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Eketahuna quick on the ball

A loose forward trio include Sam Gammie, BJ Campbell (pictured) and Johan van Vliet will make Eketahuna hard to handle.

With a top brass loose forward trio Eketahuna are sure to be quick on the ball in 2017.

Incumbent Wairarapa-Bush loosies Sam Gammie (blindside) and BJ Campbell (No.8) had stellar Heartland Championship campaigns last year, and irrespective of who is packing down on the open-side give Eketahuna a potent force.

Add in work-horse Johan van Vliet and its a 6-7-8 combination of real substance. Van Vliet is a former Wairarapa-Bush captain.

It will be interesting to see if Sam Monaghan turns up later in the season. But even without his magical skills Eketahuna have plenty of talent in the backs. Midfielder Robbie Anderson is a proven campaigner with Tom Meuli, Chris Terry and Dion Havea also top quality.

Two newcomers, Dane Hopa and Jake Beleski are also players to watch.

Eketahuna kick their season off against Marist tomorrow (Friday) under lights at Trust House Memorial Park.

Understood to be a light on numbers East Coast will be hoping to start their season on a positive note when they head to Gladstone on Saturday.

The Coasties finished the 2016 season on a high winning the second tier Hodder Steffert Cup in a closely fought game against Eketahuna. However, with the likes of Utah Walker (Carterton) and Chance Ropiha (Martinborough) having switched allegiance their attacking stocks have taken a bit of a hit.

Sure to be leading by example will be Joe Feast and his brother Morgan, (both loose forwards), along with a handful of youngsters capable of causing a few surprises.

In other matches this weekend, Greytown and Martinborough square off in the South Wairarapa derby. Marty is said to be well resourced and will be hoping to strike an early blow on the defending champions. Greytown have the home advantage.

Last year’s beaten Tui Cup finalists Carterton host a confident Pioneer.