News Don’t Be An Egg – TV3

Don’t Be An Egg – TV3

Don’t Be An Egg – TV3 post thumbnail image

Rugby League Northland was in the spotlight in a positive manner this week, with our Don’t Be An Egg campaign, with Rugby League Northland’s General Manager, Alex Smits, being intereviewed on the new TV3 show, “Story”.

Click here to see the link – it’s right at the beginning of the show. And watch to the end, it puts a great spin on Rugby League!

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A huge thank you to the outgoing Chair, Bruce Peden and original board member Tom Jackson from everyone at Rugby League NorthlandA huge thank you to the outgoing Chair, Bruce Peden and original board member Tom Jackson from everyone at Rugby League Northland

Bruce and Tom Presented Gift

Bruce Peden

Bruce Peden

Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson









RLN started business in 2010 as a result of the National Game review and the creation of seven zones across NZ. As part of the ‘Original Board’ Bruce and Tom were the driving force behind transforming the Rugby League Landscape in Northland.

In 2010 the Northland League landscape was:

  • A game with very little direction ONLY 655 Registered players
  • No employed resources – game managed by Whangarei City District Rugby League
  • One senior competition
  • Fragmented Junior Leagues – little if no age grade league
  • Pathways difficult to attain via Rugby League
  • Questionable credibility with funders
  • Very little visibility in the community

In 2015 RLN can gladly say:

  • We have developed clearly defined participation opportunities for everyone
  • Growth of playing numbers in to 2995 in 2014
  • 1473 Club Registered players
  • 1522 School participants
  • Vibrant Club Competition – RLN MulitKai Premiership (Now the RLN Scott Electrical Premiership) – Over 9,000 spectators to finals series at Toll!
  • Structured and Organised Junior Competitions
  • Every school now has an opportunity to play League
  • Northland Secondary Schools – NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy 2015 – 11 Colleges
  • Northland Champion Primary Schools – 41 Primary Schools from Ruawai to Kaitaia
  • Leadership through League – Development program in Schools
  • In 2014 – 159 College Students from 11 Colleges qualified as Mini Mod Coaches
  • Coached in 41 Primary Schools and 2996 Primary Students
  • Hosted a Four Nations Kiwi Test Match

“RLN is a small organisation with only 4 Full time staff. We have achieved an amazing turnaround in the sporting landscape of Rugby League in Northland – recognition must go to Bruce and Tom for the leadership they have provided.” Current General Manager, Alex Smits commented.

“Tom Jackson and myself have been Board Members since Rugby League Northland inception in 2010 and due to constitutional process both myself and Tom have stepped down. I can say that I am stepping down confident that the game has moved in the right direction. As an organisation, the work is by no means completed, however there is a solid foundation to launch from.

There are many things to be proud of over the last four years, an increase in playing numbers, a hugely credible school development program, the Northern Swords 17s finishing 3rd in 2013, the RLN Premiership finals series in 2014, also hosting a test match in Whangarei for the first time. But what I have the most pride in was leading a team that developed an organisation that is able to take the game into the future. RLN has a strong financial plan, we have a strong team in Alex, Toni, Aaron and Benson and most I believe RLN has recruited a talented Board of Directors, Walter Wells will be a great Chairperson. Together they will now steer the organisation into a refined Strategic Direction. Tom and myself were part of defining the new strategic plan, ‘Te Iwi Kiwi – working together to succeed together.’ Core to this plan are the people, the clubs of Rugby League. I feel very proud of the work we have achieved in our foundation years and look forward with interest to the future of Rugby League Northland. Finally I would like to thank the rugby league community in Northland for your support over the 5 years I had the privilege of Chairing the RLN Board.” Outgoing Chair, Bruce Peden said.

Inaugural Area Schools – Nines TournamentInaugural Area Schools – Nines Tournament

Kiwi # 537 Nick Wright

Kiwi # 537 Nick Wright

Kiwi # 537 Nick Wright, Referees at the Inaugural Area Schools Nines tournament.


Earlier this week RLN staged the first ever Area Schools Nine-A-Side Tournament.  With Schools represented from Kura Kaikohe, Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, Opononi and Whangaroa.

It was a cracking, free flowing tournament, with all schools evenly matched.  Whangaroa came out deserved Champions,playing an expansive game of footy winning 36 – 0 in the final against Opononi.   For Opononi it was a game too far as they had previously defeated Whangaroa 16 – 14 in their earlier pool match.

It was also great to have Nick Wright Kiwi # 537, helping out as a Referee.  Nick who now resides in Kaitaia played three tests for the Kiwis between 1978 -1983, including a famous victory against the Kangaroos.  Nick is keen to come on board next year as referee!

RLN would like to thank Barry Murray from the Manganoui Rugby Union for allowing the use of Arnold Rae Park – what a great venue!

A word from the GM - Alex Smits

A word from the GM – Alex SmitsA word from the GM – Alex Smits

A word from the GM - Alex SmitsTwo months have passed since my journey to Northland began. I have to say that I am enjoying the journey 100%. I have seen a lot of passionate people with great intentions helping with the game at the grassroots level.

It looks like we have had good growth with the age grades. Some teams are still making their way to the starting line, but that’s ok, the more kids playing league the better. We will accommodate you to the best that we can. All the Junior games I have seen from 7’s to 17’s have been played with a fantastic and friendly atmosphere. All teams have been only too pleased to help — where there have been shortages teams have worked together to ensure that all the kids get a game.

Rugby League Northland and the board welcome Joe onto the team. Joe has given the game great service. He is passionate about league and I look forward to working with him. Our primary schools program Backyard League has kicked off and will see over 40 primary schools receiving coaching before the year end.

We have a huge challenge ahead for the National Provincial Championship with our Northern Swords teams. The talent is there, the challenge is in front of our coaching team to maximise Northlands potential. We started our challenge with a trip to the Warriors and shortly we will be holding our 15’s and 17’s trials.

Speaking of challenges, if you are an ex player, still want to run around but don’t want any more knocks, then I have one word for you – ”Referee!” It’s like a Bungy Jump… once you step over the edge its superb fun!