Old hands on deck for Gisborne's HSOB

TUHAKA AT THE HELM: Front-rower Jody Tuhaka will again lead HSOB in the premier club rugby competition that kicks off with the Tiny White Memorial Day hosted by Tapuae in Wairoa on Saturday. Tapuae have returned to the premier grade, which comprises seven teams. There were eight but Pirates pulled out. HSOB are going for four Lee Bros Shield title wins in a row. Picture by Paul Rickard

HIGH School Old Boys coach Jamie Hutana will have to call on “stalwarts of the club” as he prepares for the opening round of the Poverty Bay premier competition — the Tiny White Memorial Day — at Wairoa on Saturday.

“We’ve got Siosiua Moala away (playing in Spain), James Warren, (recovering from a hand operation, Les Hills (set for a knee operation on his knee), Hadyen Stuart (unavailable due to work commitments), Evan Bryant (transferred to OBM) and the Maka brothers (Tavita and Blanco) still to attend training, we’re pretty short on numbers,” said Hutana, whose side will be chasing a fourth straight Lee Bros Shield title this season.

“JP (Jonathan Poole) and Matt Meads will probably form the locks this weekend and no doubt I’ll have to call on Kolo (Fonohema), who will play anywhere.

“I’m also trying to persuade Jared Phelps to come back and play. He’s had a big week with the national surf lifesaving champs but maybe we can get him back before too long.”

“We have our front row from last year — Russell Burns, Jody Tuhaka, who will captain the team again, and Tamanui Hill although Tamanui is due to go in for a clean-out on his knee in about three weeks, which will rule him out for four weeks.”

Hutana, who played 102 games for Poverty Bay had to lace up in HSOB’s only pre-season game, a 50-point thumping by Norths from Porirua.

“That’s it for me but fortunately I’ve got players like JP, Matt and Kolo, who are fitter than me.

“Apart from Hayden and James Warren, our most experienced back, we’ve still got a few of our young backs from last year — Scott Tallott, Korey Love, George Halley, Zane Boyle and Baxter Mackay, who has come back to the district.

“Scotty (Leighton, assistant coach) is away until Friday night so I can’t see him wanting to play this weekend.”

HSOB play premier division returnees Tapuae in their opening game.

HIGH School Old Boys coach Jamie Hutana will have to call on “stalwarts of the club” as he prepares for the opening round of the Poverty Bay premier competition — the Tiny White Memorial Day — at Wairoa on Saturday.

“We’ve got Siosiua Moala away (playing in Spain), James Warren, (recovering from a hand operation, Les Hills (set for a knee operation on his knee), Hadyen Stuart (unavailable due to work commitments), Evan Bryant (transferred to OBM) and the Maka brothers (Tavita and Blanco) still to attend training, we’re pretty short on numbers,” said Hutana, whose side will be chasing a fourth straight Lee Bros Shield title this season.

“JP (Jonathan Poole) and Matt Meads will probably form the locks this weekend and no doubt I’ll have to call on Kolo (Fonohema), who will play anywhere.

“I’m also trying to persuade Jared Phelps to come back and play. He’s had a big week with the national surf lifesaving champs but maybe we can get him back before too long.”

“We have our front row from last year — Russell Burns, Jody Tuhaka, who will captain the team again, and Tamanui Hill although Tamanui is due to go in for a clean-out on his knee in about three weeks, which will rule him out for four weeks.”

Hutana, who played 102 games for Poverty Bay had to lace up in HSOB’s only pre-season game, a 50-point thumping by Norths from Porirua.

“That’s it for me but fortunately I’ve got players like JP, Matt and Kolo, who are fitter than me.

“Apart from Hayden and James Warren, our most experienced back, we’ve still got a few of our young backs from last year — Scott Tallott, Korey Love, George Halley, Zane Boyle and Baxter Mackay, who has come back to the district.

“Scotty (Leighton, assistant coach) is away until Friday night so I can’t see him wanting to play this weekend.”

HSOB play premier division returnees Tapuae in their opening game.

Jimmy Whaitiri back in the game

Former Poverty Bay coach and the mastermind behind YMP’s Lee Bros Shield 1990s title treble (1991 to 1993), Jimmy Whatiri, has replaced Paul Morunga at Wairoa Athletic.

“I’ve got good numbers, between 25 and 28 at training . . . the only thing is they’re not all there at the same time,” said Whaitiri, who travels to Wairoa twice a week to take training sessions.

“I was talking to a friend whose son I used to coach and he asked me if I was would be interested in coaching Athletic, and you know me . . . my instincts kicked in and I said yes.

“I didn’t hear back from the club for a while and thought maybe they had got someone to coach them. Then I got a call about four weeks ago asking me if I would do it and I said no.

“There wasn’t enough time to prepare them. I like to start around November.

“After I put the phone down, Kath (Whaitiri’s wife) said ‘they’re in trouble and need a hand’, so I called them back and said I would give it a go.

“We’re definitely behind the eight ball but the potential is there. We’ve got youth and experience. They listen and are hungry to learn.

“I’ve had to adapt my training, not having all the squad there at the same time.

“The props and big boys don’t want to stand on the line and run, but introduce a ball into the session and they’ll run all night. I’m enjoying it.

“There’s a lot they need to learn about the game . . . but they all want to do well and that’s a real positive.”

Athletic face a tough first-up game against last season’s beaten finalists Waikohu.

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