Fresh after she played a starring role in Papakura’s Auckland Women’s Premiership Grand Final victory over Richmond last Sunday, we chat to to Kararaina Wira-Kohu.
A bit of time has passed since the Grand Final win, how does it feel now?
I’m not sure there’s one word to describe it, but I guess it was a relief. All the hard work that all of the girls had done week in, week out, being away from our families, it made it all worth it.
You nailed the game-winning conversion in the 6-4 victory, doing so from almost up against the sideline, but rumour has it you’re not normally a goal-kicker?
No, I only started last week! I had kicked a couple of times way back in high school, but our normal kicker was out, and our coach said ‘I need you to kick’.
That was in the semi-final the week before the Grand Final, so the week of that game I started practicing. I had a couple of kicks, but I didn’t practice at all the week of the Grand Final.
With that in mind, how nervous were you stepping up to take that kick? Knowing how close the game was.
I just tried to breathe it out… I try not to get too scared of things and just be confident. I just thought if I relaxed and just imagined where the ball would go I would be alright.
I heard all my teammates yelling and screaming, so I knew at that point that I’d got it.
How long have you been playing league for?
I just started in 2016 and that’s the last time Papakura won the Grand Final too. We folded last year so I went away to Manurewa and we won it with them.
I came home this year, we were meant to just rebuild, but we thought we would give it a crack and ended up winning the whole lot!
You represented the Maori All Stars this year against the Indigenous Women – what’s the next goal for you?
I don’t really think that far ahead, I just try and think of what comes next, and right now that’s Counties and playing in the National Women’s Tournament, so I am focussed on that.
Whatever happens happens. If I make the Kiwi Ferns that would be great. But in the meantime I’m happy to be playing grassroots league.