News,Northern Swords Northern Swords 14s – RuLA Competition

Northern Swords 14s – RuLA Competition

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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.’

A Word from Baz Palmer – RuLA Tournament Director

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:

Matenga ASHBY
Siosiua FOTU
Rangatira KEERAKO
Toiangakahurangi MEHANA-PURU
Richmond PATUA
Tangaroa PIREROA
Kiarni RANUI
Terry-Jack SMART






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RLN General Manager recognised at Sport Northland awardsRLN General Manager recognised at Sport Northland awards

Sports Awards 2015

Alex Smits, RLN General Manager was humbled on Friday when he was awarded the Rowsells Collision Repair Leadership in Sport Award. The award recognises the most outstanding achievements/results by a sport leader in relation to their sport and/or the sport sector.

The award acknowledges the transformation that Rugby League has gone through in Northland since the creation of Rugby League Northland in 2010. In 2010 there were only 620 registered participants in Northland. In 2015 there have been 3472 registered participants, including a massive growth in clubs to 1723 registered players. In schools prior to 2010 there were no formal competitions, however in 2015 RLN has a sporting calendar to be proud of with 11 Colleges playing in the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy, 38 Primary Schools playing in the Northland Champions festivals, amounting to 1749 players across all competitions.

RLN is represented on a National stage by the Northern Swords at 15s, 17s and Premier grades which provide a pathway to National Representation and the NRL, and each year Northland has a number of players that gain NRL cadetships. RLN delivers the nationally acclaimed Leadership through League program that sees community collaboration between RLN, Colleges and Primary schools through Tua-Kana Teina with college students coaching and mentoring primary school children. On the back of the increased activity, RLN has developed an organisation and governance model that will help drive the game into the future.

“I think that we have got the greatest sports product. It’s fast, exciting, end to end action combined with a tough physical component that requires speed, skill and team work. It’s a great vehicle to engage our communities and for the young, talented, committed players there is an achievable pathway to the NRL. I am proud of the steps that Rugby League has taken and I am honoured by the award, but the recognition must go out to the Northland League community, the RLN Staff and board, our clubs and our schools. League people are passionate about their sport, and the growth has come from their passion. All we needed was to get people working together and improve the structure.” Smits said.

Smits joined RLN at the beginning of 2012 and departs at the end of this year to new pastures as a Rural Real Estate agent. “It seems ironic to receive leadership award when I am leaving the organisation, however I think that as a leader you also need to know when to leave. I am confident that we have a good foundation in place, a good board to lead the organisation and it will provide a great opportunity to engage someone that has another skill set to mine.” Smits said reflecting on his departure as General Manager of RLN.

There was another Rugby League winner at the Northland Sports awards evening. Eli George won the Sport Northland Code Award for Rugby League recognising his achievement at Senior level. Representing the Northern Swords in the NZRL National Competition, George was the first ever Northern Swords player to be selected in the NZRL Residents Selection team, selected from the seven zones that competed in the National Competition. George, who played for the Hokianga Pioneers in the RLN Scott Electrical Premiership, lead the Northern Swords in a much improved season as a hard running hardworking Prop Forward.

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Click here to see the Draw for Round 5

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Northern Swords 15s

First off the ranks, Joe Rau’s Northern Swords 15s, will travel for a week-long tournament at Bruce Pullman Park, in Papakura from 30th September to the 4th October. they will be competing in the NZRL National 15s Competition. They will play 5 games in 5 days.

Semi’s will be held on the Thursday and Finals will be on the Friday.

Final Squad list will be confirmed early next week.

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The Lani Manukau’s Northern Swords 13s travel all the way to Palmerston North to play in the inaugural National 13st District Tournament. They travel on Friday 4th October, play on Saturday and Sunday (5th/6th Oct) and return home on the 7th October. This will be a big trip for all involved with some life-changing experiences along the way.

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