FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Twice a week for the last three months Michael Price has been driving from Wainuiomata to Palmerston North for training with the Central Falcons Bartercard Cup rugby league team. Sometimes he wouldn't be back home until midnight. The last fortnight that's got slightly better with team practices being moved to Levin cutting 90 minutes off the round trip.
"It's been a big commitment but I've got used to it now," he said.
"I guess it would have been more enjoyable if we had won more games."
Price is one of four Wellington-based players who decided to play for Manawatu rather then Wellington. They all meet and drive a van up and back every Tuesday and Thursday. On the alternate days the players either do boxing training or hit the gym.
Whether Price will continue to commute next season he isn't sure yet. Manawatu is keen to retain him but with nine rounds still to play he is non-committal.
But tomorrow he can get out of his own bed, take his time to get ready and head to his old home ground, Wise Park, as Manawatu has transferred its home game to Wainuiomata.
Under coach Johnny Lomax, Manawatu's had a tough debut season. It has won just once in seven rounds, numerous times failing by only a missed tackle, dropped pass or some other glitch in concentration. But the end result is it has just two points and shares the bottom of the table with the Canterbury Bulls.
"We can't seem to finish off a game and hopefully that'll come," Price explained.
"I thought we should have won a few games that we lost. The only team to beat us properly was Wellington who played pretty good in the first half.
"The other teams, I think we should have given it to them really. We get two points in front and think the game's over and then just go to sleep."
Wellington has wobbly wheels at the moment which could come off with a loss to Manawatu. And with Wellington having four consecutive losses Manawatu go into tomorrow's game with some confidence.
"I'm surprised that's happened to them," Price said of Wellington's losing streak.
"I have heard they had some close games that should have gone their way but didn't."