MARTY Delore was working as a fly-in-fly-out scaffolder at a gas plant on Barrow Island, 100 kilometres off a the Pilbara Coast of Western Australia, this time last year.
He spent 23 days at a time on the island, working and staying in on-site accommodation. The block was followed by a 10-day break in which he would either travel home or visit a holiday spot in Australia.
He was also saving money for a trip to Europe.
Rugby, needless to say, wasn’t a priority.
Christmas was spent with eight mates, including Southern Beaches fly-half Peter Madden, in Berlin. New Years was in Bulgaria. The rugby seed was sewn over numerous beers.
“We talked a bit of footy when we were away,” Delore said. “I had promised [first grade coach] Johan Lourens that I would play a season for him eventually. When I came back, I thought it would be good to have another season alongside the boys.”
On Saturday, Delore will be feeding the scrum for Southern Beaches against Wanderers in the preliminary final at No.2 Sportsground. Victory will secure a date with minor premiers Hamilton in the grand final.
Delore played halfback for Beaches in their 20-17 loss to Wanderers in the club’s maiden grand final appearance 2014.
He moved to Darwin for work in 2015 where he played “a couple of games of sevens” before taking up the job on Barrow Island last year.
“It wasn’t until I got back and starting playing that I realised how much I missed it,” he said. “The way the season has panned out. Once things started falling into place with a few wins, you do think about 2014. There are a lot of new fellas this year, but there is also a few who I have played a fair while with and are getting towards the end of their careers. Blokes like Hayden Gavin, Matt Lanzini and Va Talaileva. It is pretty important to them.”
Marty is the third of four Delore brothers. Elder duo Michael and Andrew are in doubt with knee injuries. Youngest sibling Adrian has been their form player of the finals.
“It could be one of the last opportunities for us to play together,” Marty said. “Andrew is 32 and I’m not sure what his intentions are regarding playing competitively next year. Adrian will look at maybe going to Sydney next year. I’m looking at playing in either Spain or Holland and hope to leave in a month.”
Southern Beaches have beaten Wanderers in their past two meetings – 20-14 in round 15 and 20-19 in the qualifying final a fortnight ago.
“We have won the last two but we got beaten pretty convincingly at the start of the year,” Delore said. “We go into this one with a bit of confidence and try to play to our strengths. The key is cutting down their time with the ball. They have fast guys out wide. We need to put the pressure on and minimise the opportunities they get.”