If there was an award for most kilometres clocked up while playing premier club rugby in New Zealand Taradale Rugby and Sports flanker Nathan Tweedy would be a serious contender.
Last year Tweedy travelled regularly from his Palmerston North base for Taradale trainings and games, as well as Magpies wider training group sessions. For the last five weeks Tweedy has travelled from Cambridge for Taradale trainings and games because of family commitments in Waikato but from this week will be settled in the Bay for the remainder of the season.
All of those hours behind the wheel didn't stop Tweedy, 22, from producing a player-of-the-match performance in the blindside flanker role as Taradale celebrated their club day with a 22-8 Tui Maddison Trophy fifth round victory against Tanalised Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports on Saturday. This saw him become the 14th weekly winner as the battle to become the 2019 winner of the McDonald's-Hawke's Bay Today Club Rugby Player of the Year award continued.
A former Manawatu Development team and under-19 representative, Tweedy, is back in New Zealand after playing for Hong Kong Scottish in the Hong Kong Premiership. He left for Hong Kong midway through the Hawke's Bay Saracens representative campaign last season.
"It was an awesome experience playing in a different part of the world," Tweedy recalled.
Hong Kong Scottish reached the final for the first time and were pipped 26-23 by the Sandy Bay team which were also first-time qualifiers for the final. Former Taradale first five-eighth Gregor McNeish also played for Hong Kong Scottish.
"Gregor had intended to play for them for one season while on his way back to Scotland but got hooked on the place and has now done three seasons with them," Tweedy said.
He was happy with Saturday's club day victory.
"We could have done with a few more points. But Pirates were quite gritty so we were happy with the win."
He agreed there were still work-ons for the Nash Cup holders who have lost just one match this season, their second round Maddison Trophy encounter against WIT Napier Old Boys Marist 34-29 at Park Island in a Challenge Shield encounter.
"We're still getting caught up worrying about what our opposition can bring to the table. We just need to focus on what we can do and what we can control ... our own structures."
Tweedy doesn't mind which side of the scrum he plays and is happy to join the in-form Iakopo Mapu playing left and right roles.
"It's good to have the flexibility we have among our loosies. Iakopo is a good lad who works hard."
He agreed the Mighty Maroons will experience another physical encounter when they are hosted by Altherm Window Systems Napier Technical in the feature match of their club day on Saturday. While the Texans boast a handy front row with the likes of Magpies props Tim Farrell and Mark Braidwood Tweedy said the Taradale front row has received a boost with the return of former Magpies prop Jody Allen.
"Jody is a big lad who can move and we're stoked to have him."
While Tweedy didn't make the Magpies training squad of 42 named on Monday he said he can still force his way in now he is settled in the Bay and can attend regular training sessions. Making the Magpies Mitre 10 Cup squad is a long-term goal for the orchard worker.
Best & Fairest
Taradale v Pirate: 3, Nathan Tweedy (Taradale); 2, Hayden Hann (Pirate); 1, Ollie Sapsford (Taradale).
Hastings v Central: 3, Jason Long (Hastings); 2, Joel Hintz (Central); 1, Penetana Smith (Hastings).
Havelock North v Tamatea: 3, Jesse Paewai (Havelock North); 2, Lincoln McClutchie (Tamatea); 1, Albert Hemopo (Havelock North).
NOBM v Tech: 3, Saia Paese (NOBM); 2, Elijah Martin (Tech); 1, Dan Law (NOBM).
Clive v MAC: 3, Rana Huata (Clive); 2, Paula Latu (MAC); 1, Lewis Marshall (MAC).
Leaderboard: 12pts: Elijah Martin (Tech). 11pts: Donovan Mataira (Clive). 9pts: Sean Skeet (NOBM). 8pts: Zac Donaldson (NOBM). 7pts: Saia Paese, Liam Edwards (both NOBM), Pouri Rakete-Stones (Pirate), Lincoln McClutchie (Tamatea). 6pts: Patrick Teddy (NOBM), Iakopo Mapu, Jordan Kupa, Humphrey Sheild, Eru Wano (all Taradale), Jacob Devery, Jayden Rihia (both Hastings), Slayde Lange (Tech), Damien Scott, Hayden Hann (both Pirate).