Running out onto Trafalgar Park with a blue rugby jersey embedded with a red gryphon on your chest still holds plenty of importance for the latest crop of Nelson Bays players.
Hearing mid week speeches from former Nelson Bays legends like Kahu Marfell and John Goodman and pulling the gryphon with their hands when they score a try, player-coach Daniel Perrin says the 2013 squad is still proud to represent Nelson, even if the Tasman Makos are deemed to be the elite team from the region.
Without a full season competition, Nelson Bays was given the assignment of a Seddon Shield defence against Marlborough. By beating the Red Devils, Nelson were then booked in to face Lochore Cup champions Buller, who were swept away 42-15. The win means Nelson Bays players will get one more match before putting their feet up for the season, this time against West Coast at Trafalgar Park on Saturday.
When comparing the Nelson Bays side that famously won the NPC second division to the team of today, which is made of up of the best club rugby players that didn’t gain Makos contracts, it’s easy to note plenty of differences. But Daniel says the pride is still the same, and that could be what is spurring the side on in 2013. “There is a good core of young guys who have gone through the age grades wearing the blue jersey as well so there’s plenty of pride there and they love to pull out the gryphon when they score a try,” he says.
“We’ve had a lot of guys this year that have wanted to play for the Bays team and it’s made things a lot easier so to have two wins with 40-odd points on the point each time we have to be pretty happy.”