News New GM Appointed

New GM Appointed

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The Rugby League Northland (RLN) Board are pleased to announce the appointment of Duane Fyfe into the role of RLN GM.

Duane brings a background of leadership, logistics and management to the role. Having held senior management positions in the NZ Defence Force, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport sectors. Duane served in the NZ Army for more than 20 years where he achieved Warrant Officer Class One rank.

Duane also brings 10 years’ experience in Rugby League administration having held positions as General Manager Canterbury Rugby League, Manager for NZ Army Rugby League, Junior Kiwis, NZ Residents and Liaison for the Kiwis.


Duane begins 18 January 2016. Where his primary tasks will be:

  1. Game Development
  2. Club Development
  3. Future Opportunities and Sustainability

Welcome aboard, Duane.

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Taylor Gutted to miss Whangarei Test MatchTaylor Gutted to miss Whangarei Test Match

Water is the best drink - flyerElijah Taylor is one of Sports’ true gentlemen, he is always willing to give back to the grassroots and do what he can to help promote Rugby League and the community.  One example is the work he does surrounding the promotion of Water is the Best drink in partnership with the Northland DHB and in a world where many sports stars can charge a premium for this kind of service Elijah does it for the pure good of the game and the good of Northland.

In an exclusive interview with RLN surrounding the upcoming game Elijah was clearly gutted about missing out on the opportunity of playing a test in his beloved Northland.  “I don’t normally work towards games and take each week as it comes, but when it was announced back in April that there was a game at Toll Stadium I put a big ring around the calendar entry.”

“Then I ruptured my ACL in a bizarre way, it didn’t happen in a tackle or anything it just happened, that was what was most disappointing about it – but hey that’s football.  I missed out on the Panthers semi-finals run and now I’m going to miss out on the Four Nations as well.  I was looking forward to playing in Northland, it has always been my dream to play on the big stage in Northland.”

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

In true testament to his character, he goes on to say that he was happy in that his absence has given the chance to Jason Taumalolo and Tohu Harris who played awesome in the weekend and that it’s going to be hard to make his way back into the test team!  Elijah has had a full knee reconstruction and is due back to play on Feb 15th meaning he will also miss the Auckland 9s. Elijah is not sure if he will be coming to Whangarei for the game.  “I’m not the kind of player who can watch footy when I can’t be involved, its too frustrating – especially when the game means so much to me.  I have a cousins wedding on Saturday – so that’s probably where I will be.”

When asked about influence in his league career Elijah quickly mentions the influence of Jim Larkin, “Jim was great, nothing was ever too hard for him, he was so enthusiastic and really cared about helping the youth come through.  I always had issues getting to trainings and games and Jim always went out of his way to help.  It’s really great to see that Jim is still working in the game.”

Helping young kids out is something that Elijah takes to heart, he keeps a close eye on the development of James Harris, Hamish Pomare and Corey Harawira-Naera (Northlanders who were signed by Penrith in 2013).  He says it’s tough for them not having any family close by, but they are good kids and James and Corey are doing exceptionally well.  “It’s good to have more Northlanders in Penrith, I try to keep in contact with the boys and we go out for dinner about once a month. There are great systems in Penrith, so there is every chance that they will succeed.”

We wish Elijah all the best for his recovery and hope to see Elijah and the World cup in Whangarei in 2017

Swords Beaten but Proud of their SeasonSwords Beaten but Proud of their Season

SwordsvBulls927 SwordsvBulls46 SwordsvBulls95

[Photography courtesy of Robert O’Hara, Impact Photography]

The Northern Swords finished their 2015 NZRL National Premiership campaign with another solid performance on Saturday, against the defending champions and 2015 finalists the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls.  Even though the score board showed a 56 – 20 loss, there were again lots of positives to be had from the match.  For the first 10 minutes it looked possible that the Swords may do the unthinkable and knock over the Bulls as the Swords looked structured and composed as they played out their sets and controlled the defense line.  The Swords were the first team to score through play maker Kyle Hool, however this only spurned the Bulls pack into action.  Led by inspiration Captain, Chris Bamford, the Bulls were able to gain momentum through their superior size and strength and were able to turn the smaller Swords players around and capitalise through their slick outside backs.

The Bulls took a 32 – 6 half time lead.  However, come the second half, the Swords came back out to play.  Outmatched by size by the Bulls pack, the Swords looked to spread the ball and were able to expose the Bulls outside backs.  The Swords back line was impressive as halves Brodee Palmer and Kyle Hool showed some inspirational vision and passing skills, presenting centres, Caleb Aekins and Anaru Thompson with room to move.  Israel Tahere on the wing was fearless with his early ball carries, setting up an 80 metre try going through 5 sets of hands for Thompson to dot down.  Tahere and Hool were rewarded with their effort with two tries each.

The Swords were well beaten in the end by a team that deserves to be in the finals.  However they competed and they competed well.  The difference on the day probably can be explained by physics.  The Bulls pack were simply too big and too strong for a smaller Swords pack.  Across the field the Bulls average pack weight would have easily been 105kg, with the Swords having only maybe two players tipping 100kgs.  Jon Renes,his coaching staff and playing group should be very proud of the result and of the season.

“We have shown that we have the potential to build a good squad based around youth with a handful of old heads.  The young guys are keeping the older ones honest, pushing them for places.  As an organisation, our priority rightly or wrongly, hasn’t been about our Senior Swords team, it’s been about building the foundations of the organization and making League in Northland credible.  We have done this now we have seen massive growth in playing numbers at Club and school level (620 total in 2010 to over 3000 in 2015), we now feel that we can start to focus on the bigger picture which will include increased emphasis on developing the player pathways.

We are talking with some potential funders about supporting a Coach and Club Development role, combining this with stronger links with the Warriors and with the Penrith Panthers.  If we can keep our squad together for the 2016 campaign, build on it with a few of our 17s making the step up, plus recruit a few more of the experienced premier players then I’m sure we will see improved results in seasons to come at a national level.”  Alex Smits RLN General Manager said.

Another positive from the game is the partnership being developed between Channel North and RLN with the game streaming live, which provides people across NZ an opportunity to tune in and watch a professionally presented game .  To watch at your leisure click on the following link.

Rockcote Canterbury Bulls 56 (Jordan Kane 2, Danny Latu, Matt Sauni, Penitito Ilalio, Jack Mundy, Izic Placid, Paradise Mann, Paul Sauni, Phil Nati & Jiordan Fidow-Kele tries; James Baxendale 5 & Placid goals)

Northern Swords 20 (Israel Tahere 2 & Kyle Hool 2 tries; Anaru Thompson 2 goals); HT: 32-6

Click here – to view Sparkies v Chippies and Northern Swords v Canterbury Bulls games at Toll Stadium on Saturday 10th October.

View all the game day photos on our Facebook page.

RLN – Annual General MeetingRLN – Annual General Meeting

Reminder Notice of Annual General Meeting

The Northern Zone Board formally advises that the Zone’s Third Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 23rd March 2015. The Annual General Meeting is called in accordance with the Northern Zone Constitution section 13.3 – Notice of Annual Meetings.

When: Monday 23rd March 2013
Where: Moerewa Rugby League Club, Simpson Park, Leaity Street, Moerewa
Commencing: 6.00pm

  1. Club Elected Directors

Nominations Required for Club Elected Board Members. There is a vacancy for one position. The Term will be either for 2 years. Elected Board members will need to attend Rugby League Northland Director meetings approximately 1 per month.

Who should be nominated?

Candidates who have had previous governance or administration experience in Sport and or Business. Candidates will have to have the interest of Rugby League and the growth of the game at heart and want to make a difference toward the growth of Rugby League in Northland.

RLN is a Zone of New Zealand Rugby League and are making a difference towards the growth of League in Northland. RLN is on an interesting and exciting journey, we will make a difference! Do you want to be a part of this?

Nominations required by 5pm 23rd February Contact: Alex Smits, General Manager Rugby League Northland, Tel. 021273 6975 or email:

Nominations should include:

  • Name:
  • Contact Telephone and Email:
  • Club Nominating and Person Endorsing (Will need to be either Club Chairperson, Secretary of Club Captain)
  • Reason for Nomination, relevant experience

If more than one candidate is nominated a secret ballot will be held. Details to follow.

  1. Appointments Panel. Bruce Peden(Chairman) and Tom Jackson will be stepping down from the RLN Board after 5 years of service due to constitutional process.   As a result RLN will be advertising for 2 appointed replacements (separate to the club elected).

Board Appointments Panel (Rule 18)

The Board Appointments Panel will consist of one nominee appointed by the Board, one nominee appointed by the clubs and two nominees appointed by SPORT NZ.

The Club nominated person for this role is Sharon Bird – from the Portland Panthers as voted for at the RLN Senior Delegates meeting on the 3rd February.

  1. Club Delegates for AGM:

Clubs will need to nominate their Club Delegate for the AGM by March 16th. Information will be distributed soon regarding this.

  1. General Business

If there are items that wish to be considered for General Business please contact Alex Smits General Manager, Rugby League Northland by Monday 23rd February. Contact: Alex Smits, General Manager Rugby League Northland, Tel. 021273 6975 or email:

  1. AGM Agenda: To Follow at after 23rd of February.


Yours faithfully

Rugby League Northland Zone of NZRL Inc.

Bruce Peden



cc:       NZRL Board