PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Gladstone captain Josh Gatenby led from the front and scored three tries in his team’s bonus point Moose Kapene Cup win over Pioneer. CHRIS COGDALE profiles the Masterton rural bank manager.

Gladstone captain Josh Gatenby moved to Wairarapa five years ago for a job as BNZ’s rural bank manager in Masterton.

Along with his fiancee Jane, the 26-year-old also does a bit of farming on the side. The couple leases 220ha, running dairy cows and trade lambs.

The son of dairy farmers in Gordonton in Waikato, Gatenby studied for a Bachelor of Agricommerce at Massey University, where he played for the Varsity club before a couple of head knocks curtailed his playing career.

During a three-year absence, Gatenby coached the Varsity Colts A side to three back-to-back championships.

He continued coaching when he moved to Wairarapa and was lured to Gladstone, but it wasn’t long before the blindside flanker was back on to the field.

“I thought I still had a glass jaw and sort of started as a coach and then jumped on to the wing when we were short, and now, I’ve worked it out, I’ve climbed back into flanker,” he said.

This year, Gatenby’s mana within the club had coach Steve Thompson hand him the captaincy role from veteran Richard Puddy.

The challenge for the new captain has been even tougher with Gladstone in the unfamiliar position of seventh in the eight-team competition.

“We were looking back at the time I’ve been there, and we only lost five or six games in the last five years before this season, and then we lost three in a row.”

Despite their precarious position, Gatenby said the belief was still there.

“If we can manage to sneak into that top four, I don’t think anybody would want to be playing us in the semifinal or final. What we can control is two bonus-point wins and see what happens with the guys on top.”

Gatenby said the covid-19 lockdown had a huge bearing on the team.

“Usually we have heaps of pre-season and Gladdy is known to be the fittest team in the comp. I think covid has been the big leveller and we haven’t been run into the ground like usual.

“Rugby is certainly bringing the community together out there and it’s bloody good to be playing.”