To see more photos from this game please click here
Photos courtesy of Robert O’Hara – Impact photography
Four Nations Test Match and Northland Primary Schools ChampionshipFour Nations Test Match and Northland Primary Schools Championship
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 tournament was played in two grades – Years 4-6 and 7-8, the teams qualified from their regional qualifying tournament. In the Year 4-6 grade Whau Valley defeated Maungatapere and in the Year 7-8 grade Whangarei Intermediate defeated Bream Bay. Congratulations to Whau Valley and Whangarei Intermediate. A big thank you to the 26 Swords 15s and 17s who attended the day as Referees and Tournament Officials!
Then on to the test match! 17,000 fans at Toll Stadium – brilliant sunshine, great atmosphere – what an advert for Northland! The Whangarei Council estimated that the event was worth $4 million to the local community! The Kiwis scraped home against a big aggressive Samoan pack to ensure that the home supporters left happy.
So what is the legacy of the match? The event was staged as a test event for the 2017 World Cup which NZRL joint host with Australia. So we can only hope that Toll secures some games in 2017. However, shorter term, RLN and Toll Stadium will explore opportunities of hosting some high profile games in 2016… NRL games in Northland? Everything is possible.
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.
On the back of Leadership through League – RLN has developed a school calendar where every school in Northland now has an opportunity to play League at a festival!
Other school programs included the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy (NABT) our College Program. We had an increase from 8 Colleges to 10 Colleges in 2014. The NABT continues to be a highlight on the Northland College Program and testament to the competition was our finals night at Hikurangi, with a huge crowd flocking to see Kamo High School take out the trophy for their first time.
Testament to the quality of the competition was the NABT XIII’s (our Secondary School Representative Team) narrow loss to a Warriors Development Team 42 – 28 after leading for a good portion of the game.
We also had 10 Colleges play in the Year 9 and 10 Nine-a-Side Challenge Shield, with Whangarei Boys High School winning the title.
For the first time ever RLN hosted Lightning League for College Girls, where Okaihau College took out the title from four other colleges.
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 Bluegoose every Sunday was a great place to be, with over 500 kids playing every week. The 13s, 15s and 18s all had good numbers and you can really see the improvement in the quality of the game. The Muriwhenua Rubgy League Club hosted a four school, after school mini mod competition.
Next year will see some changes in junior league with the grades changing to evens to see 6s, 8s, 10s, 12s, 14s , 16s and 18s grades. With the 16s and 18s moving to play Saturday football. We are also exploring the opportunity of moving Mini Mod League in the Mid North to be a mid-week after school competition with a mix of school and club teams competing.
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.
On a more positive note, 6 players trialled for the NZRL 16/18s Kiwi teams. Tumoana Halkyard was selected in the NZ Universities team to play as the curtain raiser in the Kiwis v England game. James Dean Fisher-Harris and Kalani Going were selected in the Taurahere Kiwi U18s (ex-pat Kiwi teams). Plus, 3 Northlanders made their U20s Holden Cup debut – Corey Harawira-Naera and James Dean Fisher-Harris (for the Penrith Panthers) and Jordan Aiono Fatu (for the Canberra Raiders).
Player of the Year:
|Forward of the Year:
Personality of the Year:
|Player of the Year:||Hoani Rogers-Brown|
Stevie Ray Haenga-Albert
|Player of the Year:||Nathan Newton|
|Player of the Year:||Joel Freeman||Kaipara Player of the Year:
Far North Player of the Year: