Hayden Todd might be a good luck charm.
The midfielder spent the first half of the 2021 rugby season playing for his home club, the Cromwell Goats, which went on a 21-game winning streak to win the Central Otago competition.
For the second half of the season, he linked up with Kurow, and the Red Devils went on to win the Citizens Shield for the first time in 39 years.
Playing for two championship-winning teams in one season was a “pretty cool feeling”, and it was special to be part of Kurow’s 39-year drought-breaking side, he said.
“They’re a great bunch of lads. I was happy to sort of do my part – it means a lot to the community, as I saw on Saturday night, so it’s awesome,” Todd said.
Todd is now gunning for his third title of the season, selected in North Otago’s Heartland championship side.
Todd grew up in Cromwell, and has played about 120 games for the goats, four seasons for Otago Country and one game for Otago – funnily enough, in the 2019 Ranfurly Shield match against North Otago.
The 28-year-old was “not getting any younger” and was at a standstill when North Otago coach Jason Forrest rang him asking if he was interested in playing for North Otago.
He could have been either a loan or full-time player, but he decide to do it properly and play for Kurow in the Citizens Shield competition, he said.
“Old Reido’s [Josh Reid] a good leader, everyone’s got their head screwed on right.
“[Kurow] sort of suited my style of play. They’ve got some firepower in the backs which helped me out and made me fit right in. With Hayden Parker coming along mid-season it was awesome to link up, and do some damage, with him.”
The level of competition was similar to Central Otago, making the switch easy, but North Otago had the edge with Heartland players adding “firepowers” to each team.
Todd was North Otago’s vice-captain for the 80-0 Ranfurly Shield loss against Hawke’s Bay and enjoyed guiding the younger players through the match.
“The result wasn’t the best thing that came out of that trip but there was a lot of good, there were some combinations that grew. It was a learning curve for everyone really and hopefully we can grow bigger and bolder from that.”
He believed the North Otago team had great potential this year.
“They’ve got some great firepower there. I’m excited to get amongst it, do my part and hopefully win a title.”
The welcome he received from the North Otago Rugby Union had been incredible and he could not thank them enough, he said.
He will now make the 450km round trip from Cromwell to Oamaru for training twice a week, as the Old Golds prepare for the coming Heartland season.
“It’s only a few diesel kilometres on the truck at the end of the day.
“It’s all time in the seat and some things you’ve got to do – if you don’t do it you’ll kick yourself in the future.”