2017 RLN Premiership Draw
Otangarei Knights RLC Nominated for NZRL Grassroots Club of the YearOtangarei Knights RLC Nominated for NZRL Grassroots Club of the Year
The NZRL Awards Night was a cracking event, riding on the wave of winning the Four Nations in 2014. With Simon Mannering winning the Kiwis player of the Year, from a prestigious list that included Shaun Johnson and Jesse Bromwich. Northlanders were excited to see their very own Otangarei Knights named as finalists in the Grassroots Club of the Year, who were just pipped to the post by the Hornby Panthers, who were named as the winners. (Click here to view the full list of finalists and winners).
The Otangarei Knights had a tumultuous season in 2014, which was capped off by winning their first ever Premiership, as they were crowned RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership Champions, with a classic tale of the underdog as they came from behind to defeat the Hikurangi Stags. Along the way, they also had to dispose of the Minor Premiers, the Takahiwai Warriors, in the major semi-final as well as defeating the Portland Panthers in the preliminary semi-final.
The 2014 season started out (for the Knights), in a terrible fashion, as they parted company with the City Rugby Club, right in the start of the playing season – this included having to return all playing strips back to the club. The Knights could have folded completely after becoming homeless and without playing gear and a low morale, but instead they displayed the true spirit of ‘more than just a game’ and as a community they all pulled together and worked together to borrow interim playing strips, held weekly fundraising events and by mid-season they had not only Senior gear, but also juniors.
They fielded 5 junior teams – 7s, 9s, 11s, 13s and 15s (the format only required 4 junior teams, but they fielded 5).
The Otangarei Knights Premiers, historically have been known as a team with talent – but with poor disciplinary record often costing them games. As part of the clubs commitment to “More than just a game,” Player/Coach Jackson Katene (Corrections Officer) enforced a team code of conduct that required the team to show discipline on and off the field – the result of this was the team went on to win the RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership for the 2014 season and establish pride in the Knights as a Club and Community Leader.
For their end of year prize giving, all the players dressed in the playing strips and went on a parade in their local community out to Senior Citizens homes and gated communities. Their pride and achievement has been well-deserved in the face of such adversity
Otangarei is one of Whangarei’s toughest areas, low socio-economic areas, with a bad reputation. The Otangarei Knights were able to unite the community in the positive environment of Rugby League.
A contingent from the Knights attended the Awards which was held at The Floating Pavilion – Viaduct Harbour – Auckland on Wednesday the 28th January.
The Hokianga Pioneers showed that they will be a force in the RLN Premiership come semi-finals in three weeks, as they defeated Premiership front runners, the Hikurangi Stags by 28 – 22. Despite the loss, Hikurangi remain in second place, ahead of Otangarei, who defeated Horahora 48 – 24 and Portland who defeated Kerikeri 50 – 34. All three teams are locked in on 18 points, however Hikurangi have points for and against. Hokianga sit in fifth place.
The Northern Wairoa Bulls have taken the lead in the run for sixth place with their 52 – 6 demolition of the Moerewa Tigers. Before the match, the Bulls were one point clear of the Tigers on 11 points, and the Tigers had won four in a row, however the Tigers were never in the game as the Bulls played a well structured and powerful 80 minutes of football, which never even gave the Tigers a sniff. On the back on a strong forward pack, led by Jake Mau and Patrick Tane, the Bulls were ruthless in their execution. The win puts the Bulls onto 13 points and 6th place, they move 3 points ahead of the Tigers, who are their nearest rivals. Both teams will have a tight run to the playoffs, with the Bulls facing Horahora, Hikurangi and Portland, while the Tigers have Takahiwai, Horahora and then Hikurangi.
Takahiwai look to have the Minor Premiership in the bag after their demolition of Muriwhenua 82 – 6. With their last three games being Moerewa, Kerikeri and Horahora the biggest concern for Takahiwai will be complacency leading into the playoffs.
The RLN Multikai Cooker Playoffs start on July 27th at Toll Stadium with:
- 3rd playing 6th and 4th v 5th, while the 1st and 2nd get the week off.
- August 2nd – Major Semis – Toll Stadium
- August 9th RLN Multikai Cooker Premiers Finals Day – Toll Stadium