When Rugby League Hawke's Bay chairman Dion Te Ahu sits down to pen his end-of-season report he will have some first-hand experience to recall.

Prop Te Ahu, 30, will play for Bridge Pa in today's Coast to Coast competition match against the Linton Cobras at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings.

When quizzed if he knew of any other provincial league chairpersons around the country who were still active Te Ahu said: "Not to my knowledge."

The night shift team leader at McCain Foods played for the Bridge Pa premiers and reserve grade team last year and turned out for the premiers at the national Maori tournament. It was his first season back after a four-season spell which followed knee surgery.


"The skills are still there but the lungs may be crying out a bit," Te Ahu quipped.

"Hopefully I can give between 40 and 60 minutes. I'll push the body as far as it can go. I believe if you want the code to go forward in the Bay you have to lead from the front," Te Ahu said.

A former Central Vipers premier team head coach in the national league, Te Ahu, was an age group league rep in Auckland where he played 1st XV rugby for Orewa College alongside the likes of future NRL players Shaun Johnson and Ben Te'o.

The Coast to Coast competition involves teams from Manawatu, Hawke's Bay and East Coast Districts. Bridge Pa had the bye last weekend when the Cobras recorded a convincing win.

Bridge Pa coach Ihaka Waerea would have preferred the game to be played tomorrow so he could have the services of those players involved in the Bay's premier club rugby competition.

"Ninety five per cent of our team which won the Hawke's Bay premier title last year are playing club rugby. So this weekend's game will give us an opportunity to broaden our base of players as we prepare for the Spring competition.

"The rugby boys would have been keen to double up but it wasn't to be. The main thing is our province is represented in this competition," Waerea said.

Te Ahu said he could have pushed for a Sunday game but he opted not to.


"It's the first time for us at this level so I believe we should be willing to accommodate other teams."

Key players for Bridge Pa today are likely to be standoff Taniera Miratana, fullback Kavana Ioane, prop Kahu Simpson and secondrower Jaamin Pere in the starting XIII. Former MAC premier club rugby player Jason Edwards' impact off the bench will be watched with interest.

His sister, Jaimee Robin, scored a hatttrick in her Hawke's Bay debut last month and he will be hoping to emulate some of her feats.

The Bridge Pa team for the 2.30pm game is:
Kavana Ioane, Wes Ama, Petera Te Ariki, David Neho, Kaea Greening, Taniera Miratana, Piripi Jessup, Dion Te Ahu, Kahu Simpson, Jaamin Pere, Manase Lauvao, Raun Makirere-Haerewa. Substitutes: Duane Awa, Jason Edwards, Matt Mullany, Jackson Waerea.