President's Monday Musings

From the pen of Marist St Pats President, John Spillane...

When members of the Management Committee and the new Director of Rugby met before the 2024 season kicked off, we discussed what 'good' might look like for the Club in the season ahead.

It was an interesting discussion as we had the returning, uber competitive, super coach (who knows nothing other than winning), sitting alongside a few long-suffering administrators (who had lived through the tough years since Covid) with their views being shaped by the events of the past few years and their desire being to get the club back being respected within our community and getting back to some key Red Machine basics – like adopting a 'One Club' approach and prioritising decision-making on what is best for the Club (number 1), the Team (number 2) and the individual (number 3).

So, it is fair to say that we adopted several metrics through which to assess the season – with the Premiers’ performances featuring on the list – but with less emphasis on counting victories than we may have had in past years.

Please don’t interpret this as us not wanting to win – I know we all share those goals – but it was more about resetting the Clubs direction than putting ALL our efforts into the on-field success of one team.

Sean understood what the committee was saying – and he was 100% committed to achieving in all the areas that had been discussed - but in typical Horan style he never let go of the goal of taking this team to a Jubilee Cup final. (I think we would all have been shocked if he hadn’t to be honest and that is why we all wanted Sean back so badly).

As the preseason progressed and the trainers, coaches and managers spent time with the boys and our squads started to build, so too did our confidence.

We may have lost some players to other Clubs, but we were picking up some really good lads – from all over the globe – and many of the returning lads were stepping up and maturing as rugby players and as men and the new / old Club values were starting to shine through.

Some of us dared to dream of a miracle year but as the season progressed and the injury list grew longer and longer the challenge became greater as squad depth was tested week after week.

Despite these challenges, and in many ways because the lads had brought into the 'One Club' approach, we have recorded results this season that defy the odds.

This season we have seen a return to the selfless behavior of the past – with the Premiers playing without fresh reserves so that the Premier Reserves and the Colts can field competitive squads and players happy to back up for the Premiers after playing a solid 80 minutes for another team in an earlier game.

We have seen players play in the position that the Club needs them to, and a unity and camaraderie build throughout the Club that has not been evident for many years.

A great example of this was the three Colts players doing double duty over the weekend – supporting the Under 85’s in their win against Petone - after already playing a game against Poneke – this is absolutely amazing to see and is what is giving me such hope for the Clubs future.

So, Saturday's result which sees us in the Hardham Cup is NOT a devastating disappointment for me personally – provided we continue to live by our values and play through the rest of the season with the same grit and determination that has been evident throughout the season to date.

There is no shame in competing in the Hardham Cup provided we do so with pride – understanding that these next few weeks are a key part of our 2025 Jubilee Cup campaign buildup.

It would have been 'lovely' to have won on Saturday and to have kept winning to get through to the Jubilee Cup final, but the reality is we are not ready YET.

We haven’t yet earned the right!

These next few weeks will be a test of the character of the wider squad, and I am confident that this group of lads will step up to this challenge.

I believe that they will channel the disappointment of last weekend into achieving some really solid performances – which will be vital building blocks on which we can build a stronger 2025 performance.

So, now is the time for the Club to come out and really show their support for our boys.

I look forward to seeing a huge crowd on the sideline at Evans Bay on Saturday and for our vocal supporters to be the 16th man as we take on the Axemen.

And then it would be great to see everyone head up the hill to the club rooms – to enjoy a brilliant club night and celebrate all that is good about Marist St Pats in 2024 (including some significant player milestones).

This weekend's action - 13 July 2024

Grade Opposition Location
Premier Men
Evans Bay Park at 2.45pm
Premier 2 Men
Evans Bay Park at 12.30pm
Old Boys-University
Rugby League Park at 12.30pm
Reserve 'Internationals'
Upper Hutt Rams 'Thirstys'
Kilbirnie Park 2 at 2.45pm
Under 85kg Red
Hataitai Park at 2.45pm
Presidents 'MH Law Classics'

Netball 1
12.20pm at Akau Tangi Sports Centre
Netball 2
Nga Mokopuna 2
1.25pm at Akau Tangi Sports Centre
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