The NorthTec Adam Blair XIII were defeated by a slick Warriors Development team but they can walk away with their heads held very high. 19 Players representing the 10 Colleges that compete in the NorthTec Adam Blair trophy pushed the Warriors team until the final minutes of the game.
The Warriors started the match with loose forward, Shane Hannan, crossing over almost untouched for the first of his two tries in the opening set of the game. After the kick off, the Warriors again waltzed down the field with easy yards and the Northland boys looked a little gun shy and the signs didn’t look good.
However, they quickly responded – with the ball in the hand they showed that they were as worthy as their opponents, to be on the paddock and the ball of strong running from Kamo High School’s Jesse Chapman – Raharuhi Fiaui (Taipa Area School) darted over from dummy half. From this point on with self-belief the Northland team were never out of the match. The Warriors took a slender 4 point lead into half time 22 – 18.
The second half saw the Northlanders take a 24 – 22 point lead after a try to the impressive James Cherrington (WBHS) – with momentum on their side it looked like an upset could have been on the cards. However the Warriors proved to have superior Rugby League knowledge and patience, scoring 4 unanswered tries to control the match 42 – 24. The Northlanders had the last say with a sublime try after they moved the ball from one side to the other with Chaz Palmer (WBHS) dotting over in the corner to finish the game 42 – 28 to the Warriors.
The match was played in front of at least three ex – Kiwis, with Dean Lonergan, Duane Mann and Tony Iro in attendance. Tony Iro – NZRL High Performance Manager was suitably impressed by the Northland Boys. “Considering they only had one training session, they showed a hell of a lot of spirit, they scored some sublime tries and their scrambling defence was outstanding,’ he said.
Northland Coach Benson Selwyn was stoked with his boys’ performance, noting their scrambling defence. “If we could have had a bit more patience and ball control who knows what could have happened. But I guess when you have limited preparation that is understandable,” he said. Selwyn who will coach the Northern Swords 17s later this year is excited at the potential of the team. “Only 7 of the boys today are too old for the Swords – if we can get these players to continue with League the prospects look good.” Selwyn said.
Northlander Tumoana Halkyard looked good at fullback for the Warriors team – but had to leave the field before half time due to the re-occurrence of a calf strain.
NorthTec Adam Blair XIII – 28. Tries. Raharuhi Fiaui (Taipa Area School), Demrys Croft-Haenga (Okaihau College), Stevie Ray Haenga-Albert (Okaihau College), James Cherrington (WBHS), Chaz Palmer (WBHS). Goals: Hohaia Kawiti-Rata (Kaitaia College), Stevie Ray Haenga-Albert (2)
Warriors Development – 42. Tries. S Hannam (2), J Malau, L Soosomea, C Sio, M Esera, C Ngaha, M Haimuli (2). Goals: T Halkyard, Z Ioka, M Haimulu
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