Mad on Sport
By crikey, it's no wonder I'm yawning. Talk about burn the candle at both ends. It all started on Wednesday when I went across to Sydney for the official launch of the 2014 NRL season.
Vodafone Warriors coach Matt Elliott was there along with five players and we had a blast.
Also present were members of each club - in the old days we just called them fans - but the bigwigs have decreed they are members now.
It was great to see the members-fans along though. They loved it and the whole launch was really professional. It has left me raring to go for the year.
But of course before that happened I got home in time to tune in for the Blues against Canterbury and what a ripper of a Super Rugby game it was.
The NRL Nines came to town and the 90,000 people there over the two days at Eden Park weren't disappointed. It was a blast.
A big thumbs up must go to Dave Smith and the whole NRL team, Dean Lonergan and David Higgins of Duco Events, and to mayor Len Brown and his ATEED staff, because without their efforts it simply wouldn't have happened.
The Eden Park team were sensational, from catering to the security staff who showed really good levels of common sense around how they handled people over the two days.
And of course the biggest thank you has to go to major sponsors Dick Smith, who gave Auckland an event to be proud of.
I have been involved in rugby league for 50 years give or take and I have managed the mighty Mangere East Hawks, the Vodafone Warriors and the Kiwis, and had amazing experiences because of it but the Nines was the complete experience in two days.
Though the generosity of JA Russell, the big electrical firm, I was able to attend the Wellington Sevens and let me tell you it was some party.
They really looked after us, with the NZ Women's 7s team there, Tony Veitch, Grant Fox and even the man himself, Sir Gordon Tietjens.
It was quite an experience and the costumes were magnificent but there has been some poor press around the behaviour of some of the crowd and understandably so.
I certainly saw a few people who might have had a few too many and although the vast majority of the crowd were just having a good time, it wasn't always a good look.
There's nothing wrong with having a drink - and I am no angel - but the organisers and the authorities are going to have a look at the issue and rightly so.
We are well into 2014 already and I hope you all had a great break. I loved being out on Waiheke Island over the holidays and I even had a kayak with former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry.
But there's only one thing on my mind and that's how great the season is going to be for my beloved Vodafone Warriors.
We play the Gold Coast Titans in our first trial at North Harbour Stadium on February 9 at 4pm before heading to Waikato Stadium on February 12 for a clash against one of the most famous league clubs in the world, the Wigan Warriors, at 7.30pm.
I'm really looking forward to that one because it is so rare that we get the chance to see top English sides out here and of course our new signing Sam Tomkins - and what a great bloke he is - will be lining up against his old team-mates.
Then the weekend will roll around and the only place to be will be Eden Park where the NRL Nines tournament will take place - it's going to bigger than Superman.
League has brought me a great deal of pleasure over my lifetime and last week I had the opportunity to attend the New Zealand Rugby League Awards - and got a whole lot more.
Having been asked to present the best volunteers award, I was absolutely chuffed to find the Mangere East Hawks' Tasha Tasmania was the women's winner.
I couldn't have been prouder. Tash is an incredible woman with tons of vigour and energy who works absolutely tirelessly for a club that's dear to my heart.
You might recall that I wrote a week or two ago about a friend who was at the Manukau Sports Awards and told me how delighted he was to meet an unknown woman from the Mighty Hawks who impressed him so much. Of course it was no surprise to me when we worked out who it was. Tash.
Well done Tasha, it is an award you should be very proud of because grassroots clubs are still the heart of our great game and I can't think of anyone more deserving of recognition.
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