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Title: ... p90 - Kevin Tamati memories of Randwick (NZ) league by Pat Knox, Lower Hutt, NZ

Thank you Kevin Tamati for making the Aussies fear us


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Club supported by author

Year of story

Date of Submission


Pat Knox, Lower Hutt, NZ

Randwick Rugby League (Wellington)



(From Quigs - FOR THE UNINITIATED - This is Randwick RL in New Zealand, Not the union side in Sydney )

Its out of guilt I'm writing this as I was searching the web to find some pictures of any Randwick players for the 2007 Old Timers Booklet I'm putting together, and found this about KT.

Hi to Colin McKenzie, a previous writer on KT,"I've got my own rugby league radio show now mate! Not as good as in your days though, you are the benchmark!"

I was playing for randwick "Thirsty 3rd" senior 3rd team at the time and not for the first time, (Steve Kearney being the other) Kevin transferred from the Upper Hutt Tigers to play for Randwick for rumoured, "to be in a Premiership winning side!" Well of course, all those north of Stokes Valley hated his and our guts for that but we rode the storm. It was at a time when the Petone Panthers were the top side in Wellington, Upper Hutt hated our guts in the north, and here was Randwick stuck in the middle of them both. Eastern Suburbs (not Western as someone ahead of me has written) had taken on mass, a massive forward pack led by the Henry Brothers, Whetu and Whare and all their brothers who were like a pack of Jim Mills'in one team, from the Marist club.

So Wellington league was rocking. But the year 1982 was'nt going too well when Upper Hutt made the Grand Final against Petone and Randwick missed out.But somehow!!!!! Randwick and Petone represented Wellington in the brand new Wrangler Cup national knockout.

Just going back a few steps though and 'one of those moments'in a league mans life which keeps you in the game. My senior third team made the playoffs, and being the only office worker in the team wondered if KT would come over after premier training and show us one of these fancy defence plans he and John Whittaker spoke about. I asked the coach first if I could ask him, and looked sheepish (just a pun you Aussies!)when the team stopped training and Kevin said,"Okay, lets do it now!" Mate, he taught us this fancy defence called "umbrella defence" and not onlymay we may have been his first attempt at coaching, but some of Wellingtons reserve and senior first teams now, would'nt even know what it was!

Hell we felt like the Amco Cup!!

Well Petone and Randwick did the rest of the country proud in beating two Auckland clubs, Otahuhu and Glenora in the semi finals of the Wrangler Cup, a competition that those pesky Aucklanders had already booked Carlaw Park for the final!!! Ah ah! "A" is for Auckland and Australians!!!!Mate bring that game to the Petone Rec thank you!

But moment "two" happened after the final as we knew that Kevin was about to go to Widnes and become a big player, that a couple of us "Thirsty Thirds" wanted to get a photo with him after the game. We lost to a silly hole in our defence, 30 seconds from fulltime, and I expereinced what footy meant to a rising professional star like Kevin, meant in the changing rooms. I burst in, searched him out and asked if he would come out for a photo. As he said yes, he lifted his head, and I was horrified to see the man had been crying. I did'nt know how to say to him, we'll cancel the photo or to my mate that it was'nt the right thing to do. It was at that moment that it hit me, what rugby league was about at that level, and saw the determination and seriousness I also saw with John Whittaker and Sam Stewart, two of Randwicks best.This was the big step for these guys, from local amateur league, and off into the bigtime. KT stood with me and my mate for a photo which every now and then, in my messy garage, I come across and reminiess of what a great guy he was to become.

While everyone in your website talks of "that" hit in the 1st test in 1985 at Lang Park, maybe you should also look at the kickoff of the test match in 1982 when he maimed Rohan Hancock 24 seconds into the game with his shoulder!

Yes I have this radio show in Wellington and cover live club rugby league games in Taranaki, Manawatu and Wellington. But I also have the time to take in the other districts in the country to wind up the show, and perhaps another 'first' for all you fellow worshippers, happened two seasons ago when I forced him to become a commentator for the last 3 minutes of a provincial game between Taranaki and Hawkes Bay with his Bay side hot on attack! I grinned to think of all those times this hard hard man had played for and who he had tackled, and here he was, still doing his bit for rugby league.

Come on Colin McKenzie. I think KT deserves a book now, and a lot of the information in this web site would help fill it.

To coin an overused phrase..."Thank you Kevin Tamati for making the Aussies fear us, for being a colourful chapter in Kiwi rugby league folklore, and teaching the 1982 Wellington Senior 3rd Champions about umbrella defence!(Umbrella's at leaue matches? Yeah Right)

Appears in the following pages ....P90_Kevin TAMATI
Date of posting ... 02-May-2007
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