Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Rugby League Northland. Since the beginning of the competition in 2010 the Northern Swords have progressively improved. 2012 showed improvement with some of the following achievements:
- None of the squads used more than 25 players
- Three main premier players made the step-up from 2012 17s squad – Ricky Toby, Jaden Hape, Tyson Wihongi
- We equalled the record of 2011’s two wins, however no dispensations used for 15s – 17s 2012, namely, 15s victory over Mid Central and the 17s victory over Waicoa Bays (17’s first victory!)
However, the Premiers struggled and we have yet to win at Premier Grade. Rugby League Northland is trying to address this issue and as a part of our “Whole of Sport” plan we are working on creating a High Performance Strategy for Northland 2013 – 2015 (with a reassessment in 2015).
The main focus will be on the youth. At Premier level, Jim Larkin has been given the head coach role. Jim has a proven success record with Northland age-grade teams and has been responsible for bringing players like Sam McKendry and Elijah Taylor through the grades. His focus and vision for the Premiers is to bring the younger players through the ranks. In 2012 three players made the step up from 17s to Premiers (Ricky Toby, Jaden Hape, Tyson Wihongi) and Jim hopes to continues this trend. This year in the RLN Premiership players like, Brodie Palmer (Moerewa), David McCullough and Joachim Edmonds (Hikurangi) are proving that not only they can compete at Premier level but they are some of the stronger performers.
“If you have a look at Premier League in Wellington and Auckland you will find that the bulk of the teams are now made up of 18 – 22 year olds combined with the older journeymen providing support and vision around them. We are developing some good initiatives in Northland around College League and College rep teams – our vision is to get these boys playing 18s and then move into the RLN Premiership. We have the talent – we just need to upskill the players and our over all coaching structures” RLN General Manager – Alex Smits said.
Combining with the overall Strategy has been the employment of Jon Renes as the RLN Northland – NorthTec Rugby League Academy. Jon will also take the role as Director of Coaching. His role will be to make sure that all three Swords teams work off the same page. Jon will be linking with NZRL Director of Coaching, Tony Iro, as well as the Warriors, to ensure that best practises are put in place for players and coaches.
Most of the Swords coaching staff have now been confirmed. New to the 2013 will be the inclusion of selectors with a North and South Selector in each grade to report in to Jon and their respective Head Coach.
|Northern Swords 15s||Northern Swords 18s||Northern Swords Premiers|
|Head Coach||Joe Rau||Benson Selwyn||Jim Larkin|
|Selector South||Free Pitman||John Komene||Shane Hool|
|Selector North||Tane Kaiwai||Jim Larkin||Phil Marsh|
The Northern Swords play in the NZRL National Provincial competition. The 17’s and Premiers play over a 6 week period and play fixtures across NZ. New for 2013 will be the 15’s National Tournament week with a week long residential tournament that will follow the NZRL motto of more than Just a Game incorporation lifestyle and rugby league workshops and League competition in an intense full Rugby League immersion camp!
Key Dates for Swords 2013
|7th July 2013||RLN Performance Camp||30 players – 15s and 17s invited to attend||Kensington Park|
|16th – 17th July||Inter-district Tournament||15s and and 17s||Rotorua|
|25th August||Round 1 – Northern Swords||vs South Island Scorpions||Toll Stadium|
|30th Sept – 5th Oct||15s National Tournament Week||15s||Papakura|
Click here for the Northern Swords Draws