Brothers chase history in club final
Nick and Jason Risdon might live in Wainuiomata, but their rugby hearts reside at the Hutt Recreation Ground.
Hutt Old Boys Marist's ever- green brothers will chase a rare piece of history on Sunday when Jason attempts to join his older sibling in captaining the club to a Jubilee Cup title.
In 2007 it was Nick, now 30, who held Wellington's famous trophy aloft after leading the Eagles to the club's first premier title since Hutt Old Boys and Hutt Valley Marist amalgamated in 1993.
Seven years later he's hoping his little brother can repeat the feat by inspiring the current crop to a win over their home-town club Wainui.
"It doesn't really matter who is captain. I probably still talk to him on the field like he's my little brother," Nick said yesterday.
"Growing up in Wainui, he was a bit chubbier than he is now and he lost most of the backyard battles, but I think these days I might be struggling there."
That's because Nick, a halfback, has watched his brother develop into one of Wellington club rugby's most experienced and inspirational opensides since he debuted for the premiers in 2006.
"Everyone can see from his play on the field that he leads by example and he's probably quite underrated as a player," he said. "He combines his physical ability with tactical ability. He's very smart. He's not a crash and bash player."
The respect is mutual.
Jason, a sparky by trade, has been following his brother around a rugby field since they played together at St Bernard's College.
"Nick was just a scrawny kid, so when I was third form and he was fifth form we both played under 55kg grade together," Jason said. "It wasn't until I made the prems that we played in the same team together again."
By then the older Risdon was already Hutt's premier captain and in the years since the pair have both become an integral part of the club on and off the field.
Nick has led the team for the best part of the last decade, including most of the three years when Jason plied his trade in Ireland's Division 1 competition for Old Belvedere Rugby Club in Dublin from 2009 to 2011.
The pair were co-captains in 2012, but with Nick battling former New Zealand schools halfback Sheridan Rangihuna for a starting spot this season, Jason has assumed the mantle, albeit, he says, only on the field.
"Off the field Nick does a lot of work organising the social stuff and I think that's been a huge key to our success," he said. "I can't speak for other clubs, but it's a big focus of our team and our club."
Midweek dinners, ten pin bowling, quiz nights, and other social activities have been a weekly occurrence during the second half of the season and last night the squad chowed down at Cowboy Jack's restaurant in Lower Hutt.
It was a last chance to relax together.
"I don't know if I should tell you this, but Nick and I are both from Wainui. We were brought up there and we still live in Wainui, but we've always played for the Hutt," he said. "We probably have more family ties to Wainui than the Hutt, so there's a healthy rivalry."
The Risdon boys aren't the only survivors from the HOBM side that beat Marist St Pats 18-10 in the 2007 final at Westpac Stadium with props Simon Malaeulu and Otto Rasch, and lock Steven Bradshaw also set to play a part in 2014.
The Dominion Post