The Counties Manukau Steelers have a very special new addition to their base in Drury. The Mill, which is the name for their gym and base has just had a makeover with a great big mural covering one of the walls.
Joe Lane, who works for Fisher & Paykel, but does drawing as a hobby, created the masterpiece which includes Counties Manukau Rugby legends Jonah Lomu, Joeli Vidiri and Tana Umaga.
“I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. Doing the mural for the Steelers all came about by word of mouth really. A good friend of mine from school said his cousin, Sherwin Stowers was looking for an artist. He showed Sherwin my Instagram page and straight away he was like I want this guy and the rest is history.”
Stowers, who is a Steelers stalwart, met up with Joe and they arranged a time for him to have a look at the wall he would be drawing on. He was overwhelmed by the wall, as the murals he had done in the past had all been ground level. The one at the Mill was a bit higher up.
“I was wondering how on earth I was going to do it. I was excited and really keen to do it, but just had to work out how to get up there. Steelers prop Sean Bagshaw managed to borrow a cherry picker from his work and from there on I was able to get started.”
Joe, who hails from Otara, worked on the mural on Friday’s and Saturday’s and it took him a month to complete. Players would enjoy coming into training and seeing the different changes from week to week. He’s extremely proud of his work and is now part of the Steelers family.
“Every time I come through the gates here at the Mill I feel like I am part of the team. The last couple of days of painting the mural I got sad because I had no excuse to come back. I’ve actually put my mark here and it’s been great to meet the players and management. I know how much this place means to the team and this wall is nothing compared to what they go out and do on the field. But it’s pretty much a tribute from me to them.”