By TRACEY ROXBURGH
While the Arrowtown Premiers are out to repeat history this Saturday, Wakatipu’s determined to correct it as the sides face old foes Upper Clutha and the Cromwell Goats, respectively, looking to book a 2020 Central Otago Premiers rugby finals berth.
The match-ups are a repeat of the 2019 semi-finals — which saw Arrowtown topple Upper
Clutha and Wakatipu tumble to Cromwell A — and, in the shortened 2020 Central Otago
comp, just the second time the sides have played each other.
Arrowtown co-coach Dan ‘Pup’ Eyles, whose team beat Matakanui 43-15 last weekend, is
under no illusion what the side’s up against in Wanaka on Saturday.
‘‘She’ll be a tough old ding-dong … we did get the wood over them in the semi-final last year, but she will be extremely difficult, I’d say, this year.
‘‘We’ll have to be well and truly on top of our game to get a win away in Wanaka — I’ve got
a feeling they’re fizzing for this, especially after last year.’’
Waka co-coach Grant ‘Spud’ Murphy’s also hoping his team can come back through the gorge with a ‘W’ after losing to Cromwell, in Cromwell, 60-33 early last month in their second game.
‘‘[It was] only one-sided in the second half — there were only 10 points in it at half-time.
‘‘Hopefully we’ve improved since then and we can now play for 80 minutes, instead of 40.
‘‘We’ve shown we’ve got lots of potential, we just need to tap into it.’’
Murphy says his side’s game fitness has definitely improved since then — last Saturday, white-line fever was evident in its 88-10 drubbing of the Cromwell Cavaliers — and
there’s little doubt Waka will be further motivated by the tantalising prospect of a Battle
of the Basin final, which would end the season the way both teams started it.
Meantime, Waka stalwarts Karlo Aggerholm and Okirua Coles hung their boots up on
Saturday after playing 331 games between them in the blue jersey for the Prems and
The pair both played their last games for the Wanderers in its loss to Mossburn, 45-17.
Murphy jokes Aggerholm — who played a total of 230 games for Waka over about 21 years — probably retired ‘‘at least half a dozen times’’ now.
And he’s not 100% convinced he’s thrown his boots out for good yet.
‘‘I would imagine if they need him he’ll make himself available … knowing the good man he is, he’d definitely turn up.’’
Coles, meanwhile, ducked out after six or seven seasons and his 101st game.
Across the Basin, Arrowtown prop Tom McKenzie’s hoping to celebrate his century for the
Bulls this Saturday by booking a finals berth.
Kickoff for both away games is 2.30pm, though due to Alert Level 2, supporters won’t be allowed to watch the game in Cromwell.
At this stage, supporters can watch the game in Wanaka, but have to either stay in, or in front of, their cars, maintaining social distancing.
Should there be a change in Alert Levels by tomorrow, the games may be pulled.