Daniel Fulop, who represented Northland at the recent NZRL U18s Kiwis trial is given the task of standoff and the role of steering the Northern Swords Premiers around the paddock, in his debut Premier Match for the Northern Swords, against the Wellington Orcas at the Petone Recreation Ground in Wellington this Saturday.
Incumbent standoff, Herewini Edmonds, Grand Final winning Captain from Otangarei, is unavailable this year due to his sons’ Rugby commitments, has given Fulop a great opportunity. Fulop impressed NZRL High Performance Manager Tony Iro this year at the U18s trials, “He’s a cool customer and has great communication skills as well as an eye for opening.” Iro said.
Fulop will be steering around a strong Swords team that sees representation from 6 of the 10 premier clubs. It has a youthful look to it, with three players making their debut from Swords U17s, in Rikki Tarau, Kelsin Harding and Daniel Fulop. In total there will be 8 debutants this weekend. They will be looking to Joel Freeman, at Hooker, to guide the team around the paddock. Freeman was inspirational throughout the RLN Multikai Cooker Premiership for the Takahiwai Warriors.
“We’ve got some pace out wide with Tarau and Sharif Mangu on the wings. Helping this will be our experienced centre partners, Wiremu Te Iringa and Ross McFarlane. If our pack can get us in the arm wrestle, we will definitely be competitive in this year’s competition.” Mark Freeman, Head Coach of the Swords, said.
Freeman is positive in his first season as a Northern Swords Coach, Freeman is an experienced Campaigner as a previous Queensland High Performance Coach and Northland representative coach between 2004 – 2009. “We’ve got the talent in Northland, but the biggest challenge is getting it on the paddock at the same time, as a number of players rule themselves unavailable due to family, work or travel logistics.”
The Swords have also drafted in fellow Kiwi U18s trialists Piri Croft and Tumoana Halkyard into the squad. All three players have been playing in the Auckland Rugby League U20s competition. Fulop and Croft with Pt Chevalier and Halkyard with Northcote. “They’re young guys, but all three have got great potential to play Premiers at a National Level, it’s a great pathway. Corey Harawira-Naera in 2013 showed how it can work securing a contract with the Penrith Panthers and as result has played every game for the U20s.” Alex Smits, RLN GM said. Croft and Halkyard won’t be selected this week but may come into consideration in weeks to come.
The Swords first home game will be on the 31st August when they host the Counties Manukau Stingrays at Toll Stadium. They will be bolstered by the return from injury of Hori Tuhoro and Adam Donaldson.
|1||Israel||Tahere||Northern Wairoa Bulls|
|3||Wiremu||Snowden Te Iringa||Hokianga Pioneers|
|6||Daniel||Fulop||Northern Wairoa Bulls|
|11||Te Tuhi||Tipene||Hikurangi Stags|
|12||Patrick||Tane||Northern Wairoa Bulls|
|Saturday 23rd August||Wellington Orcas||Northern Swords||1:30pm||Petone Recreation Ground|
|Sunday 31st August||Northern Swords||Counties Manukau Stingrays||2:30pm||Toll Stadium, Whangarei|
|Sunday 7th September||BYE||BYE||BYE||BYE|
|Sunday 14th September||Central Vipers||Northern Swords||1:00pm||Cooks Garden, Whanganui|
|Sunday 21st September||Northern Swords||Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions||2:30pm||Toll Stadium, Whangarei|
|Sunday 28th September||Northern Swords||Akarana Falcons||2:30pm||Toll Stadium, Whangarei|
|Sunday 5th October||NO GAMES||NO GAMES||NO GAMES||NO GAMES|
|Sunday 11th October||Canterbury Bulls||Northern Swords||1:00pm||Denton Park, Hornby|
|Sunday 18th October||1ST Place Qualifier||2nd Place Qualifier||5:00pm||Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland|
The Northern Swords U14s travel to Tauranga to play in the RULA Regional Tournament. This is the third year that the Swords have participated in this tournament, previously we have sent an U13s team, but this year the structure has changed to focus on the U14s Grade.
The Swords 14s are coached by Jimmy Croft with Mike Hetaraka the Team Manager. They will face Nationals (toa Samoa), Auckland Maori, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty and Coastline. The Swords 14s have five players who will be backing up from the U15s Nationals so are fairly confident that they will be competitive at this tournament.
However the Kaupapa of the Tournament is not just about winning or losing on the field, points are awards for many different aspects of the ‘Team.’
The RuLA point system firstly measure field games as in game results… yet this result only contributes to around a 1/3rd of a team’s overall tournament score. The next part looks at areas of a teams performance, such as, Sportsmanship, Determination, Proficiency, Haka etc. And thirdly… the balance of points are marked against ALL those who make up a ‘team’ – players, captains, coaches, managers – even parents and supporters!
As all aspects of our ‘game’ individually improve… the over standard and performance of our game will rise.. and this is the ultimate aim of the RuLA tournaments. For one team to WIN the overall tournament, on that day, they are the team closest to MASTERY of ALL areas of their game – both on and off the field.. not always the oldest or fastest.
Remember… it is not good enough just to win on the field, it is ‘how everyone plays the game’. As NZRL puts it, Rugby League is “More Than Just a Game”.
Northern Swords 14s team: