Three years ago, as club rugby legend Aidan Winter prepared to play his 200th game for Arrowtown, he admitted he’d played in almost every position except lock.
That changed last Saturday when, facing a locking crisis, he donned the no.5 jersey for his 233rd game for the Bulls — a White Horse Cup challenge against Upper Clutha, in Tarras, which Arrowtown lost 39-13 after the teams were locked at 13-all just after halftime.
‘‘I wasn’t jumping, just pushing in the scrum, pretty much.’’
Winter, who turns 41 next month, says ‘‘I’ve done it all now, mate’’.
He played halfback, wing and fullback in his school days, ‘‘when I was a bit faster’’, but since joining the Bulls in 2005 he has played 10, 12, and 13, in the front row and, most regularly, in the loose forwards.
‘‘When we won the champ ionship in 2008 I was hooker.’’
Winter admits, with just two wins from 10 games, Arrowtown is having its worst season since he joined them.
‘‘Every week’s different, you can’t get the same team on the paddock, it does make it hard.’’
They play their final home game against Maniototo this Saturday — kick-off is at 2.30pm at Jack Reid Park — then, following a bye, finish their season by playing Alexandra on July 1.
‘‘We’ve got a very, very, very, very slim chance of making the top four.
‘‘If we won the next two and Wakatipu lose all theirs and Maniototo lose all theirs, we have a chance, but I can’t see it, to be honest.’’
As to whether he’ll play again next season, Winter says ‘‘I don’t want to say yes or no, I’ll just see what next year [brings]’’.
Meanwhile, defending champs Wakatipu are struggling to make the top four after losing 20-9 to Maniototo at home last weekend — especially as they face Cromwell away, this Saturday, then unbeaten Upper Clutha at home the week after.
‘‘We’ve got a habit this year of making things difficult for ourselves just when we, sort of, get a leg up,’’ coach Brett Anderson says.
‘‘We’re struggling to get our game going and turn our opportunities into points, so we’ve got a bit of work to do, and we’re well aware of that.’’
Waka beat Cromwell at home 40-17 in the first round, but Anderson says they’ll be stronger this time.
‘‘They’ve got a few key players back.’’
A slap or a punch?
What one Simon says is wrong, according to another Simon.
Arrowtown coach Simon Harper last week complained his centre, Laitia Rogoivalu, was wrongly serving a four-week ban for allegedly
knocking out an Alexandra player, on May 13, when all he’d administered was ‘‘an open-handed slap in the chest’’.
Alex player Simon Lloyd’s mum, Sally Lloyd, however, saw red when she read Harper’s comments.
Sally says Rogoivalu legitimately tackled her 26-year-old, ‘‘but as he slipped, [Rogoivalu’s] arms came around Simon’s neck and he didn’t let him go and he was sort of choking’’.
‘‘Simon fell backwards then pushed the guy to say, ‘lay off’, and then the guy stepped up to him and smacked him one in the jaw.’’
Sally says Simon subsequently suffered bad concussion and hasn’t played since — ‘‘he doesn’t even know if he wants to play again’’.