News Kaitaia Mini Mod Competition

Kaitaia Mini Mod Competition

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SAMSUNG SAMSUNG Pukemiro Pompellier and Muriwhenua All StarsRugby League Northland, in partnership with the Muriwhenua Kuaka, launched the Kaitaia Mini Mod League for Years 5 and 6. The afterschool competition ran for four weeks and was played at Arnold Rae Park on Wednesday afternoons.

Three schools entered – TKKMO Pukemiro, Pompallier and Te Rangi Aniwaniwa, with a fourth team, the Muriwhenua All Stars, making up the numbers.

The Mini Mod Leagues was used as a pilot project for 2014. The plan for 2014 is to have an after school competition played on Wednesday’s in Term 2. Rugby League Northland have received expresssions of interest from another five Primary Schools for 2014, which will see 8 schools in total play. The additional five schools are – Kaitaia, Paparore, Ahipara, Oturu and Mangonui Primary Schools.

The Mini Mod League Competition will start on 16th April with an inter-schools festival.

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Adam Blair XIII v NZ WarriorsAdam Blair XIII v NZ Warriors

Adam Blair XIII v NZ Warriors

Photo courtesy of Robert O'Hara - Impact Photography

Photo courtesy of Robert O’Hara – Impact Photography

This Saturday will see the best Secondary School players from all over Northland take on the best 18s side in the country, the NZ Warriors 18s.

The Adam Blair Trophy has this year been the most successful with 15 High Schools participating in a 13 team strong competition.  A week before we approach the Semi-Finals, our best players, who make up the Adam Blair XIII, will face the might of New Zealand’s best at Kamo High School at 1pm.

Rugby League Northland are privileged to have a strong relationship with the Warriors as well as several other NRL clubs and are really working on  developing pathways for junior elite players. Development Manager Aaron Thomas is delighted with the interest the NRL are taking specifically in the North.

We have worked hard in 2015 to build our junior program and it’s starting to pay dividends.  We had several players last year take up junior contracts with NRL clubs and we have several more stimulating interest.  It’s a massive lift for what we are trying to do here. We are in most primary schools and high schools in the north lifting our profile and promoting our code. We had over 3000 students participate in Rugby League last year.”

“It’s really exciting this year, as we are really committed to Professional Development.  This is not only for our elite players, but also for our coaches and referees.  This is integral for our on-going success.  The Warriors, who are coached by Duane Mann, ex Kiwi and Warrior player, are very lucky to have someone of his calibre taking an interest in our young talent.”

Rugby League Northland is hoping for a good crowd on Saturday, which will also see a North v South High School Girls 9s game.  The game will be televised and also available through YouTube by Channel North who have done an outstanding job covering the Adam Blair XIII games.

Northern Swords Adam Blair XIII

  1. Diani Timms 2. Tahu Tawhiwhirangi 3. Ngapuhi Simeon 4. Hoani Rogers-Brown 5.Tanie-lee Shelford 6. Jayden Leaupepe   7. Taite Kopa 8. John Henare-Clarke 9. James Witehira (Captain) 10. Wiremu Greig 11. Tamati Leach 12. Thomas Anderson 13. Osalasi Tau-Kata 14. Ilai Arona 15. Ariki Hughes 16. Phoenix Henare-Clarke 17. Manasseh Turner 18. Rico Cook 19. Hakaraia Corkery 20. Nico Te Whata 21. Lathan Hutchinson-Walters 22. Ngatai Manukau Togiavalu 23. Donald McKenna 24. Manaia Te Pirihi

Northern Swords Season to ForgetNorthern Swords Season to Forget

It would sound bizarre to say that this was an improved performance from the Northern Swords with a scoreline of 80 – 10, however, for 40 minutes of the game, the Swords were competitive against the Akarana Falcons.  In the first forty minutes the Swords showed resilience and pride in their defence line, looked dangerous on attack and looked like a football team capable of competing at a National Level.  They went into half-time trailing by 22 – 10, with tries to hard working loose forward, Kelsin Harding and skipper Joel Freeman.

IMG_8835 IMG_8824 IMG_8818 IMG_8798However, the second half saw a 58 point trouncing by the boys from Akarana as they put on a scintillating display of Rugby League.  The Northern boys, to their credit, never gave up, but it simply wasn’t their day.  Coach Mark Freeman although disappointed, was proud of the first half effort.  “We have had a couple of personnel issues over the last couple of weeks, however we still have a dedicated group of lads.  Akarana showed the difference between a semi professional competition (Fox Memorial Cup) and the Northland competition.  Our goal is to travel to Canterbury in a fortnight to finish the season and then put some plans in place for 2015.  We have more talent and ability than what we are showing, so it’s about putting a plan together.

Final result:  Akarana Falcon 80 –  Northern Swords 10.

Swords Premiers solid preparation for Mid CentralSwords Premiers solid preparation for Mid Central

10644839_699275233500779_4100315792384991959_nIn the Swords Bye week they had a good work out against the John Ackland coached, Auckland U20s Representative Team, on a wet sodden Bluegoose, in Whangarei on Saturday the 6th of September.  John Ackland, who is now the Auckland CEO is more known as the first Warriors Coach to win an Australian League Championship, when he coached the Elijah Taylor Captained Champion U20s title in 2010.

The Auckland U20s team is comprised of players not selected for Akarana and Counties Manukau who are U20 years of age.  Most of the team plays in the Fox and Sharman Cup, so play a week in and week out quality competition.

The Auckland team lead 22 – 6 at half time.  However, the second half saw a spirited Swords team almost snatch the game from Auckland.  With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the Swords had fought back to a 26 – 22 deficit and were hot on attack, only for the boys from Auckland to go the length of the field to score and break the spirit of the come-back.  Auckland scored two more late tries to win 38 – 22.

Coach Mark Freeman was happy with the result.  “We had a number of key players unavailable due to family commitments so it was a good opportunity to give some fringe players a run.  We showed a lot of guts and determination and were able to improve on some combinations.  Dean Shreurs and Daniel Fulop looked good in the halves and linked well with hooker, Joel Freeman.  Our props Chris Apoua, Andre Lennox and Elliot Pomare again showed they can match it with quality opposition, while Chris Mellar-Reynolds was dynamic at Fullback.”

The Swords travel to Whanganui to play the Mid Central Vipers on Sunday the 14th. The Vipers will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Counties Manukau 60 – 0 in the weekend.  The Vipers are the only team that the Swords have beaten in the National Competition, when they defeated them in 40 – 22 in 2013.  However, the Vipers shocked the Wellington Orcas 32 – 22 in round two and narrowly lost 18 – 12 to table topping Canterbury Bulls.

In the other match played at the Bluegoose last Saturday, the Auckland U18s as expected, were too strong for the Swords 17s defeating them 52 – 0.  Coach Benson Selwyn, was pragmatic, “We rested 6 players from Boys High who played at the Secondary School Nations, the Auckland team were physically that much stronger, but we took some good learnings from the game.  Our next match will be against the Wai-Coa-Bay Colt U17s on September 21st at Toll Stadium before we head to the Nationals in Rotorua between the 29th September and the 3rd of October.