Demante Murray admits he was petrified prior to his penalty kick to win the Super 8 final for Hamilton Boys’ High School against Napier Boys’ High School on Saturday.
A shot straight in front of the posts 22-metres out is typically routine for a kicker of his stature, but Murray concedes he tightened up.
“Our kicking coach Mita Graham brought out the tee as it was the only option. I told him I was real nervous and had doubts about the kick. He told me to just ‘let it happen.’”
Murray drilled the ball down the middle and Hamilton won the Super 8 for the 11th time improving their overall record in the competition to 104 wins in 145 games.
Of all those victories, number 104 might have been the toughest. Hamilton was down 5-17 at halftime and deprived of 80 percent of the ball.
“Our coaches told us at halftime it was now a dogfight. We had to grind it out defensively and if we could hold out our chances would come,” Murray reveals.
Ten minutes after the resumption, Hamilton had claimed the lead with a near length of the field try. Murray captures the moment.
“That was a set move. Instead of exiting the 22 which Napier expected, Carlos (Karaitiana) fired a miss pass to our fullback who put our Fijian in space. Lewini is a real flyer and it was an awesome try.”
Hamilton won the final 23-22.
Napier wrestled back the lead forcing Hamilton to empty the tank. The school’s famous fitness programme does reap dividends.
“The toughest trainings are on Friday afternoon before the season starts. You have to earn your weekend by track running, pyramids and other hard things,” Murray divulged.
Personally it’s been a tough season for the first-five. In the first Super 8 fixture against Tauranga Boys’ College he broke a cheekbone attempting a tackle. The Super 8 final was only his third game back from injury.
“I couldn’t eat solids for a week. UP&GO was my breakfast, lunch and tea every day. I lost a couple of kilos,” Murray complains.
Murray originally hails from Piopio in the King Country. His parents shifted to Hamilton two years ago, but still commute often to Te Kuiti where they have employment in the Meatworks. Demante is a New Zealand U16 touch representative.
Including the final, Hamilton won all eight matches, scoring 225 points and conceding 113.
Hamilton Boys’ High School’s road to the Super 8 title
Beat New Plymouth Boys’ High School 26-7
Beat Palmerston North Boys’High School 28-25
Beat Rotorua Boys’ High School 28-27
Beat Napier Boys’High School 29-15 (1)
Beat Tauranga Boys’ College 39-0
Beat Gisborne Boys’ High School 26-17
Beat Palmerston North Boys’ High School 36-19
Beat Napier Boys’ High School 23-22 (2)
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