Across four months we’ve
been following the Northern Marlins as they
prepare for the national deaf rugby tournament. Pride’s
at stake; these men want their team’s name on the shield.
Rugby’s their passion, but they’re all busy with their
whanau. David’s a first-time dad, figuring out how to communicate
with his hearing son. Go. Go! Talia’s training night and day
for the upcoming bodybuilding champs. Sailusi’s weeks are taken up
hunting for work. Like all the team, Opeti’s
determined to prove himself at the shield match, though he
probably should be hanging up his boots. I’m a good tackler. I’ve got
some great skills, and I’m experienced with the defense. $$ [Opeti Finaulangi: Number 8
Nicola Semenoff: Opeti’s Wife] Great skills, yes, but we’re
just a little bit older now. A little bit more like old crab. It’s an annual event. The
Southern Rams hold the national title, but the shield’s been flown up
to Auckland in readiness for the big match. So this is the National Deaf
Interzonal Championship shield. It’ll be played for, now,
20th year this weekend, $$ [Scott Williams: Marlins Coach] so if we have a closer look,
1994 was the first time this shield was played for and it was won by Central. Nineteen ninety-eight was
the first time that the Northern Marlins won it. Then
you have to look very, very closely, and we’re down here again
at 2011. So all the other, the little shields there, are
either Central or Southern. So there’s an empty spot there.
So as this year’s my last year of coaching, I’d really
like to see the Northern Marlins’ name on there, so we’ll just
wait to see what happens over the weekend. As we drop in on the guys this week, Talia’s about to compete in the
national bodybuilding champs and find out in all that working out
and extraordinary eating has paid off. Opeti and Nicola
are off camping. David and Jamie plan a trip to the zoo. You’ll see the giraffe and elephant. Big elephants. Big ears. Do you know where you’re going? Yep. You know, near Ponsonby Road? Yes, yes. Then around to the motorway. Okay? Okay. Talia is cramming in
one last meal before the bodybuilding competition.
Every ounce counts. [Talia Vaka: Lock
Meli Kaveinga: Talia’s Partner] I have two of these every day,
in the morning and in the night. He likes to eat two of these a day,
but they’re quite expensive. They’re expensive, eh? But he likes it. Too much money. That’s $19
just for that. That’s expensive. For one, that’s $19. Over $200 a week. One week may be $200 for his food. More than that for all of this. Okay, make it 300. [laughter] I love it. I’ve never been camping
before. I’ve been to… where is that place beginning with W? He’s never really camped
before, with me really. We always think we’re buying
new camping gear. I always want to make sure it’s
got to be done and put together right, Peti just gives it a crack, which… I don’t think that’s anything
to do with being deaf, I think that’s just being male.
I think, start at the front, with three blue in the crosspiece,
but you need to pick the side first. Oh look. When I first started learning
to sign, I was asking about all these words, and there
were no signs for them, or the signs were the same as
something else, and I realized that in the English language, we have
all these words that we use, that actually don’t mean
anything, so we use superlatives all the time, or we just use 5
different words to say the same thing. I was asking for words, and
Peti was saying, “I’ve shown you that word,” and I’m like, oh, that’s
just the same word. That should hold it enough, yep.
Okay. We’re going to do yellow or red? Toddler Jayden has been
raised bilingual. As he rapidly learns speech, David needs to
keep reinforcing sign language. Jayden, what’s that? It’s an elephant. So what is that? What’s he eating?
He’s eating his food. For months, Talia’s been working
on his physique, while Meli’s been cooking up a storm,
feeding him every couple of hours, so his body’s perfectly
honed for this day. Thank you, Meli. You’ve
been a great help with buying all the food and it’s
helped my bodybuilding. Five o’clock in the morning, when
you get up, you make the breakfast, cook the chicken, the beef,
whatever, pack my lunch, ready for me to go work, and
you do all of this all the time. So thank you very much. Meli’s in charge of
making sure every muscle looks perfect. I need more on. Can you get
some more? And I’ll pay you back. We need to buy one more of those. She likes to do it by the manual.
I like to just get on with it, or we’ll be there all night. We have a different approach
to understanding and learning how to put up
new tents. I like to read the manual and understand it first, and
Peti just likes to turn up at the campground and see
what works and what might go where. So we always try and buy tents
that are easy to put up. [laughter] He can’t hear anything,
so Talia’s able to stay completely focused as he
prepares to take his turn on stage. Over there. Look!
Monkey jumped in the tree. He eats them all up. Orangutan. What was that? Chicken. Chicken, right? Over there. Oh, you have to do it
in that order. Okay, got it. Let me see. It didn’t take me too long
to realize that when you’re a hearing person, and you
get frustrated, you get angry or frustrated, that you use
tone and you use sound. So if you can imagine as
a hearing person, what you would look like when you’re angry, frustrated,
and screaming, but without sound, you actually just look really
stupid. It’s actually not very effective. Raising your
tone is actually not an effective way to communicate. And if you
think about the actions and the body language that’s
associated with that, you actually just realize that you look
really stupid. So I learned reasonably early that actually
there’s no point in being angry and frustrated, to just let it all go
and then to sign what you want to say. The judges call out which pose to strike. Talia has to take his cue from
the other men but keep his cool. He didn’t claim the prize today,
but he’ll be back. [applause] It’s game on, the first day
of the tournament. The Marlins’ opposition are
the central states from the lower North Island and
last year’s champs, the Southern Rams. I’m pretty keen to get the
game going. It’s going to be good fun. We’ve been doing
a lot of training over the weeks, looking forward to today.
So yeah, this is the first game, and I’m looking forward to it. Well this is my last year,
then I’m retiring. What? Yeah, he’s becoming
old man; he can’t keep going. I’m looking forward to playing with the Northern Zone Marlins today.
It’s going to be a tough game. Full sun, but we’ll just get on with it. Really looking forward to it.
It’s going to be a tough, dry field. We don’t care; we’ll just get on
with it. Really looking forward to beating them. That’s our aim.
Come on Southern Zone. Let’s show the Marlins our
red and black hearts. The Marlins have been hard
at it, training for three months now. This is Scott’s last tournament
as coach. He wants the shield. The team wants the shield.
But have they done enough? Last year I think they
played in Wellington, or, Christchurch, and
I couldn’t go. Talia went. Yeah, so looking forward to
today and tomorrow. How about Talia,
do you reckon? How’s he? Yep, he’s looking forward
to playing today, and then, yep, so it should be a good weekend. Yeah. Hey, I know it’s great
to see all your mates from around the country but
when we’re playing the game, we do not need to be nice to
them; we need to get out there and smash them. [cheering] If you see your teammates
out there and they’re struggling, it’s your job to encourage them, support them. Tackle. Support. Run. Break through.
Back out. Keep it simple. It’s all we need. Basic fun rugby. Alright! Do it! If we’re attacking, fine. Wings cover. [shouts, cheering] [shouts, cheering] The Marlins get off to an
impressive start, dominating the contact zone with big hits. But
the Southern Rams strike first, with a penalty. Deaf rugby players listen with
their eyes. It’s rugby union rules. The ref still uses a whistle
and the normal hand signals, but sometimes it takes a bit
to realize play has stopped. They’ll get a scrum. Five-meter scrum.
Referee actually blew the whistle and put his hand up, and I think
they thought it was a try. Talia prowls the sidelines. It’s good so far. So far, it’s okay.
We need to catch up, though. It’s okay. I think every day of his
40-odd years out there amongst those young guys, but
holding his own quite well. He wouldn’t normally play number 8. Well, he used to be a back, first five,
a fullback. But as he’s gotten older they’ve moved him a bit further forward. The Marlins have an opportunity
to put some early points on the board, but it’s not
happening. David sees an opportunity and calls for the ball. Where’s daddy? The Southern Rams are under
pressure and try and clear their line. It breaks open,
and David scores a try. [cheering] Have we got a try? David. Things are looking up;
it’s 5-3 to the Marlins. The rock is on the money. They’re away now. [cheering]
Another five-pointer. By halftime, it’s looking good:
10-3 to the Marlins. You haven’t got your mind on
the job. You’re thinking too much about what you can do. We just
need you to pass the ball. Pass the ball. Head up, back off. We will get
the penalty, because the ref saw. If we swing that, we lose it.
Okay? Keep cool. Get into your spot, back off. Right, the second 20 minutes,
I can see that you’re all improving. The back line’s growing with
confidence. Why was it we’ve just put a kickup recently,
three players followed the kickup, but no one made the tackle? [cheering] We can go to play in the first half.
It’s cost us a couple of tries but I believe that the boys need to
really start to polish up the second half if they want to
really take the game out, and they can actually start following
the game plan a bit more. But it’s hard out there. More power. More power, less speed. He’s still got a long way to go. Things are looking quite good
for the Marlins in the second half. Then the Southern Rams scored
the try, and the tide turned. Things didn’t go well after that. The Marlins lost. They just lost. They were leading, and then about
2 minutes before the end, they lost. Yeah, well, there you go. That’s what you’ve
always got to look out for. Fifteen-thirteen. I think the boys
did their best. That’s all you can ever ask for. So no complaints. Rugby’s
rugby. It’s a game. So we’ve another game tomorrow.
It’s got to be able to just go work out how we’re going to take that one.
So, a few injuries to deal with, but no, we will. Day 2 of the tournament and
yesterday’s results are still fresh on their mind. We just made too many mistakes
really. I think the guys were probably a bit stiff and
they weren’t relaxed enough, so that’s what we talked about today. They’re up against essential
stakes, and to have any chance of taking the shield,
they must win today, and win well. What we need to do is we
need to get 5 points, get a bonus point, we picked
one up yesterday, so that would give us six points, provided we win. This time there’s been
a few changes. Talia’s on the field, and Opeti’s back in the position
he knows best: second five-eight. The Marlins earn a penalty
close the line, but there’s no shot at goal today. They need tries.
Sailusi crashes over the line, scoring early points. Halftime and they’re well ahead. Fourteen-zero. That’s not enough,
but if I think today, same time, awesome. Are you
enjoying it? Okay, we never give up. How’s he doing? I think he’s doing okay so far.
He’s got in a few tackles. That’s good. I think it’s going well. They’re
playing much better, definitely playing much better as a team
today. So yeah. They’re looking like they’re got a little bit more energy,
so maybe they had a bit of sugar with breakfast or something. Second half, game on.
The Marlins are ready to pounce on any opportunity. [cheering] Finally, all their training’s paying off.
The Marlins are on form. In the end, it was a
convincing victory, with the Marlins beating Central 31-7. [cheering] That was much better. Yeah,
pretty happy about that. Can’t complain. We’ve got our
five points, which was the goal that we were looking for this morning,
so it’s just now waiting to see what happens tomorrow. Really
happy for the guys, really, because it was a vast improvement
on yesterday, which they needed to do. [shouts, cheering] The Marlins now need
Central to beat Southern, but the Southern Rams made
quick work of the Stags, and the shield’s going south again. As the night
wears on and the party begins, the boys are replaying
the matches in their heads. First half was awesome.
But in the second half we let them catch up. We made too many
mistakes, especially handing errors: a lot of lock-ons, a lot of scrums.
I think the team got in a bit of a panic, throwing the ball away. South
took the game. “Well done” to them. I’m really happy at yesterday’s
game against Central. We thrashed them, and that
was really cool. Found it awesome. Coach is adamant he’s retiring.
He’s promised his wife he would. Twelve years is a fair while,
so it’s been just a lot of fun this year. The boys need to just reboot
and go on in the future, and fresh faces, new ideas,
someone new to come along and coach us is what they really need now,
so it’s time for me to take a break. But already the boys
are considering whether they’ve got one more season in them. So he officially retired about
2 or 3 years ago. I think maybe you’re just a little bit too old now. [laughter] Yeah, I got some good feedback
from the other guys about my performance. So I learned
some new skills, and I’m looking forward to being part of the action next year. I’ve probably had enough. Yeah, it depends. I have to ask
the wife. It’s what she says. I need permission first. I love rugby. I know, you love it. You love rugby. [cheering]