Culminating with winning the ITM Cup Championship Final, 2013 was the most remarkable season in the Tasman Makos eight years since inception. Team and personal bests have been broken at every turn.
Right from the start of planning coaches Kieran Keane and Leon MacDonald knew they were onto something special. The squad being assembled included 18 players who had previously been with the Makos and so they knew the philosophy and systems espoused by KK & Leon.
There were a core of players who had ITM Cup match experience of between 30 ~ 50 games. Three of these – Quentin MacDonald, Joe Wheeler and Alex Ainley – joined the 50 Game Blazer group during the season (a select group also comprising Robbie Malneek, Jonathan Poff, Mark Bright and Andrew Goodman).
The support team has been largely intact for a number of seasons with coach Keane, manager Jenelle Strickland and sports scientist Brodie Hewlett also earning their 50 Game Blazers (joining assistant manager Brett Thornalley and physio Candace Donovan).
With such a strong core at their disposal the team embarked on the 2013 season with confidence.
The 10 win – 2 loss record to date is a best ever with an amazing 7 wins in a row. The previous best sequence was just two. Twice this team has put 50 points on their opposition with another two games where 49 points were posted.
In the process they have scored a remarkable 41 tries, many of which were indeed remarkable. 39 penalties and 30 conversions rounded out the scoring. The team scored 382 points for and conceded 214.
Marty Banks, called into the squad following a couple of injuries, attracted a bit of a cult following in scoring 170 points in just 8 games. Liam Squire scored 7 tries, a best ever feat in our 8 year history.
The coaches named Quentin MacDonald as their Player of the Year, Liam Squire was named Defender of the Year whilst Joe Wheeler was voted by the players as Makoman of the Year. These three were outstanding but so were all 28 players who pulled on the Mighty Makos jersey this season.
Three players, Shane Christie, Joe Wheeler & Liam Squire were selected for the Maori All Blacks tour of North America while Quentin MacDonald was selected as a late injury replacement. Seven players earned Super Rugby contracts: Tim Perry (Crusaders), Joe Wheeler & Shane Christie (Highlanders), Marty Banks (Hurricanes), Tom Marshall, James Lowe & Liam Squire (Chiefs).