Kurow and Athletic Marist’s seasons are over. Oamaru Mail reporter Gus Patterson looks at what went well and what did not.
After finishing runner-up last year, Kurow lost some key players for the 2019 Citizens Shield competition.
It had a young forward pack this year which, although often out-gunned, will have learned plenty over the course of the season.
Loose forward Sione Kaufusi really grew over the past few weeks of the competition and will be one to watch next year.
Kurow Rugby Club president Andrew Harding said the heart of the club was still strong.
“We have a lot of guys who are under 20 and they will improve a lot,” Harding said.
“The numbers in the club are great and so is the culture.”
Players of the season
Paddy Henwood – In his first year out of school, Henwood plays with plenty of physicality and maturity. The kind of player you can build a team around.
Dean Fenwick – A hard man to put down, Fenwick quietly went about his business this season and perhaps flew under the radar of the representative selectors.
Ben Nowell – The former Canterbury representative kept up his high standards this year. Nowell has an excellent rugby brain and the club will be hoping he laces up the boots again next year.
For Athletic Marist, it was just one of those years.
With only seven or eight players at the start of the season, the focus quickly became about putting a team on the park.
Despite defaulting three games, it managed to put a team on the park most weeks and some credit must go to the coaching staff and the core group of players who stuck it out for the season.
The departure of Simon Lilicama was a big blow.
But there were some bright spots – the team had a lot of firepower and scored some good tries.
Coach Graham Pitches said recruitment for next season had already started.
“We had a core group of about 10 guys that were outstanding, they really enjoyed each other’s company.
“We will be there next season.”
Players of the season
Patrick Pati – Came down from Auckland and, at only 20 years-of-age, has a touch of class about him. Always seems to have time on the ball and is a good reader of the game.
Ekilau Loehau – In his first season of rugby, Leohau came on in leaps and bounds all year. Has the physical attributes to continue to improve.
Mason Kinzett – Another youngster, Kinzett was versatile and committed and will come back next year as a stronger player.