What a year it has been for the UNDEFEATED Northcote J1 Team 2017!
This year has been such a wonderful and exciting one with great culture within the players’ right through to the extended support group of the J1 team.
At their first training session, and a colourful session it was, there were 15 forwards and only three to four backs. Barely enough for a backline. This could be a long season... until a lady wearing a red and blue ‘Superwoman’ outfit named Traci SIETU descended from the sky with four extra players, 3 of them happened to be backs and 1 forward! All of a sudden, I glanced over to Isaac and with a slight grin he threw his sparkling dreads back over his shoulders and yelled “Blooow oveeer!”
The Squad was massive at 24 players, it was a task to balance players getting fair game time, whilst trying to maintain competitiveness throughout the season. However, our team had a motto that there was no single star player and that every single player played an integral part of the team to be successful.
In the first handful of games, Northcote performed well winning by 50-80 points. This continued throughout the season with the most difficult game against ‘Silverdale A’ team, Northcote winning by 50 plus points.
After many training sessions in the rain and the coaches saying ‘Train or Shine’ we couldn’t fault the commitment of the players who regularly turned up rain or shine, eager to learn and just be a part of the team.
With a handful of games to go, the team became anxious knowing that every team had Northcote as their main target and would do whatever they could to beat the undefeated team. But, as the opposition became stronger and more intense, so did Northcote! They managed to lift their game and put everything they had practised at training into action, and they continued winning.
With their last match of the season and a win by 80 plus points against Silverdale, the boys sing their famous ‘Lua Pati’ chant with passion!
Congratulations to Cody and Theo who were selected to play for the Roller Mills team, and also Lucas, who made it through to the final trial but deserved to be in. This rugby journey for you has only just begun!
It’s been wonderful coaching each and every player this season, and throughout the season the boys remanded humble and grounded, playing amazing rugby at a level that well exceeded our expectation. They are all very respectful thanking us after training and games. We are very proud of them and their achievements!
To our extended support group who participated in playing a big part by bringing them to training sessions and games. It probably felt like being a free ‘Uber’ driver for these boys.
Special thanks to all those who helped with transport, Peni – our specialist sideline referee, Damian - our home side referee and team member, Jason Sietu with his secret notepad hiding behind the trees with his specialist plays and a massive thanks to Tulani - for doing all the laundry! Thank you to wife Brooke and son Isaac for the loving support and sacrifices this year.
The biggest thank you goes to the DRIVER Family. The commitment of Isaac and Shona goes beyond coaching and managing the team and the sacrifice and commitment they give to each team over the years! The background things they do for players, families, fundraising and the Northcote club.
For those coming back next year - best of luck and for those heading off to College - all the very best it’s been great working with you all!!
Winners of the Coca Cola Cup with 1047 points.
- Player of the yearDevonte Pahulu
- SportsmanshipHarlan Sietu
- Most ImprovedAndre Pani
- Coca Cola Cup2017
- George Harder
- Isaac Driver
- Andre Pani
- Benjamin McLeod
- Ben Plummer
- Brooklyn Clarke-Leolahi
- Callan Ogilvie
- Cameron Te
- Cody Beale
- Damon Kitcher
- Devonte Pahulu
- Harlan Sietu
- Jacob Nimmo
- Jake Peyton
- Jeffrey Kennerley
- Joe Driver
- Joseph Fell
- Joshua Johnson
- Kaarn Harder
- Kanye Taukolo
- Lopini Vai
- Lucas Davidson
- Meli Sesoni
- Riley Tofilau
- Theo Brothers