MEET THE MAKOS PLAYERS
This week we talk to Robbie Malneek.
You have become the Makos first centurion, bringing up your 100 caps in just the 109 games played by the team. What is your reaction to reaching this milestone?
This is a milestone I have thought about wanting to achieve for a long time so I have mixed feelings about it. I’m proud, relieved and thankful to have had the opportunity to represent Tasman for 10 years.
You also played a fair few games for Nelson Bays prior to 2006. To what or whom do you credit your durability?
In the beginning I relied on natural fitness and speed. In the latter part of my career I owe a lot of credit to our trainer Glenn Stewart who has added to my durability through his amazing knowledge of strength and conditioning.
135 other players have represented Tasman. Who are the five stand out players that you have played with?
This is a tough one but here goes: Aaron Kimura (Mako #23) would be close to the best I played with at both Nelson Bays and Tasman. Andrew Goodman (#33) is a great leader, the ultimate professional and a good guy who does the right things. Shane Christie (#82) always leads by example. Winger Peter Betham (#103) was so dynamic for us in 2012, and came to Tasman to realise his dream to play for Australia. Last but not least is Marty Banks (#116) who came to us from Heartland rugby, does amazing things for Tasman and helps win a Super rugby final.
Who have been the biggest characters off the field?
Mitchell Scott aka “Pene Lope”, my Nelson club mate cracks me up as does Kieron Fonotia, “the Samoan King” who has to be the whitest Samoan in the country.
Which opposition player have you most admired and why?
I played against Tana Umaga just the once but I still remember the presence he brought on the field. His mana lifted their whole team and influenced ours.
Who was your biggest influence to become a better rugby player?
Without a doubt the best coaches I have played under are KK & Leon. Their knowledge and planning is second to none.
Who has been your biggest influence on life away from the game?
My nana Puti Puti Waimatu, and my partner Claire’s mother, Sylvia, have had a big influence on my values.
What is the one thing that people don’t know about you?
I was born in the Wairarapa. I moved to Nelson with my family in 1992 but they decided to go back home in 1993. I didn’t want to leave Nelson so stayed and lived with my nana and went to Nelson College.