Thu, 06 Apr 2017
Saturday’s Counties Power Game of the Week will be a game of milestones.
The Karaka and Waiuku Brian James Contracting premier sides meet in the feature game at Karaka Sports Complex with a number of players celebrating special achievement and even the referee reaching a significant milestone.
Antony Petrie will control his 100th premier game on Saturday and join an exclusive club that includes Nigel Bradley, Simon Brown and John Wright as current referees to have achieved the feat.
The 28-year-old made his debut as a referee in 2003 after finishing as a player in his teens.
“I would never have played one game of premier rugby as a player so to referee 100 games is something I never would have thought possible,” Petrie says.
“It will be a nice little life moment for me.”
Petrie says he won’t have any extra nerves when he takes the field as he will approach it like any other match but he will have some extra support and a few more eyes on him because of the occasion.
“I will have friends and family there that wouldn’t otherwise be there so that will be special.”
Petrie, who is the Referee Education Officer for Counties Manukau Rugby, admits to dreaming about going further with his refereeing.
“I am happy doing my thing in club rugby but if an opportunity came up to go to the next level I would love that.”
Karaka coach Craig Hill says a couple of the Karaka players will bring up personal milestones as well.
“Russell Coutts will be playing his 100th and John Fifita will be playing his 50th and blazer game,” Hill says.
“Russell has been here since 2009 and is an experienced old hand now. He passes his knowledge on to the boys that we’ve got so he is pretty invaluable for our club.
“John is just a quiet achiever. There is no fuss with him. He has certainly improved a lot since he first played premier rugby and he’s even played a couple of games for Counties Bs.”
Hill’s Karaka side comes into the match on a three-game winning streak and will be favoured to beat a young Waiuku side that is in somewhat of a rebuilding year.
But Waiuku coach Alex Leger has seen progress in his side each week and wants his players to focus solely on their own game rather than concentrating on the quality of their opposition.
“It isn’t about them, it is about us and the way we play,” Leger says.
“Waiuku have traditionally played a pick and go and old style but we are trying to change that with this group and get them playing the way we want to play.”