Football news

Junior football popular with the kids

The junior football season wrapped up last weekend with the teams’ end-of-season get-togethers. Here’s a look back at how things went.

Festival football

This year Ōtaki Sports Club had two teams (above) in the festival of 7th/8th grade football. This is the very first grade kids play Saturday morning football. Festival football is a programme developed by NZ Football with a big emphasis on making football fun. The coach of these teams was Scott Easthope. As well as his long history in coaching and playing football he also had a great ability to make the kids enjoy their introduction to football.

The Raiders (9th grade)

The Raiders (above) played in the 9th grade this year and finished mid table. This is the first year a number of these players have played football. Coach Brad Milne is new to Ōtaki and has done a great job giving the Raiders a fun introduction to football.

The Defenders (10th grade)

The Defenders (above) played in the 10th grade this year. Seven of the players have been with the club for three years. Next year they move to the 11th grade and onto a larger field with two more players. Back left is coach Louis Bevan. He started with Ōtaki Sports Club when he was 5 and is now playing for Ōtaki College.

The Terminators (11th grade)

The Terminators (above) played in 11th grade this year. The majority of the team have played for the club for four years. But there were also a few players who had their first year of football. Next year this team moves to the 12th grade which will be their final year with Ōtaki Sports Club. Coach Takuira Williams (left) has coached the team every year.

The Chargers

The Chargers (partial squad above) were disappointed Covid restrictions meant finishing the season early with two games left to play, having won every game previously.

At the team’s end of season awards, Hamish Campbell was awarded Most Valuable Payer trophy with Elsie O’Sullivan runner up, and the three defenders Bill Brookman, Davy Leason and Ira Graham each received awards for excellence.

L-R above: Bill Brookman, Elsie O’Sullivan, Makaia Strawbridge, Rangiwaiata Tahuparae, Jon Rutten, Angus Moffat, Rick Smith ( Manager/Referee) Stanley Butler, Hamish Campbell, Jeremy Brookman (Coach)

College football

There’s a very strong association between Ōtaki Sports Club and Ōtaki College. Above, is the 2021 Ōtaki College junior football team, of which 13 of the players played for Ōtaki Sports Club last year. Coaches Kerry Bevan, Chris Heenan and Joseph Te Wiata also have a long association with Ōtaki Sports Club. There were three college teams this year and they all got to use the Ōtaki Sports Club football gear and clubrooms for training and games. Visiting college teams are always impressed with the high quality of the Haruātai Park complex.

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