Time to take flight or sit tight?

By: Ben Donaldson

One win in 42 regular season games of rugby. It’s a daunting stat that can only leave one asking, is it time for the Mahurangi Premier team to leave the premier one competition?

In the past three years, the team has had little to shout about, picking up just eight competition points in that whole time. Despite this, the Mahurangi Rugby Football Club has remained firm in its decision to keep its top team in the top tier.

Most of this is based on the idea that its better players would depart without the opportunity to play premier one rugby. The fear is then that the side would never be strong enough to make a statement in the premier one grade again, where it would ultimately like to be. However, the alternative of staying in the competition and being on the receiving end of a beating most weekends is sure to be poor promotion for those trying to grow the team.

The club would certainly be hard pressed to say losing every game this season and having a points differential of -475 is an attraction for those interested in joining. While support for the side is yet to dwindle, stringing together a few wins at home in the premier two competition is likely to bring more than the hardcore out of the woodwork to watch on a Saturday.

A season ago, some could have put the results down to coaching staff, but this idea has little merit after Koen McGee departed in 2017, making way for former All Black sevens player Amasio Valance. Even for a North Shore club, he would have been a major drawcard, but despite his best efforts, and I imagine through little fault of his own, it’s been the same old story for the prems this season.

There is no doubt the side possesses some talented individuals and strong leaders, but this group represents only a part of the team. Meanwhile, their opposition has this sort of quality spilling on to the bench.

The plain and simple fact of the matter could just be that a club of Mahurangi’s size just can’t compete with the big guns to the south.

It pains me to say that, but it pains me more to see the team struggle throughout the entire tournament with no answer to the problem. Before McGee left, he highlighted the only solution would be the growing population in Warkworth, which, over time, should bring balance to the competition. But until then, the club has to make the decision, take flight in search of greener pastures or sit tight and weather the storm.

Ben Donaldson, Mahurangi Matters


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