. Haami Henry

8. Duane Siolo 8. Lole Sootaaga

9. Mike Peseta 9. Danny McEwen

10. Charlie Oti 10. Dave Saumolia

11. Troy Clark 11. Pirani Morgan

12. Frank Vole 12. Alizesta Te Moananui

13. Joe Peseta 13. Chris Bell/Hepa Pene
Bench Bench
14: Arthur Rasmussen 14. Phil Sootaaga
15: Lanu Afamasaga 15. Taliga Maea
16: Rob Lepou 16. Norm King
17: Leon Pohe 17. Robert Leatuau
18. Hepa Pene
19. Ernie Leuila
20. Tom George
21. Luis Matulino


1. Dion Laulu

2. Chad Elliott

3. Vila Apu'ula

4. James Toala

5. Kepa Parekura

6. Malcolm Lewis

7. Grant Toatoa

8. Phil Te Ahuru

9. Jason Crown

10. Chris Savali

11. Mounga Sikuvea

12. Jason Martin

13. Jacob Crown

14: Doug Tafili
15: Beck Gray
16: Esau Tautala
17: Danny Ngatai

Coaches: Chris Savali, Eddie Elliott

Manager/Trainers: Dean Nicholson, Cary Fitzgerald

Strapper: Shane Dunstan


1. Chris Fox

2. John Te Reo

3. Tama Renata

4. Willie Pohoutaua

5. Wayne Paki

6. Marvin Karawana

7. John Monu

8. Donovan Maxwell

9. Dane Taleni

10. Eugene Whatarau

11. Delaney Edmonds

12. Vern Whatuira

13. Mike Price (Capt)

14: Sene Faaetetee
15: Dan Cowden
16: Mike Sharpe
17: Thomas Gemmell

Coach: Clinton Buchanan
Tama Tua

Manager/Trainers: Bill Weepu Senior, Gordon Pepere,

Strapper: Steve Mullins

And after trailing for most of the game, the Panthers got in front of Wainui in the major semi final, then went down to two late tries.
In round one, their win over Randwick made a lot of people sit up. Their physical belting of Wainui at McEwen put them on top, then their weathering of the referee at Ascot Park against Norths proved they had some fight in them.
When they turned for home, they repaid the Eels in round 10.And again that game at Wise Park against Wainui must still be rated as one of their best efforts in years when they had their backs to the wall.
Also the second half performance against Randwick last week in the preliminary final, when they turned punished the Kingfishers mistakes for a hearty win.
Club spirit and confidence has returned to the harbour side club, and although not
everyone has shown their faces this season, you will see a lot of old supporters and
club people at Maidstone today. The club has turned 90! It was worked out on Tuesday! All the oldies have been rung up and told the directions to Maidstone!

On the field, the Panthers had an amazing forward pack in the first round although
there were glimpses that the backs could be involved if given more ball.
That did happen, and so much so that during the second round, it was obvious that the
confidence in the backline was growing each week, that their could even be a swing in the change of power the team has.
Their backs are sometimes brilliant, and have already taken Wainui apart twice this
season. Watch Lewis/Toala/Apu'ula!
Sometimes the forwards lose momentum, and player coach Chris Savali takes too much on himself to turn things on. The Panthers now can call on a very good backline who will use any ball the forwards will win.
Although they have some silverware in the back pocket this time round, 2001 and 2002 were mirrored this year in that they dominated a lot of the season, but fell on the last hurdle.
Everyone in Wellington league will know that Chris Savali and Malcolm Lewis will
perform, because they have the experience. Its the other players around these ones that have to go with them.
The Crown brothers Jason and Jacob know what is needed and have experienced that with the Upper Hutt Tigers winning sides.Along with Savali and Lewis, they may realise that the opportunities to pick up a premiership may not come along as close
as what this years chance will be.
“The Destroyer”, Maunga Sikuvea can be a game winner if he keeps his discipline as he has during the latter part of the season, since been given the sides captaincy.
James Toala has never been as close to a premiership as he has now, and he has really blossomed since his move to Petone.
As one of the few Hutt Valley people that went to watch this seasons Bartercard games,you folks have only just started to see the skills that Vila Apu'ula possesses. Regularly he was tested week in week out against New Zealands top players, and he could do it.
Fullback Dion Laulu scored a hat trick against Wainui three weeks ago. I'll leave that
one with you as well.
90 years of Petone this year

History of the Club
It was realised during the making of this programme that Petone are 90's years old
this very year, 1913 to 2003! Even more incentive to win today!

Petone has the longest involvement of any of the present clubs playing in the Wellington competition. The Panthers won the 1913 Championship when Rugby League started in Wellington. They won again in successive years 1919 and 1920 and again in 1937 and 1938.
Their sixth championship success came in 1943, but it was in the 1970's, which heralded a golden era for the Petone club. They became almost unbeatable with half their numbers, and sometimes more, making up the Wellington representative teams.
When the format of the Wellington Premier competition changed in 1972 to the style played in Sydney of top four play offs, Petone triumphed winning the first three grand finals in succession.

These finals were played at the Petone Recreation Ground and among their young and enthusiastic players was probably their greatest player, Kevin Tamati not yet out of his teens.
Clarke Tarawhiti was the guiding hand behind Petones' success.
The Panthers lost their invincibility in 1975 beaten by Waterside 19-12 and suffered a fall from grace thereafter, being the first team eliminated from the finals in 1976. But it took a great effort from St George to beat them 8-2 in the mud at the Petone Rec the following year. For the next five years they again dominated winning four Grand Finals and just losing 9-5 to the Upper Hutt Tigers in 1979 who were recording their first ever Grand Final win.

Petone was the Wellington Rugby Leagues best achiever in the 70s and 80s, having won eight Grand Finals, been runner up on three times and only failed to make the play offs on two occasions in 1984 and 1986.

In 1982 they had their greatest season. They won every trophy available in Wellington, and won the inaugural National Club Competition, the Wrangler Cup. In an epic game at the Petone Rec, they nudged out Randwick 16-14 in an all Wellington final with Vern Winitana scoring the winner 30 seconds from full time.
In that season Petone lost just one game in 30, ( to their arch rivals Randwick) They scored a record number of points in a season, 1013 and they had their heroes. Player coach Mike Edmonds exercised the biggest influence. Hapi Puketapu scored a then record number of points in a Wellington season, 313. Mark Brandon scored 39 tries while others contributed, Nolan Tupaea 27, Chappie Pine 24, Graham Edmonds 23 and Albert Poleki 20.

Peter Mellars became the clubs second Kiwi in 50 years that same year and tourned Australia with Ces Mountfords team.

Clarke Terawhiti Former player and Coach
The name Clarke Terawhiti is not only synonymous with the Petone Panther name, but also to local Wellington rugby league as well. He coached during a period of time that not only put Petone on the map, locally, but also nationally in playing against all the big Auckland clubs.
I had the privilege of interviewing him this week, to ask his thoughts and memories of the club.
Clarke moved down from Huntly in 1965 and had played alongside Steve Watene. He was a Waikato rep when at Taniwharau, played alongside Kiwi Bill Deacan, and even played for Auckland Maoris for a year and a half.
“In those early years at Petone, we had a great team, Kevin Tamati, Victor Bracken, Mike Edmonds, Hapi Puketapu, Knox Toheriri. They played fantastic football and there was prestige in playing your football for the club, always competitive.”
“Randwick, Marist and even Miramar, coached by Morrie Church were our main opponents. We repped for Wellington with the likes of Sam Rolleston, Gary Smith, Woollard and Colin O'Neil. And include John Whittaker, and of course Phil Orchard at St George.”
“Randwick had some talent. The Rassmussen's the Whittakers, Ki Teariki was an exceptional player, a real live wire. And the Lajpold boys as well.” “They missed the NRL opportunities like players now. I was told once by Bob Fulton, that NZ had the best talent in the world, but they were'nt conditioned!”
“We used to play Taniwharau from the Waikato on an annual basis and most of our players were from the Waikato. There was a strong family bond between the two sides.”
“We also took on Otahuhu who was coached by Graham Lowe then and was full of Kiwis like Prohm, Nicky and Owen Wright, Mark Graham, and we'd get 7-8000 people at the Petone Rec to come and watch! We lost to Otahuhu, I think 8-12, but we beat Ponsonby and Mt Albert!”
The club and team spirit were very high.

“Vern Winitana had a big input to motivation for the side, and his karate background brought a lot of discipline into the team. When it came to semi's and Grand Finals, the boys were disciplined by Vern and we did a lot of meditation and were tuned for the game and let the ball flow a lot. It was more exciting then than today where it is so defensive.”
“He used to take us down to the beach, take thme into the water and do these karate kicks waist deep. It brought a lot of strength to the players.”
Clarke has an interesting tale of how the former NZ Maori and Petone rugby player came over to league.”Vern contacted me and wanted to come down for a look. But because of his status in the local sports community, I tried to push him to the end of the season. Then Bernie Wood, who was writing for the local papers, heard about, and came down to watch him have the run. Regardless of us saying not to write anything yet, Bernie wrote the big headlines the next day and that was that. A Parrammatta scout came over and saw Vern and took him back for a trial. They offered him a three year contract but his wife didn't want to go, so he stayed.”

“At club trainings, we would have 150-160 players on the field, 70 each side, and the movement of the ball was very fast!”
Clarke feels that the game has gone so much defensive these days, so much so that we have taken on rugby tactics. “The up and unders, the grubber kicks through hoping someone will drop on it. It worries me, because maybe in the next few years, we will be taking more kicks for points!”

Terawhiti said it was a pleasure to coach, but feels the player of today watches too much TV. “They look at the Willie Masons, the Ali Lauititi's or the Stacey Jones, and you can't tell them much these days. But at the end, they need their discipline.”
The former Panther coach feels that this new Petone side is a good team, are swifter and smarter, but all the teams play the same. “They all have to go through their sets, and they lose our natural ability like switches of play and skip passes. I used to ask players at training to show me something different to try in a game, and they would!”

“When we trained, we had no club rooms, and that was hard when the southerly came over McEwen Park. So someone lent us their boatshed and that was hard for about 160 of us to use. But the spirit was strong and we had to split up our time for motivation sessions, then out you went, and the next lot came in. You could only fit 20 of us at a time.”
Clarke rates Kevin Tamati as one of the greatest players he coached. “Tamati was so fit, and he could play two styles of game. He could play the hard front on type of front rower, or he could play the sleek offloading type of game.”

Clarke's final word for the 2003 Panthers: “I know they are very very competitive, and hope they keep their concentration throughout the entire 80 minutes. I wish I had the opportunity to go down to the park. I think they are quick, and they offload well like Savali and Sikuvea. They have good backs, and I wish them all the very best. I'll be right behind them.

Malcolm Lewis Panther five eighth
'Rocket' originally came from the Waitara Bears in Taranaki and started playing in Under 13s with his mates from school, was a rep player all through the grades, and played Lion Red National league with both Taranaki and Wellington.
Reps NZ Maori 1993, hutt valley hawkes. Under 13 rugby rep, under 16 softball rep.

A Bulldogs fan, Malcolm put's this seasons amazing run down as a reflection of the hard work put in by Chris Savali this year, where leading the team is all motivation of the players. “We've realised over the last five years we were capable of getting to the final, but getting it together, and losing over those years was a let down. We are capable, and will go for it, and Chris and Eddie are probably two reasons Petone are going so well,” says Lewis. The Panther five eighth has also been inspired by the young players in the club who have also put their hand up.
“The players around me basically motivate me now. The supporters, I talk to the old fella's, listen to the stories, and knowing they have'nt won for a while has motivated me, and as you get older, you realise the importance of winning it. You get satisfaction of seeing these young ones learn, and I want to show my experience. I'm still learning myself!”

Malcolm compared Waitara with Petone. “They are both family orientated clubs and are pretty much the same similarly. Not rich clubs, and I'm used to that, but they play on spirit and heart, and the supporters are very much alike too.”
On Grand Final day, Lewis will just take it as it comes. He'll have some water, eat a chocolate bar for breakfast in the morning, and then go for a walk. “I still get nervous, especially with the role that I play in, it can be quite nerve wracking, you have to think all the time. On my walk I'll recap what I have to do, and basically go through my head during the week of what I have to do. There's always pressure in my position.”

Malcolm's inspiration was his first coach, the late Phil Kemp, who basically taught him everything and got him off the streets and into league. “He taught me how to respect other people, the in's and outs of the games, how to hold yourself up, and virtually everything that came out of his mouth was an inspiration. And we all looked up to him like a father, and I probably would've got this far without him.”
“He made me feel like somebody, gave us encouragements on and off the field, even at Nationals in front of the Auckland's and Canterbury's, we felt like somebody.”
Lewis believes he can now do that to the young players, show loyalty and dedication, respect for others, never look back, and take the good with the bad. “Be a humble sportsman's, and be a good loser.”
“Some people have certain abilities to pull people off the streets and make them feel safe. That was okay in a small town, but not in a big place like Wellington. Everyone is so spread out!”

Lewis looks at the young Wainui players as being a danger to his side today. “They are showing a lot of maturity in their years, they'll be a handful, and they run with a lot of desire in their first year of premier football. Delaney and Mike Price have been there before and have shown good leadership for these young guys. There's good balance in both teams and the young guys will really turn it on.”

Malcolm notes that the Wainui backline will cause the Panthers problems with their big centres, Renata/Pohoutaua both being game breakers, especially close to the line out wide. “They have size everywhere over the park, but we can handle their forwards. I don't believe their second half 'rest' will happen either because the adrenaline will keep them pumping for the last 80 minutes of the season.”
Lewis believes the game will go down to the wire and that the team that concentrates the most and retain the ball for the sets, will be the one that comes out on top. “Tiredness will not be a factor. The intensity will be their for 80 minutes.”

Lewis warns that local league will continue to lose players to the other code if we don't improve the security. “No matter what grade they play in rugby, they are getting something. Especially the young grades when they compare with what their mates get. League is their own worst enemy. Start giving the incentive to stay!”

Mike Edmonds
Mike arrived from the Waikato town of Ngaruawahia at the time when the apprentice schemes brought young men off the marae and into the cities. “I played for Ngaruawahia and always had to cross over the bridge where the other club in town, Turangawaewae, was. It was awesome arriving to play for Petone. The majority of the players were from Huntly and played for Taniwharau, and a lot were Ngati Porou. The fierce rivalry back home between the Taniwharau lot and Turangawaewae, mainly over where the Maori Queen should stay, did not come down with us.”

In those initial days, Randwick, Marist, Waterside and Miramar were strong. “There was Gary Smith, Bob Paul , Nga Ruaine and Willie Piper was one of the dirtiest players ever!”
Edmonds saw the Wrangler Cup in 1982 as the pinnacle of his career.”We won every game, except for one competition game against Randwick. And Trevor Patrick and all the senior players asked me to coach. We were a good side, and I knew we could win this competition. We did some good pre-season, we held onto our players and set out a plan.” Mike names Mark Brandon as being instrumental for this period of success. “Mark got all the up to date coaching information from Aussie, and became our trainer.”
Mike lets us in on a secret for the side winning at Carlaw Park against Auckland champions Otahuhu back in 1982, something held very close to the side. “Our chairman Apa Watene was dying. Like a few of us, he was from Waikato, and he died while we were up in Auckland for this game. We had a church service up there, we sung some songs, and we felt that he was there with us too!”
“One of the last things he said to us was, 'You've got to do this for Petone and all the old players!' And they did!

The Petone team of those days used to drink a lot at the New Central Hotel, as well as the Vic.
He rates Kevin Tamati as one of the best players he's been associated with, but though that when he was playing for Northcote before leaving for Widnes, that he'd play for Petone and not Randwick like he did.
“The whole team oozed talent. Chapie Pine stood out, Peter Mellars was the captain because he was the youngest because Wayne Greenland broke a jaw. Bruce Murray, Gary Campbell, Graeme Edmonds, Albert Poleki was a teacher, and Hapi Puketapu.

“The players don't know it's our 90th year, but this weekend will certainly be an occasion!”

And I found this gentleman wishing to reply…
Willie Piper replies: “I was halfback for Marist then and I think we beat Petone all the time. In fact I retired because of one of them. I nearly had my head taken off by George Chase, so I bit it! George went to the Judiciary, and our coach Johnny Weir chased me up and said the referees will be watching me from now on. But I said 'no they won't, cause I'm retiring.”
“I made a lot of friends at Petone, and I can't remember this ones name, but he was a cop, and pulled me up one day. When he saw it was me, he said, “Take your boots off!” and he let me off!”

Best Wishes from James Leuluai
Thanks for the opportunity, and good luck to the guys. “Don't panic and don't hesitate!”

19 year old fullback Dion Belford Laulu is a NZ rep flag touch player, a Maori representative rugby player, and currently in Wellington rugby's development side. He has played at Petone for the passed three season with his father Sepp since he was 16, and at Rongotai College has been their Sportsman of the Year twice, received the school basketball player of the year twice, is a Wellington Secondary Schools rep hurdler and has returned from Austrailia in consecutive weeks, just to play for Petone in the finals.
Vila Apu'ula has an amazing season in the Bartercard Cup side and received rave reviews in Auckland after the narrow loss to Mt Albert. He likes surfing, and has played rugby for Avalon and Stokes Valley and expects to be in the NZ Residents team to France and the UK soon to be named. Vila is also trialling with the Canberra Raiders in the off season.

Current Wellington Rugby League Premiership Table
Team P W D L B For Agn Pts Diff
1 Petone 16 13 0 3 2 564 290 26 274
2 Wainui 16 12 1 3 2 614 361 25 253
3 Randwick 16 12 0 4 2 551 311 24 240
4 North City 16 11 1 4 2 585 346 23 239
5 Te Aroha 16 9 1 6 2 447 402 19 45
6 University 16 5 0 11 2 310 448 10 -138
7 Kapiti 16 4 1 11 2 322 616 9 -294
8 St. George 16 3 0 13 2 315 550 6 -235
9 Upper Hutt 16 1 0 15 6 226 610 2 -384

MOYES CUP MOST TRIES (excludes Bartercard)
Willie Pohoutaua Wainui 41
Feta Luamanu Randwick 28
Noel Woods Te Aroha 14
John Wilson North City 14
Buddy Death North City 12

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