For Howick Hornets prop Tony Tuia any victory on the rugby league field is welcomed, but he admits wins against the blue and gold of Mt Albert tend to mean that bit more.
In recent times Howick have served as a thorn in the Lions’ side when it has come to head-to-head clashes, earning a reputation as being Mt Albert’s bogey team.
While at a loss to explain the reasons behind his side’s tendency to get up for games against the central Auckland heavyweights, Tuia told kiwileaguecentral.com he was champing at the bit to get out onto Paparoa Park this Saturday.
“It’s a bit strange, you see stuff like it in the NRL where clubs have bogey teams, at the beginning we hadn’t beaten them for a number of years, but then we did it and it just sort of carried on,” Tuia said.
“I always look forward to this game because I used to play for Mt Albert, so it’s always a good game… there is always a bit of feeling there.
“A good friend of mine, Dion Snell, he is with Mt Albert now and while people think when you play against your friends that you take it a bit easier, we lift it up a level.
“Paulos Latu is there, he is an ex Howick player, so that always adds some spice to the mix.
“Some people might not like playing against their mates, but for me I can put football aside at the end of the game and I love the challenge of facing friends on the field.”
Both teams are coming off big victories in Round 1, with Mt Albert getting past Marist 44-20 and Howick beating Mangere East 56-18.
For new Hornets head coach Shaun Clark the focus would be on their second half, after being outscored 18-16 by the Hawks in the second stanza last week.
“It was definitely a good start to the season, we completed really well early on and probably held the ball through most of the first 20 minutes,” Clark said.
“But the second half, we dropped our standards and got a bit complacent
“Mt Albert will definitely come and play for the full 80… so whatever it was last week we have to fix it.”
Howick v Mt Albert kicks off at 2.30pm at Paparoa Park on Saturday.
(Main photo: photosport.nz).