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Star backing for rebranded Tasman team

BY WAYNE MARTIN
Last updated 12:30 30/10/2010
Rugby league legend Steve Price celebrates the naming of the Tasman Titans
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Nelson Mail
LARGER THAN LIFE: Rugby league legend Steve Price celebrates the naming of the Tasman Titans with competition winner and league fan Daniel Stock, 9.

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Nine-year-old Daniel Stock is a Benji Marshall fan and admits to a soft spot for the Kiwi skipper's National Rugby League team Wests Tigers.

But when you're staring up at the 1.93-metre, 107-kilogram former New Zealand Warriors skipper Steve Price, who's just presented you with your own autographed Warriors jersey, you're allowed some latitude with your allegiances.

Daniel says he also enjoys watching the Warriors play, and now has something special to show his Ranzau schoolmates on Monday after he won a More FM radio competition to name the Tasman Rugby League's new representative team.

Daniel's name was picked from about 60 entrants who chose the Titans as the best of five options. The others were the Stingrays, Barracudas, Jetz and Sharks.

Price was in town yesterday as a guest at last night's Haven Sports Trust dinner.

The 2010 NRL season was to have been his last. However, a heel injury that he picked up during the off-season, resulting in three operations, forced his early retirement in June, without playing a game for the Warriors this season.

He ended his career having played 91 games for the Warriors since joining them in 2005. He'd previously played 222 games for the Canterbury Bulldogs, including premiership titles in 1995 and 2004, and also played 16 tests for Australia and 28 State of Origin games for Queensland.

Price offered some sage advice for the new Tasman side, which will play in a revamped South Island competition next year.

"I think it's important for the structure of the club to be formed properly first," he said.

"They've obviously got some very passionate people who are involved, and that's another big plus. And the local people are right behind it. They're getting out and trying to encourage everyone to get behind the Titans.

"I'm sure in two, three or five years' time they'll be talking about it as though it's been around for years and years. The people have got to feel like it's their team."

According to Tasman Rugby League's chairman Paul Lafotanoa, the team's new name could generate some other benefits.

"We're looking to form a relationship with [NRL club] the Gold Coast Titans by becoming a feeder club," he said.

"Our colours will be based around the Gold Coast Titans colours, and it's going to give the local guys some opportunities to get in front of some scouts."

As for the Four Nations tournament currently being played in Australia and New Zealand, Price warned the Kiwis to prepare themselves for a physical onslaught from Papua New Guinea's Kumuls today in Rotorua.

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But once an Ocker, always an Ocker – he's still backing the Kangaroos to win the final against the Kiwis.

Sports night raises $28,000

A fundraising dinner and auction attended by a host of sports greats including league legend Steve Price raised $28,000 for the Haven Sports Trust last night.

Trustee Jeff Rackley said 300 people attended the evening at the Rutherford Hotel.

The trust was set up in 1995 as a way to help fund groups for coaching children in sport.

Mr Rackley said the evening was "fantastic" despite the event raising considerably less than last year. Last year's event raised $42,000.

"I suppose it's the recession."

However, there were some strong items up for grabs including a 21-day Outward Bound course, a signed cricket ball from fast-bowling greats Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, a trip to the Chatham Islands and a cooking course with award winning chef Matt Bouterey.

Guest speakers were former possum trapper, hunter and co-founder of Swazi outdoor clothing Davey Hughes, and former Wallaby Dick Marks.

MC John McBeth walked around the room interviewing special guests including former New Zealand Warrior and Kangaroo Price.

"He was just great. People felt like it was a real privilege just to get a photo with him."

- The Nelson Mail

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