FLASHBACK . . . Masterton Red Star celebrating victory in the Shannahan Cup in 2012. PHOTO/FILE

COGGIE’S CALL

RUGBY

Masterton Red Star cannot make any excuses for their predicament in the Wairarapa-Bush Premier Club competition.

Four rounds into the Moose Kapene Cup, the team have lost all their games having conceded a whopping 289 points, an average 72 points a game, and notching just 10 from two tries.

On top of last season, when they failed to win a game, that’s 19 straight losses, with an average losing score of 8-63 [160 points for and 1193 against]. That excludes the promotion-relegation match against Pioneer that they lost on the field and subsequently won in the protest room.

There will be very short odds on the making it 30 consecutive losses by the end of this season, with the points conceded somewhere in the region of 2000.

I would love to be proved wrong, but I can’t see it somehow.

Masterton Red Star is a proud club with a proud history. An amalgamation of two fierce rivals, Masterton and Red Star, the club won the Senior A Championship in their first season together.

They followed that up with championships in 2000 and 2009. They pulled out of the premier grade in 2013 after winning the Shannahan Cup [second tier senior title] in 2012 – the last time they broke
out the bubbly.

Before the amalgamation, Masterton had won nine Wairarapa-Bush titles from 1971 to 1987, while Red Star had won four, including three in a row in the 1970s. In fact, between them, the two clubs won every title in the 70s.

That, though, was a long time ago. The rugby environment, at all levels, has changed significantly.

Masterton Red Star had a fair excuse in 2018, when they had to recruit and prepare a premier team within a very short time frame after the late withdrawal of Pioneer.

However, this year, the club has had since October to build a competitive team.

I admit I haven’t seen the team play, but I have been told by several reliable sources that while the forward pack are competitive, the backline are like a ‘group of headless chooks on attack and resemble a shop’s turnstiles on defence’.

Reports of only six or seven players turning up for training, and the way the team prepares on match day with players straggling on to the field for warm-ups, would indicate more of a social team rather than a competitive side.

No wonder one of the team’s true premier standard players, Jack Loader, has moved to greener pastures at Carterton.

I acknowledge the club’s desire to stick to the ethos of not paying any players in any way – whether it be travel expenses, boots, free subs – that is the club’s choice, but it doesn’t cut the mustard with the modern player.

It’s time to move into the 21st century if the club want a team at premier level.

Be proactive, think outside the square, find the sponsors, do whatever is needed to attract the quality of player that will return the club to their previous glories.

There are plenty of good rugby people and business people at the club to make that happen.

The club have a strong JAB and those young players need something to aspire to. And their tremendous supporters have suffered long enough.

They deserve better than the dross they now witness on a weekly basis.