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Tuesday, 07 July 2015

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Tane: I can still do the job for Haven

WHITEHAVEN’S new recruit Tane Manihera is confident he can repay the faith of coa-ch David Seeds after penning a deal that will see him return to the Recreation Ground for a third stint next season at 36.

returning: Tane Manihera

The vastly-experienced Kiwi impressed Seeds when playing against him for Workington Town in Neil Frazer’s testimonial game last month.

And Manihera believes he still has something to offer at half-back in Championship One next term.

“I felt pretty good in the testimonial match and did okay,” Manihera said. “I later had a conversation with Seedsy and he asked me if could boss the forwards around and give a bit more direction.

“I can still do that and thought I would give it a go. They want to use me as a playmaker alongside a younger half-back who can score tries and be the inspiration.

“It has to be a partnership. It will be a long season if it isn’t. If I can pass on my 15 years experience playing over here, all the better. My strengths will be upstairs in my head.

“I know the young lads want to break in to the team and I’m confident it will go well. But you can’t prove it until you get out on the field.

“The goal is to do as well as we can and try not to have another year like the last one. With the players they have signed, they are still going to be pretty strong.”

Manihera debuted for Haven in May 2008 and went on to feature in all but two of the remaining matches that season, playing a major role in the run to a Championship play-off semi-final.

He did not return until May the following season, after completing RU commitments with Wigton. But after just one game, a heavy defeat at Toulouse, he opted to retire from RL.

“I really enjoyed my time at Whitehaven,” added the dad-of-two. “The second time it didn’t work out as I’d just come back from RU and was chucked in at the deep end. It was really hard work, but that was fine.

“I was happy to retire, but I have missed the game. I’ve loved it for ever and a day.

“I’ve still been playing RU and enjoying life. RL is a bit selfish with your time, but it will work out as my wife is at university so has a bit more time on her hands and can help out with childcare.”

Manihera has kept fit playing for Wigton and will continue his RU commitments until next month before focusing fully on Haven.

“Wigton were promoted last season which was a good boost, and the division we are in now is really good,” he said. “We haven’t won all the games but we’ve been quite pl-eased how we’ve performed.”

Haven have also signed ex-Newcastle Falcons starlet Dan Rayson, who is likely to be a contender for a half-back place at some stage, and amateur international prop Carl McBain, on 12-months deals.

Both youngsters have Recre experience, with Rayson, from Cockermouth, a member of Haven’s scholarship scheme before switching codes with the Falcons, while McBain had a short stint at the club last term.

“We are investing in the club’s future,” said Gary Hewer, head of performance and player development.

“Daniel came through our system and was an England international at 16 before getting the opportunity to play RU for Newcastle Falcons.

“He was there four years and was a member of their first-team squad. While he didn’t feature for the first-team, he played for their rese-rve-grade at a very high level.

“We haven’t an abundance of half-backs at the club, and he’s ambitious and believes he can do a job.

“I know his calibre, and we have a new coach at the club, David Seeds, so everyone starts with a clean sheet.

“Carl McBain got involved with our system at the back end of last year, to test to see if he liked us and we liked him.

“He’s a BARLA Under-23 international who toured Russia last year, so he has a good pedigree and is from a good camp at Barrow Island.”

Haven have also signed their former England junior Daniel Smith.

Smith, now 22, enjoyed a glittering junior career, starring for England Under-16s, and he was the first Haven scholarship kid to sign pro forms with the club when agreeing a three-and-a-half year deal in March 2004.

The centre, whose brother Chris is a hooker at the club, was not offered a deal last year when he was committed to completing studies to become a school teacher.

He has now started work locally and approached the club about resuming his Recre career.

“Daniel hasn’t played for anyone else since he left us, and it’s great that he wants to resurrect his career,” Hewer said. “I’m sure he can offer something, not only now, but in the years to come.”

Prop Andy Thornley has left the Recre for Leigh Centurions, who have also handed a trial to another former Haven forward Andy Gorski.

The Haven squad met on Tuesday for strength tests ahead of the launch of pre-season training on November 15.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners: L Kelly, of Cleator Moor, tick-et no 757; T Pilkingon, Woodhouse, 76; I McCurrie, Richmond, 367; B Nulty, Moor Row, 2; H Conway, Moresby, 694.


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