This week in the Waterview Laundromat Local Q&A, we chat with Howick Hornets centre and Niue international representative, Aziah Ikitule, about his footy journey so far.
You’ve played at a few different clubs over the years, how are you enjoying life at the Hornets?
It’s been good, there’s a good culture at the club. It’s different to the other two clubs I have been at, and I guess I am just having a bit more fun here.
I am getting older now so it is all about fun! It’s good this year because there are a few older players over 30, so I don’t feel as old! Last year the average age was more in the 20s, but this year we have some older heads.
At the end of last year you got the opportunity to represent Niue at the Emerging Nations World Championship. How was that?
That was pretty huge. I played the first round of the season last year and then got injured. But I got a chance to play for Niue at the end of the year. That’s kind of a once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully I do get a call up again, but at my age it might be a bit hard.
I really enjoyed my time, it was the best opportunity I have had in footy so far. It’s a cliché and everyone says it, but as soon as I put that jersey on there was a whole different feeling, and I pushed harder than I ever could for club.
Playing in the centres is often all about your one-on-one battle with the player opposite you. Who are the centres you really enjoy coming up against in the Fox?
There’s a few. Pt Chev, they have some really talented centres, Glenora too. Most teams have good centres and everyone always wants to have a go, so there’s always a challenge there and I just hope I get the better of them each time.
Howick have been close to making the Fox final the last couple years, what makes you think you can take the next step this season?
I think last year was a good building block. This year feels different already. Everyone is committed and buying in, plus with the older guys there is a lot of experience to help the younger ones.
Hopefully this is the year of the Hornets!
And finally, you have followed coach Shaun Clark around for much of your respective careers – you must enjoy his style as a coach?
He’s got a good style. I played with ‘Shauny’ at Manurewa, then we went over to Papakura and then came here. It’s been good to be coached by him, he has a different style to most, and hopefully this is our year.