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J2 Black came together at the start of the season merging a great blend of talent and experience from a couple of previous teams. A feature of the 2016 season was the number of boys in the squad: 26! The lads settled into positions that suited their build and natural skills. A special mention has to be made to the attitude the boys maintained in sharing positions given how big the team was.

The team spirit and identity has developed over winter as the boys have grown to be true mates. The teamwork has developed through the season as evidenced by all-round performances, team tries through both forwards and backs. The sense of family was evident in supporting the Kurukaanga whanau during the loss of their grandfather/father. The team dedicated a game to them and had pizza and drinks after in their honour.

The forwards have grown in their ability to be aggressive, get physical and developed technically at the breakdown and maul. The backs rush defence and safe hands have resulted in some brilliant tries. The J2 Black lads added calls and moves to their game as the season went on; from ‘Shadow’, ‘Doughnut’, ‘Eels’ through to ‘C.K.’, ‘Rocket’, ‘Downtown’, ‘B1’, ‘B2’, the guys really owned the on-field tactics.

A special mention needs to go to those in the team who will be leaving the club to go to College. Thanks for the hard work and dedication Mathew, Brandon, David and Tanekaha. The Cote looks forward to your return in the future!

Particular thanks have to go to the dedication of the coaching combination of Isaac, George, Johan and Clint with team management from Shona and Steve. Thanks for your commitment and dedication to the boys; seeing them learn, grow and have fun. And to parents, uncles, aunties, nanas, granddads, cheerleaders and caregivers; thanks for bringing a positive team spirit and support as evidenced through shouts, sideline humour, chocolates, pick-ups, drop-offs and generally turning up in the cold and wet.

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