Wednesday July 26, 2017
SPORT Sports talk
with Jacob Page
Lower Hutt man represents NZ blind rugby
Those familiar Warrior woes... Watching the Warriors is like being a sucker for punishment. If they don’t make the playoff for the sixth consecutive year, where does it leave the Kiwi NRL franchise? Judging by their loss to the North Queensland Cowboys, a swift exit from the season seems the only outcome yet again. Change the coach, change the board structure, change the captain, bring in players, cut players - none of it makes any difference. The Warriors would settle for mediocre, they’re far worse than that, but their inability to be accountable, to accept that the club appears to be rotten to the core means loyal fans are shafted year after year. The club had a chance to get it right. Ivan Cleary coached them to a fi nal - after already being shown the door before those playoffs started. James Maloney was in the halves but he was let go too.
Let go to play multiple State of Origin games and to win premierships with the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla Sharks. T he fa ns deser ve better, they deserve an honest effort at all times. They deserve improvement from season to season and they deserve to watch a team that has pride in a jersey. These fast starts and late implosions are pathetic. There appears no heart, desire or willingness to get better. The Warriors should have won a premiership by now and yet it can be easily argued that their biggest barrier to that hasn’t been their opposition on the field but themselves. There appears to be an acceptance of their plight both from the team and their supporters. It’s like an unhappy mar riage where both sides are unwilling to admit it’s not working and stay in the routine purely for the familiarity.
ABOVE: Cory Heberley and his team line up alongside their Lions counterparts. RIGHT: Cory Heberley wearing the New Zealand colours. Photos: SUPPLIED By Dan Whitfield
Cory Heberley returned home for a very special opportunity recently – to represent New Zealand at blind rugby. The former Lower Hutt man made the cut for the first New Zealand blind rugby team that faced the touring blind Lions squad - a side competition to the recent test series between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions. Blind rugby makes New Zealand’s national game accessible to the blind and low vision community. The New Zealand squad was made up of eight players, including Heberley, with seven taking to the field in an adapted
format of the sport. Heberley plays in the first five-eighth position. The Lions won game one 31-nil, game two 17-7 (however, New Zealand lead most of the game 7-5), and game three 28-5. Blind Sport New Zealand national manager Dan Shepherd said he was excited by the opportunity to make New Zealand’s national game accessible to the blind and low vision community. He said the world’s first international test series marked the beginning of international blind rugby, and as the sport grows, so will the opportunities to play domestically and for New Zealand.
Emma Wyma-Mamea shoots for Ulalei. Photo: SUPPLIED
Unfortunate weekend for Ulalei Both of Wainuiomata’s Ulalei netball teams lost over the weekend with Ulalei 1 losing to Upper Hutt Maidstone United 1 and Ulalei 2 coming up short against Convent Old Girls 2. Ulalei 1 was not at full strength, missing one of their regular shooters and mid court attackers. Youngsters Ruth Sopoaga, an under 15 rep, and Alicia Tomokino-Geale, an under 15 development rep, from the Ulalei 2 team stepped up and played well. Co-coach Alannah Laban said the advantages of being a small club is that both teams get to train together.
“The players and coaches can see how each other plays, making the transition up to premier one seamless,” said Laban. Ulalei 1 need to win their last two games to remain in contention for the top four playoffs on August 12. In premier two, Ulalei 2 lost to Convent Old Girls 2. Ulalei 2 must win their last two games to avoid relegation at the end of the season. Both teams are playing at 10.30am at Walter Nash Centre this Saturday. Ulalei 1 will play Naenae Collegians United White 1 and Ulalei 2 come up against Upper Hutt Maidstone United 3.
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Published on Jul 25, 2017