(Established 1871)

A Marist and Celtic Affiliated Club


A late congrats to our man @fabian_holland on his selection into the @allblacks U20 side for the Oceana Rugby Tournament. Go well mate

Also a quick mention to Dunedin Sharks junior @jaketehiwi_ who has also made the squad. Very cool to see kids like Jake who show immense talent from such a young age, make it through to pursue long term dreams. Well done Jake.

#nextgen #sharks #finsup #sharksforlife

Congratulations to our Sharks players on their selection in the @highlandersteam U20’s squad. They will be competing in the @bunningsnz U20 Tournament in Taupo, kicking off with their first match on the 22nd of May.@fabian_holland@rohanwingham_@ajay_faleafaga@oscar_cowley_andrea@edwardwhyte_@cam.burgess


The 2021 club rugby season will be remembered for many different reasons by many differing groups within our club. The players may well reflect on an uninterrupted season of rugby that delivered all the normal highs and lows of competition, non-playing supporters no doubt will have taken great enjoyment from the excellent performances of so many of our teams. Club administrators would be delighted with another season of operational success and although we relinquished the Ainge Shield (just) we remain one of the strongest clubs in the Dunedin Metropolitan area.

Impossible however to recall 2021 without thinking about our clubs 150th celebration weekend. Around 500 current and former players and supporters participated in the celebrations making the weekend a huge success by any measure. The club resounded to the noise of rugby tales and laughter throughout the entire three days and captured the great spirit of camaraderie that exists and indeed has always existed within our club. Everyone attending would have witnessed and felt the passion and pride that flows through the veins of our club and that the heart of the DRFC continues to beat strongly.

The excellent health of our club is a credit to all of those that have made contributions to the DRFC with their time and effort over the many decades of our existence; we can all be extremely proud of our club’s history and look forward with optimism to its future.

In my view rugby clubs still play an extremely important role within their community and while our constituency has altered significantly over the years the club still facilitates the great game for a significant number of young men and women annually delivering the many benefits that come with belonging to an organization like ours.

As President I am privileged to witness first-hand the many facets that comprise a functioning rugby club, we are certainly blessed with motivated, passionate coaches and managers at every level. They all give freely of their time and resources to ensure the best experience possible for our players.

I was fortunate to be able to watch every team play at least once this year and was impressed by the spirit, determination, and obvious pride our players take in representing the mighty “Sharks” every weekend. They do credit to the club and long may this continue.

My observations of the great work the administrators undertake in managing our club underlines how very fortunate we are to have so many willing and capable volunteers, of all ages, available to us. I am certain this is not the case at all clubs.

As this is my last season as President, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who contribute to our club, players, supporters, sponsors, and administrators. Collectively you have made my term a memorable and enjoyable one.

I remain optimistic that the outlook for our beloved game and club is positive.

Summer well and hope to see you on the sidelines.

God Bless.

Greg (OB) O’Brien

DRFC – End of season summary (2020)

Overview of the Season

Club rugby is over for another season – abbreviated thanks to Covid 19, but run as best as Clubs could, in the circumstances.

For the Club as a whole, 2020 will be remembered as one the finest years in the Club’s long history. Going in to finals day we had three teams in their respective grades finals (i.e. the Premier Development team – P IIs; the Makos in the Premier Colts grade and the Bulls in the Championship Colts – “Junior Colts” – grade.

None of the teams went into the finals as favourites, and although each game was intensely fought, we came out with ALL THREE TEAMS WINNING THEIR FINALS!!

The magnificent efforts were appropriately celebrated back at the packed Clubrooms by members and a number of players parents/families were also in attendance – a number having come fair distances to be there.

(Note – The teams from both the Premier Colts and Championship Colts had won their 2019 finals, so were playing through champions)

The Club won the coveted Ainge Trophy for the best Club across the grades, with the trophy not having been in our hands for some years prior.

A brief on each Teams perfomances

Premiers – the Premiers were in the mix in the second half of the season, finishing second equal in the round robin competition. However they came up just short in the quarter final against Harbour – it was even-stevens at 10 – 10 after 80 minutes, but with a smidgeon of time to go Harbour kicked the crucial penalty from 50m out to clinch a place in the semis, 13-10.

The Premier squad were a very solid combination of tried and true and up and comers, and with most of the players signalling their return next year - the 150th Jubilee year, there is promise of further improvements in the period ahead.

For the record, the Premiers beat the eventual finalists Taieri and University, in the round robin part of the competition .

A number of interclub trophies were won during the round robin phase – the Jonathan Keogh Memorial (University); the Centennial Trophy (Alhambra-Union); the Ron Reggett Memorial (Southern); the Fitzgerald-Walker Trophy (Taieri); the Griffin Memorial/Terry Murphy Memorial (Green Island)

Premier Development – “CHAMPIONS” - As noted above the Premier Development team took out the banner. In a titanic match up against the favoured Green Island side they came through 19 – 15 after trailing earlier in the contest. They had defeated University 49 – 28 in the semi-final.

The performance was consolation for a near miss in the 2019 final.

Seniors – Their first year was a torrid introduction to more seasoned opposition, although a sprinkling of wins throughout their round helped keep their heads up.

Extra players and consolidation is very likely in the Jubilee year next year – the Club is hopeful at the least.

Makos (Premier Colts). “CHAMPIONS”. The playing through champions from 2019 were not the favoured team going in to the playoffs. They beat Taieri 25 – 21 in the semi-finals before a gritty win against the ‘elite’ University Blue team in the final by 29 -23.

A number of players from the Makos will go on next year to bolster the Premier and Premier Development ranks, with some experience already gained this year by players filling in, at times, at the higher level.

Bulls (Champioship Colts). “CHAMPIONS” The Bulls beat their compatriots, the Tigers, in the semi-finals by 24 – 18, when the result could have gone either way. Into the final and the Bulls defeated Kaikorai by 24 – 20 again in a very even match up.

TIGERS (Championship Colts). The Tigers had a very sound year, and were perhaps unfortunate in the semi-finals draw to come up against their own mates the Bulls – as noted, they finished third overall with their loss to the Bulls 24 – 18.

Representative honours

The all-round strength, and collective endeavours of the teams again shows through in the selection for representative honours to the following Club members: -

Mitre 10 Cup – Harrison Boyle (first 5/fullback); Jack Regan (the tall lock); Freedom Vahaakolo (the flier on the wing)

Otago Development – Kegan Christian Goss; Tim Hogan; Ethan McQuinlan; Sam Rainger; Oscar Schmidt Uili; George Witana; Sepa Vaka; Ben Freschini.

Otago U 19 – Oliver Griffin; Naryan Strickland.



                             OUR 150th CELEBRATIONS

DRFC – Latest News ( September 2020)

150th Jubilee Celebrations

Planning is well underway for our 150th Jubilee celebrations which will be held on Queens Birthday Weekend next year (4 – 6 June 2021). Please keep these date diaried, as it will be an important milestone for the oldest rugby club in Otago/Southland.

More jubilee related information will be included on this website in the coming months as will registration information and attendance application processes.

Teams/Competitions Standings

At end of the single round robin (curtailed season due to Covid), we have 4 teams through to the finals next week, with the Premier Development team having one remaining game, this weekend, to determine their ranking. Currently they lie in 4th place in the standings.

The efforts across the grades have been very sound, and there will be few other clubs as well represented as the Sharks, in the finals.


After the first half of the round, the Premiers were well off the leading teams, with stats of 2 wins from 4 games played.

Someone must have “lit the fuse” during the ensuing week as they won their remaining 4 games to finish in second equal place at the end of the round robin phase.

First came University and with a brilliant full team effort, the Premiers blitzed the students by 53 – 12 (!) (From the recall of the writer, with +4 decades at the Club, it would seem to be the highest winning margin against University – some say there have been higher margins occasionally before, but difficult to remember when. To be fair, the our Premier teams have been trounced similarly over the years by the University team).

The game had to be seen to really be believed, with 7 tries to 2 against, and the team going the full 80 minutes. The University team seeming to be caught by surprise and quite mesmerised.

The much coveted Jonathan Keogh Memorial cup was retained with the win

The next win was against Alhambra-Union, an improving team this season, by 26-18.

Then came old foes Southern, with Dunedin winning by 26-15 and winning back the important Ron Reggett Memorial trophy.

Finally, in a hard fought game the Premiers defeated Green Island 24-14 last weekend.

So the Sharks go into the finals phase of the season and are down to play Harbour at home this weekend.

Premier Development (formerly Premier IIs) – Played 8; won 5; lost 3.

The team have one round remaining, and the result will determine their standing in the grade, and hopefully confirm a place in the finals phase.

Premier Colts (“Makos”) – Played 8; won 6; lost 2

The Colts have made the top 4 comfortably, and will play in the ¼ finals this weekend.

The Premier Colts is a very strong grade with all 4 finalists being very competitive.

Championship Colts (formerly Junior Colts)

Both our Colts teams – the Bull Sharks and the Tiger Sharks had similar stats at the end of the round robin phasePlayed 6; won 4; lost 2 and have made the finals.

The unfortunate aspect with their standings (finishing 3rd and 4th), is that they will clash in the quarter finals this weekend, with the consequence that only one team will advance to the next phase.


The team has entered the grade this year and found the going very tough against experienced teams with wily personnel. A the start of the season, the squad numbers seemed strong, however in the space of a few weeks they were down to the bare minimum of numbers fronting each week.

A little consolation was gained last weekend when the team had their first win of the season, over Eastern – tight at 33-32, to end their season.

Questions are being asked as a result of the tough season endured, and early season 2021 will determine if the team is entered in the grade again.

Roll on this weekend when we will see who is still standing in their respective competitions!!


                                             CLUB’S 150th JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS


Established in 1871 the Club is planning to mark its milestone 150th year with celebrations on Queen’s Birthday weekend – 4 to 6 June, next year.

We are the oldest rugby club in Otago, and have a proud history in the rugby and local community in Dunedin and Otago. The Club has continued to be a leader in the Dunedin Metropolitan competitions and our strength shows through in our supportive membership, our committees (both senior and junior) and above all our strong player base.

We would really value your attendance at next year’s celebrations, and a spread of attendees across the ages would be great.

For more information updates as we progress, and registration applications processes, please refer to the Club’s website address which is:-  www,sporty.co.nz/dunedinrfc.

Members subscriptions and donations

Options are set out below and payments may be made through any of these avenues: -

  • By direct credit to the Club’s bank account (BNZ 020900 0052607 00 (if paying by this method please ensure your name is clearly recorded as a reference on your remittance made)
  • By cheque to the address noted below. Please forward with the advice notice below, and ensure your name is clearly noted, plus your e-mail address.
  • Cash/cheque direct (e.g at the Clubrooms). Please pay the amount to Chris Denton (or one of the committee) including completing the invoice below.

Refer over for remittance slip. THANK YOU!

Post remittance to: -                                                                     GST Tax invoice no: 14-543-978

Dunedin Rugby Football Club

P O Box 103


TO:      Associate membership                       $40 or $100

            Donation (towards 150th?)                $_________

(Please circle the particular payment being made)

Your name:_____________________________________________________________


eMail Address:__________________________________________________________

Dunedin Rugby Football Club – End Of Season Summary (2019)

Overview of the Season

The Club rugby is over for another season, and March, when the Premiers were underway seems so long ago. As always the new season will be on us before we know it.

Teams performances

As mentioned in the mid-season update, the Premiers are the important team in any club, profile wise, however our Club has had 4 other equally important teams representing us during the season.

The performances of 3 of those teams, in the last few weeks of the season were outstanding, and the Club is rightfully very proud of their achievements and again proving our all-round strength in the Dunedin Metro competition.


As noted in the mid-season update, the Premiers had a disappointing season, finishing in 7th place overall. A late flurry in beating Alhambra Union and Zingari Richmond and being a whisker off drawing with Green Island (eventual semi-finalists) – 24 all after 80 minutes and then giving away an intercept try in the dying moments, added a small plus to their end of season.

They were never far away in most of the games played during the year (even picking off the eventual trophy winners University in the first round). However with crucial player injuries, the loss of some experienced players, and lacking the killer blow or ‘closing out’ in the final quarter of a number of games cost them dearly.

Premier IIs

The playing through champions from 2018, were again in the mix this season. They defeated old adversaries West Taieri 25 – 12 in the semi- final, and were matched up against Taieri in the final at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

What a pulsating and nerve wracking final it turned out to be – it had everything! The Premier IIs went down fighting by 32-31, after trailing by 15 – 0 at one stage. They still had the chance to win it in the final minutes, however a missed conversion sadly ended the day, with the lads (and coaches, managers, Club members) understandably flattened – so near yet so far. They could still hold their head up high as the last 3 weeks of the competition were basically ‘must’ win games.

Premier Colts (the “Mako’s)

It has been a few years since a Sharks Premier Colts team had won the trophy, however another chapter was written on finals day.

To get through to the final the Colts despatched Harbour by 30 – 5 in the semi (a team that had beaten them soundly in the first round of the competition), and there was no faltering on this occasion.

They went into the final, also at Forsyth Barr Stadium, as the underdogs against Kaikorai which had been undefeated throughout the season!

Again, this was a titanic game, with many skills displayed by both teams (a number of players would have filled in, at times, for their respective Premier teams, during the season and learned a great deal, and this showed through in the all-round skills displayed)

In another to and fro contest, our Premier Colts players were outstanding and landed a 19 – 16 win, after trailing 13 – 6 at half time. Try as they might in the last few minutes, the Kaikorai team could not breach the defences (or gain penalties) against the resolute Makos. (Fair play to Kaikorai, in fighting to the end in what could have been a notable playing through season without defeat).

Championship/Junior Colts (the “Tigers)

It was deja vu in the final of this grade, as the Tigers were up against another Kaikorai team in the game played at Logan Park.

The Tigers were playing through champions from 2018, and were obviously determined to add to that trophy.

They had beaten the Kaikorai second team, the Kaikorai Cobras in the semi- final 25 – 19.

So it was on to the Kaikorai Wolves in the final, with the opposition being the slight favourite in all the talk leading up to game day.

Again this was a frantic affair, full of drama, with the lead changing 3 or 4 times and neither side giving an inch. In the end our Colts won a very evenly contested match by 34 – 27.

They were ecstatic, and if you had been at the ground as they celebrated, and were then joined on the field by the Makos and their followers with the banner they had won a few hours earlier, the hair would have stood on the back of your neck – it was one of those occasions that would be memorable for many.

The Club rooms were in full cry, from early until late on the Saturday evening.

Winners of both Colts grades in the same year is a rarity, and it was another proud occasion for the Club overall.

Championship/Junior Colts (The ‘Bull Sharks’)

The Bull sharks battled throughout the year, as the 2nd Colts team, in a very competitive grade, but to their credit they keep turning up and competing (The only other Club with 2 teams playing in the grade was University, and their “second” team fared no better through the year)

Representative honours

The all-round strength of the Club shows through in players selected to representative honours with several Otago teams, with their respective competitions taking place over the coming weeks.

Otago Development Team – Mark Grieve-Dunn; Isaiah Duncanson; Zac Harrison-Jones; Tim Hogan; Teague McElroy; Sepa Vaka and George Witana.

Otago Under 19s – Harrison Boyle; Keegan Christian-Goss; Ryley Forbes; Devon Oliver-Bell; Sam Ranger; Kees Scott.

Congratulations to these players.

Club’s 150 years anniversary – 2021

A subcommittee of the Club is being formed to prepare/organise for our 150th year celebrations (probably Easter 2021). There will be much more publicity and information to come.

We are one of the oldest rugby clubs in N Z, and certainly the oldest in Otago.

So start your thinking about attending what will be a huge celebration in the life of the Club – 2021 will roll around quickly.

 News from “Shark Park”

Dear members,          

Another season is underway, with the Premiers having an early start this year to fit in with end of season provincial competition timeframes/”priorities” (!) and restricting games to a Saturday only (apart from the Thursday before Easter) for players welfare and members games attendance considerations.Teams EntriesThis year we will field 5 teams in the competitions (the same as in 2018), with a slight change in make up for the respective grades i.e. Premiers, Premier IIs (playing through champions), two Premier Colts teams – The Makos and Bull Sharks - and a Junior Colts team (playing through champions) – the Tiger Sharks.A phenomenal number of Colts graders, mainly tertiary students, were present at pre-season training (+120) and we were tempted to enter 4 Colts teams this year.However we refrained from doing so (more coaching/management personnel requirements; the usual ‘migration’ of players who might have changed their minds late in the piece and moved on, and always wary of the normal injury attritions at this time of the year with hard grounds etc). There was also a mindfulness that some Clubs are struggling to get 1 Colts team off the ground.

Premiers  The squad selected for 2019 is: -John Stowers; Josh Tom; Cam Burrows; Aidan Lloyd; Grayson Hardy; Kees Scott; Sepa Vaka; Teague McIlroy; Mark Grieve-Dunn (Captain); Ben Freschini; Liam Taylor; Keegan Anderson; Logan Garforth; Jamie Mowat; Hame Toma; Daniel Hogan; Josh Rettler; Xavier English; Richard Thompson; Nathan O’Brien; Tim Hogan; Ben Taylor; George Witana; Evaan Reihana; Jared Fahey; Gene Te Amo; Keegan Christian Goss; Harrison Boyle; Rory Ward; Bayley Sullivan; James Te Pairi; Eamon O’Brien  (When available – Zac Harrison Jones; Morgan Reedy (overseas currently) Rob Thomson; Josh McKay; Folau Fakatava (Highlanders).

We have a new Premier coach, Steve Mowat, who has coached the Makos Premier Colts for a number of years (Kane Jury who was head coach over the past couple of seasons has taken up a coaching role in Fiji). The hard working management team of the past few years remains pretty much intact.

One notable player absentee this year is Sam Anderson Heather who has retired from all rugby (club and provincial). Sam has been a huge part of the Premier team for +10 years, having captained the side for some years, and including two Club championship titles in 2009 and 2013.An uncompromising hooker on the paddock and supporter of the younger players coming though, he has, as importantly, been a very loyal member of the Club for a decade or more and we hope his close ties with the Club will continue.(Note: One of the squad members, Evaan Reihana, is a son of former Waikato and All Black player, Bruce Reihana).

After three rounds the Premiers have had a narrow loss to Zingari-Richmond 24-21, a resounding win over Alhambra Union 43-15, and a loss to Southern, the competition leaders, by 36-23. Our traditional strength is in the forwards, however they were unable to match the big and powerful Southern forward pack . At a very early stage it seems that the competition will be fairly even, and hopefully the Premiers, who will be competitive, will improve on an average season (6th) last year.

Clubrooms Refurbishments and Improvements

Some significant costs have been necessarily incurred in the past couple of years (with several ‘projects’ still in the work in progress phase), on repairs and maintenance and/or improvements to the Club rooms. The outlays have been made on new windows, doors and fittings; new toilets, some roof repairs and skylights replacements. Enhancing of the wooden (the ‘dance’) floor – sanding and polishing; carpets (in the physio room) and redesign of the Premiers changing room are in the pipeline for this year.In addition, significant expenditure has been incurred on the grounds lighting with more in store. The existing lights, such as they have been, are on their ‘last legs’ through long term wear and tear, and have been for some time. We have had to improvise in the meantime (e.g. juggling practice times; using other venues) as the winter nights have closed in, for practical and player welfare purposes.We are continuing to invest in the areas that will secure the long term future of the Club and at the same time looking after the interests of our players and members. The facilities that the players can see and be proud of, is another aspect in attracting players to join, and stay with, the Club. An adage that is bandied around quite commonly (and which includes those who have moved on – many student graduates amongst them) is “once a Shark always a Shark”



New Life Members

At the Club’s 2017 AGM three long time contributors and supporters, Peter Stumbles, John Kennedy and Kevin Waldron, were welcomed into the Club’s life membership ranks.

The proposers for each of these fine men detailed the huge contributions each have made to the Club’s well-being over many years (not 2, 5 or 10 years but decades), in either teams coaching and management roles, administration functions and fund raising undertakings.

Peter, John and Kevin’s respective inputs and contributions have played their parts in helping maintain the Club, through thick and thin times, as one of the strongest and soundest clubs in the Metro Dunedin area.

Self -Belief Wins Through!

When the Premier IIs made the final of the Club Championships in their grade this year, they were up against their nemesis opposition West Taieri (although pushing them close over games played over the past 2 years, the Premier IIs had been unable to register a win.)

The “experts” (media etc) had all predicted a win for West Taieri, and the only real question doing the rounds was whether or not WT would challenge to elevate to the Premier grade in 2019.

Well self-belief is an undeniable strength when it counts, and the Premier IIs provided a brilliant upset in the final played as the curtain raiser, at Forsyth Barr Stadium, to the Premier banner final.

The lads put everything on the line, in front of the largest crowd many will play in front of, and ran out the winners by 20 – 17. It would be remiss to single out any individuals as everyone, including the bench players, played as a totally committed team.

Club members were very proud of their performance, including the very important parts played by coaches and management, and it capped off a great “finals” day for the Club with the Junior Colts team, the “Tiger Sharks”, also wining their grade. The Tigers won the game in emphatic fashion being comfortable victors over the warm favourites University, by 32-10!

Former Sharks reaching the heights

Gareth Evans who played for the Sharks for 6 years from Premier Colts to Premier grade levels, including winning a Premiership banner in2013, headed back to his “home country” of Hawkes Bay 3 years ago.

(His considerable rugby skills, ever evolving, were never fully recognised in the south (Otago and the Highlanders), even though Club members knew his capabilities well.)

Gareth’s rugby elevation since his move back to the H B has been meteoric. A brilliant season for the Hurricanes Super XV franchise this year was supplemented with a lead role played for Hawkes Bay in the recently completed provincial Championship competition.

His all-round skills and consistent performances throughout the past few years, were finally recognised at the highest level, when Gareth was named in the 51 person All Black squad for the end of season northern tour. His first cap came when he had game time in the match against Japan and there is confidence that there will be more to come for Gareth in the future – anything could happen in the aftermath of next year’s World Cup, with player movements inevitable.

Not to be forgotten are the exploits of Brad Weber, who followed a similar path to Gareth i.e. +6 years at the Sharks, and playing a pivotal role in the Premier banner win in 2013; then a return to his “home base” in the Hawkes Bay (again misguidedly underrated by Otago and the Highlanders) and he has had +3 years with the Chiefs Super XV franchise excelling as their number 1 half back (but the “2nd” half back at the Chiefs is apparently seen as a better choice by the All Black selectors, as the number 3 half back in the country).

Brad was recently selected in the Maori All Black team for their November tour of North and South America (imagine the different experiences of playing the national teams of Brazil and Chile, with an oval rather than a round ball as the focal point!). So Brad is still on the radar at the higher levels, and continues to display the ‘shark fin’ when he dots down for teams he plays for, reflecting the enjoyment he had when in the Sharks fraternity.

(Note: Jonathan Ruru a member of the Blues franchise and also a selection for the Maori All Blacks, also had a season with the Sharks a couple of years ago)

A name from the past

Those members with long memories would remember back to the 1980s and the name Colin Mansbridge.

Colin who moved to Canterbury several decades ago, with his senior banking industry roles, has been recently appointed as chief executive of the Crusaders (taking over from long-serving Hamish Riach.)

Colin joined our Club, out of St Kevins College, in the early 1980s playing initially for the Premier Colts (which included a championship with Jack Willis as the head coach).  Over the following few seasons he played for the Premiers as a powerful front rower, and also graduated to playing several games for Otago. Unfortunately injuries curtailed his promising rugby career.

The Club congratulates Colin on his appointment to what he describes as the rugby franchise which has “…always been the gold standard for professional rugby clubs in the world… and to be appointed chief executive is a real honour…”


Sharks End of Season Roundup 2018

We’ve come to the end of another Club season, and for the Sharks it would have to rate as a very successful season across the grades, and again keeps us up amongst the foremost Clubs in the metro area.

A summary of the Club’s overall results for the season included championship titles to the Premier IIs and the Tigers Junior Colts, two losing semi-finalist teams the Makos Premier Colts and the Bulls Junior Colts, with the Premiers the only team not making a semi-finalist position, but still being a prospect going in to the final round robin game of the season.

The Premiers finished the season with an 8 win and 8 loss statistic. By their normal high standards (semi-finals spots in all but 3 of the previous 12 years), the Premiers would have been disappointed with their season, however there were reasons for the final ranking.

Over 50 players represented the Premiers during the season, and although all teams suffer injuries, the extent of such this year was extraordinary. The upside was that a large number of Premier IIs and Premier Colts gained solid experience at this higher level during the season. In addition the loss of experienced front rowers Sam Anderson-Heather and Don Brighouse and mid-fielder Leroy van Dam did not assist the cause.

A consolation perhaps was that Sam and Don were squad members and had game time for the Super XV championship franchise, the Crusaders. Both are also members of the Otago ITM team this season with Sam appointed captain (Sam also played for the Cook Islands national team during the season seeking a World Cup qualifying berth – a quest which unfortunately failed).

The Premier IIs made the final without too much drama during the round robin competition, with the final pitched against arch rival West Taieri.

In what was descried as “finals day” for the Dunedin metro competitions, the match was played at Forsyth Barr Stadium, as the curtain raiser to the Premier final, in front of a large crowd.

Despite the “experts” and the media’s prediction that W Taieri would win the match (and then address the prospect of playing for elevation to the Premier competition for 2019) the Sharks had their own self-belief and won a torrid encounter by 20 to 17 – the victory for the players and Club supporters was very special, and celebrated accordingly (for the following 24 hours!)

The victory by the Premier IIs at the home of Otago was a fitting farewell tribute to a true Club stalwart Greg Cooney who will head to the North Island in the next few months. Greg who joined the Club as a teenager (and that is long ago!) has been a member of the Premier IIs for more than a dozen years, and has notched up over 170 games for the team, with a number of banners won during that period of time. He has also been a member of the Club’s committee in recent years. We all wish Greg the best for the future and he has confided that his playing days, at 35 years of age, are not necessarily over yet!

The Premier Colts (‘Makos”) were denied a spot in the main round final with defeat in the S/F by a solitary point, 25-24, at the hands of Kaikorai (oh what might have been, with a kickable penalty with a few minutes to go forsaken…hindsight a wonderful yet useless thing).

In a final “round up” competition to end the season, the Colts were unable to make a finals position with a 1 win, 1 draw, and 1 loss not providing sufficient flag points to secure a finals place.

In the Junior Colts division, our Tigers qualified for their final comfortably, and on “finals day” surprised many, with a commanding win over warm favourites University by 32 to 10.

That result was a real coup for a team that had mostly assembled at the start of the year for the first time, and the hopes are that many will return to Shark Park for the next few years at least. Once again the University team was touted as a “past the post”” proposition (racing parlance) yet they failed to muster, and by a wide margin.

Our 5th team the Bulls Colts – in the Junior Colts grade – after performing solidly throughout the season, were beaten in their semi-final (by University) and finished 4th overall in the grade.

For the Club to have two teams making the S/Fs in the same grade (the only Club in town to have two teams in a single grade), was a real coup, and confirms the strength of the Club in continuing to attract young rugby talent, most of whom were having their first year in Dunedin for tertiary studies etc.

We look forward to the 2019 season with many players from this year, across the grades, likely to return to Shark Park. Some pivotal/experienced signings to bolster this year’s relatively young Premier side would also be a valuable quest.


Time for a brief update on how the Sharks teams are faring in the latter part of the season (for the Premiers) with the University semester break for the Colts divisions on us also.


Short of a Lazarus revival in the final month of the season, the Premiers have had a disappointing season, and currently lie in the bottom half of the competition.

The team has been decimated by injuries (more so than normally) this year and the unavailability or loss of several very experienced players (Sam Anderson Heather only just back on the track from injuries; Don Brighouse snaffled by the Crusaders (*) and Leroy van Dam back for about 4 weeks from rugby stints overseas, and now off again for another offshore contract).

The remaining round robin games are against 2 teams above them on the ladder i.e. Southern and Harbour, and 2 below, Green Island and Zingari Richmond. Let us pray!!

A couple of unusual stories to provide some light perhaps: -

  • Back to Easter, but Don Brighouse one of our front row pivots over the past few years playing club rugby one week at Kettle Park, and the following week in Buenos Aires getting game time for the Crusaders super franchise!! Injuries to A B front rowers Owen Franks and Joe Moody led to Don’s call up, and he has basically been locked in from that point – Congratulations to Don on his elevation.
  • Sam Anderson Heather (recently named as captain for Otago for the upcoming ITM cup campaign) has been drawn in to the Cook Islands national team, as they attempt the near impossible of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. They have the Himalayas to climb in this quest, and the first ‘hill’ will be against Hong Kong in a few weeks time – once again congratulations to Sam on both counts.

Premier 11s

The team has had a really successful season to date and lies in second place to the nemesis West Taieri, who won the grade last year. They have had some very high scoring wins through the past 2 months. Last Saturday they lost by a reasonably narrow margin to W T, and now move in to cross over games over the next 4 weeks to determine the semi-finalists for the season. The prospects are bright for a S-F spot and hopefully the highest or a high ranking is maintained in the next few weeks.

Premier Colts

The team has had a sound season to date, and finished 3rd in the main championship round which finished several weeks ago. A narrow loss in the last few minutes to Kaikorai in one of the semis, had all the hallmarks of what could have been.

The P Cs return to a new competition on their return from a recuperative University semester break shortly, for a 4 round contest. They still have the opportunity to round the season off on a high note, and preserve the high ranking reputation the Sharks P Cs teams have amassed over many years.

Junior Colts (“Tigers”)

The Tigers sit in 3rd place in the grade, having now gone into University semester break time.

A good bunch of lads (many new to the Club this year) are enjoying their footy and tracking well for a semi-finals berth, with good coaching and management support helping to mould many of them (hopefully) in to longer term Sharks.

Junior Colts (“Bull Sharks”)

The Bull Sharks lie in 5th place currently and have similar backgrounds to their counterparts the Tigers i.e. competitive; most new to the Club; good coaching and management support in place and having a semester studies break currently.

It would be a coup for the Club if the Bulls could elevate in to a top 4 ranking over the remaining rounds to come, and the cogs only have to be tweaked to a small degree for that to occur.

The Club wish the players in both these teams the best, for the remainder of the season.


The Club is in good heart overall, and the 5 teams representing us on the paddock are all thereabouts in the standings, with some disappointments and some regular top performers – c’est la vie (as with many other Clubs).

The ORFU is planning for “finals day” on 4 August to have 3 finals playing at Forsyth Barr ( Premier Colts 12.00, Premier 11s 1.30 pm and Premiers 3 pm). Fingers are firmly crossed that the prospect of a finals day at the Stadium does not get scuppered, by matters outside the ORFU’s control, AND that the Sharks are represented on that day by at least 1 team if not 2 (wishful thinking probably?)


Congratulations to John (Soap) Kennedy, Kevin (Waldo) Waldron and Peter Stumbles on their elevation to life membership of the club.

August 2017 

End of season updates…Anchor

We’ve come to the end of another Club season, and for the Sharks it would have to rate as a reasonable season across the grades, and again keeps us up amongst the foremost Clubs in the metro area.

A summary of the overall results for the season had an unusual theme, with our Club teams gaining semi-final spots across the grades, with the finals proving to be a “bridge too far” for each of the teams.

The Premiers were beaten by Harbour by 40 – 27, with the result and placings after the completion of the round robins (the Sharks finishing in 3rd place) suggesting a fair outcome for the season.

Notable across 15 games played was that, apart from a ‘rogue’ loss to Taieri in the second round, the only teams to have defeated the Sharks during the season were the eventual finalists Southern and Harbour. In fact, the Premiers fought out a meritorious draw in the second round game against Southern, and held on to the coveted Ron Reggett Memorial trophy.

The Premier IIs finished 4th in the round robin, and in the semi played at West Taieri’s home ground, were narrowly defeated 22 – 18 with W T scoring a try in the last few minutes to deny the Prem IIs a place in the final.  West Taieri then went on to win the final 25 – 16…oh what might have been.

The Premier Colts (‘Mako’s”) were defeated 15 – 3 by hot favourites University, who then proceeded on to win the final of that grade 19 – 8.

Finally in the Junior Colts division, our Tigers tasted defeat at the hands of Taieri by 15 – 5.

(Our 5th team the Bulls Colts – in the Junior Colts grade – were ‘unplaced’ but for the second Club team in that grade, toiled pretty well throughout the year with a mid-table spot managed below the top 4)

Premier’s news

Keith Cameron…moving on

Keith Cameron former high profile player for the Club, and the coach of the Premiers over the past 2 seasons, is about to move on to Queenstown to start up a new business, and has relinquished the coaching role for 2018.

The Club is indebted to Keith for the huge effort and contributions made over the 2 years he has been in the coaching role, including all the preseason preparations and recruitment roles he has played.

His coaching record with the team reaching the finals in 2016 and the semi-finals this year is a notable achievement, and would be something a number of town club coaches would be envious of.

Dual captains…

A rarity repeated. Two much experienced seniors in the Premier ranks; Sam Anderson-Heather and Mark Grieve Dunn have the distinction of having been selected as the captains of Otago and Otago B respectively for the 2017 season (this follows on from their stints for these teams in 2016). Big congratulations from the Club Committee and members for this notable ‘double act’.

Player of the year (Metro competition)

Hame Toma one of our consistent and committed stand outs during the year was recently presented with the player of the year trophy in the Metro Premier Grade, at an awards ceremony held earlier in August. This was a well earned honour for Hame, and topped off a season in which he played his 50th blazer game for the Premiers.

A special tribute to a special player and club man

Those slightly aged members (with memories still intact!) will remember a dynamic loose forward by the name of Scott McKee who played for a number of years for the Premiers in the mid to late 2000s.

Scott captained the Premiers to a banner win in 2009, after close calls in the previous few years. For out and out guts and determination, and leading the team by example, there were few players that could have matched his performances week in and week out, over a number of years.

When Scott headed back home (to Southland) at the end of the 2009 season, we wondered whether or not we would see his like, or anything like that, in the flanker/No 8 position again in the near future out at the Club.

We did not have long to wait!!

In 2010, it happened when a young fair headed 19 year old (or was he 18?) from Hawkes Bay arrived out at Shark Park and was immediately ushered in to the Premier squad.

His name…Gareth Evans.

With Gareth having gained a place with the Hurricanes Super 18 (presumably to be renamed 15?) franchise for 2018 – so closer to his home province of Hawkes Bay – we have probably seen the last of him drawing on the Sharks dark blue and gold jersey.

But his time and exploits at the Club will be remembered long after this recent departure – whether playing at 6, 7 or 8 (and now and again out in the midfield!).

For the record, Gareth represented the Premiers for 8 years (2010 – 2017 inclusive), with his number of appearances in the past couple of years curtailed considerably by his rise to being a regular member of the Highlanders (in 2017, with ample game time, he finally proved to the doubters that he is a very competent rugby player – versatility; impact; speed; line out skills; defence…the works basically).

Included in his time with the Premiers is a coveted Metropolitan banner win by the team in 2013 (a ‘payback’ of sorts over Taieri when, in the previous year, an 81st minute penalty goal by Haydn Parker had taken the trophy away from the Sharks.)

According to our Club’s records, Gareth has represented Otago (2011-2013); Otago 7s (2011-13): Hawkes Bay (2014 – 2017) and the Highlanders (2014 – 2017) which is a very proud record assembled.

It is also apparent that in each of the past couple of years, Gareth has kept improving his all-round skills, and there is every prospect that such improvement and refining will continue in the period ahead.  

We wish Gareth all the best for his future, thank him for his loyalty and commitment to the Club over a number of seasons and will watch with interest whether or not the Shark fin salute (when he dots down) will continue, with his move to the “Black and Golds”.

March 2017

Dear Member,

The Club is all set to get into another rugby season and the continuing interest and involvement of former players and members is an important part of what makes up the Club as a whole.

Some updates will hopefully put everyone more in the picture with what is happening out at “Shark Park” (Kettle Park for the traditionalists!).


The Office Bearers and Committee members for the 2017 are: -

John Piper (Patron), Paul Dwyer (President), Lee Piper (Chairman), Dave Conrad (Senior Vice President), Greg O’Brien (Junior Vice President), Dennis Suá (Secretary), Mark Jordan (Treasurer)  and Committee  – Dennis O’Dea, John Kennedy, Neil Turner, Chris Denton, Ross OÇonnell, Mark Joyce, Richard Thompson, Mark Grieve Dunn, Owen Booth, Sam Cooper, Greg Cooney and Chris McLaughlan (as the Junior Club’s representative).

Looking to the future it is especially pleasing to have 5 members on the committee that are still playing the game – they’re all real stalwarts of the Club both in both playing and admin senses.

Club assets improvements and upkeeps

In the past year, including the offseason, considerable investments have been made in the Clubrooms and other assets, and these are indicators of our intent on maintaining our place as one of the prominent rugby clubs in town, going into the future.

The improvements include: -

  • A complete replacement of the windows (including framing etc) looking out on the No 1 ground, and these are providing a much improved view for supporters when the weather turns wintry;
  • The construction of a gym (in the former board room) which will provide obvious training regime benefits and convenience for the players and coaches of our teams;
  • The purchase of several vans (the existing ones were basically clapped out) for transporting players to and from practices and Saturday fixtures – reliability and player safety were two important elements in addition to the need to replace the existing ones. (*)
  • A new scoreboard to be erected within the next few weeks.

(*) The funding for the purchases of the replacement vans was basically down to Premier’s captain Mark Grieve-Dunn, on his own initiative, setting up a “Sharks Old Boys” page on the internet. Former club players from around the country and overseas paid or committed a total of +$6k within 2 weeks to fund the vans purchases – another indicator of the special place the Club held for these ex- players during their time spent in Dunedin.

The committee’s thanks are extended to Steve Mowat (of Mowat Construction) the current Premier Colts coach, for the huge effort he and his firm have had to play in the windows installations and gym construction, both of which have been major works.

Teams for the season

At time of printing this newsletter, there will possibly be 5 teams representing the Club this season. We have had scores of Colts attending preseason activities, however the possible curb on team numbers will only be through  lack of coaching and management personnel – at the Colts level it is essential to have strong coaching/management structures in place, or the season fast becomes unmanageable.

The Premiers

They are obviously the flagship team for the Club, and after being beaten finalists in 2016, Keith Cameron (coach), his management and the squad will no doubt be aiming for one better this year.

An important part of the Club’s heritage is the trophy matches the Premiers play for each season, with the trophies having special meaning especially for many of our more ‘mature’ members. If intending to take in games during the season, the following might have extra meaning to attendees: -

Vs Alhambra Union (Centennial Trophy): 29 March at home; Vs Green island (Griffin Family Memorial/Terry Murphy Memorial): 20 May away; Vs Harbour (Stephen Bell Trophy): 10 June away; Vs Taieri (Fitzgerald/Walker Trophy): 17 June at home; Vs University (Jonathan Keogh Memorial): 8 July away; Vs Southern (Ron Reggett Memorial): 15 July at home.

Trends and patterns?? (For the ‘trainspotters’ out there!).

In the past 3 Olympic years (i.e. 2008 Beijing; 2012 London; 2016 Rio) the Premiers have been beaten finalists in the Clubs championships. However, in each of the past 3 immediately post Olympic years they have won the banner (vs University in 2005; Southern in 2009 and Taieri in 2013).

Do we dare believe that in 2017 (i.e. the post Rio Olympics year) the pattern may continue?

The ‘walk before run’ adage is probably the best approach to adopt – a sound and consistent season through the 2 full rounds; gaining a semi-finals spot; and then it would be on the day. Let’s see how it plays out.

Chris Denton

(For and on behalf of the DRFC Committee)


Members subscriptions and donations

Subscriptions (and donations) options are set out below and payments may be made through any of these means: -

  • By direct credit to the Club’s bank account (BNZ 020900-0052607-00) Please ensure your name is recorded as a reference on your remittance made e.g “Smith – DRFC sub”
  • By cheque (to the address noted below). Please forward with the advice notice below, and ensure your name is clearly noted on the form, plus your e-mail address (as applicable);
  • Cash/cheque direct (e.g. at the Clubrooms). Pleae pay the amount to Chris Denton (or one of the committee)

Thank you sincerely.

Post to -                                                                                                                 Tax Invoice

Dunedin Rugby Football Club                                                                            GST No: 14-543-978

P O Box103


TO:          O’K Associate Membership                                $100

TO:          Associate Membership                                       $40

TO:          Associate Member (for Life)                              $500

TO:          Donation  - record amount                                $___

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March 2016

Dear Club member,     

Welcome to another rugby season is we underway, the Premiers commenced their season on Thursday the 24th of March and all other grades commenced the Saturday after Easter.

Updates in this newsletter will hopefully bring you up to date with some of what is happening at Shark Park, as we move into season 2016.


The committee have met several times already in preparation for the season, with revised structures in place to help achieve our goals in 2016

The committee has been expanded/ replenished and it is also great to see that included in the group are 5 members that are still playing in either the Premiers or Premier IIs squads – all club stalwarts – and who are bringing fresh ideas and energies to the table.

Key aims for the season are to have sound competitive teams across the grades (likely to be 6 teams – Premiers, Premier 2’s, Two Bs, Premier Colts and 2 Junior Colts), a lively atmosphere in the Clubrooms at the Saturday after match functions,  with (hopefully) increased attendances by club members and friends, and to strengthen our financial position (we simply cannot afford a repeat of the financial result sustained in 2015)..

Lee Piper and Dennis O’Dea are co-chairing the committee this year.

Paul Dwyer assumes the Presidency role, with Dave Conrad Senior Vice President and Greg O’Brien joining the ‘train’ as Junior Vice President…prospects are that the latter will lead us into our sesquicentennial year (150 years for the numbers people!)

New Premier Coach for 2016

Keith Cameron has taken over as coach of the Premiers this year, and with a talented assistant coaches and management team in place, has been underway with recruiting and pre-season preparations since the start of the year.

Keith has a very strong rugby pedigree, in addition to having played for the Premiers in separate sets of years i.e. 1998 – 2000, 2001 – 2002, 2006 – 2010.(intervening periods were spent in Auckland and Southland).

His provincial rugby exploits have included seasons with Otago, Auckland and Southland.

His national honours have included being a member of the Under 16 N Z Secondary Schools, N Z Colts and N Z Maori teams. His undoubted career highlight would be as member of the N Z Maori team in the 2008 – 2010 seasons, which included winning the Churchill Cup. His Sharks club mate Callum Bruce was a member of the N Z Maori in the same era.

Keith is the director of a business in Dunedin, “Kinetic Health”, which is involved in physiotherapy, chiropractic, strength and conditioning, nutrition and recovery practices.

We wish Keith and his team all the best for the upcoming season…will it be a ‘rebuild’ season or something more…a case of wait and see.

An “aloha” from Doha

In 2011, Steve (“B J”) Walker left N Z with his wife Joneen for a teaching stint in the Middle East – to Doha the capital city of Qatar. He holds a position as Athletics Director at his school, with administration of all the sports the main function. Principal sports over there are football, basketball, swimming, volleyball and track and field.

Steve had a significant involvement with the Sharks as a Colts coach over a number of years, and has maintained a real interest in the fortunes of the Club since his departure, remaining a member of the Club’s Opus Knights group throughout.

He has recently been in touch with some interesting comments to make about life in Doha, including rugby activity in that part of the world, and some snippets might be of interest to readers.

He is a member of the Doha Rugby Football Club (“DRFC” – a mere coincidence!) and coached at the Under 14 age group level for several years. The club is a key social spot for ex-pats, with one indoor playing field, outdoor roofed bars, 2 marquees for functions, a swimming pool, live music every weekend and is ‘prison fenced’ to keep the locals out. The turnover for the Club per annum a mere $7m..

The Firsts team (with 4 or so Kiwis involved) plays in the Gulf league, with 8 – 10 teams competing. The standard is pretty solid, but Steve thought a good Sharks Premier team would deal to them. Other teams in the Club include a Seconds team, 2 Womens teams, strong youth sections at the U 16 and U 18 levels, and then all the younger set teams.

Fridays and Saturdays are the weekend in that part of the world (Sunday is just another workday), with Friday the main ‘social’ day.

Economically the country has been a good place to be – good wages, no bills, no taxes, but the fortunes have recently turned somewhat in one of the world’s most well to do countries, with a downturn in the oil and gas prices starting to bite – there have been many layoffs in those petroleum related industries and few being taken on in other areas.

However, one of Qatar’s construction commitments has the mind boggling. In order to host the 2022 soccer world cup, they are required to build at least 1 (luxury) hotel every month between now and 2022 and are putting in a major rail (including underground) system. The price of petrol for the poor old Qataris has been increased from about 43c to 57c per litre to help meet the costs.

Steve’s sign off note is “Good luck to each team. Players do your shirt proud, earn a couple of shark attacks and up the mighty DRFC”.

Shark “bytes”

  • Brad Weber, a former member of the Club’s Premiers who played a lead role in lifting the banner in 2013, is as you are all aware part of the Chiefs and an A B halfback in the waiting – watch for a ‘shark fin’ salute when he scores a try for the Chiefs/Waikato (as he has done in the past few years);
  • Hugh Blake, another member of the Premiers including in their banner winning year in 2013 played for Scotland in the 7s tournament in Wellington in late January. Scotty Stevenson, Sky Sports commentator was heard to say of Hugh, at one point, once a Shark always a Shark and Dunedin rugby club members will be watching his progress with interest – nice to hear.
  • Prospects are that we may be joined in the Clubrooms of a Saturday early evening, by members of a local ‘round ball’ Club, who are seeking a spot to review their games played on the day, in social and safe surroundings – that would be a positive local community initiative, if it eventuates.

Membership subscriptions for 2016

Details of options for membership of the Club with formats for making the annual subscription are on the website, with the remittance advice notice .

Your continued support of the Club financially, on the sidelines and in the Clubrooms aftermatch, would be very much appreciated.

Chris Denton

(On behalf of the DRFC Committee)

Subscriptions (and donations)

Subscriptions (and donations) options are set out below, and payments may be made through any of these means: -

  • By direct credit to the Club’s bank account (BNZ 020900-0052607-00). Please ensure your name is recorded as a reference on the remittance.
  • By cheque (through the post). Please forward with the advice notice below, and ensure you name is included on the form.
  • Cash/cheque direct (e.g.at the Clubrooms). Please pay the amount to Chris Denton (or one of the committee)

Thank you for your contribution to the Club’s finances. We hope to see you at the Club’s after match functions and any other member functions to be held during the season (for the latter, keep in touch with what is happening, either through our internet site or notices placed around the Clubrooms.)