Maheno import loving his rugby experience

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Back-to-back winters were not a priority for one of Maheno’s overseas imports for this season’s Oamaru Liquorland Citizen’s Shield, but Joe Marston says he is loving every moment of it.

Marston, a builder who arrived in Oamaru from England in mid-March, is enjoying the experience of a different style of rugby compared to what he is used to back home.

“I love it. It’s taken me a little while to get used to the speed of it, but I feel I’m finally up to speed with the style of play over here,” he said.

Off-the-cusp play was something Marston said he was really enjoying.

“I’m loving playing expansive rugby. Teams over here don’t really have game plans and they just play it as they see it.”

Making the North Otago squad for the Heartland Championship is high on Marston’s list of goals for the season.

“I’d love to make the North Otago side, that’d be class, but I just have to wait and see if I can force my way in,” Marston said.

Home to Marston is the town of Wellingborough at the bottom of the Midlands in Northamptonshire. He said he was slightly anxious about moving so far from home.

“It was hard saying ‘bye to mum and dad, but since I’ve got here, it’s been awesome.”

Growing up back home as a winger, Marston has been handed the unfamiliar role of centre at Maheno, something he feels he is coming to terms with.

“I’m getting used to how a centre plays now. I was a bit lost at the start..Until I arrived, all I had played was winger. It’s a great learning curve though,” he said.

Playing and following rugby is somewhat unfamiliar territory for Marston and his family, who are fanatical Chelsea fans.

“My family love football. We are huge Chelsea supporters, I am too. I don’t even really follow rugby.”

Marston picked up the game of rugby as a six-year-old when he was too young to play football.

“I’m glad I chose rugby,” he said. “I absolutely love it.”

Marston is hoping his Maheno side can still force their way into this year’s semi-finals.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

EYES ON THE BALL: Maheno centre Joe Marston.