The first 'Pope' and birth of the Vatican Army

One of the colourful pieces of Marist St Pats' history is the election of the 'Pope' to lead the Marist St Pats 'Vatican Army' to support the Premiers when contesting the Jubilee Cup Final. Key instigator Henry Fidow shares some of the history around this prestigious appointment.

The inaugural appointment of the Pope came in 1995 when Henry, along with John Sullivan, decided to host a champagne breakfast for the player's wives, partners, parents and loyal supporters at the Fidow residence in Kilbirnie.

Henry and John decided they would dress up; while at the costume store they decided to grab a Pope's outfit. It was decided that Phil Robinson (son of former club President Terry and brother of later Premier captain, Ged) would wear the costume and thus became the 'first Pope' - little did he know he would be starting a legacy.

A crowd of about 60 people joined the breakfast and there weren't enough vehicles to transport everyone to the clubrooms. A group of 30-strong decided they would march to the clubrooms with club flags and regalia - and thus the Vatican Army was born.

Later that day Marist St Pats beat Petone by 20-18 to secure the Swindale Shield/Jubilee Cup double and the rest is history. For every Jubilee Cup Final since, the previous Pope's would convene at the clubrooms following the semi-final victory to deliberate and select the Pope to lead the Vatican Army for the following week.

1995: The birth of the Vatican Army: Triumphant Premier Captain, Iain Potter with 'Pope' Phil Robinson; supported by John Sullivan and Henry Fidow.

The 'College of Popes'

Year
Pope
Result
1995
Phil Robinson
WIN: Marist St Pats 20 - Petone 18
1997
Stephen 'Porky' Jensen
WIN: Marist St Pats 13 - Petone 7
1999
Henry Fidow
WIN: Marist St Pats 22 - Poneke 16
2001
Michael 'Soody' Sood
WIN: Marist St Pats 21 - Poneke 16
2002
Kevin Woods
WIN: Marist St Pats 18 - Old Boys University 13
2003
Edwin Meachen
LOSS: Poneke 26 - Marist St Pats 22
2007
Richard Renouf
LOSS: Hutt Old Boys Marist 18 - Marist St Pats 10
2008
Cameron Bath
WIN: Marist St Pats 10 - Northern United 10
2009
Ian Leota
WIN: Marist St Pats 21 - Northern United 16
2012
Eddie Uhatafe
WIN: Marist St Pats 11 - Oriental-Rongotai 8
2015
Liam O'Brien
LOSS: Old Boys-University 30 - Marist St Pats 27
2016
James Zino
LOSS: Tawa 24 - Marist St Pats 20

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