For the first time in 12 years I visited the Solomon Islands, the birth country of my father. As a child, we used to live there and relocated between NZ and the Solomons on a few occasions. Since transitioning into my teens, this was only the second time I have travelled back. I thought I would start by providing a bit of history of the Solomon Islands.
The population is estimated around 600,000 and there are nine Provinces within the country. I come from Malaita Province which recently celebrated Malaita Day (This holds some significance to the rest of my story). Whilst my immediate family and I resided in NZ, a civil war broke out in the Solomons and endured between 1998-2003. This had a huge impact on the tourism industry and affected numerous Solomon Islanders with much blood shed and ethnic hatred. Besides the ethnic tensions I believe one of the main contributors to the quick build up of this civil war was the high rate of unemployment but that is for another story. A collective military mission was made up of neighbouring countries including Australia, NZ, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga. This group was called Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands or RAMSI. Since 2003 the unrest has been resolved but like I mentioned earlier, the tourism industry has never fully recovered. Recently we held Solomon Island Independence Day celebrations at the Wanneroo Rugby Club which was a great success and the Solomon Island Western Australian Community (SIWAC) is very grateful to the club for providing the venue. I think our small community consists of about 60 people. Students and families relocated alike. We do a very good job of sticking together and assisting our fellow SIs with the transition to Perth. We are currently fundraising to send some of our students to the Interstate games held in Toowoomba later this year.
Anyway back to my trip. After spending a few days in the capital Honiara, I caught a boat over to Auki, Malaita. This is where I met up with family in Kwaibala; in particular my cousin Fransis Saemalar. He goes by his second name Saemalar or Sae for short. The last time I met Sae was when he was an eight year old. Now he is in his early 20s and with the help of a few others started up the Kwaibala Rugby Club. It was very fortunate that my stay coincided with the last weekend of a four week, 7 aside tournament. So I managed to drag myself out of holiday mode and went to some of their trainings. These guys shared a training field with a rival club Auki where they just trained at opposite ends in harmony with each other. Many of the guys trained in bare feet because they needed to save their boots for game day. This is also keeping in mind they trained five times a week Mon-Fri. No complaints there. Come game day, I decided I would play even with a sprained AC joint suffered from the previous game in Perth after running into Kane Koteka from Wests. I shared a pair of boots with another size 11ish fellow and away we went. Our team Kwaibala made the semi-final for the first time and came up against Ambu (the other village where I come from). We went down to Ambu who went on and won the tournament and in doing so claimed victory for the whole series. I am so fortunate that I was able to take part in this occasion. I laced up the boots in the Solomon Islands and the phrase “Doing it for the love of the game” has reached a new level for me. These boys do it for the love of the game.
Upon my return, the rest of Wanneroo Rugby Club have really jumped on board and we have unofficially adopted Kwaibala Rugby Club as our little brother club. We have sent a set of second hand rugby jerseys and we have collected a number of boots and other equipment from our players, ready to be sent over. The Roo Dog jerseys were presented to the club on Malaita Day after rushing them over with DHL. I have spoken to Perth Bayswater and they are very keen to adopt the Ambu club and set up something similar. This will be finalised in the next few weeks. I am still collecting boots, so if you have any please let me know and if you don’t have any and would like to contribute to the postage cost give me a shout. email@example.com Every bit helps when you do it for the love of the game.
Head down to McGillivray Oval (UWA Sports Park) this Saturday 22nd August and support the Wanneroo Women’s Rugby team in the 2015 Grand Final against Cottesloe.
The game kicks off at 12:30pm on Field 1.
For more information on the Grand Finals Schedule, visit the RugbyWa Information page
The club is very sad to inform you that Leigh (Leroy) Etherton passed away this week at the age of 54 after a long battle with cancer.
Leigh, known to all as Leroy, was a very popular member of our club.
He joined Wanneroo in 1978 and played for the club till the mid 80’s, before deciding to go back to his native New Zealand for a while.
Ultimately, when he decided to return to live in Perth permanently, he came back to Wanneroo and played out his career with the club.
Leroy is survived by his daughter Haani (aged 21) and his son William
We extend our deepest sympathies to his family He will be sadly missed by all in the Dog House
The funeral will be held at Karrakatta Cemetery on Wednesday 29 July at 2.30pm. All welcome. This will be followed by a few beers at the Kingsley.
Please note that following the passing of All Black Norm Berryman, who had been involved in our local club scene for a number of years with Kalamunda and Wanneroo, a fund has been set up to help support his wife, Leena, and six children – the oldest of whom, Terrell, currently plays with Nedlands. Please see the following link to donate: http://givealittle.co.nz/cause/normberrymanswhanau
Our road to nationals.
Both Women’s and U18 girls had five months of preparation which included training on field every Tuesday & Thursday, the odd Gym & video session, Recovery in ice baths & spa baths. And having games against each other.
For the U18 girls our first game was a tough one coming up against the 2013 and now 2015 champions NSW Blue, unfortunately with a lot of nerves we lost it. Coming into our second game against QLD White we had more confidence to bring our talent to the field as a team. We were up in the first half but as the second half came QLD came out firing.
With only having two more games for the day we felt like we had a lot more to prove out there! So we came out hungry for a win and played our own game and came out with a clean win against both Victoria & National Indigenous. Day 2, we won against South Australia to play in the Plate final against NSW White.
Everyone in our team played their absolute hearts out for each other especially our two girls who were injured and couldn’t play, and it showed out on field coming home with a win and plate. Overall, this tournament was an awesome learning experience and I encourage more U18 year old girls in W.A to play Rugby! A special mention to Cheyelle Robins-Reti for being selected in the Australian Youth 7’s Squad, if Cheyelle is successful she will play in the Commonwealth Games in Samoa early September.
For our Woman’s side, our first game was up against ASRU, we got off to a slow start and they capitalized on our mistakes beating us 17-0. Our next game was against Victoria who we beat 17-5. Our last game of day 1 was against ACT, who we also played first up in the quater finals on the Saturday. Both games we fought hard but unfortunately came off second best in both games. We then moved to tha plate semi finals and played National Indigenous, we beat them and faced off against Australia Uni in the plate final. Our girls played hard and strong to the end and we came away with the win bringing home the plate. Trilleen Pomare, Sharnah Komene, Naomi Kara, Anneka Taia, Taya Antonievic and also Te Mahia Parker (who unfortunately got injured a few weeks before nationals and was unable to play) would like to thank the club for all your support during our road to nationals. We are proud DIVAs and always represent Wanneroo with pride.