Five Moutere players, plus one Marlborough Girls’ College student, have been named in the Tasman Mako women squad for the forthcoming Farah Palmer Cup campaign.
Halfback Pippa Andrews, lock Hannah Gillespie, flanker Jordan Foster, plus backs Hayley Hutana and Wairakau Greig hail from the Magpies, while tight head prop Raumati Rogers is a student at Marlborough Girls’ College.
The bulk of the 28-strong squad is composed of players from the local club competition-winning Waimea Old Boys side, with three from the Motueka High School side and two from Wanderers.
Four of the squad did not play in the Tasman competition, including front rowers Paris Hart and Gabi Dixson from Bay of Plenty, who will be loan players.
Former Nelson players returning for the campaign are Sydnee Wilkins, who has been playing in Manawatu, and Rebecca Kersten, who has been in Japan playing sevens. Both were previous Tasman sevens reps.
The team’s coach this season is Chris Binns. The former Tasman women’s sevens mentor says he is “very, very happy” with the 2019 squad.
“We have a whole lot of depth this year, good coverage in all positions. There were some very good players who missed out.”
He pointed to a few key players who he expected to stand out during their campaign.
“Up front, in the loose forwards, Jess Foster-Lawrence is absolutely crucial. In the backs, the Moutere girls, Hayley Hutana and Wairakau Greig, will be vital. Hayley brings her kicking skills and ability to control a game … Wai offers a huge amount of leadership to the team and a rugged, no-fear attitude on defence.”
Binns said despite the fact 18-year-old front-rower Rogers did not play in the Tasman senior women’s grade she had been part of the women’s academy and was given a Mako trial based on potential. “She basically exceeded all our expectations … it would have been hard not to pick her.”
The coach said he felt this was a stronger combination than last season’s side, who picked up just one win, with increased depth across the region and the influence of the newly-formed Tasman women’s academy becoming major factors.
The Mako will play in the championship section of the cup, their first round-robin game scheduled for Blenheim on September 7.
The Mako play North Harbour in Blenheim on Saturday September 7, 2pm kick-off, Taranaki in New Plymouth on Saturday September 14 (12.05pm), Otago in Dunedin on Saturday September 21 (2pm), Hawke’s Bay in Nelson on Friday September 27 (5.05pm) and Northland in Whangarei on Saturday October 5 (2pm).
They have a game-of-three-halves against Canterbury and Otago in Christchurch on August 24.
Tasman Mako women 2019: Forwards – Anna Bradley, Gabi Dixson, Louise Nalder, Meika Newman, Paris Hart, Raumati Rogers, Steph Mitchell, Courtney Clarke, Hannah Gillespie, Jaunita Thomson, Hannah Beech, Jess Harvie, Jessica Foster-Lawrence, Jordan Foster, Leah Miles, Tamara Silcock. Backs – Jaime Paenga, Pippa Andrews, Bethan Manners, Hayley Hutana, Alesha Dempster, Demi Salton, Jess Drummond, Wairakau Greig, Amelia Hammett, Anya Schultz, Rebecca Kersten, Sydnee Wilkins. Management: Chris Binns (coach), Bevan Thompson (asst coach), Koren Grason (manager).