The duck shooting season opens this weekend and the word is there are a lot of ducks around.

The keen shooters are already predicting limit bags.

It's been a great breeding season and a warm wet summer. Large mobs have been seen in rivers and drains. The maize harvesting has been late and many ducks have congregated on paddocks. However, in the harbours, shooters making their mai mais have seen little and it's the same on the Sweetwater Lakes.

Ageless Kaitaia swamp shooter Greg Yuretich hasn't seen a duck. He has hinted at making a maimai on the Kaitaia sewerage pond where the paradise ducks are plentiful. Imagine the stew!

Advertisement

Yes, I will be shooting with Hilton Jones on Waiharara Lake. There is a problem. An eel fisherman. Let's hope he is gone by the time the first shot is fired on Saturday morning.

Harding Shield

The so-called Harding Shield match between Mangonui and the Bay of Islands ended up a fizzer. In front of a somewhat small crowd, and the weather played its part there, the Bay forwards looked impressive but the backs were absolutely hopeless. Once Mangonui got the ball to their backline, that was it. They scored at will to win 65-5.

An embarrassment to Bay? Of course it is. Were they just not interested?

I was amazed by the comments made by Taniwha coach Derren Witcombe that Northland hasn't forgotten the Far North, investing resources and a pathway for our locals. What rubbish! Witcombe needs to understand, if Northland have concerns, then Kerikeri would not be playing in Whangarei competition.

It is very likely that Moerewa/ United Kawakawa will follow suit. So to Witcombe, what happens to the remaining three Bay club sides next year? Will they end up playing the Whangarei reserve grade, or hook up with Mangonui? If this does happen and it's going to, what happens to the Bay of Islands sub union? It will disappear like Hokianga.

So will Witcombe and the Northland Rugby Union stop this nonsense? No, because they lack guts!

The Blues after their loss to Argentinian Jaguars are now sitting at the bottom of the Super Rugby standings. It was a pitiful performance especially by the forwards who seemed to enjoy losing their own lineout ball. Now ex-Auckland great, namely BeeGee Williams is offering advice to fix the mess up.

"We need coaches from Auckland — they know our culture," he said. But haven't they done this through Pat Lam and John Kirwan who also both failed?

Williams also believes top players don't come to Auckland because the cost of living is too high. I suggest Ahipara veteran Reg Frost gets down to Auckland to recruit a few of the Blues to join the struggling Te Rarawa. The standard of living in the Ahipara village is very affordable.

Picks: Awanui to pip Eastern, Kawakawa Moerewa too good for Otiria, Kaitaia too fit for Okaihau Ohaeawai, and Panguru, a huge win over Te Rarawa. And that's how Mat sees it.