A new coach and returning players are proving to be a winning formula for the seniors at Tomarata Rugby Football Club this season.
The team finished seventh in the Northland Rugby Union’s Division One last year with just two wins, but has already won its first three matches of the season, including a victory over last year’s champions, Kaihu.
Team manager Patrick Cullinan puts their success down to an improved structure around the squad.
“Last season the team was thrown together, but this year we’ve had great numbers at trainings with a lot of players returning to the club and gelling really well,” he says.
This depth has proved useful after three players suffered hamstring injuries in the second match.
The current squad is made up of more than 30 players and is under the direction of new coach Lindsay Harris.
Lindsay played more than 100 games for Auckland and was a member of the coaching staff for the Blues development squad.
“He’s had to adapt his style to coach at a district club level, but the team is grasping his tactics well,” Patrick says.
The team’s best performance so far this season was in round three when they beat Whangaruru 29-24.
“The boys really stepped up on defence in that match and took their chances on attack.
“Attacking manoeuvres in the back line are still something we need to work on though.”
The team’s goal is to win the south zone championship, which would see them play off against the top teams from the north zone.
“The north zone has some tough teams in it so the play-offs will definitely be a challenge, as we won’t get a chance to play them before then.”
Patrick says if the Tomarata Seniors win, they will have to turn down promotion to the Premier grade because they don’t have the numbers to form the required second team.