Kelly Rolleston played fullback for Marist St Pats through the mid-1990s; he earned a reputation as a hard running back who never took a backward step and redefined the fullback position as an attacking option. He played for the Wellington Lions from 1992-1996.
I have many different favourite memories from my playing days. First there were the training's inside the sawdust gym because of ground being closed due to the wet conditions; I recall seeing our forward pack hitting rucks for an hour while we passed the ball along the backline and then having my training kit full of sawdust for the rest of the season. I’m sure some of the forwards still have sawdust in their ears!
Then on the playing field the hard fought battles we had over the years as well as the tough windy Wellington weather conditions; the cherry on top was the tight group of friends we became which allowed us to win the cups we won. Off the field the preseason trips we had away as a club and the great lifelong friends I made over those years playing with Marist St Pats.
The raw fish Mrs. Reidy made up at the clubrooms was up there as well!
The great thing about Marist St Pats was that we loads of special characters who gave their time and energy to the club. There was a real family feel to the club.
The legendary day after the finals was something special and of course my great friend Henry Fidow who started the Vatican Army which I believe is still active on finals day.
Playing fullback I didn’t really have someone in front of me as a direct opposition. As far as teams we played, the matches we had with Petone and the finals played against them stick out in my memory. They also had an excellent side full of top players but we were lucky to have the edge on them over those years.
I moved to Italy to play rugby for a season with Petrarca rugby in Padova in 1996 and haven’t really be back since.
I finished my playing career in Piacenza in 2007 and have been involved in coaching with them and Lyons rugby since then. I have also worked as an English teacher and Rugby League development officer with the RLEF.
I have recently taken on a Rugbytots franchise with a friend in Piacenza and we do motor skills with kids from 2-7 years old, these courses teach children co-ordination and balance as well as how to play in a team situation and the values of rugby in a fun environment.
I haven’t had the chance to get back to NZ for a number of years now with work and family commitments. I follow the club on the internet and Facebook and its great to see they have continued to do well over the years. I have seen the facilities have improved immensely and there are some excellent people working within the club.
No, Marist St Pats is a great club and they have some excellent people contributing to the team and club. As an ex-player I would just say enjoy your time in the jersey and keep the club up at the top where it belongs.
Marist St Pats is more than a club it’s a family. Make the most of it on the field and at the clubrooms on a Saturday night. I personally look forward to catching up in my home away from home at some stage soon and seeing the Red Machine play live.