This week in the Waterview Laundromat local Q&A, we chat to Manurewa Marlin Nathan Simmons, covering his move from rugby union, Fox promotion and the clash he can’t wait for in 2019.
To start with, tell us a bit about how you got started in rugby league?
I’m a rugby convert and grew up playing rugby. Manurewa has always been home to me, but I grew up playing rugby up until about four years ago when I made the switch.
So I’m still pretty new and learning a lot… I played first-five or second-five in rugby. I’ve played the last few years at centre in league, but I have been trusted with steering the ship in the halves with Erin Clark this year.
You’ve been part of an exciting few years with Manurewa, culminating in the club’s promotion to the first division for this season. What’s it been like?
We knew we were building and to make the Grand Final last year was a big step for us as a young team. We backed our local talent and stayed true to the Marlins. It’s been a great journey so far.
What’s the main difference you have noticed between the style in the first division, compared to the second division?
There’s a lot of fast play the balls, the ruck speed is high and so is the footy on the edge. I wouldn’t say the physicality is as much as the second-tier, but it’s still aggressive footy; controlled chaos I guess.
Is there a player you really enjoy playing with at Manurewa?
More the boys I grew up with, went to high school with, players such as our captain Duntaine Puna, Balmain Patuwai and Justus Areaiiti. They are talented boys who are locals, and make me really enjoy my footy.
And what about a match-up you can’t wait for this season?
There’s always something special about tough battles with south side teams, so I am really looking forward to coming up against Papakura. There’s a big rivalry there, it’ll be fun and we are ready for the challenge.
What’s the overall goal for 2019?
To play consistent footy and stay up in the top tier. We know this is a great opportunity for us. As a community we have waited a long time to get back up into the Fox and are just really excited to be there.
We don’t want to be a one and done team and we aren’t here to make up the numbers. We are here to put in a real good effort and hopefully stay up there and start competing with the best.