The atmosphere was electric at 4.15pm on Wednesday 26 September at Lindvant Park, Kaikohe, when Whangarei Boys High School and Okaihau College headed out on to the field for the final of the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy. The teams ensured that they kept it that way during a nail-biting final that tied right until the last play, with trophy defenders Whangarei Boys High School coming out on top with a final score of 16 – 12.
The final was a great game of rugby league and according to Alex Smits, General Manager of Rugby League Northland, it was an epic event fitting for a grand final scenario.
11 high schools competed for the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy, with Okaihau being the top team in the North Pool and Whangarei Boys High School the top of the South Pool. Mr Smits commented that it was fitting that these two talented teams should be playing each other in the final.
In true Grand Final spirit the curtain raiser between Kamo and Bay of Islands (playoff for 3rd and 4th) was also a nail biting thriller. Locked at 12 all until the last 10 minutes when Bay of Islands broke the deadlock scoring three late tries to win 26 – 14
The Adam Blair Trophy is named after Whangarei local and ex Whangarei Boys High School student, 26 year old professional rugby league player, Adam Blair, who plays for the Kiwis, and is also in the Sydney NRL team, the Wests Tigers.
“The Adam Blair Trophy is a great way to introduce rugby league to new players, and from the Rugby League Northland point of view, it is instrumental in getting new players interested in the sport,” Mr Smits added. There are currently only six club rugby league teams in Northland.
In the future Rugby League Northland will be looking at putting together a secondary schools team to play the Warriors Development Squad.
Rugby League Northland and NorthTec don’t just work together for the Adam Blair trophy. They have also collaborated on the establishment of a new Rugby League Academy.
With 2013 being its first year, this is the opportunity for Northlanders with a passion for Rugby League to tie professional training to their tertiary study. Rugby League’s Development motto is “more than just a game”, which is pushing players to pathways on and off the field.
The Rugby League Academy gives successful applicants the opportunity to have coaching exchanges with The Warrior’s coaching staff, play matches against other academies, and attend specialist rugby league training three mornings and two afternoons a week, as well as attending NorthTec either as a Youth Guarantees Certificate in Vocational Studies (Level 2) student, or as a mainstream student. In addition, successful applicants will receive a training kit, and a membership for Kensington Fitness.
Though the academy is focused mainly on Rugby League, Rugby Union players can also apply.
Applicants for the Rugby League Academy must be playing for a rugby league or rugby union club in the 2012 season, and it is expected that there will be around 15 successful applicants.
For more information on the Rugby League Academy or to down load an application form, visit the NorthTec website www.northtec.ac.nz/RLA.
Written by Vicktoria Baulcomb – NorthTec.