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Player of the week: Tavita Isaac

Tavita Isaac with his Best and Fairest Trophy. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

On the field, Tavita Isaac is Greytown’s inspirational captain. Away from rugby, he runs an interior finishing company and is a dedicated family man. CHRIS COGDALE caught up with our ‘Best and Fairest’.

Tavita Isaac bleeds red, yellow, and black.

From when he first laced up his footy boots as a junior to more than 30 years later, apart from his time at Kuranui College, Isaac has proudly worn the colours of his hometown club.

Over the years, Isaac has won four premier championships with the club, where he started as a winger but is now closer to the action as a loose forward, that change coming in 2017.

Isaac thinks he might have played about 300 games for Greytown but was unsure because the club didn’t keep such records.

He has also played 24 games for Wairarapa-Bush and reckons he would be close to possessing the longest gap between debut [2008] and second appearance [2017].

The 36-year-old is keen to extend his representative career but said he must first get over injuries, especially a groin strain, which will likely keep him out of Saturday’s semifinal against East Coast.

“If we’re lucky enough to make it, the idea is to be right for the final, but I’m very well aware winning a semi can be harder than winning a final, so it’s one thing at a time,” he said.

If Isaac lifts the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Memorial Cup in 10 days, it will complete a rare unbeaten season.

That, he said, would be a special achievement by the players and management team who have made a massive effort to connect with the Greytown community, including adopting their own haka.

“Having a lot of Maori and Pasifika players, we felt that the connection with Papawai Marae and the local iwi was really important, and it was something that we did and has brought the players together and given them a sense of belonging to the club and community.”

Isaac’s contribution off the field is also significant, and that was recognised last year when he was made a life member.

Of course, it can’t happen without the support of his wife Jessica and his three children – Carlo, Harper, and Mikae, who will be there cheering him on until the final whistle.

Tavita Isaac – exactly what you want in a rugby player – tough, uncompromising, but fair on the field, and a hell of a good bloke off it.

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