Around the Grounds - September 1

Around the Grounds - September 1

Open captain’s run
The PIC Steelers are doing something a little different and inviting fans to come to their captain’s run on Saturday.
While many teams like to hide away behind closed doors in final preparation for a game, Reon Graham and the coaching staff are encouraging fans to come along as the side completes their preparation for Sunday’s game against North Harbour at Albany.
The captain’s run will take place at Navigation Homes Stadium (enter via Gate B) on Saturday at 10.30am until about 11.30am and players will hang around to sign interviews at the conclusion.

CMRFU taking over provincial rugby
Counties Manukau people are taking over the provincial rugby world. Okay, well maybe not the whole provincial union world, but certainly provincial rugby across the Chiefs region at least.
Looking at the chairmen of the NPC teams in the Chiefs region, all of them have links to our proud province.
Obviously CMRFU chairman Gary Millington is a proud ex-Steeler while his counterpart Andrew Thompson from Taranaki is a born and bred Onewhero boy. Stephen Shale at Waikato Rugby has ties to the region too while Scott Kahle from BOP is a Wesley College old boy. We even hear Kahle may have had a photo with CMRFU President Jim Coe – a player he looked up to when he was at school - at the PIC Steelers’ NPC game in Tauranga last week.
Did we also mention former Steeler Steve Axtens happens to be BOP Rugby Union’s President?

What it means to play 50 games for the Heat
Massive props to former Counties Energy Heat star and Black Ferns legend Justine Lavea who jumped on a plane from Hong Kong and turned up at Navigation Homes Stadium last weekend to celebrate Heat veteran Stacey Brown’s 50th FPC cap.
Lavea now resides in Asia where she is a player-coach but wasn’t going to miss the chance to honour the evergreen Brown.
Speaking of Brown, there was hardly a dry eye in the house during the post-match celebrations of her milestone. Brown is the daughter of Papakura Rugby legend, Willie Brown, who was also on hand for the big day, and spoke beautifully about his pride in his daughter.

Boof still has it
It was great to see a huge number of fans make the trek down to Tauranga for the PIC Steelers’ gutsy win over the Steamers last Sunday. In the crowd was Steelers centurion and former assistant coach Grant Henson, who is looking in top nick.
He’s had more comebacks than Madonna but looks like he could still mix it with today’s players.

No divided loyalties for Brain
PIC Steelers fans could have been forgiven for nearly choking on their hot dogs in the stands at Tauranga Domain last Sunday after the ground MC decided to interview a local Steamers sponsor by the name of Errol Brain.
To be fair to him, the Steelers centurion and current Chiefs board member is the GM of a Bay of Plenty-based business. We can assure you, though, his ties to Counties Manukau remain strong and he was rapt with the gritty performance put in by Reon Graham’s men.

Big week for Manurewa High School Girls team
Manurewa HS Girls 1st XV defeated Hamilton Girls HS 1st XV 27-10 on Monday afternoon to become the Chiefs region representative in the NZ Schoolgirls 1st XV Top 4.
It is a great achievement after the disappointment of losing the Auckland secondary school semi-final last Monday against AGGS.
The team had to travel to New Plymouth to play against Sacred Heart Girls College last Wednesday (where they enjoyed a big win) so had three games in seven days.
They will travel to Palmerston North on September 16-18 for National Top 4.

Successful season concludes for Pukekohe High
Well done to Pukekohe High School 1st XV boys who travelled to New Plymouth Boys High School last weekend.
Pukekohe High School fell just short of reaching the Chiefs 1st XV Top 4 final but should be praised for their efforts and achievements that led them up to that point with successful victories to this point.

PAC 15s a big success
Counties Manukau Rugby held the inaugural Pasifika Aotearoa Cup 15's over two days this week at Pukekohe Rugby Club. One of many initiatives across the nation during Winter Tournament Week supported by New Zealand Rugby, the weather turned it on alongside DJ FlipTheScripta on the tunes with support from local food trucks Jimmy's ice cream, Moana's treats, Homegrown & Fritz Weiners.
Thank you to all the teams and management for their efforts over the two days that helped make the tournament a success.
The foundation has been set and we can't wait to see what this tournament brings in 2023.