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He tangata!

Waiuku 3, Warkworth 0
Massey Park, Waiuku, June 6 2014

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It’s a horrible cliché to say that football was the winner on the day, but today it definitely was. Because when I got out of bed this morning, I had a choice to make – politics or football, and football WAS the winner. To be fair, this was hardly the triumph of a plucky underdog. Football has been consistently beating politics hands-down in my recent life. But that said, I haven’t missed a Labour Party Auckland/Northland List Conference (where members vote to rank prospective list MPs) for 13 years.  So it was a fairly big deal for me to blow that off today and head down the line to Waiuku, where the local lads were taking on Warkworth AFC. What made the choice a bit less painful than it might otherwise have been however, is I really do have a serious soft spot for both these two small town rural Auckland clubs. Why? Allow me to explain by way of crapping on about politics for a couple of short(ish) paragraphs.

One of the downsides of having attended so many list conferences in the past, is you get to the point where you could almost write some of the candidate speeches for them, such is their predictability. It has been known for delegates to joke about playing ‘list conference bingo’ where you have a whole lot of things you expect to hear in the speeches that you can then tick off as they are inevitably said. For instance, if I had been listening to candidate speeches today I can almost guarantee you that at least a couple of nominees would have recited the famous Māori proverb:

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!”

I know this because it happens every year without fail.

Now, before I denigrate the fine candidates who bravely put themselves forward to represent New Zealand’s oldest political party any further, I must hasten to add that I have nothing but respect for them. It’s not easy putting yourself out there like that in what is a horribly brutal process. But on the off-chance you’re still awake, you are probably wondering what this has to do with why I love Waiuku and Warkworth football clubs, so I’ll get to the point forthwith:

He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

Barf! But it’s true. I can’t wax lyrical enough about how lovely, welcoming and friendly the people are at these two outfits. I guess it’s because country clubs are by and large played for and run by country people, and country people are the best. The fact that I grew up in a small town probably has nothing to do with my opinion on this, but maybe it does.

Anyway, that’s why when I saw that these two were playing each other this weekend, it made my decision to wag list conference a pretty easy one. And that’s enough sucking up now. On to the football! “And about bloody time!” I hear you all cry…

Right then. How many words is that so far? 520 odd. Damn. Well, quickly… Waiuku were better, as you might expect from one of the competition high-flyers taking on the bottom of the table. But it didn’t always look as though the best team would win. Warkworth gave away a lot of possession in the first half and really didn’t look in it. They steadily improved as the half went on but at the rate they were improving they may have had a chance of sustaining some possession at some point next season… Despite that, Waiuku weren’t having much luck in front of goal. They should have been up by four or five at the break but as it was all they had managed was one rather flukey Derek Sinclair goal that was headed in off a cross with what looked like a deflection onto a defender, back onto Sinclair then in. I was down the other end of the paddock so didn’t have the greatest of views, but I did find myself questioning whether Sinky knew too much about it…

Warkworth came out of the sheds after the break much improved and actually dominated the first portion of the second stanza. From there it developed into a real end-to-end match with much excitement and many shots forcing both keepers to dig deep into their respective bags of tricks. Either side could well have snatched it but in the end it was Waiuku who managed to deliver the fatal blow via a Luke Chapman drive. Sinclair was then left to finish off the day’s scoring with an easy in from point blank range.

Tough for Warkworth. With a bit more luck they could have got a result but at the end of the day, Waiuku deserved their victory and now sit third equal and only three points off the top of the table as we approach the half way stage of the competition. Looking good for a serious bid for promotion! If they succeed, football really will be the winner once again!

Because he tangata. He tangata. He tangata.

Categories: NZ Northern Men's Division 2

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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