Northland Rugby League stalwart, Sharon Bird, was formally recognised at the NZRL Rugby League awards last Monday night, with a Distinguished Service Award. This award represents 30 years of Service to Rugby League in Northland. Until recently, Sharon was a member of the Rugby League Northland Board and was instrumental with regard to helping Rugby League Northland get established. The result of which has seen the growth of League in Northland from 655 registered players in 2010 to 2420 registered players in 2013.
Rugby League in Northland continues to make positive steps forward as some of its key participants are recognised at the Sport Northland Regional Awards. Two key awards were presented to the Northern Wairoa Bulls who won the overall Club of the Year for Kaipara and Jim Larkin who won the overall Coach of the Year award for the Mid to Far North.
On Friday 29th November, Solomone Palu was the proud recipient of the Sport Northland Code Award. The event was well attended with Iain (Kamo) Jones and Chris McAsey as key note speakers.
Elijah Taylor will join Sam McKendry in the NRL team. Alongside the two NRL stars, four Northlanders will be making a start with their NRL aspirations as they join the Penrith Panthers SG Ball (U18s Team) and the NYC Holden Cup U20s Team. The players are James Dean Fisher-Harris, Hamish Pomare, Corey Selwyn (Penrith SG Ball) and Corey Naera (NYC Holden Cup U20s).
Rugby League Northland Referees Association Chairman, Neville Rudolph, has departed Northland for the bright city lights of Brisbane, Australia. I first met Neville on my second day as General Manager of RLN, with Neville telling me that we only had three active Referees and that I would have to become one too! Which I did, and to this day, do not regret.
Rugby League Northland, in partnership with the Muriwhenua Kuaka, launched the Kaitaia Mini Mod League for Years 5 and 6. The afterschool competition ran for four weeks and was played at Arnold Rae Park on Wednesday afternoons.
Three schools entered – TKKMO Pukemiro, Pompallier and Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, with a fourth team, the Muriwhenua All Stars, making up the numbers.