Covid-19 and sporting coverage

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

Covid-19 has become the final nail in the countries daily newspapers coverage of local sport.

Stuff had scythed through their ranks of sports journalists long before the coronavirus came on to the scene, while NZME needed little excuse to axe their local sport coverage 12 months ago.

It's ironic the daily newspapers have dumped local sport, as for decades, they made a big song and dance about championing grassroots sport.

There are some small pockets of resistance such as the Gisborne Herald and Otago Daily Times, who believe that local news and sport are the backbone of their community, and still offer old-fashioned daily coverage.

The majority of the daily newspapers sport coverage is a one shop view of national and international event and happenings, which appear throughout the two daily newspaper monopolies.

What brought the lack of local sport coverage to Sideline Sid's attention, was a casual comment down at the Judea Tavern a couple of weeks ago, along the lines of “Did you know that Luke Braid is coaching the Judea senior team this season”.

A decade ago, that sort of announcement would have certainly scored a significant piece with accompanying photographs, in the local daily rag.

Today, it occupied 30 seconds of chat at the local watering hole before the conversation turned to who was going to win the next race.

Luke Braid was in the alumni of Tauranga Boys' College, around the same time as Black Cap skipper Kane Williamson, All Black captain Sam Cane and America's Cup hero Peter Burling.

With a blue-blood rugby pedigree of father Gary and brother Daniel, having worn the All Black jersey, Luke attracted plenty of attention in the Tauranga Boys' College rugby strip, from the first time he stepped on to Nicholson Field.

Maori All Black and New Zealand Under 20 selection, serious Super Rugby performances, 50 plus games for Bay of Plenty, along with an extended period with Bordeaux in France has produced a serious rugby CV.

The Judea Rugby Club couldn't believe their luck when they cast their net for a new coach, with Luke Braid seeing the position as his first stepping stone in the coaching ranks. 

It is certain to be a big learning curve on both sides of the fence.

The Judea team is likely to find a more professional approach to the game, while the new coach is sure to have some interesting times instilling his philosophies.

Playing in the Baywide second echelon, Judea will spend plenty of time on the road in the first half of the season.

Their opponents are spread throughout the region, from Eastern Bays Te Teko and Opotiki, to Rotorua sides in Waikite, Kahukura, Murupara, Reporoa and Eastern Pirates, with Katikati joining Judea from the Western Bay of Plenty.

Judea has built a reputation as the 'small club that can' - unafraid of the challenges of more fancied opponents and life on the road, with a big season in the pipeline for the club tucked away at Maharia Winiata Park in Judea.


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