In May the Hutt International Boys’ School First XI football season was thrown into potential disarray. Nathan Watt, a Year 13 student and accomplished sportsman, tragically died. First XI co-captain Jack Wylie recalls the immediate aftermath of Watt’s passing.
“Nathan passed on Tuesday and we had a catch up game against Wairarapa College on Thursday. We had a meeting to discuss if we were in the right headspace to play the game and none of us were,” he says.
“Our coach Brendan McIntyre persuaded us to dedicate the season to Nathan which became a powerful motivator.”
HIBS won the Wairarapa game 9-4, an affair which Wylie labelled “insane.” Those 90 minutes were only a temporary comfort.
“Nathan was my best friend. I spoke at his funeral about how supportive he was. He was at the first two games of the season against Scots and Rongotai. I decided to wear his number 14 jersey for the rest of the year as a tribute. That probably explains why I’ve had my best season to date,” Wylie reveals.
Last Wednesday, Wylie led HIBS to a convincing 2-0 victory over St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in the Premier Youth final. It was HIBS third Wellington title in four seasons. HIBS had lost to Silverstream twice previously.
“I don’t think we changed much specifically. We just wanted it more. We tried to play a lot of one touch football knowing Silverstream like to press defensively.” Wylie responded when quizzed about tactics for the decider.
HIBS goals were scored by William Brownlie and Cole Kennedy - the former has been on a rollercoaster ride.
“Cole is our leading goal scorer, but earlier in the season he was struggling for confidence and missed a few games. He came back for the Wellington College game before the final and scored an absolute banger. His goal in the final showed all his speed and skill. It was an outstanding performance from all the boys.” Wylie acclaimed.
In 2017, HIBS lost the Premier Youth final to St Pats Town. Wylie scored HIBS only goal in a rare appearance.
“I made the First XI in Year 11, but got dropped last year because of a shortage of form and confidence. I only played the final because another player got suspended for a red card,” Wylie admits.
“I was surprised to be appointed captain this year, but I’d like to thank Brendan McIntyre and Nick McFayden for their support. Macca is a great motivator as a coach and Nick has been my co-captain all season and actually wore the armband for the final on Wednesday night. He’s one of the best lads I’ve ever played with.”
Next week HIBS will head to Nationals where they are grouped alongside Cashmere College, St Paul’s Collegiate and Mount Albert Grammar School. Wylie is explicit about HIBS goal.
“Our best finish at Nationals is 12th. Our goal this year is to achieve a single digit finish, and who knows what might happen if we made the knockout rounds.”
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand