The Glenora Bears are two wins away from keeping one of New Zealand league’s most prized possessions in the trophy cabinet for the summer, and they aren’t hiding how much it means to them.
The west-Auckland side have two home matches left in 2017, starting with Saturday’s clash against the fourth-placed Mt Albert Lions, with the Roope Rooster (rugby league’s version of the Ranfurly Shield) on the line.
Veteran Glenora prop Soape Kavaliku told kiwileaguecentral.com that defending the Roope is at the forefront of their mind as they head into the final four rounds of the regular season.
“It’s massive for us. It’s so big for our club, or any club, to have some silverware over the summer,” Kavaliku said.
“The Roope Rooster means a lot to this place as a community as well, so the boys are all up.
“We have got a very tough run to hold on to it, with Mt Albert on Saturday and then Pt Chev, with both hungry to take it off us, so it all starts with Saturday.
“If we win both of those games then we will definitely deserve to hold it for the summer.
“We talk about it, we would love to hold onto the Roope, and like everyone game-by-game is our goal.”
With the Bears sitting third on the Fox Memorial Premiership ladder, one point ahead of the Lions, Kavaliku said they were eyeing the Mt Albert match as crucial to their hopes of climbing further up the top four.
The match also holds special significance for Kavaliku, who spent a number of years at Mt Albert and won a Fox title with the central Aucklanders.
“Everybody is excited for this one, especially after Mt Albert had a big win over Pt Chev last weekend, everyone knows this is going to be a tough game,” Kavaliku said.
“Most of those guys in the Mt Albert team I know and there is always plenty of banter before, through and after the game, I won a Premiership with some of those guys and that will never change.”
The Glenora v Mt Albert match will be streamed live online for free. Click here from 2pm on Saturday to watch.