“So Brett, we have to go and watch a League game this afternoon because two great guys are playing. But I promise we will only go if they are actually playing, and if the weather is good”
Needless to say this afternoon Brett and I spent a wet and windy afternoon on the sidelines at Finlayson Park along with Bill and Romeel who were also on the sidelines – oops.
Bill and Romeel are part of a great initiative by Counties Manukau Rugby League to encourage more Asians to play league. Anyone who has gone to a Warriors game knows the Asian community are huge supporters but they can be a bit reluctant to play. Hence the Ethnic League.
Here is their description from their Facebook page
The ethnic minorities of Asians and Indians taking the field to show case their skills in the first ever NZ ethnic competition run by Counties Manukau Rugby League. Currently accommodating four teams, Counties Manukau Piranhas, Auckland Wasps, Onehunga Guardianz and the Asian Eagles. Always on the look out for more teams and players for this prestigious competition. Just goes to show no matter what size, gender or ethnicity you are, anyone can play the great game of Rugby League.
And here is an article from the Herald when the league first started
Anyway it just so happens that two great guys that I have worked with, happened to be in opposing teams, and how could I miss the opportunity to watch them run into each other. Except neither of them actually played and the conditions were not great. I know plenty of people spend lots of time on the sidelines in sub zero temperatures ankle deep in mud to support their teams. But not this delicate flower. I mean there wasn’t a coffee cart,or bar for miles – just saying.
But while I am a softie, the same could not be said about others. They were absolutely committed, and showing some great skills under very trying conditions. And that was just the spectators. The players were absolutely giving their all. It would have been exhausting.
One of the best things about my role at Goodman Fielder has been getting the opportunity to interact more with the people of South Auckland. I think I have mentioned this before, but South Auckland is where it is at. If you want to see what Auckland and New Zealand is going to be like in 50 years time, spend time out here. And if in 50 years time, we have Filipinos, Indians, Chinese, and other Asian communities out there playing a great game, supported by their families and friends, and maybe some of them making the Kiwis, then people must have been doing something right. Mind you what do I know, I didn’t bring gumboots with me.
Anyway today’s game resulted in a 12 all draw. So not sure what they means in terms of rankings, but if there is a rematch for the final, Brett and I will be there. But we will be a bit better prepared – warm hat for Brett’s head if it is a cold day, and a hip flask for the old soak.
Huge shout out to Kasey King from Counties Manukau Rugby League for getting this initiative underway, and thanks Bill and Romeel for encouraging me to come and see what happens when Piranhas meet Eagles