Counties Power game of the week - Waiuku Brian James Contracting v Manurewa Kidd Contracting - Premier - Saturday 6 May 2017

DateWed, 03 May 2017

Referee Simon Brown goes the full circle in this week’s Counties Power Game of the Week between Waiuku and Manurewa premiers.

Some new challenges have become a priority for Brown so he will call time on his refereeing career after Saturday’s match. While he’s excited about his future endeavours this week serves as a time for reflection on a career that began 18 years ago and started with a Waiuku premiers match.

“I’m excited,” he says. “I have had some huge experiences and met some pretty amazing people along the way.

“I started 18 years ago. I played rugby for most of my teenage days at the Manurewa club and then branched out into refereeing and coaching at young Small Blacks grades with one of my sons and did that for four years. I went into refereeing after that.

“It has been good but now it is time to move to the next chapter.”

Highlights for Brown during his career were controlling games at provincial level and Super Rugby development matches as well as one or two specific games that have special meaning.

“I got to referee quite a bit overseas,” he says. “I got to referee a curtain-raiser to the All Blacks. It was at North Harbour Stadium when the All Blacks played the Pacific Islands and I did a schoolboys First XV game in front of a packed house, which was cool.”

Saturday’s match carries special meaning for Brown. It is the Pat Walsh memorial match and features the club he once played for at a venue where he made his premier debut.

“Hey it is going to be exciting. There will definitely be an emotion there as we get towards the end. The decision hasn’t been made lightly so I will be excited.

“Because it was the Pat Walsh memorial, who was a very good family friend, and my first prem game I ever did was at Waiuku so it all ties in nicely.”

The two sides will be desperate to finish the first round on a high and to keep in touch with the top four sides.

Manurewa narrowly lost to Karaka last week and are ruing getting so close without jumping the final hurdle. Coach Josh Levi says his side is focused on a big finish to the first round.

“It is really important in terms of going into the second round. We want to win this game first of all but we also want a bonus point as well.

“This week is going to be a big game for us.”

Waiuku have been a bit up and down this year, putting in a couple of really impressive performances against good sides but also being on the wrong end of a couple of big scores. Levi says that will make them dangerous because he knows what they are capable of.

“They will be just as hungry as us so it will probably come down to who wants it more on the day. They are in a similar position to us and they will be targeting this game as well.”