Talk about supplying plenty of motivational ammunition for the opposition and Napier Boys' High School Old Boys basketball team captain Jamie Henare was guilty as yesterday.
"The last time I was in a NBHS team which lost to Hastings Boys was 1991 and I don't plan to start losing now," Henare said a week out from the January 18 "Old Boys" clash at the Hastings Sports Stadium.
The match is being played to celebrate the life of former Hawks and HBHS player, Hawke's Bay's 2019 Person of the Year Patrick O'Brien, who was one of two people killed in a car crash on the Hawke's Bay Expressway in November last year.
It will double as a fundraiser for the Te Anahera O Te Rangi Charitable Trust which 2017 world kickboxing champion O'Brien and wife Theresa formed in memory of their late daughter.
Henare, 44, an older brother of former Tall Blacks and Breakers player Paul Henare, who is unavailable for the match because of his coaching commitments in Japan, accepted his team were the underdogs for the match but predicted a five-point victory for the visitors.
He agreed the match could easily be branded as a clash of the Sky Blues intelligence with the Akina lads flair.
"Obviously most of the Hastings boys are still in their prime. They may try to run us off the court so our wisdom and knowledge will come in to play," Henare explained.
"There may be a lot of stoppages for shoelaces to be done up and stuff like that. I'll have a word to the referees beforehand," he quipped.
"A lot will depend on how us old men handle the early minutes. At the same time we've got good role players to come off the bench with the likes of the Davies brothers [Damion and Dwayne] and Daniel Evans."
Henare, who played for the Hawks NBL side in 1994, '95, '96, '97, 2000 and '01, pointed out all of the NBHS team's starting five, all of whom are former Hawks, are over 40.
Janeiro Seumanu will have the point guard role, Aidan Daly, who will have the two guard job is in superb shape according to Henare who will play at three and Puke Lenden and Roger McPherson, will play at four and five respectively.
A member of the 1992 national title-winning NBHS team, Henare, hasn't played any basketball for at least 10 years.
"A couple of years ago I went out for a run when I heard there could be games like this one coming up and I pulled a groin. I know a few of the boys playing next week are playing in the new Hawke's Bay Elite League but being self employed that would be too risky for me," Henare, who has run his Mow Bro? Lawn mowing business for the past eight years, explained.
He agreed the HBHS team had every right to talk up their chances with the likes of Reece Tuala-Fata, who is eyeing an NBL comeback with the Hawks, starting at point guard and former Hawk and Tall Blacks squad member Arthur Trousdell the main forward.
However Henare is confident Tuala-Fata and Trousdell won't have everything their own way against their respective opponents Seumanu and McPherson.
A former five handicapper at golf who once hit a hole in one on the 16th hole at the Maraenui club's course, Henare singled out eight ball as his main sporting pursuit these days.
"I might be a little bit biased but our Taradale Club team would rank among the top five in the country. Thanks to my sponsor, McCintlock Motors, I will play in several doubles and singles tournaments around the country this year including the nationals."
Henare played in several Hawks second division basketball teams with O'Brien between 2001 and '05.
"Pat was just a rock on defence. I didn't have to worry about who he was marking as that player was going nowhere. He wasn't an offensive juggernaut but was a good team player. He was like Dillon Boucher and Mika Vukona. While Pat was defensive minded this allowed the rest of the team to be blazing in the scoring department."
Henare's comments about the NBHS side's chances of victory were echoed by his teammate Jordan Pomana, the creator and main organiser of the fixture.
"We're not going out on the court to play second fiddle to the Hastings boys," Pomana said.
He recalled how he and O'Brien had discussed the possibility of staging an old boys fixture early last year.
"Then when I was sitting at Pat's tangi and I saw all the old boys from both schools I thought it had to be done for Pat."
"It's a great opportunity for everyone to reconnect and of course raise some money. We have got some great stuff for the auction," Pomana added.
In addition to Paul Henare's framed Tall Blacks polo shirt from the 2002 World Championship there will be some clothing donated by Whanganui's UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya, NBA items and rugby memorabilia donated by Flaxmere-raised former All Black Roger Randle.
Paul Henare's polo shirt was still on the wall of the old Napier Cosmopolitan Club when it closed in 2012. Jamie Henare and his father Ben Henare worked as barmen at the club.
Teams for the 6pm Old Boys basketball match:
HBHS: Paul Tuala-Fata, Leighton Ashcroft, Thomas Bartlett, Henare O'Brien, Arthur Trousdell, Reece Tuala-Fata, Herman Ah Kiong, Ben Southon, Kayne Hawea, Wallace Christian, Paora Winitana.
NBHS: Daniel Evans, James Henare, James Lyver, Janeiro Seumanu, Jeremy Glaser, Roger McPherson, Simon Robert, Jordan Pomana, Damion Davies, Puke Lenden, Conrad Kahu, Regan Spooner, Aidan Daly, Dwayne Davies.