RLN Premiership – Grand Finals

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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.