Papanui marked 70 years of proud history and tradition on last year’s Club Day, but the 2018 event – which takes place this Saturday – will help the Tigers celebrate an exciting new era.

The Tigers have witnessed significant change over the summer, both from a personnel perspective and giving their clubrooms a much-needed spruce up.

Papanui Domain will play host to nine junior games and three senior fixtures from 9am, culminating in the Tigers’ Round 3 Massetti Cup showdown with Halswell Hornets at 3pm. There will plenty of activities for the kids all day, as well as food stalls to keep the Tigers faithful fuelled up.

Meanwhile, the two-time premiership-winning Papanui women’s team play Linwood Keas in a grand final rematch at Linwood Park on Sunday at 1pm and the Tigers’ 18s play at Halswell Domain at 6.45pm on Monday.

“The club’s really looking at moving forward,” Papanui premier men’s coach Darrell Coad said.

“Over the last couple of years there’s been few little dramas here and there, but we’ve done a lot of work here in the off-season, trying to rectify a few things.

“We’ve painted the clubrooms, got some new TVs in there and have tried to change the atmosphere of the place.”

Coad emphasised the importance of Club Day, and while he is anticipating a bumper turnout for his team’s showdown with the Hornets, the coach also expects the Tigers’ seniors to return the favour.

“Our senior players are aware they need to support the younger grades so hopefully we’ll see them down there at Papanui Domain.

“I’m looking forward to getting out myself and watching a few of the kids play and making a good day of it.”

The work the club did over the off-season has created plenty of excitement and goodwill throughout the Papanui supporter base, Coad revealed.

“People are really excited. Last week was fantastic being able to go to the clubrooms and watch the Warriors and things like that, which holds the crowd there a little bit longer.

“Ever since myself and (manager) Craig (Sullivan) have come in we’ve had a lot of support from the club committee and the patrons, which we’ve really enjoyed.”

But Coad also has a crucial game to focus on, with the Tigers eager to bounce back from their 38-16 loss to Aranui Eagles last weekend – a wake-up call after the new-look side’s stirring come-from-behind victory over Celebration in the season opener.

“It was definitely a reality check last week,” Coad lamented.

“Round 1 we weren’t too sure where we were at in terms of conditioning, not having had too much in the way of trials. We went OK, it gave me an idea of where we were at.

“We implemented a few of those things we learnt last week, but after halftime the Eagles were just too quick for us and they put us out of the game quite easily.

“We’ve got a few injuries at the moment which we’re struggling with, we haven’t got great depth there this year, but that’s just part and parcel of playing at this level.

“We’ve got some quality players, we’re working hard on gelling together and it’s back to the drawing board this week, working on some things from last week and hopefully that can get us over the line.”

Papanui hosts a keyed-up Halswell side that will be eager to get on the board in 2018 and start their bid to offload the Massetti Cup wooden spoon. The Hornets went down 46-36 to Riccarton in Round 1 and lost 32-16 at the hands of Northern last week.

But Coad knows the danger the Hornets present, while the game takes on extra personal significance for the long-serving mentor – he was the club’s 2014 grand final-winning coach.

“Halswell are a good side as well – I think on their day any team in this competition can beat anyone,” Coad said.

“Me and my management team coming from Halswell a couple of years ago adds a bit of spice to the game.

“They’ve got some smart halves and experienced players like Jaye Pukepuke and Jason Galland running around, so they’re not going to be easy-beats and we’re well aware of that. We’re going to have to be on our game to get the two points.

“Their ranks have changed a fair bit over there as well, they’ve got some players we don’t know too much about. But the ones we do know about are good quality players who will help carry their team.

“It’s up to us to shut them down if we want to win.”

As the retooling Tigers look to find their feet on the paddock, a new sponsor – Crytopia, a cryptocurrency trading company – have made the club’s positive changes off the field possible.

“Crytopia have been fantastic,” Coad said.

“Through their support we’re going to have all the teams right through from nursery grade to senior grades in all new kits – jerseys, shorts and socks.

“And with their sponsorship we’ve managed to do a lot of other things around the club as well.”

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