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2019 North Harbour Premier Runners Up

After claiming their second championship title in as many seasons, the Northcote Premiers 2019 season began with the expected healthy turnout at pre-season.  The quality of players making up the 2018 team lead to several exciting professional opportunities both at home and abroad, meaning a slightly different make-up when the team was named. The team was also stung with some off-season injuries. Nonetheless, the same Northcote spirit shone through in the early rounds with convincing wins over Massey and Silverdale.

The 2019 competition was tight. Northcote showed they were a championship contender, however, found themselves unable to convert following enterprising periods of play. This resulted in tight losses to Takapuna and East Coast Bays. Such was the attitude of the players and management, that the team did the hard yards to fix this trend. While the challenges of injuries and professional contracts kept coming the team soldiered on, determined to keep improving.

And improve they did. In the second round, Northcote exhibited outstanding displays dismantling Takapuna at Onewa. After a try-fest against Kumeu, Northcote met North Shore in the semi-final really hitting their stride – the backs deserving real credit for creating tries from all areas of the park. The Northcote pack maintained a brick wall on defence all season, imposing real physicality advanced to the final against East Coast Bays.

It wasn’t Northcote’s day in the final, going down 21-17 to a deserving Bays side. Despite the result, this year was something to be proud of. With all the challenges faced by this team, players and management maintained the desire to perform for the club and its supporters. Nathan Va’atausili had another fantastic year, earning MVP. It was also special to have Courtney McCarthy-Henderson, Ben Searle, Andrew Menzies and Nick Regal become centurions, while Aston Pickens and Ryan Kennedy both played their 40th games, earning their blazers. The momentum continues!

Team stats – Played 16 games, won 12 and lost 4 – Points for 511 against 242.

Many thanks to the supporters who filled the grandstand rain, hail or shine, your support did not go unnoticed.

Also a massive thank you goes out to Team Mayhew Bayleys, Rex Industrial, Recreational Services, Gerard Boesley at Store Pro and Paul Barnard at Executive Pools. Without your support, this memorable season could not have occurred.

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