News,Northern Swords,Northern Swords 15s,Northern Swords 17s Northern Swords Shine at National Tournament

Northern Swords Shine at National Tournament

Northern Swords Shine at National Tournament post thumbnail image

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.

Paul Turner

Paul Turner

Dylan Brown

Dylan Brown

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.

Te Kahi Nathan

Te Kahi Nathan

Tane Kaiwai

Tane Kaiwai

Joe Rau

Joe Rau









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

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Working in Partnership to Reduce HarmWorking in Partnership to Reduce Harm

Left to Right - Allan Kerrisk, Area Commander, New Zealand Fire Service, Alex Smits, General Manager Rugby League Northland and June Ross, Chief Fire Officer, Omapere

Left to Right – Allan Kerrisk, Area Commander, New Zealand Fire Service, Alex Smits, General Manager Rugby League Northland and June Ross, Chief Fire Officer, Omapere


Positively influencing the health choices individuals make on a daily basis has traditionally been the domain of the district health board.

Now, thanks to the New Zealand Fire Service, health promotion billboards are being trialed at Fire Station sites throughout Te Tai Tokerau in an effort to increase the exposure of positive health related messaging.

“As an emergency services partner we have taken the opportunity to partner the DHB to see if we can help make a difference”, offered Allan Kerrisk, New Zealand Fire Service Area Commander.  “New Zealand Police led the way with their support of the anti-violence billboard they placed on the Kaeo Police Station and that encouraged us to also get involved”.

‘Water is the best drink’ is the chosen message supported by New Zealand national rugby league representative and professional rugby league footballer Elijah Taylor who currently plays for the Penrith Panthers.

As the ambassador of the ‘Leadership through League’ programme that is run in partnership between the Northland DHB and Rugby League Northland Elijah supports the key health message ‘Water is the best drink’.

“The natural choice for hydration is water. It hydrates better than any other liquid, both before and during exercise”, Elijah explains.  “Water is much less expensive and more available than any other drink. Water is the best, but it only helps you if you drink it”.

“Clearly there was a synergy between ‘Water is the best drink’ and the New Zealand Fire Service”, offered Allan.  “The harm drink driving does on our roads is completely avoidable if drivers chose water instead of alcohol if they intend on driving their vehicle”.

“We are extremely grateful to Allan and his team for supporting our work”, said Kath Bowmar, the DHB’s Well Child Youth and Clinical Services manager. “Being supported by our partners strengthens our mahi and means we can reach many more people than we could if we had to work alone”.

Liz Inch, Communications Manager
Northland District Health Board

Welcome Aaron Thomas to Rugby League NorthlandWelcome Aaron Thomas to Rugby League Northland

Aaron Thomas

Aaron Thomas

Aaron officially started at Rugby League Northland on 8th April 2015. Aaron has an impressive CV with a background in education and sport.  Previously, Aaron was the Deputy Principal at Opononi Area School, where he was also joint coach of the Kura Hokianga team that qualified for the Semi-Finals of the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy. Aaron’s role as Development Manager will see him lead and manage the future of Rugby League Northland’s development programs.  This will include developing future plans, managing staff as well as hands of delivery of: All Schools Development Programs; All Junior Rugby League Competitions throughout Northland and RLN Junior Representative Programs – U14s – 15s and 17s Northern Swords Campaigns.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have someone of Aaron’s calibre on board with RLN.  Aaron has proven himself in the education arena and has a strong background in youth development.  I’m sure that he will be very successful in this role as he has a huge passion for the communities and youth of Northland.  His background as a PE Teacher will help drive our school development programs in Northland to another level ,” Alex Smits General Manager of RLN said.

A few words from Aaron Thomas – himself!

Ko Te Arawa te Waka
Ko Tongariro te Maunga
Ko Taupo te roto
Ko Taupo-nui-a-tia te rohe
Ko Waitahanui te Marae
Ko Ngati Ira te Hapu
Ko Ngati Tuwharetoa taku Iwi
Tihei Mauri Ora!

Kia ora my name is Aaron Thomas and I am pleased to be joining the team here at Rugby League Northland. I can’t wait to take up the wero of developing and working with youth in the far north. I have a background as teacher of physical education and then as a deputy principal with over 18 years experience. I have lived in the Hokianga for the last 9 years where I also have strong whakapapa links through my three children.

I have a passion for rugby league where I have played at representative level and off shore in the UK. I have also coached several youth sporting codes to both national and international titles. In my teaching career I have been fortunate to run several high level academies which have had some excellent outcomes. I believe firstly in a strong educational base for all our tamariki.

My goal is to help foster junior rugby league and build strong networks with Hapu and Iwi based programmes. I believe in putting the tamariki first and supporting them with strong leadership and positive role modelling in a tikanga based environment.

I would like to mihi to those who have done a lot of the foundation work and devoted many hours for our rangatahi, and on that note I would like to also let it be known that I believe there is a wealth of talent that needs to be harnessed and developed in the north. I look forward to meeting and forging some positive relationships in rugby league which is “More than a game”


Nga Mihi koutou katoa

Aaron Thomas