It’s a celebration of rugby league, and the Kiwis and Samoans are the special guests, as well as the Whangarei community. Whangarei edged out the likes of Sydney, Newcastle and even Auckland as a venue for the coveted hosting of a Four Nations test match. Not only does the community get to see a quality international encounter, but they also get the reward of having two teams of NRL stars attend a community festival in Whangarei, two days before they meet, on Toll Stadium.
It’s great to see Kiwi 732 Adam Blair, re-finding his form and leading from the Kiwis pack from the front again. Adam Blair is an ex-Student from Whangarei Boys High School and will make a guest appearance at the Sport Northland College Sports Awards on Thursday night to present a number of awards including the Rugby League Player College Player of the year!
In the week leading up to the big event it’s great to see that other Northlanders are making at impact at an International Level. Firstly Manaia Cherrington played a star role in the Junior Kiwis nailbiting 15 – 14 win over the Junior Roo’s at hooker and as captain on the 18th Of October. Manaia who plays the West Tigers is originally from Whangaruru and moved to Australia when he was 5.
Elijah Taylor is one of Sports true gentlemen, he is always willing to give back to the grassroots and do what he can to help promote Rugby League and the community. One example is the work he does surrounding the promotion of Water is the Best drink in partnership with the Northland DHB and in a world where many sports stars can charge a premium for this kind of service Elijah does it for the pure good of the game and the good of Northland.
Kiwi # 537 Nick Wright, Referees at the Inaugural Area Schools Nines tournament. Earlier this week RLN staged the first ever Area Schools Nine-A-Side Tournament. With Schools represented from Kura Kaikohe, Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, Opononi and Whangaroa.
Northland’s future Kiwis meet the Kiwis of today! Rugby League Northland hosts the Northland Champions Primary Schools Festival on 30th September, 10am-2pm. The Kiwi and Samoan teams will be on site between 11am-12pm. Come and meet your favourite Rugby League Super Star!
The Northern Swords 13s travelled down to Mt Maunganui, for their first experience as Swords players in a district tournament. Coached by Takahiwai’s, Rewi Kaihau, Managed by Whanau’s Hine Pireroa, with Otangarei’s John Radovanovich as their trainer and RLN Development Officer Joe Rau, offering support, 20 players descended on the Mount for four games over two days.
A selection of photographs from the game between Otaua Valleys (32) v Woden Rams (12), hosted at Ohaewai on Tuesday 7th October 2014. A full selection of photographs are available on the Northern Swords Facebook page.
The Swords 15s showed so much promise, but as the tournament went on, their hopes faded away. Day One saw them more than competitive, with eventual tournament winners, the Akarana Falcons. Trailing by only 6 – 4 at half time the Swords were disallowed an early try in the second half to eventually lose 24 – 10. Which was an admirable performance, especially when you consider that in the corresponding fixture in 2013 they lost 70 – 0.
On the field for the Swords 17s, the tournament was a big come-down from the highs of 2013, when the boys finished 3rd. The 17s struggled from day one, when they suffered a heavy defeat to the Auckland Invitational side 68 – 12. In what would become the story of the tournament they were competitive for the first 15 – 20 minutes, until the Auckland sides superior size and power broke the Swords back, and with League once a team’s tail is lifted, it’s hard to stop the momentum of the opposition, with them running rampant to pile on points. The Swords then lost 50 – 4 to Akarana and then 28 – 6 to Mid Central, to close out pool play. This saw them play Wai-Coa-Bay in the cross-over game where they lost 46 – 4, decimated by injury, finishing the game with only 12 players.