He was a man with mana who instilled fear into any opposition player. His intimidation factor and tough tackling earnt him respect throughout the world. Even with his success, the late Jerry Collins always stayed close to his first club Norths. He would take any opportunity to represent the club amid a busy All Blacks schedule. Also acknowledged with this medal is Willie Collins from the Petone club. Willie was a first cousin of Jerry, and tragically passed away whilst diving over a year ago. Willie played most his rugby at Petone, but also played a season with HOBM, and coached at Upper Hutt Rams in their inaugural season post-merger.
This Saturday's Norths Vs Petone clash marks the first time players will get to play for the Collins Medal in memory of Jerry and Willie Collins. The medal is awarded to the player of the day and it'll be on the line in the first game between the two sides every season. Expect to feel some thunderous tackles from the sideline that came to typify the way 'Jerry' played the game. The big clash starts at 2.45pm on Awaikarangi Park number two. Good luck to all players involved!
This great battle will be one of 14 Premier and Premier Reserve games taking place on Tranzit Coachlines Gala Day. The Premier Reserves will play the curtain-raisers to their first team's clash at 2.45pm. All games are being played across Maoribank Park and Awaikarangi Park. Tea and coffee will be served as well as plenty of kid's activities. Why not try a Souvlaki at the Greek Truck situated at Awaikarangi Park?
Below is a preview of other feature games in Round One of the Swindale/Harper Lock Shield. Expect a few nerves as players and coaches settle into a new season.
For many, the Tawa vs Marist St Pats battle is seen to be the game of the round. This is a repeat of last year's epic Jubilee Cup final and MSP will be desperate to make amends for their loss. Both teams have enjoyed a great recent rivalry having met twice in Jubilee Cup playoff action over the past two seasons. Expect another tight game between two great teams. For those unable to attend, Te Upoko o Te Ika will be commentating the game on 1161am and Tunein Radio.
Metres away fans can witness the great Hutt rivalry- Hutt Old Boy Marist v Upper Hutt Rams. Matches between these two teams are typically close and a bit of extra feeling is always expected! If this game is anything like last year's 24-24 draw, then we are in for a treat.
Similarly, the battle between Avalon and Wainuiomata will be something to savour. Wainoimata has had the wood over their rivals including a comfortable 20-8 victory last season. Avalon will be desperate to improve on last season's 12th placing in the Swindale Shield; whereas Wainuiomata will be looking to build on their successful Jubilee Cup season.
Other great encounters to enjoy on Tranzit Coachlines Gala Day include Old Boys University v Poneke, Johnsonville v Wellington and Oriental-Rongatai v Paremata- Plimmerton.
The Reserves will play the curtain-raisers to the Premier games at 12.45pm. They will play the same clubs as their Premier counterparts only hours earlier.
There will be a lot of interest in the performance of Marist St Pats who are looking to build on an outstanding 2016 season. The local Upper Hutt fans will also be hoping their Reserves team can set-up a two from two against local rivals HOBM across both grades!
A full schedule of the times and locations of all Premier and Premier Reserve games on Tranzit Coachlines Gala Day can be seen under the 'Senior- Draws and Results' section of our website.
Enough of our pre-season analysis and predictions- let's get this started!