The Manurewa Rugby Club celebrates their centenary this week with a range of events planned to mark the occasion, culminating in their premier side’s clash with long-time rivals Papakura at Mountfort Park on Saturday.
The club is the most successful in the history of the Counties Manukau Union, having won more McNamara Cups than any club.
Their 26 titles are comfortably the most out of any club and they dominated the club scene from 1961-71 winning nine times in 11 years, through the late 1970s, into the 1980s and in the 1990s where they won eight times in 10 seasons.
Some of the biggest names in the sport have played for Manurewa and many will be in attendance with celebrations starting as early as Thursday night, when old boys will watch the current premier side train.
A mix and mingle will take place on Friday night before a big day of matches on Saturday at home ground Mountfort Park.
A black tie dinner will take place Saturday and a more relaxed catch up will complete the weekend on Sunday.
“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes from the committee and some of the old boys setting up this weekend,” premier coach Jeremy Clark told Counties Sports Hub.
“I know the alcohol delivery last night there were a lot of crates being put inside and there will be a fair few cups of tea being consumed with all the old boys from yesteryear reminiscing
“Credit to the committee getting it all sorted especially with all the hard times in the last year or so.
“We saw what happened with Onewhero and needing to push it back so we have just been hoping this weekend could go ahead.”
The occasion will prove as much of a test as a competitive Papakura outfit. With so much fanfare around and so many people in attendance there will be pressure to get a result.
“I think there is a lot of expectation and there always is with what has gone before us,” Clark said. “We are only caretakers of the jersey and there will be people wearing it after us.
“I had to pinch myself getting ready for training – this is a privilege to be involved in such a prestigious time. This will go down in folklore when you look back at it, when I’m an old man.
“My old man has already told me I better get it done or don’t come inside afterwards.”
The club opted to play the match against old foes Papakura, who have been long-time rivals over both club’s existence.
“I think when we look back Papakura and Manurewa have a long history and I think that is reasoning for the game,” Clark said.
“Papakura back in the day was a very strong club as well – they are 110-plus years and have been around a long time – but it is about the rivalry the clubs had back in the day.”
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