The 2011 season finished with the highest honours for Ratana rugby by winning ‘The Whanganui Championship’, ‘The Rose Cup’.

In the finale, the brothers took on favourite foes Kaierau and were backed up by a sea of noisy, passionate and hearty red supporters.

It was an exciting game worthy of a final and became the fifth championship title that Ratana rugby has won (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2011) and many final appearances.

New coaches Cornell Mason and Johno Kaa had devised a strategy a strategy of gaining top four status and from there anything was possible.

The team’s management was assisted by Roddy Nepia and Rocks Kingi.

With uncertainties of players and numbers the coaches had to keep the players super fit, with a lot of running and gym work.

The coaches set up two pre-season games, one against Te Kawau (Manawatu) and the other against local club Counties RFC.

Te Kawau was an interesting game who they were winning against, 12-5, with a star performance from Western Hemi. The game was close until the last 20 minutes losing to the Manawatu top four placed team 28-12.

The other game was comfortably won against a rebuilding Counties team.

With a four loss (Kaierau, Pirates, Marist and Utiku) one draw (Kaierau) record the brothers had found belief and showed their courage, integrity, rugby intelligence and dominance. This proved to be a strong force in the tournament.

Captain Isaac Fonotoe proved a catalyst and worth his leadership role as he guided his team this season.
Backed up by forwards Kereti Tamou, Hayden Docherty, Vaan Rauhina and Chad Byrne they were an influencing part in which the brothers had conducted themselves all year.
With the complimenting nature of the backs, Caleb Maraku, Vance Pereka, Rob Hughes, Te Rokina Matthews and Che Barlow, the team had dangerous potential at any given moment and showed they would be a threat next season.

Over all this team showed what can be done when it wants and proved that they had what it takes to win at the crucial times of the season.

It was a good season to watch the brothers and I hope it will be just as enjoyable next season.

Players of special mention of making the Wanganui Heartland team – Vaan Rauhina, Isaac Fonotoe and Jason Hughes.
Congratulations on winning ‘The Meads Cup’.

See you at pre-season training 2012.