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2016 was a year of growth and development for the J1 Gold team.

Starting with a mix of players from J1, J2 and new players to the club – we quickly came together to play in the inaugural Kumeu 7’s tournament. In what was a first for a number of the players, the team played very well and demonstrated the spirit and determination that would form the basis of so many of the team's performances in 2016.

We were handed a tough start to the season playing three of the top four teams in our first four games. Despite the challenge, the team showed great fight and determination to score some great tries against stronger opposition.

From there we continued to improve recording convincing wins. The highlight came in a doubleheader where we played both ECB teams in one weekend (the 2nd game as part of the yeah right tournament).

In both games, the team fought back to record wins that were a result of the team playing together for each other – reaffirming why rugby is such a fantastic team sport.

The team was captained by Osten Sietu who had a breakout season playing his first full season in the midfield.

While all players contributed to the team this year, special mention must go to Nehemiah Gordon who again demonstrated his skill and potential through directing play from half-back and combining well with forwards and backs to set up some memorable tries.

All players can be proud of the contribution and growth they have shown in 2016. To show the improvement from round 1 to round 12 that they did come on the back of hard work and belief which the coaches, parents and ultimately the players had in each other.

Special mention must go to the forwards, who despite having ½ games each week due to the high number of forwards in the squad supported each other and gave 100% when on the field.

We must thank Steve Comber and Damian Johnstone who both gave up their time and Saturdays to help coach the team despite not having any children in the team.

Congratulations also to Connor Chatfield and Osten Sietu for being selected for the 2016 Roller Mills Squad who will travel to Taranaki in September to compete in the 2016 tournament.

Lastly, as a coaching team Steve, Damian and I can only be proud of what the team has achieved in 2016 and wish all players well for their years of rugby ahead at college. We look forward to welcoming you back to Northcote once you have finished your next adventure.

Thank you for a fantastic season.

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