Matt Wallis and Luke Perrott are the sort of players our national sport is founded on.

They are the last to go searching for attention or match report headlines. Leave that to the flash wingers and goal kickers, they say.

But they are proud to be recognised by their Te Puke Sports Club for hitting the 150 Premier game milestone this month.

Prop forward Wallis, 33, and loose forward Perrott, 37, epitomise everything that is good about club footy. They are the sort of guys who never shirk the hard yards on the field and are always keen to help out at a club working bee.


Rugby clubs are the centre of small town communities and players like Wallis and Perrott are the centre of what makes Te Puke Sports tick.

Perrott played his 150th game in the famous gold jersey with the pirate insignia over the heart — the link to the club's previous name of United Pirates — against Rangataua Sports while Wallis did so against Paroa.

Wallis, who is player/coach in this year's Te Puke Premier team, has played in two losing Baywide grand finals. He says it is the special milestone games he will never forget.

"I don't really have a favourite moment but the really special games are the ones. You know your blazer (30 games), 50 games, 100 games, 150 now. Also playing in those finals was a highlight for me despite losing."

When Wallis was finishing up at Te Puke High School his goal was to play seniors for the club.

"My debut in 2003 is a highlight too. I always wanted to play straight out of school and that's what I did. It was against Rangiuru. First game up against Paul Latimer and co which was an eye opener to senior rugby.

"It was good fun but it was a tough initiation. I had second thoughts after that game of playing senior rugby but stuck at it," he says with a grin.

Perrott, who made his debut in 2007, laughs that some of the kids who were ball boys on the sideline then are now playing alongside him in the Premier team.


Being part of the 2012 Baywide winning side is a definite highlight for the durable forward.

"A lot of players play hundreds of games and never get a chance to win a final so that was special. The final was against Rotoiti and Wayne Ormond was playing," Perrott said.

"It was a really good feeling to win and it was a great feeling all season. We only lost one game that season. It was a great team environment and that was almost the perfect sort of season that year."

They both well remember when All Blacks hooker Nathan Harris used to turn up as a little kid to training. His journey from there to wearing the black jersey is a source of pride for everyone associated with the club.

Perrott says Te Puke Sports is far more than just a rugby club. It is all about the community and ensuring newcomers are made to feel welcome.

"It is just a special place for me. I just love it here," Wallis added.