Placemakers Albany Bays U21
The 2017 East Coast Bays Colts have retained most of their management staff from the previous season, with Coaches John Scott and Jared Letham returning. Although they have lost the services of Dave Keelty who has headed overseas to further his career, John says Dave will be missed and his contribution to Bays’ age grade rugby over the past four seasons hasn’t gone unnoticed, he has left the team in better shape than when he arrived.
John has been a constant in the club for 20 years and has filled varied roles in the club, he spent 6 years as Club Captain before wanting to contribute more in a team environment, he managed the Premiers for 3 years in separate stints before taking up an assistant coach role with the colts in 2015, he was then rotated into the role of Head Coach in 2016, where he will stay for the 2017 season.
Jared is a driven coach who excels in the technical side of rugby, his background work and knowledge of the game is extraordinary for man of his age and Bays are very lucky to have a coach of this caliber in age grade footy. Jared is also the Harbour Hibiscus Women’s back coach and has also coached other North Harbour Representative teams.
Gary Howarth and Johnnie Murdoch also return as managers and as outstanding ambassadors for the club. Both have been part of the club in various roles over the years and have progressed with their sons from junior and school rugby. Gary’s son Josh will not be part of the playing squad this season due to injury but will still be around to help on game day. Johnnie has two of his sons in the team Josh and Cooper, they could potentially form a lethal midfield combination.
Out of their squad from last season the club has retained the services of 80% of the players, with 25 of them still eligible to play in the grade. John sees the colts grade as a great stepping stone to Premier rugby if the transition is handled well, and he expects to promote at least 10 of the colt’s eligible players to play Premier level by the seasons end.
Players to watch this year, the return of Brett Bakkerus, a big mobile lock who took a year out of rugby due to work commitments, another is hooker Leon Thambiran who comes from Westlake with huge potential. Player of the year from last year Louis Noel is eligible but John doesn’t think he will see much of him as he should fit into premier rugby seamlessly, Jayden Lowe is back and will be looking to attract the attention of the Premier coaches with his electric running from the base the scrum. Big strong Ethan Roots is back and had a great off season with Harbour sevens, he is another with Premier potential in 2017.
Although they have lost the services of the last year’s Captain Cody Sweet and Vice-Captain Tate Evans, (ineligible through age), John believes that they have enough leadership in the squad for when games get tight.
If results from last season are anything to go by expectation for this group is high. After being runners up in the grade last year both management and the players will be hungry for success. John understands that with expectation comes pressure but is adamant this group of players is up for the job.
Head Coach: Bevan Murray
Manager: John Murdoch
Manager: Gary Howeth (Gazza)