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Tony Iro shares his League knowledge to help NorthlandTony Iro shares his League knowledge to help Northland

A big thank you goes out to Tony Iro Kiwi Legend and assistant coach for the Kiwis in this year’s World Cup Campaign ran a coaching workshop for Northland Coaches.

Part of the focus was to launch the Northern Swords Fundamentals Book.  This document focuses on the latest core skill techniques leading into the Northern Swords Campaign 2013. “We have good athletes in Northland, they can all run pass, tackle but our technical understanding of the finer points of Rugby League is not that great. Which means that when we get on the national stage we lose games through the simple things – like controlling the speed of the play the ball. “If we can improve the finer technical aspects then our boys will have a greater opportunity of showcasing their individual talent.” Alex Smits, General Manager said.

Tony was very complimentary to the enthusiasm shown by over 30 Northland Coaches who attended in the rolling fog at Moerewa. Benson Selwyn the Swords 17’s Head Coach said, “What an experience to be able to gather information from someone like Tony, this will definitely help with our preparation for this year’s National Competition.”

The main areas covered by Tony were:

Youth Coaching:  How to engage and motivate youth.

Dominant Tackles – winning time on the ground (defence)

Play the Bally – winning time on the ground (attack)

For resources and a larger breakdown of the key coaching points, see the below links.

Swords Foundation Book 2013

Dominant tackles with coaching points

Evasion with coaching points

Northern Swords Fundamentals Coaching Session

Play the ball with coaching points

Tackle Control Process


Northern Swords Shine at National TournamentNorthern Swords Shine at National Tournament

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

Northern Swords Move Selection BoundaryNorthern Swords Move Selection Boundary

Corey Harawira

Corey Harawira

Ashley Naera

Ashley Naera

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.

Tiano Arona

Tiano Arona

Ngaro Baker

Ngaro Baker

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.