Came home to play with ‘big bro and the brothers’

TOP PLAYER: Ngati Porou East Coast hooker Kareti Palmer carries the ball into contact. At the end-of-season prize-giving, Palmer was named the Coast’s Heartland player of the year. Picture by Paul Rickard

AFTER 22 years, Kareti Palmer has finally got one over on big brother Kris.

The Hikurangi hooker was named Ngati Porou East Coast Heartland player of the year at the end-of-season prize-giving.

“For as long as I can remember, I have been in the shadow of Kris,” Kareti said with a laugh.

At 24, Coast fullback/winger Kris is the elder by two years, and he listened in the background as Kareti spoke to The Herald.

“He’s faster than me but then he should be,” Kareti said.

“He’s a back, whereas I have to put my head down and work in the front row.”

Banter aside — and Kris contributed his share — Kareti said the reason he came back from Australia’s Gold Coast four years ago was to play alongside his “big bro and the brothers at Hikurangi”.

“We moved as a family to the Gold Coast when I was only two — Mum, Dad, Kris, our two sisters and me.

“Kris and I went to different high schools. He played league while I played first 15 union, so we never got to play together in a team.

“Then the others all came home — Kris first, then Mum (Jean), Dad (James) and our sisters Jayme-Lee and Jayde.

“I stayed on in Aussie, living with Mum’s sister, but I wanted to play in the same team as Kris. So I came back in 2014 and that was my first season with the Coast.”

After four seasons, Kareti is still waiting for his first win in the Sky Blue jersey.

“We beat the Bay last season but I wasn’t available for that game. Kris played, so at least one of us has had a win against the Bay.”

Kareti said he was “totally surprised” when his name was read out as player of the year.

“I felt there were others who deserved it more than me, but it’s nice to know that the coaches felt I did OK.”

And while he has heard stories of the Joe McClutchie era — from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s — when the Coast were the talk of the country at provincial level, Kareti said it was not a burden trying to live up to past glories.

“We all play for the team, whether it’s Ngati Porou East Coast or our clubs. I love playing with the bros at Hiku, and when we won the grand final in Tolaga last year I hugged my bro, but don’t tell anyone that.”

Kareti said three players, in particular, had made an impression on him since he returned home — the Harrison brothers Charlie and Doone (both Hikurangi), and TVC’s Verdon Bartlett.

“Chas is a legend . . . over 100 games for the Coast,” Kareti said.

And looking further afield, Kareti’s favourite All Black is not surprisingly someone who played in his position, former All Black hooker Keven Mealamu.

AFTER 22 years, Kareti Palmer has finally got one over on big brother Kris.

The Hikurangi hooker was named Ngati Porou East Coast Heartland player of the year at the end-of-season prize-giving.

“For as long as I can remember, I have been in the shadow of Kris,” Kareti said with a laugh.

At 24, Coast fullback/winger Kris is the elder by two years, and he listened in the background as Kareti spoke to The Herald.

“He’s faster than me but then he should be,” Kareti said.

“He’s a back, whereas I have to put my head down and work in the front row.”

Banter aside — and Kris contributed his share — Kareti said the reason he came back from Australia’s Gold Coast four years ago was to play alongside his “big bro and the brothers at Hikurangi”.

“We moved as a family to the Gold Coast when I was only two — Mum, Dad, Kris, our two sisters and me.

“Kris and I went to different high schools. He played league while I played first 15 union, so we never got to play together in a team.

“Then the others all came home — Kris first, then Mum (Jean), Dad (James) and our sisters Jayme-Lee and Jayde.

“I stayed on in Aussie, living with Mum’s sister, but I wanted to play in the same team as Kris. So I came back in 2014 and that was my first season with the Coast.”

After four seasons, Kareti is still waiting for his first win in the Sky Blue jersey.

“We beat the Bay last season but I wasn’t available for that game. Kris played, so at least one of us has had a win against the Bay.”

Kareti said he was “totally surprised” when his name was read out as player of the year.

“I felt there were others who deserved it more than me, but it’s nice to know that the coaches felt I did OK.”

And while he has heard stories of the Joe McClutchie era — from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s — when the Coast were the talk of the country at provincial level, Kareti said it was not a burden trying to live up to past glories.

“We all play for the team, whether it’s Ngati Porou East Coast or our clubs. I love playing with the bros at Hiku, and when we won the grand final in Tolaga last year I hugged my bro, but don’t tell anyone that.”

Kareti said three players, in particular, had made an impression on him since he returned home — the Harrison brothers Charlie and Doone (both Hikurangi), and TVC’s Verdon Bartlett.

“Chas is a legend . . . over 100 games for the Coast,” Kareti said.

And looking further afield, Kareti’s favourite All Black is not surprisingly someone who played in his position, former All Black hooker Keven Mealamu.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you think the benefits of forestry to the region outweigh its negative impacts?
    See also: