PIC Steelers winger Jared Page will get stuck into a bit of banter on Friday night when he comes up against his former side North Harbour at Navigation Homes Stadium.
The Pukekohe product spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons with North Harbour, enjoying plenty of playing time and some of the best form of his career.
But Page jumped at the chance to come back home to link with the PIC Steelers as soon as he came off-contract, and he will hope to get the better of some of his mates on Friday night.
“I’m expecting to get peppered a bit from the North Harbour boys,” Page told Counties Sports Hub. “They are an awesome bunch of guys and they welcomed me in over the last couple of years.
“I will look at getting into a bit of banter with some of them and get a little chirpy – especially with the two Bryns [halfback Hall and first-five Gatland], who are pretty key to their game.”
Page was first selected for the PIC Steelers back in 2014 and followed that up with selection the following season. But a string of injuries nearly curtailed his career.
He made the move to North Harbour when the PIC Steelers contract wasn’t on offer and played some great rugby.
A Page hat-trick last season helped North Harbour to a stunning upset win over Ranfurly Shield holders Hawke’s Bay in a performance that stands out.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time there,” he said. “I learned a lot from that group of players and the coaches.
“I quite enjoyed the style of footy they played, giving the ball a bit of air and playing what was in front of us. That really suited me.
“It was a tough call to go up there, but I felt it was the right thing to do at the time.”
Having signed a two-year deal, Page wasn’t free to come home until this season and PIC Steelers coach Tai Lavea made it a priority to get the local junior back.
“Coming back for me is special,” Page explained. “I always wanted to be here. It is where I grew up and the team I have always supported.
“It is special for my family that I get to come home, live in Pukekohe again and play locally.”
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