NZRL board draws from zones

30 May 2015

Kiwis legend Tawera Nikau and Canterbury RL chairman Reon Edwards are one step away from securing spots on the New Zealand Rugby League board of directors next month.

The pair have been nominated by an independent appointments panel to fill two elected director vacancies on the board, after five short-listed candidates were interviewed this week.

Nikau (Kiwi #614) needs little introduction to the NZ league community, having played 19 tests between 1989-97 and captained NZ Maori at the 2000 World Cup.

He was inducted as an NZRL Legend of League in 2008, and currently serves as a selector for the world #1 NZ Kiwis and a board director for NZRL Upper Central Zone.

Edwards is a former Canterbury Maori and junior representative, who has served three years as Canterbury chair and six years on the NZRL Southern Zone board. His business experience includes a range of finance, sales, marketing, development and governance positions.

NZRL has notified its zones of the two successful candidates and their confirmation will be the subject of a vote at its annual meeting on June 29.

“Last year, the zones told us they felt the board did not have enough grassroots football knowledge,” says NZRL chairman Garry Fissenden, a member of the four-person panel.

“We have listened and when the board briefed the appointments panel, we put a greater emphasis on this to complement our existing board members.”

At the same time it nominated Nikau and Edwards for the elected positions, the panel also confirmed current board member Jen Rolfe for another term as independent director.

Rolfe is managing partner in Rainger & Rolfe creative agency, with specialist expertise in driving consumer engagement and brand activation.

Development role for Canterbury RL

29 May 2015


Canterbury Rugby League, in partnership with NZRL Southern Zone, is seeking to employ a rugby league development officer for a fixed-term position, based in Christchurch.

The successful applicant will be a self starter, who is passionate about rugby league, an effective communicator and computer literate, with a high level of initiative and commitment, with strong planning and organisational skills.

The role will be responsible for the delivery of programmes into targeted schools, the training and development of coaches, managers, trainers and club volunteers, and the further promotion and development of the game in the Canterbury district, through the representative and junior programmes already in place.

Please apply by sending a covering letter and CV to:

Chief Executive Officer
Canterbury Rugby League
PO Box 76180


Applications close at 5pm on Friday, May 29.

Canterbury RL development officer positions description

AIMS Games entries now open

29 May 2015


Entries for the AIMS Games rugby league nines competition in Mt Maunganui are now open until June 3.

Bringing together Year 7 & 8 (intermediate-school age) students from around New Zealand, the AIMS Games are contest over 19 sports and is New Zealand's largest junior sporting competition, with 7500 competitiors from 228 schools last year.

This will be the fourth year that rugby league has been contested, under the organisation of NZRL Upper Central Zone. Eighteen schools played last year, with Hastings Intermediate defeating Rotorua Intermediate in the final.


2015 AIMS Games Rugby League Nines

Dates Tuesday, September 8-
Friday, September 11
Venue Arataki Park, Mt Maunganui
Managers' meeting 8am, Tuesday, September 8
Arataki Park, Mt Maunganui
Cost $350 per team
Entries close Wednesday, June 3

Harley Wall
UCZ operations officer
Phone 021 936 975

Sash Stosic
UCZ general manager
Phone 021 270 6975

More information

AIMS Games RL Flyer

Q&A with NZRL's Nadene Conlon

29 May 2015

Nadene Conlon was appointed the national operations manager for the NZRL in December last year, after holding down the national game development manager role before that.

In an often very macho or “blokey” sport, she's helped considerably by growing up in a fanatical rugby league family and by her playing experience for New Zealand, which included her captaining the Kiwi Ferns to victory at the World Cup in 2000. She chatted to John Deaker for this week's "Mad Butcher Club Newsletter".

JD: Nadene, how does your current role at NZRL differ from the previous one you had there till late last year?

NC: It is very similar. I was the national game development manager and most of the programme I run now were part of that role, but I’m probably running them from more of a senior level or perspective now.

JD: Rugby league roots often run in the family, like they do in so many sports. How strong was the influence of your family to get you started playing rugby league?

NC: I’m from a very staunch and passionate league family. I think I spent almost every weekend of the league season at the local clubrooms growing up. My brother played (for the Junior Kiwis) and my father played and coached.

JD: What did it mean to your family for you to represent and captain your country?

NC: It was huge. My brother captained his Junior Kiwis team too. My mum and dad have always said they were so proud when they had one child play for New Zealand, but then to have both go on and captain national teams in rugby league was truly amazing, especially when they'd only had one son, that didn't even seem possible when we were growing up!

JD: How old were you when you first played rugby league?MB Newsletter cover

NC: I didn’t start playing till I was 19. It wasn’t really the thing for girls when I was young, but I always wanted to play. I played almost every other sport you could name, including rep touch and netball. I remember there wasn’t a proper rugby league competition for woman when I was growing up – just one off games.

JD: Who did you play for when you eventually took up the sport?

NC: I played for Te Atatu when I started in 1993 and in 1995, I was lucky enough to be part of the inaugural Kiwi Ferns squad that toured Australia and won all seven matches, so it’s actually the 20th anniversary of the Kiwi Ferns this year.

JD: How much does your extensive knowledge of league and your playing background help you in such a “blokey” sport like league?

NC: Having a playing career certainly helps me avoid people thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about or don’t have a feel for some aspects of the game, because I do. Some people don’t know that I played when they first meet me, but are pleasantly surprised when they find out. I like to think that I’m recognised first and foremost for doing a good job, though, and anything else is a bonus.

JD: Does your current role have much to do with women’s rugby league?

NC: Women’s rugby league is part of my portfolio. About a year ago, NZ woman’s rugby league first came under the control of the NZRL. In a short time, we’ve made plenty of progress, although naturally the majority of my work is with the men, where the NZRL’s main focus of its resources remains.

JD: The “Women in League Round” of the NRL was maybe initially introduced as part of the sport’s public relations and could have been viewed as paying lip service to women in league. However, I think it’s genuinely grown every year to be a feature of the regular season. What do you make of it?

NC: I think it’s fantastic. It’s nice to recognise not just those that play the game, but all woman that have a connection to the game.

JD: It’s a great time for NZ rugby league. How much can the Kiwis’ success in the Four Nations and Anzac Test help the growth and interest of the game at all levels?

NC: I think the biggest thing that winning the Four Nations and Anzac tests has done is it’s put international rugby league back in the public eye. The Australians were starting to think that State of Origin was the pinnacle of rugby league throughout the world. International League has become competitive again, including Island nations like Samoa showing big improvements.

JD: Speaking of international league, Sir Peter believes you are very privileged to be travelling with him later this year! What is that all about?

NC: That’s right, the Kiwis are going to be touring the UK in October and November this year, and It’ll be great to have Sir Peter on board with all his experience, having been there and done that before (especially the “Year the Kiwis Flew” ). He’ll keep us all on our toes, for sure.

JD: So, apart from keeping Sir Peter under control, what’s your role on a tour like that?

NC: When the team travel, I’m the football manager, so I organise all the logistics like travel and accommodation. It should be a bit of fun in the UK, but also a big challenge for everyone over there. It’s very important that we do well and continue the momentum the team has built up over the last year.

New faces on Universities council

28 May 2015

After a change of leadership and the introduction of two new council members last year, the New Zealand Universities and Tertiary Students Rugby League has continued the momentum at its annual meeting, held in Wellington.

A total of five new councillors have come on board, with 1980-84 NZ Universities player and Christchurch chartered accountant Mark Pfeifer replacing Saimon Lomaloma as treasurer and Hastings-based 1991 NZU representative Steve Lawson returning to the council after a three-year absence.

Another former NZU player, Brisbane-based Paul Sowerby, brings a marketing background and becomes the first non-New Zealand based member on the council.

Two current players have also come onto the council - 2010-14 player and Waikato Institute of Technology Sports Science lecturer Marrin Haggie and 2013 Student World Cup player Shawn Gielen-Relph, who is in his final year at the University of Otago, Wellington Medical School.

The annual meeting also saw the NZUTSRL gain its first elected patron in more than five years, with the election of 84-year-old life member Bob Dragicevich.

Dragicevich is considered the "father" of university rugby league in New Zealand, He founded the Otago, Canterbury and Auckland University clubs in 1954, 1956 and 1957 respectively, and also co-founded the New Zealand Universities Council in 1968 and again in late 2003, after the name had been taken over by New Zealand Students in 1997.

Auckland-based Dragicevich was senior ddvisor in physical education in the northern (Auckland) area between 1957-90, and set up an Auckland primary and intermediate schools competition that, at its peak in 1969, had 168 teams participating.

His other achievements include becoming the first New Zealand university student to receive a sporting blue for rugby league, from the University of Otago in 1953, and more recently receiving a New Zealand Rugby League Distinguished Service Award in 2013.

The annual meeting also saw Dunedin-based Rodney Moore and Wellington-based Carey Clements retain their positions as chairman and secretary respectively, while University of Auckland lecturer Dr Barry Hughes was elected deputy chair.

Dr Barrie Gordon and Marama Puketapu continue on the council.

Moore was very pleased with the council overall, including the new acquisitions,  who add new skills and knowledge, and extend the council's reach throughout New Zealand.

“It is part of our long-term strategy to grow the game inside the university and tertiary sectors nationally," he said "So far, over the past 12months, we have laid a strong base for that to happen with new strategic and business plans developed, an extended playing programme and now adopting a new constitution at the annual general meeting.

"With the expanded council, we are looking very promising.”

Moore was also pleased that the council recorded its second successive surplus, as well as having NZRL board member Tim Gibson attend the meeting.

“Tim has been representing the NZRL in discussions about the growth of the game in Asia and Pacific, and university networks are a great way for that to happen, so we look forward to working closely with the NZRL to assist in any way that we can.

"However, our immediate focus is on arrangements for a tour by the Australian Universities team in October 2015, which will include two test matches - one in Christchurch, with the second test a feature of the West Coast Rugby League centenary celebrations at Labour Weekend.

"We are really looking forward to that.”