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Jarred Percival (HSOB) Hawkins Medal Player of The Week
Photo - Ken Baker Photography
A summer stint playing Australian Football is paying off handsomely for High School Old Boys’ playmaker Jarred Percival.
The Old Boys’ first five-eights has had a dominant season and has jumped to the top of the Hawkins Medal standings for the most valuable player in rugby’s Metro Division One.
Each week, independent observers award three, two and one points to the best three players at each match to identify the Hawkins Medal winner at the end of the season.
Percival again collected the maximum points in his team’s narrow win over Shirley when his 14 points proved to be the difference.
HSOB coach Joe Gee says Percival’s line and goal kicking are a real strength and have gone up another nudge after a season of AFL over summer.
The first-five says that he was looking for something to fill the gap before the cricket season when University first-five Stefan van Gruting suggested AFL.
“And I love it,” says Percival, who had a natural flair for the Aussie game and ended up representing New Zealand team against the Australian Under-17. “Those kids showed us how the game is really played and gave us a bit of a hiding, but it was one of the best experiences of my life.”
He points out that AFL is all about kicking, “so technically they have a bit of an edge over rugby players”.
Percival is one of the smaller No.10s in the top division, “barely making 80kg dripping wet”, according to coach Gee, “but is pretty staunch in defence”.
The first five says he just has to be smart on attack, using the gaps and not running at the biggest guys in the other team.
“And on defence it's all about attitude. I am definitely getting more confident muscling up.”
The current Old Boys’ playmaker is another product from the Christchurch Boys’ High School first five-eighths factory, and admits that filling the shoes of Andrew Mehrtens, Aaron Mauger and Dan Carter brings a bit of special pressure. “But I also see it as a privilege pulling on the same No.10 shirts as those great players.”
Hawkins Medal (MVP) leading points leaders: Jarred Percival (HSOB) 14, Sam Godwin (University) 12, Richie Mo'unga (Linwood) 11, Billy Guyton (Marist Albion), Caleb Makene (LU), Ben Corston (Sumner) 10;
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