2014 is the last year that I stand as Chairman of RLN. Both myself and Tom Jackson have been Board Members since Rugby League Northland inception in 2010 and due to constitutional process both myself and Tom will be stepping down at the next AGM. I can say that I will be stepping down confident that the game has moved in the right direction. As a organisation, the work is by no means completed, however there is a solid foundation for sustainability.
WOW – what a week for League in Northland. To have two quality teams in Whangarei for a week was a great event! We were fortunate that the Test Match coincided with the Northland Primary School Championship Finals. The Thursday before the Test, 31 teams from 26 Primary Schools from Ruawai to Kaitaia and everywhere in between flocked to Kensington Park to see who would make the final and get to play the Curtain Raiser on Toll Stadium. Oh and lets not forget, that the FULL Kiwi and Samoan Team came along for a mass signing session with the kids!
The Leadership through League programme continues RLN’s strategic plan, embracing our Mantra ”More than just a game.” Based on the maori philosophy of Tuakana Teina of older sibling teaching younger sibling, students use Rugby League as a vehicle to learn about coaching and leadership, who in turn, coach Primary School students, in their community. In total we have qualified 159 coaches from 11 Colleges, who in turn have coached over 2,996 Primary School kids in 41 Primary Schools across Northland.
Club League was again vibrant. The 10 team MuliKai Cooker Premiership saw an climatic finish to the senior season with Otangarei Knights going on a three match winning streak to firstly defeat the Portland Panthers, then shock minor Premiers the Takahiwai Warriors, then come from a 26 – 12 deficit with less than 20 minutes to play to stop Hikurangi from winning their fourth straight victory!
The Swords 13s travelled to the RULA District Tournament in Mt Maunganui and finished 4th, whilst the Swords 15s finished 8th of 8 in the NZRL National Tournament. However they were very competitive in every game and were runners up in the Upper Central Zone district tournament. Our Swords 17s finished 7th out of 8 in the NZRL national Tournament and our Swords Premiers had a bit of a disappointing season, not winning a game and finished 7th out of 7.
Walk into any smoko room on a building site and you are bound to hear banter about who the best trade is on site. Each trade reckons that they are the most important people on site and that they do the best work and the others are always the spanner in the works holding the site up! In Northland, the trades now have the ability to stand behind their reputation – stand by their fellow tradesmen – put their ego where their mouth is and walk the walk, that they have been talking.