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Wellington Grand Final Programme

Randwick and Wainui will meet in tomorrows Wellington Rugby League Grand Final on the Hutt Rec in a game which includes some great individuals and some of the best young talent in the league.
Wellington Grand Final Programme
by NRL

Randwick and Wainui will meet in tomorrows Wellington Rugby League Grand Final on the Hutt Rec in a game which includes some great individuals and some of the best young talent in the league.

Both sides are from the Hutt Valley, and have a history steeped in these types of games. This match pre-view will also include exerts from the 'unofficial' match programme being produced for the game, where a number of the players give their ideas about rugby league abd the big game as well. And don't go running to the phone to call someone in Wellington with the teams either.

There's still some embargo on this. Randwick still has some minor injuries to test, and Wainui have their one ready to go.


How they finished:
Randwick 1st 16 14 1 1 553 261 29
Wainui 3rd 16 11 4 1 560 374 23

Previous Results
Randwick 32 Wainui 32 Naenae Pk 27 April
Wainui 10 Randwick 22 Wise Pk 29 June

2002 Play off Results
Randwick 26 Petone 24 Major Semi
Wainui 32 Upper Hutt 24 Minor Semi
Wainui 12 Petone 6 Preliminary Final

Wainui have continued their turnaround from last season by making it to the Grand Final of 2002 to face last seasons champions Randwick on the Hutt Recreation Ground today.

Right from the seasons beginning, they have stayed close to the play off group, and only in mid season, did they ever look at losing any chance of missing out, when North City and to a lesser extent Kapiti, looked to have the goods to overhaul the Lions. If anything they lifted themselves in the second round which included a spirited win over Upper Hutt, and with North City not being able to put their 'paper' team on the winning track, Wainui were able to finish as high as third in the minor premiership.

Randwick were under pressure at the start of the season, with their only loss to date against Norths, coupled with the draw against Wainui, saw them lose ground on Upper Hutt, who won the Mulqueen Shield. Although patchy in some games due to injury, the Kingfishers won the Appleton Shield round and the minor premiership to make up what is going to be great game to close off the local league season.

Randwick Wainui
Manusuega Vs Gemmell
Lions second rower, Thomas Gemmell burst onto the league scene this year with his outstanding 'lead from the front'attitude for the Wellington Bartercard Cup side. His hard running and no-nonsense defence made him a stand out on the heavily Auckland backed competition. He will be facing a young player who went to Randwick direct from St Bernards College, and topped a great season last year, when he won a premiership with Randwick. He took some of the concentration out of the Auckland forward pack in one of Wellingtons rare wins over the giants. And he topped this off with a season in France, returning to the fray 3 months ago. We have only seen glimpses of this mans talent, and expect that to be on show today as these two face off.

Dave Tuia Vs Heston Patea
Another great battle between two toilers of the game. Patea is nearing legendary status in Wellington for his deeds to rugby league. His attitude to the game and to those around him follows in the line of other great local veterans that are gracing our fields at the moment, which would include Toko Graham, Malcolm Lewis, Yogi Rogers, Chris Savali and Poko Danials. His experience is given to the younger players coming through the Lions at the moment, and will be seen today on the field.

He will be up against one of the quiet men of the game, Dave Tuia. Part of a league crazy family which includes 5 brothers and a sister who have all played for Wellington, Dave goes about his job on the field in a way completely different to that off the field. He can destroy teams with his running and tackling, and has picked up numerous 'Colin O'Neill' points this term as well.

Poko Daniels Vs Yogi Rogers
“Some people are built to carry piano's, some are made to play them!” Some French backline whiz wrote this of a five-eighths ability to create and dictate play like magic. Well here are two of Wellington leagues best. They both have a colourful history behind them, which reflects their enjoyment and skill at this game and in the five eighth positions. Both masters as the play maker, it will depend on the supply of ball these two get from their forward packs as to which backline will be firing today.

Feta Luamanu Vs Dan Murphy
Wellington's two top tryscorers, and specialist flying wingers. Murphy has definitely taken this season by storm by dotting down 27 times to date, and lifting his game in the play off series to match that of his regular season. Feta Luamanu has had his try tally dry up of recent weeks, and will have a great battle to see if either of them will bolster their totals in this game.

Ralph Leafe Vs Justin Rigby
This is Ralphs 3rd grand final and Justins first. But young Rigby has had an amazing season on the field and leads the most points scored this season. He has had some great players around him to keep him on that leash, but when he does show his natural ability, he has had teams completely dumbfounded.

Ralph hasn't jumped up to his high standards of last season when he took out the Colin O'Neill Best and Fairest. Okay, he took his time coming back from the South of France off-season, but his gifted skills have only surfaced a few times this season. Will today be it against an on-form Lion half?

Wesley Henry Vs Tama Renata
Two BIG centres clashing and two different styles of centre play here. One is a hard out running bashing player, the other, more looking at setting up his support players. Tama was a mainstay in the Bartercard sides backline this season, and Wesley was there for only a few games at the start. It may come down to the possession and what their fellow centre partners may do to help them out.

Strengths: Two of the best-supported sides in Wellington league. They both have club membership to back them, strong juniors, and clubrooms and grounds. They both deserve to be here today. Randwick may have Wainui for fitness, but the Lions run into the play offs and during these games producing come from behind wins, they may have the passion to go for it. They've already exceeded their expectations for the season. What's one more game? Randwick needs to lift in this game now. They have been let down with defaults next to byes, and not knowing for sure who they were to play today, until mid week.A number of their players don't seem to be bursting out of their skins yet.

Weaknesses: I don't expect there to be any dirt in this game, but it is a final. The ground, having 4 rugby games on it from Friday night till yesterday will open the ground up.

Prediction: Did I tell you about the fence I built in my backyard…

1. Chris Fox
2. Daniel Murphy
3. Tama Renata
4. Thomas Gemmell
5. James Patea
6. Yogi Rogers
7. Justin Rigby
8. Eugene Whatarau
9. Dane Taleni
10. Dan Cowden
11. Glen Miller
12. Heston Patea
13. Wayne Paki

Warren Campbell
Hapi Awa
Chris Tuhaka
Darren Kapene

Coach Clinton Buchanan
Manager Bill Weepu (snr)
Strapper Steve Mullins
Trainers Steve Mullins/Bill Weepu (jnr)

1. Jeremy Poihipi
2. Feta Luamanu
3. Wesley Henry
4. Murphy Ioane
5. Nio Luamanu
6. Poko Daniels
7. Ralph Leafe
8. Ray Jackson
9. Matt Sootaga
10. Jason Tangianau
11. Alapati Manuseuga
12. Dave Tuia
13. Andrew Ioane

Ben Tuia
Semisi Fatai
Timo Tuia
Donny Morgan
Tom George
Pio Tuia

Coach Darryl Marino
Manager Tina Marino
Strapper Faith Dunphy

Today's Games
Preliminary Final
Wainuiomata Vs North City Hutt Rec 2 11.30

Grand Final
Paremata Vs North City Hutt Rec 2 1.30

Grand Final
Petone Vs Wainuiomata Hutt Rec 1 1.00

Grand Final
Randwick Vs Wainuiomata Hutt Rec 1 3.00

Wellington Premierships: 1944, 1946, 1947 (S), 1956, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1976, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1996, 2001.

Versus Date H/A For Against W/L/D (HT)
Upper Hutt 13 April H 32 28 W* 12-18
North City 20 April A 26 35 L* 6-27
Wainui 27 April H 32 32 D* 10-22
University 4 May H 60 20 W* 16-16
Kapiti 11 May A 72 10 W* 32- 4
Te Aroha 18 May H 64 14 W* 34- 4
Paremata 25 May H Won by Default W*
Petone 8 June H 35 14 W* 13-10
Upper Hutt 15 June A 24 8 W* 14- 4
North City 22 June H 30 26 W* 16-10
Wainui 29 June A 22 10 W* 14- 0
University 7 July A 34 22 W* 30- 4
Kapiti 13 July H 50 10 W* 16-10
Te Aroha 20 July A 48 10 W* 20- 4
Paremata 27 July H Won by Default
Petone 10 Aug A 28 22 W* 12-10

Petone 18 Aug Major Semi 26 24 W* 16-12

Coach's Comments
Darry Marino (Coach) Thursday night Naenae Park
This will be Darryl Marinos' 4th grand final stint as coach, but 2nd as premier coach.

He says he's tried to keep everything in the build up the same, but the older guys are getting excited now and are expressing that at training as well. “Thaings are just normal, the same routines, and not too much of a change. The club expectation is higher now we are the only team from the club in finals, but I'm sure they will be proud of us no matter what, after two good seasons, we are still the most consistent team this season, but we saw what happened to our reserves who were also consistent. They lost a game in the semi's and that was that. Anything can happen!”

“I'm not too worried about Wainui, I'm more worried about how 'we' are going to perform than anything. We haven't seen the best of Ralph Leafe this season at all, or Alapati up front. Even Feta Luamanu must be due to score some tries now. They aren't aware of these expectations, but I will be making them aware of this on Saturdays training run.”

“I'm not too happy having all these eligibility hassles surrounding the play offs, they should have been fixed ages ago, so that the teams can get on with it. We couldn't really train properly without knowing who we were to face, but both Petone and Wainui knew who they were to play. This supposed to be the showpiece of the season, and an enjoyable event.”

“I've got doubts over the player security at the Hutt Rec where there is no fencing in the goal areas which is a concern. It's not as secure as Petone No.1 and by the time we play on Sunday, we will be the 6th game on the Hutt Rec, after 4 games of rugby on Friday and Saturday! It is still a good venue though!”

“I'm not concerned either who will ref the game. You've got to take what referee you get, and adjust if it does'nt suit our style.”

Player's Thoughts
Poko Daniels
Poko Danials has been around on the Wellington scene for some time now, and has become one of a number of fine playmaking halves to play the local game. He arrived from the Pacific club in Tokoroa in the late 80's after appearing in 5 consecutive Midland Premiership winning sides, repped for Midlands from 81-85, played for Northern Districts, then met some Hutt Valley Raro's who tricked him into coming down to Randwick. After having to wait for a long time, he won his only Wellington premiership in '96, but also joined in various Tusk and Pacific Cups as well.

As a young kid in the lumberjack town of Tokoroa, league was big there, and Pacific were very strong in the mid 70's. He would watch the Winfield cup on TV, but never knew he would play for clubs who's blue and yellow jerseys would stay with him all his playing career, Pacific and Randwick. He met up with Tamatea Kura a former schoolboy Kiwi and Northern Districts player at Pacific who showed him everything about the game, pointed him in the right direction, and he went on to Midlands, and Northern Districts teams himself.

A keen Roosters fan, Poko's best memories in league are to have had the chance to play with so many talented and skilful players in his 20 years of senior footy. He has played with and against some amazing guys, made some great friendships, and played with people who went on to represent their country or play professionally. In this time, he always found the small nippy quick guys the hardest to tackle, and that Wellington Bartercard assistant coach, Ralph Moore, when at Petone was one of the hardest hitters in the game, along with Dave Tupaea from St George who left him seeing stars.

“We need to get the schoolboys back up to the standards they used to be at, as that is where it all starts” says Danials. Poko may not be playing in 2 years time as he will be getting behind his two boys and their sport.

This Game
Poko had no intention of playing Premier grade this year, and was going to concentrate on reserves. But as usual he was enticed by someone, and this year it was fellow half, Ralph Leafe. He's not doing anything special for today's game in the lead up. “There's nothing different, and I'm treating it as anything else as in the past.

He has a concern over the Wainui old hands like Yogi, who he will play opposite, Heston as usual, “And I'm very impressed with the way Justin Rigby has come on this season. I'm very impressed with his play, the guy has a big future”.

“Perhaps Skip McCaffrey may do the final as he has been number 1 over a few years!”

Wesley Henry
Randwick centre Wesley Henry has always played for Randwick, and has done for 11 years since his Uncle Ron Bell got him first started and Jason McMillan was his coach in Under 12s. This will be his 3rd Grand Final for Randwick, although beating Auckland last year, and winning the provincial final with Wellington against Taranaki are his other big games.

He enjoyed his early years at the club right through the grades. “Barry Harvey fixed my attitude, then later Tony Lajpold kept it going.” A Warriors and Bulldogs fan, the '96 Grand Final still stands out for Wesley for being the first final he won, then getting a trial against the Firehawks, then playing and beating Auckland. He also enjoyed winning the 1999 Maori tournament and making the tournament team.

“I think locally, we need to pump league through the schools, and probably advertise the games a bit more.” One of Wesley's hardest players to tackle was John Toelupe of Wainui, and it was a Northland prop called Mackie that dealt to him 'late' and took the wind out of him.

“In two years time, I expect to be playing somewhere closer to the forwards than now. I've already played in most positions!”

This Game
“Theres no real difference in this game compared to others. It's still a great achievement playing in a Grand Final, and I try not to get nervous. We've always won the Grand Finals I've been in. It is now more mentally difficult prior to these types of games”.

“I'd expect Heston to play his usual huge role in the final, with his leadership ability and being so inspirational. How he goes will depend on how his team goes.” “We haven't had Alan Prentice for a while in our games, so I expect Skip to do the final.

Ray Jackson
Ray Jackson has continually been a form forward in the Wellington competition, and will be playing in his second Grand Final today. He remembers well his Wellington debut against Waikato at Davies Park, Huntly. Ray enjoys the passionate side of the game, and started as a Petone junior. He played rugby at school on Saturdays, but played league on Sundays. Played Wainui Under 19's, and league has been his preference since he was 10. Being a Newcastle fan, like many others who have been interviewed, Reina Williams is the hardest hitter, “especially when you're not looking!” There is a guy who plays for Marist Richmond and had Samoan tattoos on his legs who was a devastating runner, proving hard to tackle.

Jacko looks at the difference in the sports fields and considers that rugby has it over league in junior numbers, and that the schoolboys need to be promoted more.

“I've been fortunate to have had Tony Lajpold who's taught me a few things, as has Johnny Lomax in last years Bartercard Cup side. The guys I have been playing with in the last 4 seasons have been great, especially Ralph Leafe”.

“I expect to be still playing in two years time, but I may go to Oz, or may play rugby!”

This Game
“I'm really relaxed about the game, which was completely different to last year when I was really nervous. I'm relaxed and will probably get excited when I take the field for the game. We've proved ourselves to be the best team in Wellington over the last two seasons, and I will be concentrating on my own game and performance.” Ray isn't concerned about the Wainui side, just that the Randwick team will perform on the day.

Both McCaffrey and Prentice have good finals experience, and while Alan Prentice can be hard as well, I'd take him for the game.

Ralph Leafe
I've only started to do some interviews this season, and this one with Ralph Leafe was one of those nightmare ones where the replies were usually one word answers.

Ralph Leafe had an amazing season last year. He won the premiership, his second with Randwick. He captained a Wellington side that beat Auckland, against all odds. He won the provincial final as captain over the 'Naki. And being awarded the Dominions Best & Fairest for the season topped it off.

Today will be his third grand final for Randwick, and he has already appeared in one in his second home in France. The guy loves league. “The cameradie. To get out there every week”

Ralph has always played for Randwick, and says he has been fortunate enough to be under so many good coaches “which you get at this club and I've had good coaches at rep level as well”. Poko Danials had taken the younger Leafe under his wing at the club, and knows he will still be playing league for Randwick in two years time. A Bulldogs supporter, “I don't get to do much tackling” he admits, but says Chris Savali has dealt to him a few times.

This Game
“It's just another game for me, nothing special, just training on Saturday. You've got to look at the WHOLE Wainui side in the game.”
“Maybe Skip McCaffrey will give us more room in the final if he refs?”

RANDWICK 26 Vs PETONE 24 Petone Rec Sun 18 Aug 2002
The major semi final between neighbours Randwick and Petone had all the drama of their historical encounters when meeting at this time of the season, and mirrored last seasons preliminary final when Randwick came from behind to win in the last minute of the game.

Referee Matt Kotuhi was busy laying the boundaries of his game at the kickoff, with 7 penalties ranging from head highs to holding down, dished out inside the first 5 minutes as both sides struggled to break away from halfway.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the 9th minute with a cross dummy running move identical to the one that opened the scoring against Upper Hutt a few weeks back. The kick gave them a 6 nil lead.

In the 13th minute, Randwick centre Murphy Ioane struck back when after an attack down the right side, the ball was swung back left for Murph to go through the Petone line untouched.

At this time, Willie Pohoutaua was seen to leave the field with a hamstring injury which would count heavily against the Panthers attacking options. Young Kiwi Julian Enoka moved to fullback.

Wesley Henry broke away from halfway and only had young Enoka to beat, but instead kicked the ball over to his supporting right winger, Feta Luamanu which would have been a spectacular score, except for the Petone defender getting to it, and the chance that the larger Wesley Henry missed the chance to test Enoka head to head.

The Panthers absorbed the pressure and headed back up field where they were awarded a handy penalty for a knee used in a tackle. Lewis goaled to take Petone out to an 8-4 lead.

Poko Daniels, who had been showing glimpses of his old self, showed some vintage artistry when in the 28th minute, and a scrum on the Petone 30 metre line, the attack went left where Daniels expertly took two markers out of play when it was given back into Timo Tuia to burrow under Petone defenders to score. Henrys goal but the Kingfishers back in front 10-8.

Not long after the re-start, big Randwick second rower Ben Tuia was released down the grandstand touchline and was well supported by a group of players taking the ball deep into Panther territory. From a play the ball, the ball was slipped to Alapati Manusuega who charged through the line to score. Henry's goal took the Kingfishers out to a 16-8 lead.

Funny thing at this time was that it was noticeable there was some indiscipline creeping into the Panthers and some words of encouragement was definitely needed. Well some one must have said something, as Petone were about to lift themselves and more, as they were about to embark on a comeback of their own.
Right on halftime, and Petone were camped inside the Randwick quarter. A grubber kick was put through the advancing Kingfisher defensive line and the Petone chasers were on the ball for a try. Amazingly, and for such a nice guy, it counts. Lewis's kick to the left of the uprights was missed! 16-12 halftime to Randwick.

Rather than go inside into the plush changing rooms of the Petone Rec, the Panthers remained outside where they went over their next forty minutes of semi final footy.

They were the first to score after the break, but in some strange circumstances. A throng of players surged for the Randwick line with about 8 players involved in the 'maul' movement, with referee Kotuhi in the field of play at the back of the surging mass of players. He came around the front of the 'mess' looked up at his grandstand touchie, Harry Lysaght who was holding his ground, and just called the try. Well no 3rd referee here, but I would have thought the grandstand touchie would have moved if he thought it was a try, as it was just a mass of hands, from the time Kotuhi made his way to the front of the 'scrum'! Lewis's goal restored the Panthers lead to 18-16, but the drama was to continue.

Petone second rower Maunga Sukavea was sinbinned in the 12 minute, and not long after, a big brawl erupted on the Grandstand touch, about where it happened in last seasons grand final with Upper Hutt, in the 17th minute.

Because of spectator intervention, and one person refusing to get back behind the fencing, the game was not started until the all clear was given from the match managers Gary Farrar and Pat Lane. What a godsend having them here. They had the situation under control and the game resumed.

The drama continued when a Randwick player was binned in the 25th minute. And immediately, with consecutive penalties, the Panthers steamed into the Randwick quarterline.

The ever alert Lewis, sensing the situation and the rise in the Panther intensity, declined a kick at goal, and instead tapped the ball and ran leading to another Petone try and a commanding lead of 24-16 with 14 minutes left.
Two minutes later, Randwick was reduced to 11 men as centre Murphy Ioane was binned as well. Time was now precious as it was 12 minutes to go and the playing through champions were behind by 8.

Straight away I thought of last seasons escapades from the same players. Firstly in the grand final against Upper Hutt, brawl and short of players in the end. Then in the provincial semi final against Auckland, these same (hot headed) players were way behind, and Jason Tanginau sent off. Both games were classic 'come back' games, which were won against most odds.

Back to the action….
Randwick hit back in the 36th minute with a try to prop Ray Jackson, and Wesley Henry goaled to move the Kingfishers to within striking distance at 24-22.
At the end of normal time, there was seven minutes added by the timekeepers due to the brawl and the teams bench invasion by the guy in the yellow coat that also held play up.

Three important intercepts happened in this period, two to Randwick in defence. And one to Petone putting them on attack.

Randwick had a try disallowed when prop Jackson was ruled to have been held up.
The Kingfishers streamed forward in the final two minutes and attacked down the right side of the sun filled field. The ball was swung back left beating the Panther cover defence for Ralph Leafe to score out wide for the win by 26-24.

Players who stood out were Poko Daniels the veteran five eighth for Randwick. He played in the 1996 Grand Final win over Paremata and while most of this season in his 'come back year,' his game was more of a catch and pass. This weekend, he was taking the ball up to the Panther line, and when running with ball in both hands, caused Petone defenders into two minds as to what he was up to.

For the Panthers, Chris Savali remains the colossus in the go forward part of the Panthers. He continually took the ball up when called upon, and it was always at 100 miles an hour. His defence was solid and persists on putting his opposing player down knowing it was him that executed it.

His clash with Alapati Manusuega was a classic. And should they meet again in a fortnight's time, I'd expect that to be a highlight. It was the Master versus the young apprentice. Savali for years has been the fearless forward of the Wellington competition, and he continues to leave his mark on a number of opponents now. But he has toned down his brashness (like Tallis) as the control of being a coach brings to your game as well.

Manusuega is still going about the early stages of the 'fearless forward'. Nothing worries him, and according to level 3 Coach, Tony Lajpold, he really got up the noses of the Auckland players last year, so much so, they hunted him down and went off their game.

Another youngste(a)r to have a good game in front of the local league fraternity was young Panther loose forward Kurt Pohoutaua. Sitting high on the Dom/Posts Best & Fairest, the youngster is definitely headed for something bigger. He was solid on defence in this game in what, besides the Wainui-Aranui High secondary schools game the other week. Was one of his biggest occasions so far in Wellington league.

Malcolm Lewis has certainly busied himself with his running all over the park. He picked up two tries, and his kicking this season, (except for the one he missed in front) is a carry on from the good work the injured Hamish Pohoutaua put in during the Mulqueen Shield round. Not that I have seen many of his games this season, but the Waitara 'Rocket' sure was full of business in this game and with so many other game breakers in the side, I'd expect them to be back at the Rec in two weeks time.

RANDWICK 26 Murphy Ioane, Ralph Leafe,Ray Jackson,
Alapati Manuseuga, Temo Tuia tries
Wesley Henry 3 gls

PETONE 24 Malcolm Lewis 2,Kurt Pohoutaua , Chris Savali tries
Malcolm Lewis 4 gls

Name Tries Goals F/Gols Total
Feta Luamanu 18 26 124
Wesley Henry 3 31 76
Murphy Ioane 17 1 70
Nio Luamanu 12 48
Ray Jackson 10 40
Tavita Pue 6 24
Dave Simao 5 20
Andrew Ioane 5 20
Ralph Leafe 5 20
Jeremy Poihipi 4 1 17
Ben Tuia 4 16
Matt Sootaanga 4 16
Hayden Tairua 3 12
Semisi Faatai 2 8
Russell Noanoa 2 8
Kam Kamuta 1 2 8
Ernie Leilua 2 8
Alapati Manusuega 2 8
Tom George 1 4
Joe Tuia 1 4
Pio Tuia 1 4
Jason Tangianau 1 4
Dave Tuia 1 4
Temo Tuia 1 4

Some of Randwick's memorable championship years

1944, 1946 First years the were Wellington Champions

1947 (Jack 'Shorty'Hawkings remembers) that there was no grand final, but we had an ex-Kiwi playing for the side who used to commute from the Wairarapa to play which was unheard of in those days. His name was Jack Hemi who was a 1939 Kiwi tourist to Britain, who when he arrived in England, war broke out and they could either join the army or come home. Shorty also recalls 5 West Coasters including a Mulcare brother also playing for the side.

1956 ('Shorty' Hawkings again) Still no Grand Final but this was Randwicks first side that won everything in a season. The club was still based at Randwick School, and centre George Martin, who had 'sold' himself to North Sydney, returned home to play for Randwick and in one game scored 36 points from 6 tries 9 goals in the one game. Korodale and Marist were the major opposition sides, including a St George side that contained Kiwi Ossie Butt.

1968 (Shorty Hawkings/Findley Rassmussen/Rod Rassmussen/Ivan Kwoksun remember) Club now based at Strand Park.Cleaned up everything in '68, had a pretty good side including Ted Franklin prop, John Rassmussen captain and loose forward, Ki Teariki fiveeighth, John Whittaker centre, Ivan Kwoksun, Sam Paruru/Tuaine Willie 2nd rowers, balanced side, John Hina, Rod Rassmussen made his debut.

The front row were all 17 year olds Dennis Pratt, Rod Rassmussen and Paul Ford that played against a giant international Marist forward pack that included, Gary Smith, Bob Paul,Colin O'Neill, John Weir and Paul Mears.

1969 (Shorty Hawkings/Findley Rassmussen/Ki Teariki remember) The first Champion of Champions game to be played at the Showgrounds in Newtown. Waterside were the major threat with Don Young as captain, Ron Farrel was a Kiwi, big winger Les Smith and Eddie Te Kawa at centre. Derek Hartnett, Kina Reid hooker Austin/John Whittaker in the centres, Ki Teariki was 5/8th, Dennis Pratt played. Peter Mellars now Petone started as a very young 17 year old for Wharfies.

1970 (Ivan Kwoksun/Rodney Rassmussen remember) Another memorable year played at the Showgrounds. Although written off by the press, Randwick still beat the big Marist side who this year brought a Naenae Old Boys rugby halfback, for $200 named Bruce Roberston which caused some sensation.

The Randwick side was very fit then and they all went to Jenkins gym, which was unheard of then, with some also working as rubbish men.

1971 (Findley Rassmussen/Ivan Kwoksun/Rodney Rassmussen/Ki Teariki remember very well) Although not recorded as a championship win to Randwick, the side won the Mulqueen Shield, Marist won the Appleton Shield, and Randwick won the Champion of Champions. But Marist got named the champions!

1976 (Ki Teariki/Bob Perica remembers) Won the Grand Final against a Porirua side that was coached by Kiwi Warren Collicoat and also contained Don Munro. John Whittaker was the Randwick coach because of his car accident. Evan Nathan was on the wing. Findley came out retirement to kick goals, Marty Saunders on one wing wing, Phillip Press fullback, Derek Stone, Bronco. Warren Collicoat kicked a goal from halfway in the final, Denis Grout and Mel 'Puss' Adams played as well.

1983 (Rodney Rassmussem recalls) The side were tuned to beat Petone in the Grand Final to put an end to their 3 year reign, but instead Upper Hutt won through. The Tigers scored first through Monty Henry. Mike Kuiti and Victor Aromoana played, Elvis Williams was uncompromising. Henry Feleti made his debut, Sammy Stewart was playing well. It was John Whittaker and Ivan Kwocksuns last season in premier football. Perica and Katene were the halves. Simon Foua, Ciapo Pue and Ralph Moore transferred into the club. Lou Kupa and Lance Pupuke were the centres. George Lajpold was at fullback, and Toots Haua and Joe Lajpold the wings.

1984 (Bob Perica interrupted) Versus Marist Northern, who had just come back into the grade. Played at the Petone Rec.”Henry Aranga got sent off because he took a bite off my arm. I told referee Des O'Sullivan, he asked Aranga if he did, and Aranga said 'Yes', and he got sent off!” Canterbury prop Rex Dalzell played with Henry Feleti, and Ralph Moore up front. Simon Foua was on the bench with Lance Pupke and Lou Kupa in the centres. The club was in a soap called “Roach” about two truck driver brothers who coached league. “ Eastern Suburbs were the favourites to take the title, but Marist upset them in the preliminary final with Te Amo scoring the winning try”.

Wellington Premierships: 1989, 1991, 1992, 1999.

Versus Date H/A For Against W/L/D (HT)
North City 13 April A 34 32 W* 16-10
Petone 20 April H 30 48 L* 14-26
Randwick 27 April A 32 32 D* 22-10
Upper Hutt 4 May A 24 28 L* 12-16
University 11 May H 40 26 W* 18- 8
Kapiti 18 May H 36 22 W* 16-10
Te Aroha 25 May A 42 30 W* 24-18
Paremata 1 June H 62 12 W* 34-6
Bye 8 June
North City 16 June H 30 22 W* 10-16
Petone 22 June A 18 36 L* 14-18
Randwick 29 June H 10 22 L* 0- 14
Upper Hutt 6 July H 22 10 W* 14- 4
University 14 July A 28 18 W* 16-10
Kapiti 20 July A 32 22 W* 10- 8
Te Aroha 27 July H 58 4 W* 36- 0
Paremata 3 Aug A 62 10 W* 22-10

Upper Hutt 18 Aug Minor Semi 32 24 W* 6-18
Petone 25 Aug Preliminary Final 12 6 W* 6- 6

Coach's Comments
Clinton Buchanan (Coach) Tuesday night Wise Park
This is Clinton's 3rd final, but first as premier coach. “ '99 was different as we had a class team that took 13 of the 17 players into the Bartercard cup side which were beating sides by 50-60 nil at a time, and our premier side suffered. The team this year has had to slog it out with a few similar faces in Heston and Eugene, but a lot of different preparation that the '99 side.”

“We'll have an extra training on Saturday, otherwise everything is the same. We'll have a two-hour session with more tension to keep everyone in line, but other than that, it's another game of footy, and a game that will hopefully go our way.I've told the players to come down on Sunday for the traditional Sunday champagne breakfast so the players can see the supporters. We can control things on the field, but we can't control the weather or the referee. We sometimes question some refereeing decisions, but don't want a replay of the Randwick-Petone semi final. If we get Skippy to control our game, he normally gives us a better 10 metres and that will get our forwards up to the advantage line. Alan gives a shorter 10, and the defence is up on us, and we really need that extra 'second' on attack!”

“The club knows we have already excelled our expectations as the club is rebuilding. We got to the play offs, we've now won two games in the play offs, and we're nurturing the younger guys in the side. With Heston and Yogi, making the grand final is definitely a bonus, so there no pressure from the club.”

“There is no greater leader than Heston. I'm expecting him to stand up, and with his leadership qualities, hope to see the young ones perform, to let the senior ones begin to step down at some stage.”

“I'm pleased we are playing on the Hutt Rec. The Petone Rec was shocking for the preliminary final with the ground in such a bad state. Hopefully the ground will hold otherwise it's not much of a spectacle.”

“When we played Randwick at Naenae Park and drew, I told the supporters that I had always ranked Randwick as the fittest team in the comp, and that it is to their advantage with quicker team speed across the field, and mobility. They have strength on the bench where you can have Temo Tuia a strong runner, then take Dave off and put Ben on. We'll have a smaller bench to match them, but we'll make the extra tackles and get our forwards to go 100%.”

Player's Thoughts
Heston Patea
Heston has appeared in numerous grand finals for the club, including of course, the National club finals that Wainui won in 1989, 1990 and 1992. Has played in all the Wellington finals as well. But each game means something special for him. “They are all different, with different teams, but they mean something personal for me, and they are all hard, and are all good memories for me.”
Heston plays league because he enjoys the physical side to it, to run with the ball, to tackle, and the companionship in the game. He's always played for Wainui and his mentors were Kara Puketapu and Ken Laban who really made the club thrive in the early days.

Although he doesn't have a favourite NRL team, like most of us, he follows the Warriors. Over the years he's come across some hard local players and rates Petone player, Chris Savali as the hardest player to tackle. But two players that have returned the deed to him is Kapiti centre, Willie Heather, and Upper Hutts Reina Williams sat me on my behind once and totally winded me.

Heston's concerns locally go to the junior grades, where ALL clubs should get on board and support their junior club and get the numbers back up again. He believes that in 2 years time he will be happily retired being a family man. Perhaps others may have different ideas for him!

This Game
Heston isn't doing anything special for the week leading up to the game. It's business as usual with the normal preparation, but it's still special for him. “I'll be keeping an eye out for a few players. Ralph Leafe has a lot of flair, Poko Danials is still playing well and has a lot of experience, and the forwards are quite strong. Young Alapati, Dave Tuia and Ray Jackson of course”. He's not concerned who the referee may be because he knows they will do the job.

Daniel “Padre” Murphy
'Padre' currently heads the Wellington try scoring with his 27 touchdowns to date. This will be his first Wellington Premier Grand final, although he has appeared in reserve grade finals for the Lions, and against Randwick as well. He's had a Junior Kiwi trial, played in an international game for Hawkes Bay-East Coast against the Kumuls, and played in a Gisborne Grand Final for Turanga Panthers against Paikea Whalers. “I like the physical side of the game a lot, and the cameradie in the Wainui team is great.” He thanks Sean Kelly, his Under 15's coach in Gisborne for getting him back on the rails, and being involved with league. “He grabbed me, put me into a team, and I made the age grade Kiwi trials that same year, and have never looked back. A Broncos supporter, Padre has played for Turanga Panthers, Te Aroha, Hutt Valley Maoris and now Wainui. He has some concerns on some officials that say they will watch one thing, like head highs, then it goes and happens!

His greatest memories in the game to date revolve around his games for the Hutt Valley Maori's the last 2 years, and selection in the NZ Maori team in 2000.
Bill Weepu and Reina Williams in Bartercard training were Danials biggest hits being tackled in training drills, and he hopes to have a shot at loose forward in two years time. “My philosophies for loose forward play is to stay tight for about 3 tackles, then roam”.

This Game
This game means a lot to Daniel and will use this as a pay back to an Uncle of his, Wainui stalwart Walter Taingahue for getting him involved with the club. “I won't be doing anything different this week, just focussing with the family”. Daniel is aware of his marker this weekend, and is concentrating
on dominating him and getting his defence to spread quickly. He hopes the referee has no bias towards any of the teams this weekend and would prefer an outsider.

Chris Tuhaka
Veteran, Chris Tuhaka played in the 91 and 92 Wellington Grand Finals, missed '99 because of a busted knee, played 3 years of Lion Red Cup National league, played against the Warriors at Palmerston North, and played at the Pacific Cup in Fiji. Heston came from under 19 rugby some 14 years ago, but played both at school. He received the common “come play with us” call for Wainui senior thirds, played reserves for 4 years, and then was up and down from the premier side in the 'Lomax days.' “I've always been a Wainui man, although I played for the Dukes in the Lion Red, and HAD to play one game for Harbour City against Petone who nailed us by 60 points, (although I thought I played well setting up some tries!)

“I'm a Warriors fan, but I've always liked the teams that contain Kiwis in them who have played here in NZ. The clubs seem to use their Kiwis as their main strike weapons with their natural flair!” “My hardest knock was when I was tackled by Hitro Okasene against Countie Manakau at Carlaw Park. I cut back in and stepped into him. I thought I'd broken in half! My head was'nt there, my legs were wobbly, I was winded and concussed. I looked twice after that. Warren Doughty was always hard to tackle and deceptively very strong. Once at Rugby League Park, Craig Seals and I were in the centres and he tore us to shreds scoring 3 tries!”

Chris always did things with his friends, hanging out, and we all had the same aspirations. “Heston was always an influence on me because he was a dedicated hard trainer. He'd give 100% or nothing, and would drag us out at 7am before work at Wise Park, and he'd be there dragging the sled by himself.”

“We've got to get these young ones interested in the game. There is so much potential in these guys just playing social rugby, and these young ones on the skate parks, or with their Dragonball Z cards.”

Chris has had a number of injuries when he hasn't prepared himself properly, but will play next year. “It depends on work, my son is getting into sport, and I need to spend some time there, being involved, helping out as parents do.”

This Game
“I have kids now, and while league is not my main focus, I still get nervous, but I'm keen to do it! I've laid of the alcohol and just took it easy last Sunday. I've got to build up for the game, eat moderately, lots of fruit, a run in the morning which I never do during the season.”

“I know the younger guys in the team felt the pressure in the Upper Hutt and Petone games. The pace was quicker, the tackles were harder, and the defence is desperate. We nearly buckled, but came back into both games, and here we are now. That's one reason why you play this game.

We'll keep an eye out for Ralph Leafe. He's always dangerous, has a strong offload. Poko, always a thorn in our side. Give him some space and he'll take and use it well. Jacko always gets good yards and off loads well.

I'd prefer Alan Prentice to ref the game. I know he has his moments but generally he's a good ref, takes action quickly and sorts it out. I know he caned us in the penalty count in the Naenae Park draw. Mark McCaffrey would be second.

James Patea
Another veteran of the team from when the game surged in Wainui, James played in the 92, and 93 finals against Upper Hutt. Played in the '92 National club final against Northcote, and played Lion Red for Hutt Valley in 94,95 and 96. Although he had a stint with Marist, it has always been Wainui.

“I was fortunate to get into league at Wainui in a time that chnaged the whole community as well. Everyone got behind the one team and league was a great vessel for this community. This is the legacy that Ken Laban and Kara left behind, and this grass roots element helps me in my job. Just to be able to talk to people at various levels, and play against guys 'on the other side' through rugby league, is really special.”

Being a Cnaberra Raiders fan from the Daley/Meninga/Clyde days, James rates one of the most complete footballers ever, Brett Kenny, as the hardest person for him to have tackled. “It happened at the World 7's in '92 when Wainui was in a pool that included Penrith and the Eels and he was just everywhere on the park!” But he returns home to get the hardest tacklers, both when he was young and starting out in the game. “I remember Ricky Cowan of Petone knocked me over, and also Whare Henry from Harbour City nearly knocked me out of the park. That was in the days of the 5 metre rule as well!” For thos of you who did'nt know. Both those guys were Kiwi props as well!

James greatest memories of the game was when he represented Western Samoa under Super League in 1996. “Thats always a special moment, representaing your country.” But one of his highlights is scoring a match winning try against Northcote that won Wainui the National Club Knockout in '92. “It was freaky really. There was about 10 minutes to go in the game, and I'd just come on, off the bench.I took a skip ball from Johnny on the 10 metre line, did some steps and I was through for the try. We won 24-28.” (James admits that it may have been on the 20 metre line, and perhaps the distance gets further with time! Good memory though)

“I think Wellington needs to work on getting some of the referring standards up, and that age grades need to be re-introduced. We need the 17's and 19s grades so that the players can kick into the premiers. We need toworkmore on these ages. I saw Wellington play early this year in these ages, and they played well against Auckland. They need grades supporting this.” James wants to look at taking up refereeing when he finishes playing, and it's something he looks forward to.

Ken Laban was an influence on James playing league, and Alan Jackson enstalled the professionalismin him, advising the young guys how to behave, and made you want to play premiers for Wainui as being the ultimate.

“But my older brother Heston (by 2 years) was always a major impression on me.I always looked up to him and tried to emulate him as well. I did'nt have his skills and would try very hard to get close to them. To get even half way there would satisfy me. He was a legend then, and remains so now. I'd always follow him and definitly avoid embarrssing him.”

This Game
“It means a lot to me to play in this game, as it's 10 years since I played in a final. We were pretty underprepared this season with a number of players heading north to the Manawatu, but I came back, was given some games, and now I'm into it. Because of work I can't play all the games I'd like to, but still playing in a team with my brother is always special.”

“I'm not doing anything special in the lead up to the game, I've been there before, played reserve grade finals. It's a metter of passing the knowledge onto the young ones in the team, and letting them know what to expect and what is expected.I'm very excited about these young guys coming through. Look at our prop Hapi Awa who is just 17. Back in the early days it was unheard of to play in the front row at that age. Dane Taleni our hooker, Wayne Paki our centre. Seeing them kick on is great, and I'd like to pass on my experience to these guys.”

“Randwick has set the benchmark in local league and that is why I respect them for that. They all pose some concern and have expereince right across the park. Poko obviously came back for a reason, he's still got it, same as Ralph Leafe. They have well performed back rowers, but I expect Ralph and Poko to control the pivot area between the forwards and the backs.”

“I hope Mark McCaffrey or Alan Prentice do the game. They have the knowledge, and it's a hard job under that pressure, and they can't make everyone happy.”

WAINUI 12 Vs PETONE 6 Petone Rec Sun 25 Aug 2002
Petone took one on the chin yesterday in going down to Wainui narrowly by 12-6 in the Preliminary Final. After leading the competition for most of the Mulqueen Shield round, the Panthers had been second right into the play offs, having beaten Wainui twice, shared the games with the Tigers, but never mastered Randwick in 3 games.

They had improved from the first round and their main achievement was the convincing win over Upper Hutt.

Petone opened the game defending the southern end, which was just a bog, including an Olympic size diving pool on the grandstand goal and quarter line touch. This area was picked on by Wainui playmaker Yogi Rogers, and often had the Panthers trying in desperation to break free of the heavy situation and get up to the firmer ground down the Udy Street end.

Petone were dogged in defence and this probably took a lot of stamina out of them while in the thick mud. They were able to hold back wave after wave of attack from the Lions, at a time when everyone was expecting second rower Gemmell and centre Renata to be more influential, but they were well contained, especially with the placement of normal second rower, Joe Fonua, in the centres. In fact Wainui prop Danny Cowden was doing most of the early hit ups for the Lions, being first to take it up at penalties, and successive goaline dropouts from the Panthers.

Thomas Gemmell made a concerted go for the tryline leading up to the first points of the game, when he had those legs of his pumping like pistons, but he was dragged down short of the line.

Wainui crossed for the first points of the game when from a scrum 30 metres out, centre field, the attack went left to centre Tama Renata who broke through the Panther defence and fed Daniel Murphy for a run to the corner and his 26th try of the season. Justin Rigby kicked a great goal from near the touchline to put the Lions ahead 6 nil.

Cowden and Whatarau were beginning to pick up the tempo as it looked as if Wainui were about to take control of the game. But the Petone defence was holding steady, but seemed to be using a lot of energy in defence and seemed hesitant on attack.

The Panthers enjoyed a good period of play in the later stages of the first half, with more possession, and therefore more time spent on the harder turf at the Udy Street end of the ground.

Petone charged into the Wainui quarter line in the 32nd minute, and in front of the posts with decoy runners, and a number of players at dummy half, hooker Jason Crown picked up and scored to keep the Panthers in with a show. Despite heated discussions with a number of players, and consultation with touchie, Matt Kotuhi, the try was given, and Malcolm Lewis kicked the goal.

The Panthers finished the half on attack after a great break down the grandstand touch by fullback Dion Laulu. All square at 6 all.

Petone opened the second spell on fire and had the Lions 'bogged' down in their half with out possession. Laulu made another break along the grandstand touch and went clean through the Lions line with only Chris Fox to beat. The Wainui fullback expertly guided him over to the touchline then took him out. Another break from the back saw the Panthers with plenty of support in a very promising move, only to lose the momentum close to the Wainui line.

The Lions hit the lead again in the 15th minute when only their 2nd time in breaking out of their half, they sent the ball left. Murphy went into dummy half and barged over for his 27th try of the season, and had the Lions 10-6 up, but still lots of time to play.

With 10 minutes to go, Gemmell was shifted into the centres to partner Renata, possibly in a move to stem the breaks being made out wide by the Panthers, and also to give the Lions another shot of closing off the resistance.

In the 37th minute, Wainui were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which was converted by Rigby to give them more breathing space, and the last few minutes of the game interesting.

The game finished with a big call from the touch judge. With Petone hot on attack and pounding away at the Wainui line. A Panther forward lost control of the ball in a tackle on the open side of the field controlled by the touchie. The Wainui backline looked across to him as if in a line dance and protested, but no action was taken. Then when Wainui gained possession from in defence, Petone were picked up for 'two in a tackle' which was hotly disputed, and the game ended in heat.

Throughout the game, Alan Prentice was pulling up both sides for forward passes on their 'short passes'. Most of these seemed to centre around Petone pivot, Malcolm Lewis which denied the Panthers the normal set plays they had enjoyed all season. Perhaps the running of the ball carriers was out; maybe the defence in the heavy mud took some toll as well.

A number of players did some good work during the game. For Wainui, the forward effort was as expected, tough and unyielding. Much like their other meetings during the year, they matched the Panthers unit, although their defence was tighter. While most of them had their heads down in the engine room working away, Dan Cowden was busy in the first half getting involved with the hit ups, until he got involved with Maunga Sukavea and was binned with him.

It was good to have Premier co-coach Heston Patea at the ground early to see the other Wainui teams in action, and fly the flag for club spirit. He was also a great leader on the field and was often in the middle, stopping his opposite Chris Savali, or digging out that last piece of energy in taking the ball up himself. With Gemmell probably taking most of the Petone interest, this allowed the likes of Awa, Whatarau and Taingahue to make some runs at the Panthers.
Rigby and Rogers in the halves were like the master and the apprentice. Rigby displays a lot of energy on the field, and in tandem with the veteran Rogers, used his energies at the right time. Out wide, Murphy got involved which is making this season a very memorable one for him. He extended his Wellington club try scoring tally to 27, and with his age, can look confident to a useful career in the game. Young Chris Fox was called on to do some heroics when he had the Panthers coming down on him as the last line of defence. A

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