Interminable wait for season finally over

Finally it’s arrived!

After an interminable amount of waiting, club footy finally kicks off in Dunners tomorrow. It seems everybody else has been playing for weeks. The rumour has it, the affable chairman of the CRC which now runs club rugby in Dunedin wanted to be up and running two weeks ago but was rolled 9-1 in the vote. So much for his nickname of ‘‘Donald’’!

It’s now a one-round comp of eight games, then into a top six with a finals day for all grades on September 19 with most of those games at the Greenhouse. All grades kick off tomorrow, apart from senior which started last week, and junior colts which starts tomorrow week. All kids’ rugby kicks off this weekend as well.

Considering the disruptions, most grades have held up well in terms of numbers. Prems has nine teams, the same as last year. Prem 2s has eight, down a couple. Seniors has 12 teams which is also back. Prem Colts has 10 which is up due to Kaik (Super Club) and Varsity entering two teams. Junior Colts is down to seven after a couple of defections. The women’s grade is down to five after one defection. But it could have been a lot worse given the situation.

Put them on the Line

The age of the Super Coach is gone — it’s now the rise of Super Club Kaikorai and the coaches in its ranks: Big Tom, Ryan Martin, Lee Allan and Whoppa the new scrum coach. Throw in President Des, the new super recruiter (reminiscent of an ageing Tim Belcher), and it could win prems, prem 2s and both colts grades which should be easy as it has four teams in there! Add in the shadowy Godfather-like figure behind the bar who puts the fear of God into the committee and the club already has its hands on the Ainge trophy.

In prems, I’m picking a top six, in order, of Kaik, Southern, Taieri, Harbour, Varsity and Dunedin with GI, AU and Zingers to fight out the bottom three.

The Otago season will have started the week before finals and I’m hearing Otago players will be out of contention for clubs from August 20 so that will make the top-six playoffs unpredictable but exciting so depth will be crucial. Thus Kaik with its exploding numbers wins the whole shooting box. But I’ve been wrong before!

Down on the farm

The South Otago comp has been under way for a couple of weeks and West Taieri, which cried off the comp in town, has crushed its early opponents . The Colliers from Kai tipped over Clutha at the weekend so it was a high old night in the mine. Clutha loses only once every two years so it was BIG! Looks to me like these three teams will provide the winner of the comp.

Central last weekend provided a couple of draws. Arrowtown and Wakatip couldn’t decide on a winner and neither could Matak and Maniototo. Cromwell beat Upper Clutha and, on the strength of that win, the comp is easy!

Based on the results from the first round in North Otago last week, one of the country teams — Maheno, Valley or Kurow — wins. The town teams are gone — take it from me!

You wouldn’t read about ...

So last week Kai had a 50-year-old prop in evergreen Mark Frisby, who’s played a million games for them, against Heriot which boasts two Otago props in Miller and Young. And you guessed it — he popped them out of the scrum like popcorn. There’s life in the old dog yet!

Kings tipped over OBHS at the weekend to turn the ODT schools comp on its head — great work.

This weekend

I will announce the picking comp plan next week but I’ll get through our generous sponsors first. Up against the indefatigable (or so he tells me when he played, if he played) Mark Scully, mein host at the Ale House, so I’ll start with a win. The Sharks (12-) take on the Eels at the Sandpit and, with four Landers (yes four) in their ranks, might just get it done. The Hawks (12-) are at home to Southern at the Crayfish Pot — the Geese didn’t win and neither will the Magpies! Varsity (12-) is pretty small by all accounts and the Onion is a big unit so an upset is on the cards but Varsity just. In the grudge match from hell on the High Veldt Super Club (12-) just beats the Spannerheads. Look out for a fracas in the club afterwards with the Godfather involved.

Late Mail

I hear relations between AU and the Sharks have soured after the Sharks heavies didn’t grace the Onion clubrooms after a pre-season recently. More soon!

Enjoy the rugga.

 - paul.dwyer@alliedpress.co.nz

 

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