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The 2016 rugby season for the 85s was very much a rebuilding exercise with a team that had almost forgotten how to win.

Much of the years training sessions were spent on building the team’s fitness before moving on to structure and game planning.

The goal set at the start of the year the top four in the competition – a goal that was achieved. The team had success in beating many teams twice in the competition – playing some sublime rugby which saw tries being scored across the park by both forwards and backs. These results and a renewed determination gave the team confidence and a belief that they could compete strongly and win.

The team was structured around a dominant tight five with great support from the loose forwards. The captain, Brett Crossan led from the front, consistently displaying a determination and never say die attitude that inspired the team both on attack and defence.

The backs had a frustrating season due to illness and injury which made it impossible to get any continuity. Despite this, they still managed to score some great team and individual tries highlighting the potential that existed.

The highlight of the season was the 2nd round clash with Kumeu to play for the Hudson Trophy in honour of the late Ian Hudson. Northcote won the hard-fought match and successfully claimed the trophy that had eluded them for a few seasons.

Looking forward to 2017 - the aim will be to build on what has been achieved in 2016. We look forward to welcoming back current and new players for what will be a challenging yet exciting season.

Lastly, we must thank the management team of Jodie, Peter and Colin for their continual support in encouraging and organising the Gnomes. We could not achieve what we had without your support.

We look forward to 2017 and the ability to improve on results from this year.

Eddie Meechan Head Coach – Northcote Gnomes.

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