3 September 2023


The 2023 NZRL National Secondary School Tournament did not disappoint, as some of the best rugby league youth from around the country represented their schools over 3 days. Spectators were treated to some exhilarating football, as NZSST veterans alongside new up-and-comers left it all on the field. New champions were crowned across all 4 grades in this history-making year of the NZRL NZSS Tournament. The best of the best were then selected for the NZSS representative squads to play in October.


NZRL NZSST 2023 Grand Finals recap:


U15s Boys Carnival

Grand Final – St. Paul’s College v Western Heights High School

Final score: St. Paul’s College 26-10

With 2023 being their inaugural year of entering a team in this grade, St. Paul’s College displayed their depth of rugby league talent as their U15 boys impressed all tournament. They opened up the scoring in this final match but Western Heights showed great defensive effort, keeping the score to only 10-4 to St. Paul’s at halftime. In the second half, St. Paul’s proved too strong for the Rotorua side with skilful ball-playing and speed, going on to claim the title of U15s Boys Carnival champions.


Boys Championship

Grand Final – Aorere College v Wesley College

Final score: Aorere College 16-12

This battle of South Auckland came down to the wire, with the scoreboard tied up until the last 5 minutes. Aorere were first to score crossing for 2 tries, but the Wesleyans replied with 2 of their own successfully converted, bringing the halftime score to 12-8 in their favour. In the second half, Aorere did well to score but were again unsuccessful in converting, bringing the game to 12-12. An intense half saw many close but unsuccessful attempts at scoring from both sides until Aorere scored the winning try with only 5 to go.


Girls Championship

Grand final – Auckland Girls Grammar School v Southern Cross Campus

Final score: Auckland Girls Grammar School 30-12

In this grand final between the two Auckland colleges, Southern Cross put up a valiant effort against the dominant Auckland champions, who entered the tournament finals undefeated. AGGS scored early down their left edge but Southern Cross quickly equalised with a try of their own. AGGS went on to score 3 more in the half and Southern Cross scored once more, bringing it to 18-8 at halftime. Although Southern Cross skilfully scored first in the opening minutes of the second half, AGGS hit back with a vengeance going on to score 3 more tries and comfortably win the game and title of NZSST Girls champions.


Boys Premiership 

Grand Final – St. Paul’s College v St. Thomas of Canterbury College

Final score: St. Thomas of Canterbury College 12-6

The final game of the day produced a large turnout of supporters who came down to Bruce Pulman Park to witness this contest for the Boys Premiership title. The young men from Canterbury came firing out of the gates to score first followed quickly by a second. Not to be dominated, St. Paul’s scored one of their own just before the halftime whistle bringing it to 10-6 to the Cantabrians. The second half featured heavy contact, tough carries, and nifty ball-play by both sides however neither were able to score as they both defended their lines fearlessly. A high tackle by St. Paul’s led to a successful St. Thomas penalty kick as the only points scored in the half, with this epic contest ending in a historic win for St. Thomas. The South Island team claimed their first-ever NZSST victory, in their first year of ever making the tournament finals.



2023 NZRL National Secondary Schools Boys Squad:


1. Sio Kali – St. Paul’s College

2. Maretino Kaloudau – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

3. Chelden Hayward – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

4. Jackson Stewart – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

5. Malakai Cama – Rotorua Boys’ High School

6. Quiann Feterika-Mafoe – St. Paul’s College

7. Meihana Pauling – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

8. Malachi Filipo – St. Paul’s College

9. Noah Harmer-Campbell – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

10. Jason Salalilo – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

11. Tepatasi Laumalili – De La Salle College

12. Mikaele Ilaiu – Rotorua Boys’ High School

13. Junior Sikuvea – De La Salle College

14. Sosaia Latu – Otahuhu College

15. Kalani Peyroux-Donaldson – De La Salle College

16. Jeriko Filipi-Talisau – St. Paul’s College

17. Zeke Faga-Ieti – St Thomas of Canterbury College

18. Ezekiel Paulo – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

19. Lennox Tuiloma – St. Thomas of Canterbury College


Emerging Player of the Tournament: Phillip Lavakeiaho – Wesley College

Tournament MVP: Sio Kali – St. Paul’s College



2023 NZRL National Secondary Schools Girls Squad:


1. Billie Va’a – St Mary’s College

2. Shafenior Lui – Southern Cross Campus

3. Faith Tavita – Auckland Girls Grammar School

4. Jemma Tonu’u – McAuley High School

5. Shanthie Lui – Southern Cross Campus

6. Paea Uilou – Auckland Girls Grammar School

7. Danii-Nicole Gray – Auckland Girls Grammar School

8. Seriah Palepale – Auckland Girls Grammar School

9. Evelyn Roberts – McAuley High School

10. Indiana Russell-Lia – St Mary’s College

11. Te Raukura Leafe – St Mary’s College

12. Riley Fruean-Otineru – McAuley High School

13. Alianna Tonu’u – McAuley High School

14. Ivana Lauitiiti – McAuley High School

15. Josinah Filisi Tauliiili – Southern Cross Campus

16. Latesha Mitchener – Auckland Girls Grammar School

17. Luca-Bella Ngatuere-Ongley – St Mary’s College

18. Tonga Toutai – Southern Cross Campus

19. Giovanna Suani – Auckland Girls Grammar School


Emerging Player of the Tournament: Shakira Lui – Southern Cross Campus

Tournament MVP: Seriah Palepale – Auckland Girls Grammar School


For livestreams and results of all NZSST Day 3 games, and all tournament content, visit linktr.ee/nzrlgrassroots