Falcons ready for relaunch
Feilding's rugby league powerhouse should be back up and running next year.
The Feilding Falcons didn't enter a team this year with coach Mike Graham needing a break and he was originally set to move to Hamilton.
He had been looking for a change of scenery but Downer Construction, where he works as a construction supervisor, offered him an incentive to stay so he will be getting the team going again.
"I just had a talk to the boys to see if they're keen to go for next year and by all accounts it's good to go," he said.
Most of the Falcons players joined rugby clubs or didn't play at all. Some played for the Foxton Rebels so they would be eligible for the national league, but Graham was confident most of them would return.
"By the looks of things, most of them played rugby this year. They're two different games. It was a bit different for them and they didn't enjoy it as much as they thought they would."
Matt Mataki, Richie Graham and Valu Laumape were among those who played for Feilding Old Boys-Oroua.
"They'd be pretty handy at anything with the oval ball," Graham said. "As long as there's running and tackling."
There were also a number of up-and-coming players who were keen to pull on the blue jersey next year.
"Some of the young boys we had try to get an under-15 team and stuff but the competition didn't go ahead. Some of those guys who are 18 now have been in touch."
The Falcons won the Manawatu competition from 2009 to 2011 and also have a good record in the combined Manawatu Taranaki Western Alliance competition.
Between now and next season, Graham was working on getting the club's culture back to where it was so they could return to their former glory. "Part of the success through Feilding Falcons was about they all liked playing together. That was the key ingredient."
Graham was back coaching the Mid Central Vipers team in the national league and had missed it during his break.
"If you talk to any of these coaches you wonder what you're doing [not coaching]. I got a little bit lost, a little bit like that this year. Really excited about the [Mid Central] zone especially at game time."
Graham, along with his sister, Eliza, and mother Gloria have been running the club over the past five years.