Rodney Rams charging towards 2020 with new teams

From left, Mike Lime, Sonny Matthews, Gem Halliday and Craig Lees are building a junior rugby league module for the Whangateau Rams club.

Rams junior coordinator Craig Lees says he’s got 2020 vision – he’s looking toward next year as being the season to write a new chapter of the Whangateau Rams club’s history since its clubhouse burned down in 2014.

The club will be hosting a junior open day on Saturday, September 14 from 10am to 2pm, with a view to attracting sufficient numbers to field at least three teams in the Auckland Rugby League (ARL) competition.

On the day, they will have past premier players to help out with a drills and skills station for the kids to have a go, and possibly some special rugby league guests from Auckland.

Warkworth Butchery will be providing 200 sausages for the barbecue to keep the youngsters fed.

“There’s an excitement about what’s going on and we have building support from sponsors. There are also still plenty of opportunities for local business to get involved,” says Lees.

The club will run a tag tournament similar to rippa rugby for young ones, while ARL competition games for the junior grade will be played on Saturday mornings on a home and away basis.

Lees says training will be at a venue in Warkworth to make it easy for players who might want to come from the Wellsford or Snells Beach areas.

“The ultimate goal is to grow a premier side for the club again. At the moment, it is primarily about kids having fun, but eventually for ages 12 and up we will get into some serious coaching.

“We want to see some representative players coming out of Rodney.”

The club has had a 35+ masters league team, which was founded by Rhys Epiha, Mary Morunga, Henry Sylva and Angel Peihopa, two years ago after the clubhouse was rebuilt in 2017.

“It is mainly for fitness and fun for the senior players, but we have had a good season, with the highlight being our host day where each of the clubs in the competition came to Whangateau to play their games.”

The masters Rams have two games left in the season, with the final being against Hibiscus Coast Raiders for the Inkersole Shield at Birkenhead War Memorial Park on Sunday, August 25.

It is played in memory of Ray Inkersole, who was a founding member of the Whangateau club and a long-serving president. He passed away shortly before the opening of the new clubhouse.

“It’s something pretty special we have with Coast and there’s quite a lot on the line for us.”

Sponsors and players can contact Craig on 027 628 4344 or rodneyrams@outlook.com.


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