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Nick Robertson – Hundred and still flying

  • By Adam Julian

Nick Robertson celebrated his 100th game for Poneke on Saturday by doing what he does best – scoring tries.

The Filipino flyer dotted down twice from fullback in a 28-43 loss against Petone. He has scored 66 tries in red and black and reckons the second try he scored against the Villagers is one of his best.

“We faced an overlap, so I had to do something. I come out of the line, which is typically a no-no and got an intercept. I was buggered by the time I got to the line. I hardly ever get intercepts. I had Stanley Solomon chasing me for 90 metres. He’s got a real motor,” Robinson said.

“Probably my favourite try was my first Premier try against Johnsonville. I dodged three players and ran 35 metres. It was good to get just one try.”

The solo stunner against the Hawks in 2016 was a clue for the excitement and consistency Robertson would bring to Kilbirnie Park. He has played 100 out of a possible 129 Poneke matches since and joined teammates Cole Stewart, Ben Huntley, Greg Foe, Pakai Turia, and Galu Taufale in the century club.

“It’s pretty special to have played as many games as those boys. They’re my best mates and some of the best rugby players I know.

“I got presented a cap in the dressing room after the Petone game and then we had a few beers to celebrate. There’s an official presentation at Kilbirnie Park on Old Timers’ Day which is going to be special.”

Poneke embarked on a special run from the penultimate round of the 2021 Swindale Shield to the 12th round last year. They won 17 out of 18 matches (11 in a row) as they captured Hardham Cup spoils in 2021 and accounted for fierce rivals Ories (15-12), Hutt Old Boys Marist (29-25), Marist St Pats (26-24), Norths (16-14) and Petone (28-23) in 2022.

“Winning the Hardham Cup in extra time against Petone in 2021 was a real highlight,” Robertson said. “We scored a try to get it to extra time and then we dominated the extra period.”

“Reg Goodes came on as coach and we really respect him. He made some changes to our game plan which we didn’t see coming but were really helpful. Reg is big on defence and that became a huge theme for us. We dug deep to get a lot of those wins.”

Robertson scored seven tries during the run.

A hat-trick for Robertson against Ories in the 2021 Jimmy Grbirch Shield match. 

Poneke has dropped four of their first five matches in 2023. Only Wellington, who have lost 24 successive games, are below the ‘Street Kids’ in the championship standings. Roberston is adamant better is to come.

“Slow starts have been killing us this year. You look at Saturday. We couldn’t stop Peter Lakai, conceded a few early points, and were left chasing.

“We’ve lost most of our squad from last year, but we’ve got some quality kids coming through. If they can stay together, we’ll be right. Maea Tema Schmidt is a big, strong lock. Sam Howling and Carlos Hihi are growing as a halves pair and will be outstanding.”

“The competition has changed a bit. I reckon Paremata-Plimmerton for example could be a top-four side. They blew us away which wasn’t easy to accept. I work in construction with the McMillan-Parata brothers. Tane has his 100th game this weekend.

This Saturday Poneke travels to Wainuiomata to contest the Hakaraia Trophy. Poneke are the present holders and desperately need to infuse some momentum into their sputtering season.

“Wainui games are always really physical and competitive. We’ve got a bit in common with them. I can’t wait to go to William Jones Park again.”

Nick Robertson is the guest on Huddy Sports this Wednesday: 

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