For True Blues member and avid Blues fan Joel Stockley, rugby is poetry in motion. He describes each position as players on a chess board, each move surprising the crowd and keeping him on the edge of his seat – especially the first five.
“My favourite position is always the number 10, just seeing what they do amazes me,” said Joel. “The Blues have got a couple of really good upcoming players like Ihaia West and Male Sa’u. Seeing Male in action, especially at the recent World Cup, was fantastic.”
“I think these are the guys we need to hold onto and develop over the years.
Joel’s speaking from a fan’s experience – he’s been a Blues supporter for the past 20 years, ever since Super Rugby’s launch in 1996. And for the past five years, without fail, Joel has bought in to the season with a True Blues membership.
“I’ve been an Auckland fan my whole life and always been a huge supporter of Michael Jones,” said Joel. “So that just naturally transitioned to the Blues in 1996.”
He’s active on the Blues and Facebook twitter accounts and loves to engage with the players wherever possible, but nothing could have prepared him for the phone call last week.
“I was at work at the time and missed the call,” said Joel. “When he called me straight back, I actually fell out of my chair I was so shocked.”
It was a call from our True Blues membership leader, letting Joel know that he’d won a trip to Brisbane to see the Blues play the Reds in Round 4 this year. The prize is awarded to only one person a year and 2016 was Joel’s big break.
It’s a prize like no other, offering the winner plenty of money-can’t-buy experiences – including drinks and nibbles with the team, staying at the squad hotel and being hosted at Suncorp Stadium for the big match up.
Joel has wisely elected to invite his wife Suzanne along for the trip, but not before playing a small prank.
“I called my wife and told her that another rugby mad mate of mine would be coming over to Brisbane with me,” said Joel. “She was not impressed!”
He quickly let Suzanne know that the two would be enjoying a small March-getaway for the game. The two will also enjoy a host of Brisbane activities to keep them entertained.
So what does an avid Blues fan look forward to in 2016?
“I’ve been watching the team closely and seeing the new base built at Alexandra Park,” he said. “And I think it’s fantastic, Tana knows how to get a team going and pushing forward.”
“And I think the Blues have the talent to blow the Reds out of the water when we play them!”