By Tony Stickley
When you talk to Cody Hamilton about what makes the Mercury Bay Rugby Club different from other teams, the word “brotherhood” comes up again and again.
But it is not just a metaphor for the cohesion and closeness of an outfit that, to a large extent, has been together since they attended school in Whitianga.
It is also literally true. At the last count, there were five sets of brothers playing for MBRC, including the Hamiltons, who have three players in the senior side. Cody said that family connection inspired a fierce loyalty, as they were in fact playing for and with their family.
“That’s a question I have been asked recently, ‘what makes us different from other clubs?’” said Cody. “Yes, we are as big and yes, we are as fast, and yes, we are just as skilled, and yes, we are just as fit to the casual observer, but there is something greater, something synergetic about the Bay, and the answer to that question is very simple to those in the know.” Of course, he said, there was a great sense of pride in wearing the Bay jersey at every level.That was reflected in the statistics that showed, with just a few exceptions, that the senior side have all represented the club at junior grades including the first fifteen.
“But even more special is the fact that the unconditional loyalty to the Bay is also reflected in the fact that there is literally a brotherhood within the club, not just a solidarity amongst players but the amazing fact that rugby is a family affair and although it is common for brothers to play rugby in different teams on a Saturday growing up, we currently have no less than five sets of brothers playing for the senior side, including a trio from one family.” This “ brotherhood in arms”, as he refers to the various sibling players, include: Austin and Ethan Brear; Connor Macleod and Cody Muir, who also coaches the first fifteen; Jamie and Harry Finnerty; Makaere and Anzac Waterhouse; and last but not least, Cody and Ricky Hamilton and their brother Beau Hamilton, who is also part of the senior coaching staff. As if there were the slightest doubt, Cody added: “Mercury Bay rugby is in great heart this season, with a lot of the teams across the board doing well, especially the first and second fifteens who have made finals and both the senior teams who have made semi-finals.
“There is a lot of pride and passion within the club and, as I have already said, even a brotherhood, literally. Bay rugby is born and bred, and Bay rugby is alive and thriving,” Cody said.
Pictured from left to right: Cody Hamilton played all his rugby for Mecury Bay for the last 25 years, winning numerous championships including second fifteen and senior A twice: Mike Hamilton who played first fifteen 1973 til 1975 and coached most junior grades, including winning numerous championships; Beau Hamilton who played most of his rugby for the Bay, with the exception of a season with Balmain in Australia and a couple of seasons playing and coaching in Hamilton but winning numerous championships including first fifteen and senior Premiers twice for the Bay; Ricky Hamilton, who has played all his rugby for the Bay, winning numerous championships including first fifteen; and finally Cody’s children, the next generation of Hamilton’s playing for the Bay, Frankie, Ryder and Mila.
Pictured from left to right: Cody Hamilton, Mike Hamilton, Beau Hamilton, Ricky Hamilton and Cody’s children, Frankie, Ryder and Mila.