The Junior League season has one more event, based in Kaikohe. The Northern Swords Mini-Mod competetition will provide an opportunity for North and South clubs to come together. As part of a festival of Rugby League, with the Northern Swords Prermiers playing against the Counties Manukau Stingrays – don’t miss this oppportunity!
Northern Swords Mini Mod Competition
The Northern Swords wound up their National Campaign at Cornwall Park yesterday with a disappointing finale. The Swords 17s, who had a chance of making the finals, never really kicked into gear as they went down to the Akarana Falcons 48 – 16.
With both teams needing to win to reach the final, the Akarana team, were too classy for their Northern counterparts, to earn themselves a place in next Monday’s finals against the Counties Manukau Stingrays. Had the Swords won they would have been the first team outside of Auckland to have made the National final – but it wasn’t to be. Benson Selwyn’s boys looked the part until around the 20th minute and then the gap between Auckland and the rest of the country was exposed. It basically comes down a numbers game. Auckland has 36 clubs, with teams in every grade, meaning a more intense competition right throughout the age grades.
For the Northern Swords 17s, we have a lot to be happy about. We stood up throughout the competition and finished third. We have to remember that before this season, the 17s had only won one game in three years! We have some good boys in that 17s team and would expect a number of them to be named in the competitions merit squad.
James Dean Fisher Harris was a force week in and week out and was backed up by the likes of Piri Croft, Haimona Tierney, Tumoana Halkyard and Caleb Aekins. These guys are quality players and with the right guidance, could make a career for themselves in Rugby League.
Final Score – Northern Swords (16) v Akarana Falcons (48).
2015 was the first year as Chairman of the Rugby League Northland Board. I joined the board in 2014. It’s a privilege to have the support of the Board as Chair and lead a committed Board of Directors that have a strong representation across Northland.
2015 was another robust year for Rugby League in Northland. Again we have seen an increase in playing numbers, we have seen the profile of the game grow with the RLN Scott Electrical Premiership Finals and the Swords v Canterbury Bulls games broadcast and streamed live via Channel North.
Again we have seen an increase in playing numbers, we have seen the profile of the game grow with the RLN Scott Electrical Premiership Finals attracting great interest and solid crowds. The Swords v Canterbury Bulls games broadcast and streamed live via Channel North and one of the better seasons yet from the Premier Swords team.
The launch of the Championship bought depth to the senior competition by providing another level of competition for senior players. It allowed for new and existing clubs to bring more players to the game and support growth and development of Clubs and the game.
2015 also saw the emergence of new junior clubs.
Well done to all the Clubs and administrators for your effort and commitment to have your teams compete.
RLN had another solid and consistent financial performance largely a result of the hard work and prudent fiscal approach taken to build a solid foundation for sustainability.
The recent release of Sport NZ’s Community Funding plan will impact all of the Rugby League Zones financially and operationally. The degree and nature of that changes is yet to be confirmed. But it is fair to say the prudent approach to building reserves provides RLN a bit of “space” to work through the implications of the pending impacts.
All our representative teams had improved performances on the field resulting in a number of players receiving national recognition and a pathway to the NRL. In 2016 we look to launch an Academy which will provide further opportunities.
Premier Sword’s season was one of its best on field performances after a shaky start with some positive signs to build from for the future. Acknowledgement to Jon and Edward for their efforts with the Swords as we look forward to the new National Premiership Competition which could see more consistent competitive games and opportunities for Northland players.
The U15 and U17s teams achieved their highest place finishes at their respective national tournaments. Well done to these junior players and coaching staff.
Other national fixtures:
WBHS performed very gallantly at the National Secondary Schools Tournament and were very unlucky not to finish higher than they did with some extremely close results that could have gone either way.
RLN GM received the leadership in sport award at the Northland Sports Awards. Well done to Alex Smits for that achievement. It is a fair representation of his commitment to the game.
Northland Rugby League, Life Member, Graham Pitts received National honours in the form of an NZRL Distinguished Service Award. The “Spy on the Bank” reporter and local rugby league historian is a much-deserved recipient for services to the game. A well overdue recognition.
- Caleb Aekin signed with Penrith Panthers
- Nathan Newton signed with the NZ Warriors
- Bayleigh Bentley-Hape signed with Sydney Roosters
- Paul Turner was named player of the tournament at the National under 15 tournament (the 15s most successful tournament to date). Paul, along with Dylan Brown were both named in the tournament team.
- Joe Rau was named coach of the tournament.
- Te Kahi Nathan was named in the U17s National Tournament team
- Tane Kaiwai was named Referees Referee of the Tournament.
Trade of Origin
The trade of origin continues to grow in interest and provides another vehicle to build a positive profile of the game.
In 2016 we face a number of challenges and opportunities:
With change takes a period of adjustment as new staff find their feet and make the roles their own. We are pleased to have the calibre of Duane and Cara on board at RLN while we also acknowledge the dedication and commitment Alex and Toni gave to the game.
Far North / Taitokerau Rugby League
This is a big issue that needs to be worked through. A unified rugby league community is a better outcome for our game and our rugby league community.
On more positive notes:
The Warriors fixture was yet another opportunity to build the profile of the game. The community engagement were well received and attended as was the game. We look forward to more opportunities to host NRL Clubs and games in the future.
The Adam Blair School competition has been a huge success with increased interest from schools and high quality performances on the field.
Finally on behalf of the board I would like to thank all the players and many volunteers for your hard work and commitment to our game and look forward to your ongoing support as we work through the challenges and opportunities before us all.
Walter Wells, Chairman RLN Board
NorthTec Adam Blair v Warriors Development – 2014 Season OpenerNorthTec Adam Blair v Warriors Development – 2014 Season Opener
The NorthTec Adam Blair XIII were defeated by a slick Warriors Development team but they can walk away with their heads held very high. 19 Players representing the 10 Colleges that compete in the NorthTec Adam Blair trophy pushed the Warriors team until the final minutes of the game.
The Warriors started the match with loose forward, Shane Hannan, crossing over almost untouched for the first of his two tries in the opening set of the game. After the kick off, the Warriors again waltzed down the field with easy yards and the Northland boys looked a little gun shy and the signs didn’t look good.
However, they quickly responded – with the ball in the hand they showed that they were as worthy as their opponents, to be on the paddock and the ball of strong running from Kamo High School’s Jesse Chapman – Raharuhi Fiaui (Taipa Area School) darted over from dummy half. From this point on with self-belief the Northland team were never out of the match. The Warriors took a slender 4 point lead into half time 22 – 18.
The second half saw the Northlanders take a 24 – 22 point lead after a try to the impressive James Cherrington (WBHS) – with momentum on their side it looked like an upset could have been on the cards. However the Warriors proved to have superior Rugby League knowledge and patience, scoring 4 unanswered tries to control the match 42 – 24. The Northlanders had the last say with a sublime try after they moved the ball from one side to the other with Chaz Palmer (WBHS) dotting over in the corner to finish the game 42 – 28 to the Warriors.
The match was played in front of at least three ex – Kiwis, with Dean Lonergan, Duane Mann and Tony Iro in attendance. Tony Iro – NZRL High Performance Manager was suitably impressed by the Northland Boys. “Considering they only had one training session, they showed a hell of a lot of spirit, they scored some sublime tries and their scrambling defence was outstanding,’ he said.
Northland Coach Benson Selwyn was stoked with his boys’ performance, noting their scrambling defence. “If we could have had a bit more patience and ball control who knows what could have happened. But I guess when you have limited preparation that is understandable,” he said. Selwyn who will coach the Northern Swords 17s later this year is excited at the potential of the team. “Only 7 of the boys today are too old for the Swords – if we can get these players to continue with League the prospects look good.” Selwyn said.
Northlander Tumoana Halkyard looked good at fullback for the Warriors team – but had to leave the field before half time due to the re-occurrence of a calf strain.
NorthTec Adam Blair XIII – 28. Tries. Raharuhi Fiaui (Taipa Area School), Demrys Croft-Haenga (Okaihau College), Stevie Ray Haenga-Albert (Okaihau College), James Cherrington (WBHS), Chaz Palmer (WBHS). Goals: Hohaia Kawiti-Rata (Kaitaia College), Stevie Ray Haenga-Albert (2)
Warriors Development – 42. Tries. S Hannam (2), J Malau, L Soosomea, C Sio, M Esera, C Ngaha, M Haimuli (2). Goals: T Halkyard, Z Ioka, M Haimulu
Click here to see all of the game photos on our Facebook page.
Click here to see video of pre-game Haka – join the RLN You Tube channel to get instant access to vidoes of the games as they are published.