Adam Blair Trophy,News Boys High back on top in the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy

Boys High back on top in the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy

Boys High back on top in the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy post thumbnail image

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Whangarei Boys High School have regained the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy, after a two year absence, defeating Kaitaia College 38 – 20 at Kaikohe on Easter Thursday. Whangarei Boys High have been tournament front runners since the tournament started in 2011. They went for almost three seasons undefeated, until Kaitaia College defeated them in the 2013 Grand final.

The 2015 edition of the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy was fought out between an impressive 11 teams. It was dominated by Whangarei Boys High and Kaitaia College in their respective pools and rightfully so, the two met in the final. However the final never really lived up to expectations, with Boys High controlling the game from the opening whistle. They took a 22 – 10 lead into half time, in a demonstration of control and team work with winger Shane Paraha scoring two trys.

In the second half, Kaitaia threatened to take the game to the wire after scoring first, to narrow the gap to 22- 16. However, player of the match, Captain Caleb Aekins, lifted the level of the Boys High game, controlling their efforts at centre defensively and offensively setting up two tries and scoring two himself, to win the game, 38 – 20. He was ably backed up by Jayd Kapa and Nathan Newton. Whangarei Boys High from numbers 1 – 17 showed a disciplined team’s display of power and passion as they won their 3rd NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy in 5 years.

In other matches on Finals Day, Dargaville High School showed their long term potential in the competition. They would have to take the mantle of the most improved team in the competition as they demolished Bay of Islands College 52 – 6. As a team, a majority of them still have another year or 2 at school, they are lead by two of the competitions most imposing prop forwards in Thomas Anderson and Caleb Rusden, with impressive half-back Kane Pomare.

The first match of the day was a festival match between Kura Hokianga and Northland. The two teams had previously met in the first round of the season with a 20 all draw. This match was played at 1pm with a huge crowd that had flocked in from their local schools and the game certainly lived up to expectations with both teams trading try for try right until the last minute! At half time the scores were 18 – 16 to Kura Hokianga and then with only 3 minutes left on the clock the Kura looked to have secured the win at 34 – 28 for Northland to march the length of the field to tie the game 34 ALL! This was a fitting result for a local derby and believe it or not, it was Northland Colleges 4th draw of the season!

NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy final standings

  1. Whangarei Boys High
  2. Kaitaia Collage
  3. Kura Hokianga
  4. Kamo High School
  5. Dargaville High School
  6. Bay Of Islands College
  7. Equal – Northland College, Okaihau

Equal – Tikipunga, Brothers, Whangaroa

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Warriors Show Class in Game of Two HalvesWarriors Show Class in Game of Two Halves

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The classic cliché held firm at Central Rugby Ground in Kaikohe, as the Warriors put on a 40 minute blitz to dominate the NorthTec Adam Blair XIII winning 44 – 16. However it wasn’t all plain sailing as the game was evens at half time, at 16 points all.

In a sun-drenched Kaikohe, a festive atmosphere entertained a healthy crowd as families flocked to Central Park in Kaikohe. It was the NorthTec Adam Blair XIII who had the early flow of the game going out to 10 – nil lead with tries to James Witahira and Caleb Aekins. The Adam Blair XIII dominated their Warriors opposition running at them with vigour and passion. Impressive hooker, James Witahira was able to capitalise on the back of Northland’s physical domination.

However, the Duane Mann coached Warriors team, soon found their second wind, scoring three quick tries. They demonstrated with their superior Rugby League knowledge as they were able to force mistakes on their Northland opposition and then were able to capitalise on this.

The Warriors Academy who are the next tier of contract Warriors players outside their U20s Toyota Cup team, demonstrated how to work as a team and control the game. Even though they were physically smaller than their Northland opposition, they were dominant defensively as they worked together in twos and threes. They were able to capitalise on their control of the ball with slick passing and sheer pace out wide.

The second half was dominated on the score board by the Warriors as they scored 26 unanswered points. However the Adam Blair XIII never conceded and never looked outclassed. Coach Jim Larkin said, “Considering we only had a couple of trainings we did really well. We competed right across the field. One of issues was that after the first half we never found a rhythm. We had a large squad (26) and as such I had to give everyone a run which I think did affect our flow. That’s not to take anything away from the Warriors, they were a well-trained team with some talented individuals, the Warriors don’t give out contracts to just anyone.”

Larkin was quite excited when he talked about the progress that Northland is taking in Rugby League, “You can see that we are developing more and more talented players here, the more league they play the better they get.” He heralded performances by Caleb Aekins from Boys High at Centre, James Witahira at Hooker from Kamo High School, Kane Pomare at Fullback from Dargaville High School and Ranapari Tau at Prop and Brody Tamarua at Loose Forward both from Kaitaia College as having stand- out performances. “All these boys, if given the chance, could play NRL.” He said. If anyone can pick them, Jim Larkin can as he coached Penrith Panthers Elijah Taylor and Sam McKendry in their teens.

Warriors Academy Coach, Kiwi and Warriors legend Duane Man was happy with his teams’ performance, “It was great to be tested as we were. We have been training for a while. I was really worried after the first 20 minutes, your boys came at us with some real intensity.” He heralded the performances of Caleb Aekins and James Witahira as being outstanding.

Rugby League Northland General Manager, Alex Smits, was happy with the outcome, “Our boys did well, I would have liked them to take it all the way but when you play a big squad it can be hard to find combinations, however it’s great to give players in Northland this kind of opportunity. It is a great build up for this week’s NorthTec Adam Blair Finals!’

Adam Blair X111 v Warriors Academy:
Full time score : Adam Blair 16 warriors 42
Half time score: Adam Blair 16 Warriors 16

Point scorers Adam Blair
Trys: (first half)James Witahira x 1,Josiah Atkins x1 and Jayd Kapa Conversions: Jayd Kapa x 2

Point Scorers Warriors
Trys: (first half)Daymon Abbey, Elijah Sufia, Troy Pulupaki Trys:(second half)Elijah Sufia, Dylan Tavita, Jarel Hemahema, Daymon Abbey, Siave Togiou. Conversions: Daymon Abbey x 1, Jarel Hemahema x 1, Dylan Tavita x 3

Players of the day:
Adam Blair – Ranapiri Tau Warriors – Josh Uta