Swords 15s named – NI Tournament 15-17th July
* Please note, Venue and time change for Te Rangi Aniwaniwa v Kaitaia College
|Dargaville HS||Kamo HS||Dargaville HS||4:00pm|
|Tikipunga HS||Bay of Islands College||Tikipunga HS||4:00pm|
|Whangarei Boys HS||Northland College||Northland College||5:00pm|
|Okaihau College||Whangaroa College||Okaihau College||4:00pm|
|Te Rangi Aniwaniwa||Kaitaia College||Kaitaia College||4:30pm|
Rugby League Northland Development officer – Joe Rau is a busy man. Outside of his Rugby League development he is also Player Coach for the Hikurangi Stags – AND is heavily involved with Touch Rugby – running the Galaxy Touch module and coaching Tai Tokerayu Touch teams at Nationals. Read more for Cameron Leslie’s (Northern Advocate) write up…
Otangarei Knights – Giant Killers – RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership WinnersOtangarei Knights – Giant Killers – RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership Winners
The Otangarei Knights won their first Premiership since 1983, when they defeated the Hikurangi Stags in a climatic 28 – 26 final minute thriller, in front of a massive crowd of 2500 people at Toll Stadium on Saturday the 9th August. The Knights, who finished 4th on the Premiership ladder, have won three thrillers in a row defeating the Portland Panthers 24 – 16 in the Minor Semi Finals, then toppling Minor Premiers the Takahiwai Warriors 28 – 22, in the major semi final, then they did the unthinkable and defeated the Stags to earn the title of RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership winners as well as Giant Killers.
It was a massive day for Rugby League as, a great spirited crowd flocked to Toll Stadium, on a sun drenched day, were rewarded for their efforts, with three thrilling games of Rugby League. The final game and victory by the Knights matched any NRL game for entertainment and skill.
With 20 minutes left on the clock it looked as Joe Rau’s Hikurangi Stags were on their way to their fourth consecutive Premiership victory, as Cameron Pene gathered a smart chip kick to score and with Rau converting it, to take the Stags to a seemingly unassailable 26 – 12 lead. However, the Knights were not finished. Through perseverance, tenacity and a little bit of luck, they scored with tries to Dane Tito and Zion Rota, taking the score to 26-22 lead, with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Then, with less than 2 minutes on the clock, after sustained pressure and bone crunching defence, from the defending champions, the Knights did the impossible, as the loose forward Sua Sosopo, crashed over the line to bring the game to 26 – 26 with time up on the clock. The Knights’ inspiration skipper, Herewini Edmonds, was cool under pressure, converting 10m in from the touchline to snatch a 28 – 26 victory.
What followed was a pure picture of Grand Final emotion, with sheer jubilation from Knights players and utter disbelief and shock from the Stags. The Knights were swarmed by masses of jubilant supporters. Player-Coach, Jackson Katene was ecstatic. “This is a great result for the Knights we have worked hard all year, it’s been three weeks in a row that we have got through tight games and we just can’t believe that we got this one too. This is our payback to all the people of Otangarei and all our sponsors that have supported us. The Stags showed why they are three times champions, they came here with a plan and a purpose and they executed it well and dogged defence nearly got them home, but unfortunately for them we played with a lot more urgency in the final 20 and it went our way in the end,” he said.
Defeated player-coach Joe Rau, said that it was a bitter disappointment to lose when they almost had a fourth successive title in the bag. “We were almost there, close but not close enough. We let our guard down and they got a bit of momentum and everything went their way but hey … look how happy they are, it’s all good,” he said.
For the Knights it showed what could be done in the face of adversity. They started the season by splitting away from the City Sports Club and played most of the season in borrowed jerseys. Player of the Final was Knights Fullback – Jordan Katene.