A memorable Tina Tonu haka Stuns by his Under-14A team caught outgoing Kiwi coach Tony Turanga and the home crowd by total surprise, underlining how much he means to Norwest Bulls Rugby Union Club.
The passionate haka, led by skipper Cooper Matia, came at the end of the Under-14s big 31-7 win over Penrith RSL at Alywn Linfield Reserve, Glenwood. It was the final game before Tony returns to New Zealand after 38 years.
“I was very privileged to see the young players perform a haka because a lot of them had never done a haka before,” an emotional Tony said. “It is now a part of my life and it will be embedded in my heart and memories.”
Tony, who played for the Sydney Kiwis, the Māoris, and the famous Kings Country RUC, said it is time to return home and give back to his community.
“I have come to an age where I want to return my skills back to where it all began,” Tony said. “I will be going back to my tribe, Ngati Hikairo.”
Former club president Dennis Nothdurft recalled the chance meeting at Stanhope Village. “Tony spotted me and my son wearing our Norwest rugby shirts and asked if he could bring his grandson to play,” he said.
“He showed up at our next training session and quickly established himself as a coach whose focus was on developing the skills and character of the kids. His wife Lynley soon volunteered to manage our canteen, and then we couldn’t keep them away from the place!
“We are blessed to have had Tony and Lynley as part of our club. Opposition teams always mention Tony’s positive rugby spirit, particularly his tradition of forming the ‘circle of rugby’ after each game – win, lose or draw.
“A sign of their respect is that Penrith offered to give up their own home game against Norwest so that Tony could have his last game at our home ground.
“We wish them all the best for the future.” The farewell came after one of the most dominant weekends by the Norwest Bulls. It was the first clean sweep of all games in a long time, and is down to the dedication of the development coaches and their players.
In last weekend’s girls seven-a-side matches, the Bulls Under-11s beat Mosman 25- 15, and the Under-15s thumped Randwick 20-0. In the boys matches, the Bulls Under-10 Reds crushed Newport 61-0, Under-10 Blues edged Hunters Hill 17-14, Under 11s saw off Linfield 38-22, Under-12s romped past Clovelly 43-10, Under-13s routed Penrith 31-7 and Under-16s pipped Manly 33-31.
This Saturday, the Norwest Bulls Dads take on Blacktown Old Boys in their annual ‘Dust em off Cup’ at Alywn Linfield Reserve, Glenwood. Kick off: 3.15pm.