News,RLN Premiership FINALS FEVER! Minor Semi’s – Sunday 27th July – Toll Stadium

FINALS FEVER! Minor Semi’s – Sunday 27th July – Toll Stadium

FINALS FEVER!  Minor Semi’s – Sunday 27th July – Toll Stadium post thumbnail image



This week will see the Minor Semi-Finals of the RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership.  Round 16 completed over the weekend played out to script with no surprises.

The Hikurangi Stags secured 2nd place and the week off, as they defeated the Moerewa Tigers 36 – 6 in a match that didn’t reflect the scoreline.  It was the Tigers who got out to the early lead looking to play the spoilers.  However, the Stags showed that they were able to play a controlled, structured game of footy, even without inspirational Player/Coach Joe Rau. Te Tuhi Tipene and Moses Cooper stuck to the game plan and lead the team with control, feeding the Edmonds brothers, Joachim and Zab on the left flank.  The Tigers played till the 80th minute, demonstrating the potential they showed in the last half of the season.

Portland won back the Ville Salase Memorial Trophy in a 17 – 16 thriller in Dargaville, against the Northern Wairoa Bulls.  The Ville Salase Memorial – always played during the last round between the Panthers and the Bulls – is played to commemorate Ville, a Portland legend who at the age of 49 collapsed and died on the paddock in 2006.  The Bulls were the current holders of the trophy, after the Panthers held it for the first 7 years.  The 17 – 16 scoreline will give both teams confidence going into Semi’s.

The Panthers’ opponents this week are the Otangarei Knights, who ended a spirited Muriwhenua Kuaka’s season 52 – 20.  While the Bulls opponents, will be the Hokianga Pioneers, after they ended the Kerikeri Makos season 40 – 10.  Both the Kuaka and the Makos have had tough seasons – but they never capitulated.  If both teams have good off-seasons they can come back competitive in 2015.

Takahiwai round out the top six as they secured the Minor Premiership with a dominant display to round out Horahora’s season 54 – 4.  The Top 6 being confirmed as:

  1. Takahiwai Warriors
  2. Hikurangi Stags
  3. Hokianga Pioneers
  4. Otangarei Knights
  5. Portland Panthers
  6. Northern Wairoa Bulls

Takahiwai and Hikurangi have the first week off.  This week’s games are Sunday July 27th at Toll Stadium:

1pm:  Hokianga Pioneers v Northern Wairoa Bulls

This will be an action packed match.  Their previous match was abandoned with the scores at 22 – 16 to the Pioneers while their Round 1 match was a closed fought affair with the Pioneers winning 24 – 22.  Both teams play a similar style of football which would best be described as Power football.  With big teams across the paddock they play on the back of power running and support.

The Pioneers should go into this match as favourites.  They have had a strong finish to the season and been consistently in the Top 4, while the Bulls have never really reached their potential in 2014.  They have shown glimpses of form but have been inconsistent.  However, finals football is a different scenario and the Bulls will test the Pioneers for 80 minutes and if things click on the day can provide a major upset!

3.00pm:  Otangarei Knights v Portland Panthers

This match should be epic.  Both the Panthers and the Knights have consistently been in the Top 6 this year.  The Knights have shown in 2014 that they are true Premiership contenders.  When they focus they can click and when they do, they are unstoppable, playing an expansive wide game of footy on the back of passionate running, combined with Herewini Edmonds’ and Linn Hunapo’s, slick passing game.

The Panthers play a very structured and controlled game.  They have a big mobile pack, led by the friendly giant Michael Gawn.  They have speed and power out wide in the form of Levi McQueen and Kelsin Harding which is fed by a devious Fats (Madisyn) Kaka at Dummy Half.  Portland have struggled throughout the year to lock out tight matches, however they would have gained confidence from their 17 – 16 win over the Bulls.

In their previous meeting in 2014 the Knights were too dominant winning 50 – 22.  They were scheduled to have met in the Rd 15 cancelled round.

Major Finals – August 2nd Toll Stadium

Hikurangi Stags v (winner Hokianga v Northern Wairoa) at 1:00pm Takahiwai Warriors v (winner Otangarei v Portland) at 3:00pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Post

Whangarei Junior Rugby LeagueWhangarei Junior Rugby League

7s - Manaia View v City Knights 7s - Portland v Hora Hora 11s - Whanau v Hikurangi Stags Andy Flint NZRL explains rulesJunior league kicked off on Sunday 14th April at the Bluegoose with new trial rules at Mini Mod Level.  Andy Flint, Development Manager from NZRL was on hand to oversee the new rules.  “The rules have been introduced to try and encourage play makers and encourage players from a young age to use their instinct” Flint said.

Previously, in Mini Mod League (7s, 9s and 11s) there has been a two pass rule, this meant that if there isn’t two passes then there is a turn over. Now players will be given turns to wear an armband and play as a dummy half or half back. The armband will give the players an exemption from the two pass rule – which will mean that they can use their vision and if they get tackled it won’t be a turn over.

The Juniors will play another round before a two week holiday break before recommencing on May 12th.  All Northland wide 13s, 15s and 18s competitions also commence on May 12th.  The Mini Mod League in Kaikohe will also commence on May 12th.

RLN Premiership – Grand FinalsRLN Premiership – Grand Finals

IMG_8276 IMG_8287 IMG_8280 IMG_8260

Premiership – Grand Finals

Click here to see video of Hikurangi Stags Presentation and Acceptance Speech

Click here to see photographs of the game.

Click here to see full length video on You Tube.

Click here to see photographs from all the games.

It was the Hikurangi Stags day at Toll Stadium on Saturday 17th August, with the magic number being three.

It was the third (3) Senior Northland title in a row and they won three finals on the day, winning the RLN Premiership the 15s (Elijah Taylor Cup) and the 13s (RLN CUP) – Grand Finals.

The main event – the inaugural RLN Premiership Grand Final*, entertained a vocal crowd of over 1500 spectators, at Toll Stadium.  As a Grand Final, it was everything you wanted in a Final, big hits, end to end action, joy, jubilation and heart break.

It was Takahiwai who had the early running, going out to a 6 point lead after the superb stand-off Kyle Hool, scored under the posts.  In a high energy physical encounter, it took another 20 minutes for Hikurangi to hit back, with back to back tries to take a 12 – 6 lead.  Off a short kick off, Takahiwai regained the ball with stand-off putting a slick pass onto bollocking winger, Nick Schuster, to score.  The conversion was unsuccessful, with Hikurangi taking a 12 – 10 lead into half time.

The second half was nothing short of sensational, with both teams trading try for try with Hikurangi leading the way. It looked as Hikurangi were going to bring the Premiership home, then up stepped Takahiwai.  On the back of the barnstorming Para Murray, Kyle Hool weaved his magic, putting a deft kicked through for full back Hori Tuhoro, to score his second try and take a 26 – 22 lead and the momentum of the game.

With this Final being the 5th in 6 years, the experience and composure of Hikurangi came forward.  Led by the inspirational brothers, Steven and Joe Rau, the Stags were not finished.  On the back of the power of older brother Steven, stand-off Joe used some outlandish footwork to bust the line on a number of occasions. Firstly setting up Caleb Henare for a try, then putting a little chip kick through for full back Innocent Tuimavae – then in the final act of the day, busting down the middle of the part to set up Hooker, Dean Schreurs’ second try of the game.

The final score line of 36 – 26 was flattering to Hikurangi.  But what a GAME!

Hikurangi Stags – 36:  Tries:  Innocent Tuimavae, Caleb Henare (2), Tyson Wihongi, Joe Rau, Dena Shreurs (2).  Goals: Joe Rau (3), Te Tuhi Tipene

Takahiwai Warriors – 26:  Tries: Hori Tuhoro (2), Kyle Hool, Para Murray, Nichola Schuster.  Goals:  Kyle Hool (3)

* 2013 is the first year that Rugby League Northland has managed senior Rugby League in Northland.  Until 2012 it was managed by Whangarei and City Districts Rugby League.  Rugby League Northland is the entity established by New Zealand Rugby League in  2010 after NZRL went through their SPARC (now Sport NZ) review.

Hikurangi Target 3 in a RowHikurangi Target 3 in a Row

Defending champions, Hikurangi Stags target their third Northland Title in three years, after they defeated the Moerewa Tigers 32 – 14 in Saturday’s Major Semi Final at Toll Stadium.

The game was set to be a titanic struggle as both teams had traded blow for blow leading into a 12 – 10 Hikurangi lead at half time.  The Tiger’s forwards had dominated the Stags.  But it was the Stags who fired in the second half as the Tigers seemed to have suffered from their two week rest and they failed to fire in the second half.

For the Stags, Co-Captain/Coach Joe Rau, was again instrumental in leading his side around the park scoring a try and kicking four goals.  He was backed up by the dynamic, Innocent Tuimavae (1 try) and winger Shelden McKinley (2 tries), with Dean Shreurs (1 try) tireless at Hooker.  For the Tigers, Northland legend Tawio Davis, was involved in everything and was rewarded with two tries.  Teimi Ransfield was a force on defence and was rewarded with a try.

For the Stags, this will be their fifth consecutive final.  They have won back to back twice – but never three in a row, as Kaikohe upset them in 2010.  Standing in their way in 2013 is the Takahiwai Warriors.  The Warriors defeated the Hokianga Pioneers in an impressive team display.

Led around the park by the stand out standoff Kyle Hool, with a personal tally of 18 points (2 tries and 5 goals) the Warriors didn’t really allow the Hokianga Pioneer’s a chance.  The Warrior’s forwards dominated the pace of the game with quick plays, allowing space out wide for the Tarau family to dominate with tries to Rikki, Charles and Cole!  Rikki’s try was a special – running from deep in his own 20m area to scoot around the flat footed Pioneer forward pack before racing down the touch line untouched!

The Pioneers were competitive but never really looked like a threat to the Shane Hool coached Warriors.  The Pioneers seemed to rely on Captain Richard Koroi (try) and centre Pouri Hohaia (try).  Like the Tigers, the Pioneers looked flat in the second half, it seemed like they had played their Grand Final last week with their last ditch win over the City Knights.

Semi Final Results

Takahiwai Warriors (34)  – Tries: Rikki Tarau, Charles Tarau, Cole Tarau, Kyle Hool (2).  Goals: Kyle Hool (5)

Hokianga Pioneers (18) – Tries: Richard Koroi, Pouri Hohaia, Jordan Otene. Goals: Verne Wilson (3)

Hikurangi Stags (32) – Tries: Innocent Tuimavae, Shelden McKinley (2), Joe Rau, Dean Shreurs, Te Tui Tipene. Goals:   Joe Rau (4)

Moerewa Tigers (14) – Tries: Tawio Davis (2) Tieimi Ransfield. Goals: Jayden Bentley Hape

Junior Finals