Riccarton Knights 2017 Preview
The Riccarton Knights haven’t appeared in a grand final since Brent Ringdahl and Aaron Whittaker led them to the 2004 title, but the club has been a model of consistency in recent times.
After three straight seasons qualifying for the top four, however, the Knights face a difficult task retaining their lofty standing in 2017 with up to half of their first-grade line-up departing in the off-season.
Goalkicking halfback Angus Anderson, a Bulls rep in 2015-16, along with Junior Maiava, Chase Williams and Jason Galland, are among those moving on.
Perhaps the most significant personnel change will be the 300-game club legend Shane Tamatea, who has taken on a new role with the Knights.
“Shane’s stepped down from playing this year, he’s stepped down into the reserves coaching position,” premiers coach Sam Brown said.
“He’ll be a player-coach down in the Canterbury Cup, so that’s another additional player we lose from last year.
“But all that means is that it creates some good opportunities for the young players coming through.”
The faces may be different, but Brown believes as long as the standard set by players in the red and black jersey in recent years is adhered to, the Knights will still be a force to be reckoned with in 2017.
“It’s all down to preparation – in the pre-season and the regular season – and that’s how you prepare in the finals series.”
Brown also revealed the Knights’ premiers and reserves sides are basing their campaign on a set of values the club has drawn up:
The Riccarton premiers and Canterbury Cup team is guided by an overall principle of acceptance and understanding that helps us create a culture of respect, equality and inclusiveness, both on and off the field.
It is our goal to use our core values, through rugby league, to empower and enhance development within our community. We, as a team and as individuals, represent and respect a wide range of human differences, personal experiences and cultural backgrounds.
Years active (premiers division): 1931-33, 1939-42, 1944, 1947-52, 1976, 1996-97, 2001-present
Titles: 2 – 2002, 2004
2017 Coach: Sam Brown
Last season: 3rd and beaten semi-finalists (won 10, lost 4)
Pre-season: “It’s been going pretty good, the boys have been working really hard,” Brown said. “There’s been a bit of a gap from the Crosbies Nines to the start of the competition, so some players are really itching to get the season started.”
Key gains: Zach Riley (Papanui)
Key losses: Junior Maiava (family commitments), Chase Williams (Northern), Jason Galland (Halswell), Angus Anderson (Wellington)
2017 Squad: “We’ve lost seven or eight from the starting team from last year, transfers to other clubs and players who have moved on due to work commitments or family commitments. The team’s going to look completely different to last year; there will be only a couple of familiar faces.”
2017 Goals: Riccarton Knights’ Vision – The Riccarton premiers and Canterbury Cup team is guided by an overall principle of acceptance and understanding that helps us create a culture of respect, equality and inclusiveness, both on and off the field. It is our goal to use our core values, through rugby league, to empower and enhance development within our community. We, as a team, and as individuals represent and respect a wide range of human differences, personal experiences and cultural backgrounds.
Round 1: v Aranui Eagles – 2.45pm @ QE 2 Park: “We’ve got a couple of injuries due to the pre-season trials, but we’re shaping up pretty good. It’s an exciting time, everyone’s looking forward to the 2017 season. The players are just enthusiastic about playing this weekend.”