News,Northern Swords Swords Recruit New Head Coach

Swords Recruit New Head Coach

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Rugby League Northland has confirmed Mark Freeman as its new Head Coach for the Northern Swords.  A high performance coach originally from Queensland, Freeman is a passionate Northlander, having been Head Coach of Northland U18s between 2004 and 2008.

In 2009, Freeman had an extended break from Coaching but in 2014, that is all about to change, with Freeman jumping back on board with his old club Takahiwai, as Assistant Coach with Shane Hool, they have taken the Warriors to be top of the RLN MultiKai Cooker Premiership.

Freeman is passionate about building a competitive team for the 2014 NZRL Pirtek National Premiership and is confident that we have the talent to surpass our 2014 results.

Freeman takes over the role from Jim Larkin, who couldn’t commit to the 2014 season, due to work commitments. However Larkin will go back to coach the 15s, who now compete in a week long residential tournament.  Larkin coached the 15s in 2010 – 2012 where he secured the Northern Swords first ever victory (in all grades).

Benson Selwyn will again coach the 17s. Selwyn took the 17s to 3rd place in 2014 and has put his hand up for one more year. This year will however, be a different kettle of fish, as the 17s will move away from a weekly competition to a week-long residential tournament in Rotorua.

For the Northern Swords Draw click here

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RLN Scott Electrical Premiership – Golden Point ThrillerRLN Scott Electrical Premiership – Golden Point Thriller

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The RLN Scott Electrical Premiership Grand Final was played in spectacular fashion with the match winning try scored in double extra time. The large crowd, were in awe, as the game produced touches of class usually reserved at professional level. Whangarei was buzzing all week with everybody predicating a close affair between the Hikurangi Stags and the Takahiwai Warriors. The conditions were perfect at Toll Stadium as the light drizzle disappeared.

The game was a bruising encounter as both packs tested each other out. As the nerves settled, the Stags drew first blood with a nice try to Tyson Wihongi. The Warriors not to be outclassed, responded with two unanswered converted tries. Takahiwai were building good momentum until captain courageous Joe Rau crossed the line to take the halftime score to 12-10 to Takahiwai.

The second half was a game of chess with both team teams making valuable meters off the back of some solid forward play. Veteran Takahiwai forward, Nick Schuster and Hikurangi’s Steven Rau were locking horns and enforcing their presence defensively.

Penrith Panther’s new signing Caleb Aekins, showed his class in the number 6 with some silky skills and individual brilliance to cross the line. Hori Tuhoro was peppered with bombs all day and had some excellent kick returns that had the crowd on their feet.

It looked like the Warriors were going to have a stag do when Warrior’s player Joel Freeman put his side in front 16-14. With minutes remaining Hikurangi had a brain melt and gave away a penalty in front of the sticks.

Captain Joe Rau milked the time limit ensuring his successful kick would lead to extra time. Both teams were tested with fitness and defence as they charged up the paddock looking to set up for the drop goal.

Hikurangi got two, close, unsuccessful attempts, which had the crowd holding their breath. Takahiwai managed one fumbled attempt. After 2 stanzas with a minute remaining, Stag forward Eric Abraham crossed the line to win the game to a deafening roar from their supporters. Final score – Hikurangi Stags 20 v Takahiwai Warriors 16.

Click here to view full set of photographs from the game

Best Player Takahiwai Warriors – Hori Tuhoro – presented by Napo Henare, Refining NZ
Best Player Hikurangi Stags – Caleb Aekins – presented by Napo Henare, Refining NZ
Man of the Match – Eric Abraham
Winning Medal – Her Honour the Mayor, Sheryl Mai
Winning Trophy Presentation – John Cornwall, Joel Taylor – Scott Electrical

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In the curtain raiser the championship Cup was won by the Otaua Valleys over the Pawarenga Broncos 28-12. It was an exciting game with the youthful brilliance of Otaua proving to be the catalyst. Final score Otaua Valleys 28 v Pawarenga Broncos 12. Otaua have now won promotion into the 2016 RLN Scott Electrical Premiership. Tamati Leach was named Man of the Match.

Click here to view a full set of photographs from the game.

Don’t Be An EggDon’t Be An Egg

Rugby League Northland is proud to be leading a campaign to combat sideline abuse.  RLN in no way confesses that the campaign will provide a magical touch, the week the campaign was launched we had one match called off due to a spectator getting involved in an on field incident and another match where a player was sent off for match official abuse.

“We can’t expect that as result of one video that things will change overnight, but what we have done is we have made it a subject of conversation.  People are light hearted commenting to people, Bro you’re an egg.  Even though in most cases its done in jest, but deep down people are thinking about and talking about it.”

Since its launch the video has over 6800 views and thanks to RLN’s partnership with Speedy Signs in Whangarei, every club has received a sideline A-Frame sign –  “Don’t be an Egg.”.  The video is also being used in RLN’s Leadership through League program with secondary school students showing the video in Primary Schools and facilitating a discussion group with Primary School students.

We encourage everyone to watch the video and forward it on to as many contacts – this is an issue in all sports – not just League.  Its OK to be a passionate supporter, its ok to yell from the sideline – but it’s not ok to yell abuse and lose control!

NorthTec congratulates Adam Blair Trophy winnersNorthTec congratulates Adam Blair Trophy winners

NorthTec logo

The atmosphere was electric at 4pm on Wednesday 6 April at The Whangarei Sports Arena, when Whangarei Boys High School and Kaitaia College headed out on to the field for honours in the Northland Secondary School rugby league competition for the NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy Grand Final. The teams ensured that they kept it that way during an intense final that did not reflect the final score.   Defending champions Whangarei Boys High School defended ferociously but the Kaitaia College continually challenged with deft and enthusiastic running from dummy half that built their platform for their back play. The try line was crossed only once in first half by industrious Kaitaia forward and eventual man of the match Jackson Sparkman-Brott for a 6 -0 halftime lead. Boys High played to the strength of their forward pack with Wiremu Greig and Manaia Te Pirihi making telling in-roads down the middle. However the resilient team from the North prevailed and crossed the line twice more in the second half with tries to Sadius Cook-Savage and Memphis Ngaruhe in the dying minute of the game, to earn the champions title for the 2016 NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy. Final score 16-0 to Kaitaia.

In the Plate Final Dargaville High School ran out eventual winners over Kamo College 40 – 36. Both teams had a player notch up four tries each. With Dargaville’s classy centre Nasi Kuli finished well with skilled touches while Kamo’s hard working forward Manasseh Turner proving a nightmare to opposition defenders close to the try line.

The Grand Final was a great game of rugby league and according to Aaron Thomas, Development Manager of Rugby League Northland, it was an epic event fitting for a grand final scenario.

The Secondary Schools competition started in 2010 with 6 teams and progressed over the years to include 17 high schools competing in 14 teams for the 2016 NorthTec Adam Blair Trophy, with Kaitaia College being the top team in the North Pool and Whangarei Boys High School the top of the South Pool. Mr Thomas commented that it was fitting that these two talented teams should be playing each other in the final.

“The Adam Blair Trophy is a great way to introduce rugby league to new players, and from the Rugby League Northland point of view, it is instrumental for developing new players interested in the sport who often live to far away to join their local rugby league club.”

The Adam Blair Trophy is named after Whangarei local and ex Whangarei Boys High School student, 30 year old professional rugby league player, Adam Blair, who plays for the Kiwis, and is also in the NRL team, the Brisbane Broncos.

Photos from the event will be available soon.