Home' The Wellingtonian : March 8th 2012 Contents 19
THE WELLINGTONIAN, MARCH 8, 2012
Want to play golf with
other active senior men?
How about trying Manor Park Golf
Club Veterans Group each Tuesday &
Thursday mornings commencing at
9am (9:30 in winter)?
Games are organised so players are grouped at random
instead of playing with the same people.
The mostly flat course is easy to walk although a
challenge to play. The course is easily accessible from
anywhere in Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua cities,
being located just off the Western Hutt Road (SH2) near
the junction with Haywards Hill Road (SH58).
You can enjoy the scenery and share the camaraderie of
Manor Park Vets for under $20 per week.
If playing golf in a mens veteran's group appeals to
you, ring one of the following members of the veterans
Roger (563-8249) or Ian (232-8764)
See more about the Club at:
You will qualify for a FREE round of golf with the Manor Park
Vets Group on a Tuesday or Thursday. Talk to one of the
committee members listed above.
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The danger of professional sport
Otago and proud of it: Anton Oliver, left, and Jeff Wilson, two outstanding
recent Otago All Blacks.
Illustrations: MURRAY WEBB
The Otago Rugby Union s
woes are the latest example
of the problems of profes-
Otago rugby has thrived
through its isolation in the 1800s
and through two world wars.
It has been a rugby stronghold
and has produced great All
Blacks, from Henry Braddon in
1884 and Jimmy Duncan (though
they weren t called All Blacks
then) to modern stars such as Jeff
Wilson, Anton Oliver and Adam
The scene changed for Otago
rugby, as for so many provinces,
with the advent of professional
rugby in the mid-1990s.
Suddenly players commanded
big salaries, and officials, coaches
and referees wanted to get paid.
Unions have begun living
beyond their means.
What does a chief executive, or
a board, do when a coach whose
neck is on the line demands more
money to buy players good enough
to win trophies?
When everything is going well --
the team is winning, meaning big
crowds, and the financial climate
is buoyant, meaning good sponsor-
ship opportunities -- it s OK.
But when there s a downturn,
debts mount. Everyone still wants
to get paid, but the income isn t
Otago, now facing liquidation, is
not the only provincial rugby
union in strife. Expect other
unions to announce that they, too,
are losing the financial battle.
And it s not just rugby.
The Australian Football
League s Gold Coast franchise is
on the point of collapse.
Last year the Phoenix was
headed the same way after owner
Terry Serepisos well-publicised
fall from grace. Only Wellington
City Council intervention saved
Councillor John Morrison
helped bring together several
wealthy businessmen who have
bailed out the Phoenix.
One of them, Gareth Morgan,
said to me recently: It s not my
normal practice to go into a busi-
ness venture hoping to break
even, but that s the case with the
Some teams in the trans-
Tasman netball competition are
The Pulse, for example, has
required assistance from Netball
New Zealand to survive.
I can t imagine how the Pulse
has managed to recruit so many
good players this season. How can
a team with limited sponsorship
even contemplate forking out
$80,000 for part-time players?
Perhaps the Pulse management
is hoping the players will deliver
some victories and that sponsors
will clamour to get on board. It
might work, but it s a gamble.
Sports officials have to act far
more professionally. That means
making sensible, economically
Don t buy players you can t
afford. Don t commit to spending
when you don t have the money.
Resist the pleas of coaches want-
ing ever more top players when
the cash just isn t there.
In some competitions, such as
rugby s national championship,
being more professional might
mean reverting to amateur days.
The Super competition has
added another level of profes-
sional rugby in New Zealand.
The national championship now
actually equates to the old senior
It should be amateur.
In the professional leagues that
New Zealand football, league,
netball and basketball teams are
involved in, the answer is surely
for teams to live within their
It s good to be ambitious, of
course, but not if it means
breaking the bank. Just look at
Timely win for Phoenix
Flying foot: Striker Chris Greenacre, in yellow,
receives close attention from Gold Coast United's
Adama Traore during the Phoenix's 2-0 win in
Wellington on Sunday. The hard-earned victory
lifted the Phoenix to third on the Australian
Football League points table.
The Phoenix are now set for a big week in
Melbourne. They take on the Heart on Saturday
and the Victory the following week. Both
Melbourne teams are on the cusp of earning play-
off spots, so the pressure will be on.
Photo: PETER McDONALD
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