You couldn’t find a more worthy or admirable team to win the WBOP Championship other than our Pāpaka U13 Rugby team.
You couldn’t find a more worthy or admirable team to win the WBOP Championship other than our Pāpaka U13 Rugby team. Not only were they dragged through the proverbial political mud.
They had all the odds stacked against them heading into their final on the 1st of September this year. A season that started with 2 simple words: Honesty & Team.
“An honest player will train and play well, and play to the best of their ability for the Team, not for himself,” says Coach Matua Parkinson, a veteran of the Pāpaka jersey himself, having played his 300th game for the Pāpaka Premiers this season.
“I pick my team on character and potential, having natural talent is a bonus, but a good coach will harness and develop a young man to the best of his ability. Becoming a humble and respectful boy on and off the field will reflect that coaching.”
Early February kicked off pre-season training, nearly three months of gruelling fitness, team runs, individual skills and most importantly team culture was instilled.
The U13 grade is seen as the epitome of JMC rugby, it is the last grade they can play club rugby before they head off to College but hopefully not their last time to ever wear the beloved Pāpaka crest on their chest.
Throughout the season, boys are encouraged to return later in their rugby careers to play once again. Some, or in this team’s case, most of our players whakapapa to this Club. Their 3rd generation bloodlines are the very foundations it is built on. The core of the team has played together since U6’s. So, to conclude their JMC rugby days on an ultimate high was a huge cherry on top. Only conceding one lost in their round robin games, they qualified for a home semi-final against a well-drilled Te Puke team.
A well-fought win confirmed their place in the final. Throughout the entire season, these boys were taught not only the skill set of their positions and team systems, but they were also introduced to the art of mental imagery and self-belief.
Being well prepared mentally and physically is the difference. “Both myself and co-coach Atirau Ohia never doubted our team for one minute, we both had given each player the confidence and drive to want to win the final for each other and to win as a team,” says a delighted Matua. This is the 2nd year in a row Matua has coached this grade. His son, Kiira Parkinson played for 2017 WBOP Pāpaka U13 Championship team too.
Being the youngest member of that team, he was able to play the grade for a second time and having his Dad as coach again was a bonus. Nothing was to change heading into the final. Warm up was the same – the only moment that was different was the pre-game team talk. No loud music, no yelling, only positive affirmations and breathing techniques. They had done all the hard work prior to this game and were chomping at the bit to get out there and WIN…… and win they b***** did!
The moment they ran out of the changing shed and onto Moore Park and recited the Haka “Maunganui” I knew these boys were up for action and full noise. Every single player played to the best of their ability, playing an HONEST game for the TEAM.
The final whistle blew with the score of 47-19. A very convincing and well DESERVING win! Kia whakapapaka au i a ahau.
Ngā mihi, By Cheri Parkinson, Manager U13 Pāpaka
“I write for this for Bay Waka for my love and loyalty to all our future Pāpaka’s.”