Dwyer: Colours keep good times rolling

Zingari's Shaun Driver inflicting damage on the Dunedin Sharks at Montecillo last Saturday. PHOTO...
Zingari's Shaun Driver inflicting damage on the Dunedin Sharks at Montecillo last Saturday. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The wrap

The Sharks, tipped as high-flyers, crashed to their second loss in three starts when unbeaten Zingers scored three tries in the last 15 minutes to snare a bonus point and second spot in the comp. It was their third overtime win in 3 weeks. Kaik batted first with a solid half-century, while Harbour failed to trouble the scorers! They only have a solitary bonus point to show for their first three weeks. Southern lead the comp after collecting their third five-pointer in three outings when they put 40 on the Eels. Taieri were gutsy for 60 minutes but couldn’t keep it going when Southern unleashed its bench. GI remain unbeaten after comfortably dispatching AU at the Toolbox to sit 4th in the standings. The AU Ponies are minus 166 in points differential, so it could be a long season.



So where are we at with refs?

Well, I see we are playing a lot of Friday night games this week to ease the congestion, but it means the refs we have are doing more games. This weekend’s issue could be exacerbated by the Hyde St keg party as well! It’s not ideal for club footy, as we did a player survey a couple of years ago and players told us clearly they wanted to play on Saturdays. It’s no good for clubs either commercially, because it means fewer in clubs on Saturdays and creates a disconnect with teams. Brandon Hale, the ref development officer, has set up a series of courses across Otago for associate referees. Yours truly has done part of the course (short attention span!) and will finish it off over the next couple of weeks. Watch Rugby Chat this week (odt.co.nz) for more details. If I can do it, anybody can. A big shout-out goes to John McGlashan, as 43 of their kids have gone through the course. I challenge the other schools and all the clubs in Otago to get it done and help with a few games over the next few months — remember, no refs, no games, so it’s our problem.



Speaking of refs

The extremely athletic chairman of the Sharks and former prop Cam Burrows picked up the whistle at the weekend and did a junior colts game up at Bastion point. While basking in the glory of that, he got an SOS from Shark park, where ref Bruce Hobbs fell awkwardly and dislocated his elbow while reffing the two Dunedin second grade sides. Cam broke a land speed record to get down there and take over. My spies tell me he reffed most of that game from the middle of halfway! Bruce, by the way, is back already helping with referee mentoring — whatever that is!



Country rugby

In the north their comp finally got under way, with three really close games with Valley, Athies and Excelsior getting wins. Far too early to predict trends up there. Make sure you get to games, as “Jacko” is already counting down to the final! In Central Wakatip and Upper Clutha are unbeaten, but that will change as they square off in Queenstown tomorrow. Alex, Maniototo, Arrowtown and Cromwell still look serious contenders, but it’s early days. In South Otago the West Taieri Pigs and Crescent are unbeaten and look potential finalists, but Clutha might have something to say about that.

In the deep South it's very confused, but they often are! Pirates Old Boys and the Eastern, Northern, Southern Barbarians look strong this year. Woodlands are inconsistent and Marist and Star should get stronger.



Some bits

Spare a thought for AU; when things are against you, it only gets worse. Highlander lock Mitch Dunshea was allocated in draft to Varsity and he needed game time last week, and Varsity had the bye, so he turned out for AU and played well. Varsity are playing AU this week, so Mitch will turn out against the Ponies — they can’t buy a trick! Taieri have lost three props in the first three games, and are in crisis mode. They flew one of last year’s props down from Auckland last week to cover! The word is this week they have convinced near-40-year-old Dean Collins to don the Premier Jersey — surely not? He has trotted round the last two weeks for their invincible 2nd grade side, but this is a step up! Here’s me thinking he’d joined the Kaik club and was on the committee, I’ve obviously got that wrong.



The weekend

Went down to Murdoch from the Mornington last week, I’m struggling to work out how this is even possible. I’ve erased it from my memory and on to the ‘‘twins’’ Pod and Milly this weekend (two of my PODs judges), so the result is a 100% guaranteed. Kaik (13+) will just have too many guns for an under-strength Eels outfit up on the high veldt. As we know, Eels at rarefied atmosphere are ‘‘jellied’’! Varsity (13+) need a win and it comes at the expense of AU, unfortunately. The Sharks (13+) host Southern at the Sandpit and they need the win as well and they will cause the upset over the unbeaten Magpies. The GI Spannerheads (13+) will consign the winless Harbour to more misery at the Toolbox.

In the country we’re in Central this week and up against Alexandra stalwart Trevor Washington, who played just under a million games for them. The Arrowtown Bulls (13+) get their season back on track with a convincing win over Matak at Omakau. Upper Clutha (12-) might just sneak a win over Wakatip at the Basin to reign alone at the top. I suspect the Maggots (12-) at home could tip over the Goats in Ranfurly.