MARIST Club president Bill Dowling said the 2020 Marist team has the potential to win the club’s eighth Galbraith Shield title.
Marist was knocked out in the semi-finals last year when attempting to win its third straight Galbraith Shield title.
Marist was to celebrate its 100-year history this year but, due to the pandemic, the club’s centenary celebrations have been postponed until Queen’s Birthday weekend next year.
The Marist premier team has been lucky to have consistency of coaches and senior players in recent years.
Coaches Marty Smith and Marty O’Connell, and captain Scott Eade, are lining up again this year, with Eade playing his 100th game for the club last week.
Team managers Regan Fahey and Peter Jones are overseeing a steady ship.
Two significant player withdrawals from last year were forwards Tangaroa Walker and Southland Stags flanker Phil Halder, who is plying his trade overseas this year.
Another huge loss for Marist is midfielder Javaan Fa’amoe-Ioane, who broke his ankle earlier this season. Fullback Curtis Tarrant suffered a concussion but will be back for the second round.
Scottish midfielder Robbie Yourston has joined the club along with three players from the North Island, who have come south hoping to make the Southland Stags team.
Tevita Latu is a wing from the Auckland University Club, while halfback Raniera Takarangi already has experience in the Mitre 10 Cup with Waikato.
Centre Ueta Tufuga played alongside his three brothers for Wairarapa Bush last year.
Dowling said the club was in good heart. “The 120-member supporters’ club is great for the club.”
As well as the premier team, the club’s senior B team has plenty of players and is competing in the bottom six of division two for the Life Members Trophy.
The club’s Presidents Grade team has combined with Bluff this year and the women’s team is one of four clubs competing in the Sunday club competition, which it won last year.
Marist also has a healthy number of players in the primary school grades, and 14 junior teams.
The Marist premier team has won two and lost two games this season and is coming off a 41-26 win over Blues last weekend.
Marist led 24-9 at half-time and was first to score after the break. Marist stretched the margin to 41-16 before Blues scored two tries in the last 15 minutes.
Marist’s fifth and final match of the first round is this Saturday against the competition favourites at Woodlands.
Marist premier squad: Shaun Stodart, Joe Weatherall, Reuben Northover, Ben Fotheringham, Kalib Te Ngahue, Jack Nally, Sam Brierley, Scott Eade, Tane Puki, Keanu Kahukura, Robbie Yourston, Ueta Tufuga, Tevita Latu, Will Murray, James Moodie, Siaki Taualofa, Simon Dowling, Aleki Saili, Jeremy Boyle, Joni Finau, Allan Gillies, Kuki Wickliffe, Hamish Kennelly, Raniera Takarangi, Curtis Tarrant, Sam Hogan, Javaan Fa’amoe Ioane.