Centre and 5/8th (this weekend against Wests), Nick Holton joined the Marlins this season after being approached by his old mate, Sam Lane, who had played rugby and shared digs with him in Cape Town.
"Yeah, I was in Hong Kong on a club pro type contract where you play, coach and be part of the outreach into the community,” explained Nick. “Hong Kong would like to get into the Rugby World Cup and is looking for players to stay and become naturalised. It is a great place and I had an awesome time.
“I wanted to continue my study and had already investigated doing a masters at ICMS (International College of Management) in Manly. I also have an uncle in Australia. Everything came together perfectly.”
Not only is ICMS a Marlins sponsor but also Premierstate where Nick works as an analyst.
“I still want to give rugby a good go and see what happens.”
“When I get a chance I like going to my uncle’s farm out near Goulburn. I come from a farming background and enjoy working down there. It is something I would like to do in the future.”
“We are prepared for a physical first 10 minutes,” said Nick Holton moving to no 10 from centre this weekend with Sam Lane out injured. “Wests have some ex league players who will be looking for the big shots. It is a contact sport and we have to engage them but we also have to be smart and play what’s in front of us.
Wests had a big win over Sydney Uni in Round 5 and whilst they lie 9th on the table to the Marlins 6th, they are a competitive team.
“There are quite a few new players in our team and so we don’t have the knowledge of Wests or even the Shute Shield come to that,” he continued. “There is not too much pre-conception and I think that is a real positive for us.”
“5/8th isn’t my preferred position and don’t see myself there long term this season. Sam, will be back soon. I hope I can add some leadership qualities and decision making to the game.”
Brit Sam Blanchet comes in at inside centre. “He is a straight runner. I understand that he was in the England 7s programme and so he has some pace and skills as a well,” said Nick. Sam and Dennis Pili-Gaitau should combine into a destructive, hard hitting pairing. “Yeah, we want to keep it simple and use these guys. If we can stay patient, we can then get it out wide to the speedsters (Hooper, Chesters and Turner).”
Harry Bergelin returns at blindside flanker having recovered from a hand injury. “I haven’t had the chance to play too much with him yet,” said Nick. “But it is good to have someone with his leadership and experience back in the team.”
Last gasp sinks MMMs
It fantastic to see three grades win against Eastwood at TG Milner last weekend. 3rd grade, stacked with a strong group of local club stalwarts, beat the unbeaten Woodies team 29-10.
The stage was set for the first Grade Grand Final re-match. It did not look good early on with the Woodies smashing the Marlins pack and terrorising the breakdown.
The MMMs got back into the game with two well taken tries and it was 20-7 at half time. Could this be the day to take all four grades at TG Milner?
“They played very well in the second half,” said Nick. “The key was our lack of discipline. Not only giving away so many penalties but also discipline in our decision making.”
The MMMs looked good in attack but lost the ball a number of times in the Woodies 22. In the last 15 minutes the Woodies gained the ascendency and scored two late tries to snatch the game 35-27.
“We had a pretty intense look at ourselves in the team meeting on Monday evening,” explained Nick. “Thankfully we played them early in the season. We have learned from this and will be better for it.”
By Adam Lucius
What: Shute Shield round seven
Who: Eastwood v Manly
Where: TG Millner Field
Result: Eastwood 35- 27
Manly are where on the table: Sixth (22 points)
80 minutes in 80 seconds: The Woodies scored first to take a 7-0 lead after nine minutes but the rest of the half belonged to Manly. A hat-trick of tries to winger Tom Chesters – the second a 95m intercept – and a penalty helped the visitors out to a 20-7 halftime advantage. The Woods scored first after the interval to cut the lead to seven but the Marlins came again. Some superb work from hooker James Hilterbrand, who swooped on a loose ball and ran 15m before popping a pass to Josh Turner, eased Manly to a 27-14 lead. We wish we could end the story right here but unfortunately there is another 30 minutes to get through. We’ll get through it quickly to spare the pain. Eastwood scored the next 21 points to grab all five points, leaving us with one four-try bonus point.
Where it was lost: There is no doubting the sin-binning of halfback Tim Donlan with 12 minutes left had a major impact on the game. The Woods scored a try to go ahead in his absence. But coach Damien Cummins wasn't about to cop that as an excuse. He was filthy that his team let a golden opportunity slip...as you'll see from his comments below.
Marlins' best: Tom Chesters, Nick Holton, James Hilterbrand, Adrian Hall
What they said: "It sucks when the game is like that and you've got to sit down (in the bin) and can't help your team out. We can't fault our effort and passion but our discipline and execution hasn’t been good. We know we can do it and we've just got to show it. It will be good to get back home over the next few weeks." – Tim Donlan
"It’s just an inability to be able to close a game out because people are doing what they want to do, not what’s best for the team." – Cummins
Oddspot: We've been to Penrith, Forshaw, Millner, Chatswood and Coogee over the first seven weeks – so now it's a case of home sweet home for the next two months. The Marlins play six of their next seven games at Manly Oval. See you there.
Where to from here: First Uber off the rank is West Harbour at Manly Oval on Saturday
Adrian moved from Perth to join the Marlins this season. He has had big shoes to fill, both literally and physically, moving into lock where we had Ed Gower and Greg Petersen in preceding seasons.
“I have really enjoyed playing with the Marlins. In games like against Uni you have to step up and the games are fast and physical,” explained Adrian. “Obviously the result is disappointing but I enjoyed the challenge.”
“I really enjoy the club atmosphere. It seems that everyone pulls together across all grades and colts and so it more like one club than I’ve been involved in before,” he continued. “Everyone is proud of the club and the colours. Everyone is dedicated to performing well.”
Adrian was born in Rotorua NZ and then lived in Hamilton where he played his age group rugby with Fraser Tech. He also played for Waikato U20s. He then moved to Perth and played for the Cottesloe club and played in the Force A team a number of times.
“I was looking to move to Sydney and through contacts was introduced to Brian Melrose (Marlins Director of Coaching). I got here before the trial games and was made to feel welcome. I first stayed with the JTrain (club conditioning coach) and am now living with Reben Bijl and his family.” Rueben is a Marlins ex captain and prop.
“Hopefully we can continue to develop and get the wins like against Randwick, and be a contender come the end of the season,”