Cakitaki travels to any length
THERE’S a mantra about the lengths players will go to get a game, but Josh Cakitaki took it to new levels earlier this season.
With Bendigo Pioneers playing a practice match in Robinvale, Cakitaki was unable to gain a lift, but it served as only a minor hindrance.
First, he had to catch a train from South Castlemaine to Bendigo then hop aboard a Swan Hill bound bus on the Saturday so he could play in the Sunday match.
As Pioneers’ coach David Newett recalled, Cakitaki didn’t tell anyone of his dilemma and it wasn’t until he started swapping texts with teammates did news of his journey become known.
“That was the level of commitment Josh was prepared to show to make the trip three to four hours away to play for the club,” Newett said.
“Josh came in last year, but didn’t make it as a bottom age player and went away and played seniors for South Castlemaine then worked extremely hard pre-season.
“He worked on the areas he needed to and became stronger. He’s the first on the training track, he has a great work ethic.
“It just shows the levels he’s gone to, the desire has so he could play with Bendigo Pioneers”
Newett said Cakitaki performed well in all the pre-season testing and, importantly, impressed everyone at the club with his character.
All that hard work has flowed over to the start of the 2013 season with Cakitaki earning the maximum votes in the Pioneers convincing win against North Ballarat in the season opener.
Newett noted that was evident in how Cakitaki approached his North Ballarat opponents to set the standard for his teammates and he was a deserved recipient of the maximum TAC Cup Coaches Award votes.
“His ability in one-on-one contests, his discipline and to play his role for the team was great,” Newett said.
“He was nice and strong at the ball, he didn’t flinch and he provided good run and support to the other defenders as well.
“It was a really good team orientated game.”
Others may have racked up greater statistical numbers, but what struck a chord with Newett was how team focused Cakitaki was and the extent he went to help his team post a win.
Cakitaki recounted his pre-season experiences as just ensuring he gave himself every chance to make the Pioneers list and then perform at a level to gain a game.
He said he knew he had to pick up his game in a whole raft of areas and he set out during the pre-season to work on all his deficiencies.
“I just wanted to give it everything,” Cakitaki said.
Asked what turned things around, Cakitaki simply replied: “Just hard work. It’s basically the key to anything.”