Currently the name Richie McCaw and Dan Carter would bring only visions of victory in Sundays World Cup final, however to Rugby League in Northland it brings a picture of generosity as the iSport Foundation a foundation set up by McCaw, Carter and Ali Williams was responsible for supplying Primary Schools with Rugby League balls yesterday at Rugby League Northlands best of the best festival.
Kawana Marsden, from the Muriwhenua Rugby League club made his Test Debut last week for the NZ Universities against the Australians in a two match series played in Christchurch and Greymouth. The Kiwis put on two sterling performances but were pipped at the post in both games losing game one 23 – 22 and game two 24 -20. Match two coincided with the 100 Year Anniversary of West Coast Rugby League.
Rugby League Northland again welcomed our Australian Brothers from the Woden Rams in Canberra to Northland. This is the third year they have come to the wonderful Northland. Originally, the link was established via Kalani Going, who started playing Junior League for the Rams while a part of the Canberra Raiders Academy. Going is the Grandson of Northland Great Union player Sid Going and the nephew of League Stars Thomas and Kylie Leuluai.
The Scott Electrical Sparkies had a clean sweep of the Trade of Origin, winning the series 3 games to 0 as they defeated the Placemaker Chippies 56 – 28 as the Curtain Raiser to the Swords match.
The Northern Swords finished their 2015 NZRL National Premiership campaign with another solid performance on Saturday, against the defending champions and 2015 finalists the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls. Even though the score board showed a 56 – 20 loss, there were again lots of positives to be had from the match. For the first 10 minutes it looked possible that the Swords may do the unthinkable and knock over the Bulls as the Swords looked structured and composed as they played out their sets and controlled the defense line. The Swords were the first team to score through play maker Kyle Hool, however this only spurned the Bulls pack into action. Led by inspiration Captain, Chris Bamford, the Bulls were able to gain momentum through their superior size and strength and were able to turn the smaller Swords players around and capitalise through their slick outside backs.
Here is the Starting 13 Line up for Round 7 of the NZRL National Competition – Northern Swords v Rockcote Canterbury Bulls, playing this Saturday 10th October at Toll Stadium, kick off at 1:30pm. The curtain raiser is the Scott Electrical Sparkies v Placemakers Chippies who kick off at 11:30am. Gates will be open at 11:00 – Adults $5, children 12 and under Gold Coin koha.
National Premiership Swords v Bulls streamed LIVE by Channel North. Also streaming live is the Trade of Origin match between the Scott Electrical Sparkies and the Placemaker Chippies.
The Northern Swords 15s and 17s had an impressive Got a Trade Got it Made National Tournament in Rotorua last week. For the first time ever, both the 15s and 17s managed to lift themselves off the bottom of the table with both teams finishing in 6th place (out of 8 teams). “We are by far the smallest zone in terms of playing numbers, but we are seeing that our players are improving year after year on the field. We have some exceptional talent coming through and they are getting noticed at a National and NRL level which has to be great for the growth of the game in Northland” said, RLN General Manager, Alex Smits.
The Northern Swords U14s travel to Tauranga to play in the RULA Regional Tournament. This is the third year that the Swords have participated in this tournament, previously we have sent an U13s team, but this year the structure has changed to focus on the U14s Grade. The Swords 14s are coached by Jimmy Croft with Mike Hetaraka the Team Manager. They will face Nationals (toa Samoa), Auckland Maori, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty and Coastline. The Swords 14s have five players who will be backing up from the U15s Nationals so are fairly confident that they will be competitive at this tournament.
Premiers Swords Coach, Jon Renes, has built a youthful squad that has seen vast improvements throughout the campaign and although the score line remains on the negative side of the ledger the squad remains upbeat and is committed to improving performance after performance. In the weekend they trailed 16 – 6 at half time against an Akarana team that was desperate to prove to critics that they are the force that they have been in previous years. In the past the Swords would have capitulated and conceded a heavy score line against their Auckland counterparts – however they were able to hold onto a very respectable 40 – 12 loss.