The Northern Swords 15s and 17s had an impressive Got a Trade Got it Made National Tournament in Rotorua last week. For the first time ever, both the 15s and 17s managed to lift themselves off the bottom of the table with both teams finishing in 6th place (out of 8 teams).
“We are by far the smallest zone in terms of playing numbers, but we are seeing that our players are improving year after year on the field. We have some exceptional talent coming through and they are getting noticed at a National and NRL level which has to be great for the growth of the game in Northland” said, RLN General Manager, Alex Smits.
An example of this was Paul Turner being named as player of the Tournament for the 15s. Turner had an exceptional tournament. Playing at Stand Off his combination with Dylan Brown helped guide the 15s to their most successful National tournament ever. Turner scored 6 tries in 5 games with the highlight being an individual 60 metre try created from nothing to seal victory in golden point against Mid Central Vipers to secure the Swords a playoff for 5th and 6th.
Both Paul Turner and Dylan Brown were selected in the 15s Tournament Team. Also of note was Paul’s Father and Coach, Joe Rau, who was named Coach of the Tournament for the 15s grade.-
Jim Larkin’s 17s team also finished 6th and were unlucky not to finish higher as they lost their final game 24 – 20 against the South Island Scorpions. They were also unfortunate to have lost Warriors bound Nathan Newton after the first game with a broken arm. Te Kahi Nathan was named in the 17s Tournament Team.
Northland was also well represented on the match official front with Taylor Waenga and Tane Kaiwai attending, with Kaiwai being named Referees Referee of the Tournament.
Paul Turner – 15s Player of the Tournament
Joe Rau – Coach of the Tournament
Paul Turner and Dylan Brown – 15s Tournament Team
Te Kahi Nathan – 17s Tournament Team
Tane Kawai – Referees Referee of the Tournament