- Ngāti Porou East Coast – Squad named – CLICK HERE
POVERTY Bay Heartland coach Mutu Ngarimu has named a 43-man wider squad to be reduced to 26 for the Queen’s Birthday Weekend game against Ngati Porou East Coast here on May 30.
Included in the squad are Poverty Bay 2014 player of the year Jake Paringatai (No.8) and one of the most talented players to wear the red jersey, Kahu Tamatea (fullback/first five-eighth).
Paringatai lives in Mount Maunganui while Tamatea is based in Nelson. Tamatea has played 74 games for the Bay — the last of those in 2011 — and scored 281 points.
“Negotiations are under way to get Jake to travel in to play for one of the local clubs and Kahu is working on a job transfer,” said Ngarimu, who will again have former All Black Rico Gear as his assistant.
“Rico would prefer to concentrate on his coaching career but if we got hit with a big injury list I am sure he would help out. At this stage he’s not being considered for the Coast game.”
Ngarimu’s reasoning for naming such a big squad: “I am going back to an old-fashioned trial at the end of the club final and I want players to be aware that they are in the reckoning for the trial.”
“For the Coast game — which I’m predicting will be huge with it being the union’s 125th anniversary weekend and Charlie Harrison playing his 100th game for the Coast — those who were involved in last season’s Heartland Championship will have their foot in the door.
“But there’s no reason some others who have been impressing me in the club competition can’t force their way in.”
Ngarimu was reluctant to name names but when pushed said newcomers Joe Akuso (prop), Matekairoa McGuire (prop), Nico Brooking (lock), James Grogan (loose forward), Te Peehi Fairlie (midfield back) and Aiden Matenga (fullback) were putting up their hands.
“Jody Tuhaka (hooker) is another playing some great football and so is Corban Barbara (loose forward), who was part of the squad last year.
“Jody, Joe and Matekairoa have the benefit of playing in a strong HSOB side, but Corban and Nico have been performing in a Pirates pack who have spent a lot of the time going backwards. That says a lot to me.”
Some of the players named in the wider squad are carrying injuries but Ngarimu expects them to be back to full strength by the time the trial takes place.
“There is also the opportunity for the players to be picked for a Poverty Bay Maori team to play in a Maori tournament in August.
Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 captain Isaia Walker-Leawere (lock) has been included in the squad but Ngarimu said he was unsure about the schoolboy’s availability.
“Isaia has enormous talent and is already earmarked by the Hurricanes, but it would be great to see him spend one year with us playing Heartland.”
Training starts on May 20 at 6pm.
“I’m leaving it as close as possible to the Coast game so that we’re not interfering too much with local club training.”
The Bay open the Heartland Championship against the Coast at Ruatoria on August 22.
POVERTY BAY WIDER SQUAD
FORWARDS : Russell Burns (HSOB), Joe Aukuso (HSOB), Matekairoa McGuire (HSOB), Sione Ngatu (Ngatapa), Semisi Akana (Nga), Campbell Chrisp (Nga), Geoff Pari (Nga), Shayde Skudder (YMP), Jody Tuhaka (HSOB), Murray Hewson (OBM), Jarrod Phelps (HSOB), Tevita Maka (HSOB), Paddy Allen (Nga), Doug Kirkpatrick (HSOB), Corban Barbara (Pirates), Simone Akurangi (YMP), Ken Houkamau (Pir), Isaia Walker-Leawere (GBHS), James Grogan (OBM), Jake Paringatai, Willis Tamatea (YMP), Brent Ingram (OBM), Nico Brooking (Pir).
BACKS: Mario Counsell (YMP), Willie Haenga (HSOB), Travis Gooch (OBM), CJ Fox (Pir), Willie Grogan (OBM), Lewis McKinnon (Pir), Brad Turei (YMP), Kahu Tamatea (YMP), Aiden Matenga (HSOB), Mike King (HSOB), Henry Bridge (Nga), Manase Tupe (HSOB), Josh Afu (YMP), James Alford (Nga), Siua Moala (Nga), Te Peehi Fairlie (YMP), Carl Riini (Pir), Karl MacPherson (Nga), Lindsay Banks (Waikohu), Mataatua Ruru (Waik), Brian Whaitiri-White (YMP).