There is nothing like Final week for those teams who make it to the dance floor. This week is very special for the club, coaches and for those players lucky enough to participate in Final. I hope all teams enjoy the experience and leave nothing on the pitch. This weekend we have some intriguing battles in both the Motorworld Marlborough and The Car Company Nelson Bays competitions.
In the Marlborough Division 1 Final we have the two best Marlborough teams since the season started back in March. Moutere have been a consistent performer over the last three years and were a worthy semi-finalist in this year’s NPD Tasman Trophy.
Moutere are a team with talent across the park and have two game breakers in Ben Finau and Johnny Ika who can turn a game very quickly. Renwick Rugby Club have been one of the remarkable stories in 2017 at both committee and team level as they have turned their club around. They have recruited well from MBC and rebuilt their club with a blend of youth and club stalwarts. They have an impressive coaching group under the leadership of Glenn Blackmore and this season have proven to be very difficult opponents in all their matches.
The Final promises to be a changing of the guard after Central have dominated the competition for the last five years. It will be a hard game to predict but I believe the this is a game where Vernon Fredericks of Moutere has the opportunity to show his class and lead his club to a championship. It will be a very close game but I believe the result will come down to the performance of Vernon or Renwick's ability to keep him quiet.
Saturday promises to be a very special day for the Magpies as they have all senior teams in the Finals including their unbeaten Division 2 team and their Women’s team who also finished top qualifier after pool play.
Motorworld Marlborough Finals this Saturday 22 July at Lansdowne Park
Division 1 - Moutere vs. Renwick at 3.00pm
Division 2 - Moutere vs. College Old Boys at 1.00pm
NPD Tasman Trophy Women’s Final - Moutere vs. Marist at 11.30pm.
In The Car Company Nelson Bays Division 1 Final, we have last year’s winners Wanderers up against Nelson who have been the form team of all rugby competitions this year in the Tasman region. This again is a really hard game to call because they are 1- all in matches played this season.
Both teams have solid front fives, exceptional loose-forward talent and backlines with "X" factor players all over the park. I believe the game will come down to which “Jesse Pittman” turns up on Saturday. In my humble opinion Jesse has been the best player in club rugby over the last three years. His performances last year resulted in a well-deserved Makos contract which, unfortunately, did not pan out for him as he and we would have liked or wished for. Jesse learnt the harsh lesson that a player must work even harder once they reach the next level to stay there and perform – talent alone is not enough!
My prediction is that Wanderers could knock the favourites off the stage if Jesse is totally focussed on his game only, and not the trivial things that can sometimes distract him. It promises to a pulsating game with the winner being decided by their "X" factor player or players.
The Division 2 Final promises to be a great game for the Motueka community where we have the Battle of the Bridge between Riwaka and Huia. This promises to be community rugby at its best. There will be a split straight down the middle of the town, families and businesses this week in Motueka. The town will be decked out in the colours of the team each group supports. I think all roads will head to Cooks Recreation Reserve for the Car Company Division 2 Final. I believe form dedicates that Riwaka will start favourites but Finals day can turn up strange results and this promises to be intriguing and very hard to call.
The Car Company Nelson Bays Sub Finals this Saturday 22 July
Division 1 - Nelson vs. Wanderers at Trafalgar Park - 3.00pm
Division 2 - Riwaka v Huia at Cooks Recreation Reserve, Riwaka – 1.15pm
Good luck to all Finals Rugby participants.#FinzUpTony Lewis