Click here to see the Northern Swords 17s Team List – 12 Sept
Northern Swords 17s – Team List to play against Waicoa Colts – 15 September 2013
Pirtek NZRL National Premiership – Swords put out an SOS to Northland League PublicPirtek NZRL National Premiership – Swords put out an SOS to Northland League Public
The Northern Swords are calling out to all of Northland League public to get in behind the Swords to help them rescue their season this weekend at Toll Stadium after they were put to the sword by the Central Vipers in Whanganui on Sunday. The Central Vipers continued their turnaround season in the Pirtek NZRL National Premiership, with a resounding 74-16 win over Northern Swords. After travelling through the 2013 competition without a win, the Hawke’s Bay/Taranaki/Manawatu/Whanganui combination have now registered two wins this year, having accounted for Wellington two weeks ago.
By contrast, the Swords now have one hand on the wooden spoon, still winless through four rounds. The equivalent fixture 12 months ago provided the Vipers with the best result of their schedule – a 40-22 loss – but they were quickly on top this time, running in seven tries to lead 36-4 at halftime.
Coach Mark Freeman, had very little positive things to say about the team’s performance, “I thought after last week’s run against the Auckland Development squad that we had prepared well going into the game, there were some who tried and others who shouldn’t have put a jersey on today. We’re not going to give up though, we will address what it takes to play Rugby League and tackle this week and take on the next challenge.”
The Northern Swords have Wai-Coa-Bay this Sunday at Toll Stadium. The Stallions are also coming off a big loss as they were thumped by Counties Manukau 68 – 0. “In tough times Whanau support Whanau, these are tough times for the Swords, we need our Northland League public to get down to Toll this weekend and give them support from the sidelines. Like all things in life, when things are tough, knowing you have your Whanau backing you, can be a tremendous moral boost!” said Alex Smits – RLN GM.
The Swords 15s and 17s will also have their final hit out against the Wai-Coa-Bay outfit before they head to Rotorua for their National Campaign. The 15s and 17s were scheduled to play on Toll Stadium 11.45 and 1:00pm respectively – however, Toll has suffered some serious damage over the last couple weeks with the amount of rain we have had, added to the Rugby and League fixtures that have been played. Toll is having some remedial work done, so it is hoped that it will recover. If it is unavailable the 15s and 17s fixtures will be moved to Old Boys.
GATES WILL OPEN AT 11:30am if U15s are playing at Toll Stadium, otherwise 2:15pm for Premiers.
11.45 – U15s – Northern Swords v Wai-Coa-Bay Colts (Old Boys or Toll Stadium TBC)
1.00pm – U17s – Northern Swords v Wai-Coa-Bay Colts (Old Boys or Toll Stadium TBC)
2.30pm – Premiers Northern Swords v Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions – Toll Stadium
While the dust settles around Rugby League Northland’s historic Grand Final, the Northern Swords have been quietly going about their business as they prepare for the upcoming NZRL National Premiership. Coach, Jon Renes and his management crew are building a new era that will, over time, see the Swords become a competitive unit that will provide an opportunity to National Representative honors, while at the same time building pride and recognition for the Northern Swords brand in Northland.
It’s fair to say that we always do it tough at the National Competition. But we have to look at the long game and the outcomes of playing in a National Competition. With over 40 % of the NRL’s NYC – U20s competition from NZ – clubs are looking to NZ for talent ID. An example of this is Corey Harawira-Naera who has just signed a two year, full time contract, with the Penrith Panthers. Corey was signed playing for the Northern Swords Premiers in 2013 as an 18 year old.
With that in mind, the Northern Swords Premiers go into their first round of the NZRL National Premiership with a team that has youth painted all over it. With 10 of the 17 players under the age of 22 and 8 players having through the squad that have previously represented the Swords at U17s level, the team is definitely one for the future. Making their debut from the Swords 2014 17s are, Muriwhenua Falcon’s Kawana Marsden (18), Otaua Valley’s Stevie Ray Haenga-Albert (18) and Tamati Leach (18). Kawana made a big impact for Muriwhenua this year, while Stevie Ray and Tamati steered Otaua to a Championship trophy.
Supporting the youth in this break-through season are a number of experienced heads with the likes of Takahiwai Warrior’s inspirational half, Kyle Hool, Northern Wairoa Bull’s Israel Tahere and Moerewa Tiger’s Te Tuhi Tipene and Jayden Bentley Hape. All four have been Swords main stays over the last three years. Added experience will also be added by Moerewa’s Peter Prime who returns to NZ from playing in the NSW Cup.
The Swords had a warm up match against the Wai-Coa-Bay Stallion’s last Sunday as part of the annual Koroneihana Celebrations. Suffering a couple of injuries, the Swords finished the last 40 minutes with only 13 players and they collectively stood up, only conceding two tries in the last 20 minutes. With 9 players all under 22 and of that, 9 Players had not played for 5 weeks or longer and only had 30% of the pill they defended like their lives depended on it.
Coach Jon Renes was optimistic, saying that the most important exercise from here was the team building, “I’m interested in building a team that wants to commit to firstly the team and then themselves. We will work on our process and structure. Last weekend we had 2 focus areas – completions and maintaining a compressed D-line. With an 80% completion rate, we did that, we defended well in times, but with only 30% possession rate it was tough. Although they went down 48 – 0, it was a great team trip with a good positive feel in changing rooms after.”
The Northern Swords’ first hit is this Sunday as part the NZRL National Premiership triple-header when they take on the Mid Central Vipers at 1.15pm at Massey Park in Papakura. For the record the Mid Central Vipers are the only team the Swords have defeated in the history of the competition which was in 2013.
The starting line up will be named later in the week.