The Northern Swords Premiers, have named their 17 man squad to play against the Waicoa Bays Stallions on Sunday 15th September in Huntly.
Included in this squad are brothers Ash Harawira and Corey Naera, who both starred for the Championship winning Pt Chevalier in the prestigious Auckland Fox Memorial. Older brother Ash, who plays at Centre, starred for the Premier winning Pt Chevalier team, while 18 year old Corey, who plays at Full Back, Centre or backrow was a part of the Fox Reserve Grade winning team.
Both are proud Northlanders from Waimamaku. Corey has moved to Auckland to take part in the NZ Warriors Rugby League Academy this year. Corey was outstanding for the Swords 17s in the 2012 National Provincial Championship and was named in the NZRL 17s Merit Squad. Ash spent his College days playing for the prestigious Kelston Boys High School 1st XV.
Ash and Corey both starred in the recent Swords training match against the Carter Holt Harvey Raiders and bought a lot of stability to the Swords backline that struggled against the Canterbury Bulls.
It is the first time that the Swords have selected players who are based from outside Northland.
“Although we are growing the player base in Northland,we need to build the skill base around the Swords. We have yet to win in the National Competition with the Swords (2013 is the fourth season). Early in August we named a squad of 45 players, but unfortunately for one reason or another, players have not been available,meaning that we have real shortage in our backline. By bringing Corey and Ash into the squad, it will help balance our team. We have not taken this decision lightly and Northland players remain our priority. But when you look at, in particular with Corey, we have helped develop his career and by bringing him into the Swords Premiers, this will further enhance his pathway.” Alex Smits GM for RLN said.
In May this year a Memo was sent out to all League clubs asking their opinion about bringing in outside players with little negative response. The RLN Board decided at the time to further investigate this as an option. Rugby League Northland is the only Zone in the NZRL National Competition that has the ability to draft non-zone players into the squad.
In total, there will be four debutants in the squad. Ngaro Baker from Portland has forced his way into the squad – an exciting prospect at 18 years old, he is a big man with a big motor and will play a role at Prop rotation. Tiano Arona, from Muriwhenua, also only 18, will occupy a place on the bench as a half/hooker replacement. The brothers, Ash and Corey, make up the two other debutants. In total 5 players in the squad are 18 or 19, with four other 23 or younger bringing a good mix of youth and experience to the squad.