Secrets are safe with Stent, he knows the rules
Not much happens within a rugby team environment that the Manawatu Turbos' massage therapist Warren Stent doesn't hear about.
But he has to maintain a professional distance and not impart information players might have confided in him.
The medical room in all teams has always been a place where players come in and chat.
Stent has been helping Manawatu players get back on the field after injuries and bruises since 2008.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," he said.
"It is an enjoyable environment to be in, but you must be professional in what you do."
The players have got to know him well, as the most consistent member of the medical team for the past six years.
In 2007 he finished his diploma in massage therapy from UCOL.
Vaughan Antonio was doing the job then but Stent was taken on by then team manager John Knowles for the 2008 season on a voluntary season.
Stent runs his own practice these days, from chiropractor Greg Oke's rooms in Ruahine St, Palmerston North, and now his role with the Turbos is a paid one.
He celebrated his 50th game when Manawatu played North Harbour at Albany.
"Every NPC team has a massage therapist," he said.
"You must be able to multi-task, get gear together when you travel and at training.
"You've got to love what you do."
He has also worked with the Kia Toa senior team since 2007, also strapping players and doing injury assessment and referral. Strapping tape at Kia Toa costs up to $7000 per season.
It amounts to "bucketloads" with the Turbos too, Stent doing 80 percent of that work.
During games he runs the water on to the field and passes messages from the coaches to the players.
He is wired up to the coaches and no-one knows if passing messages is permitted.
"Everybody does it.
"If you can't get the message to the player, you get it to the one next to him."
He has less access than the man wearing the medical vest, doctor Ra Durie.
Like everyone else, Stent has experienced the fluctuations of the Manawatu team since they emerged into the semi-professional world in 2006.
"You have your ups and downs. You've got to hide it from the boys because they'll pick up on it pretty quickly."
His low was the 77-8 thrashing by Northland at Whangarei in 2010.
"I still remember [then coach] Dave Rennie saying at halftime: ‘If we don't get our defence up, they'll put a hundred points on us'."
Stent's high: The first game of the 2008 season when the Turbos beat Canterbury at Christchurch, 25-24.
"We didn't win anything after that," he chuckled.
Stent still recalls Canterbury first five-eighth Colin Slade taking the penalty shot at the end of that game. It missed and Canterbury claimed it went over, but Slade had the sun in his eyes.
- © Fairfax NZ News