Heroes of Hook-a-Mako player auction
Plenty of laughs at Tasman fundraiserJONATHAN MCKEOWN
Hook a Mako
The Tasman Makos transformed into disco kings, island boys, and massage therapists at the first Hook-a-Mako player auction last night.
Almost $7500 was raised for the Tasman Rugby Union, even though auctioneer Jeff Rackley was often interrupted by player antics and raucous laughter from the audience of around 150 people at the Trafalgar Park pavilion.
Fans and supporters were treated, catching glimpses of the many sparkling personalities that fill out the red and blue jerseys.
The master of ceremonies for the evening, Joe Wheeler, and roving reporter Tom Marshall, did a superb job of loosening the laughing gear, along with purses and wallets.
The players were auctioned off in pairs and triples in a time allotment of two hours, unless they ''put on the beers'', Robbie Malneek pointed out, then ''you got us as long as you want''.
A player-driven event, the guys came prepared, all in costume and character from fishermen to car washers to kings. Some had elaborate skits while others were understated in their cheer.
When asked what special skills he could offer, 130kg prop Sila Puafisi simply said ''security'', which was a hard to picture when he was wearing tight 1970s clothing and glittery star-glasses.
There was Gary Redmond's yarn about how beetroot juice was one molecule away from human blood and drinking it was ''like a blood transfusion'' and Tevita Cavubati's ability to crack 12 coconuts in under a minute, which he says is ''very fast for island time''.
English import Andy Symons did a perfect impression of a pterodactyl, James Lowe walked out to his own song, and Brumbies import Mark Swanepoel got his top off for an extra $50 at auction.
There were mixed emotions in the build-up to the action. Some, like flanker Liam Squire were nervous, dreading thoughts of no bids and fluffing the lines in front of a crowd. Others, like captain fantastic Shane Christie, were simply excited.
'Yeah I'm feeling pretty confident,'' said Christie before his alter-ego came out. ''I think if I get sold for anything it will be a bit of a bonus.''
He sported a full Captain America outfit, having a superhero pose-off with Iron Man Kaide Whiting as the duo went for a cool $320.
The top selling duo were Wheeler and Symons, who fetched $420 after ceremoniously walking out to God Save the Queen complete with suits and crowns.
Their auction winner, Karen Rackley, planned to have Wheeler and Symons chauffeur their group around the vineyards before Tevita Koloamatangi and Mike Wells cooked them dinner.
The top price overall was a trio including coaches and former All Blacks Kieran Keane and Leon MacDonald.
Some may question how much of the $490 price tag was due to the third figure of Frenchman Marco Damaggio.
When the former Toulouse player started speaking in his native tongue, a high percentage of the females in the audience checked their purses. However, plans for the trio were wholesome.
Russell Cockburn and Andrea Moody from Gen-i said they would gift the services of the considerable rugby brainpower to a school. They will still have Malneek, Kieron Fonotia, and Mitchell Scott to cook the mid-winter barbecue at work.
Quentin MacDonald and Redmond went to the auction block in robes. MacDonald - the Makos hooker - lay on the table in lycra shorts for a massage from Redmond.
The auction was won by a couple of young ladies who planned to have the pair wax and polish their car in their Speedos.
Wheeler said the event was such ''a raging success'', he thought it should be repeated next season.
''Everyone enjoyed their night so we might make it a little annual fixture, maybe turn it into a sit-down dinner and a bit more of a formal affair but still keep the same light-hearted theme with the guys.''
Though the Makos still have to deliver on their end of the bargain before next year's planning starts
- © Fairfax NZ News