The RLN MultiKai Premiership, Northland’s Premier Rugby League Competition has completed 6 out of the 16 rounds, with four teams confirming their place in the Top Four. Currently Takahiwai, Hikurangi and Hokianga are locked into joint first place on 10 points, with Takahiwai having the superior points differential. The high flying, Otangarei Knights, are in fourth place on 8 points, after they won their fourth game in a row 50 – 22 over the Portland Panthers.
In the weekend, Hikurangi demonstrated their potential to win a record four Premierships back to back, with an outstanding win over the very competitive Northern Wairoa Bulls 48 – 30. The Hokianga Pioneers are the only North based team within the top 6 six and stamped their authority in the Far North with a hard fought win over the improving Muriwhenua Kuaka 48 – 24.
Takahiwai’s match against the Kerikeri Makos, was called off with 30 minutes left on the clock due to an injury to Sosaia Tali. The hard running centre looks to have ended his season prematurely, as he suffered a neck injury and a suspected broken vertebrae. Fortunately, there has be no spinal damage due to everyone involved making the correct decision, by not moving the player until the professionals arrived on the scene.
Alex Smits, General Manager for RLN said, “I commend everyone involved, the referee and both teams dealt with the situation in a calm and calculated matter – Rugby League can be a dangerous sport and accidents can happen, but if we all have an action plan on how to manage these situations, then a lot of harm can be avoided and the golden rule is – never move an injured player. As the RLN Premiership is still in its infancy, we don’t have any precedent as to what the result of the match will be. We are working with other areas in NZ to see what the precedent is when matches are called off early and will gather information to put before our judicial panel for them to make a decision. The priority at this stage is the welfare of the player.”
RLN hopes to have an outcome on the game by the end of this week. Sosaia is up and about, but in a brace and will be undergoing tests.
In the other match of the round the Horahora Broncos won their second match of the season over the Moerewa Tigers 62 – 24. The Tigers who have been minor premiers for the previous two seasons have now lost four in a row!