Position:          Director, Wellington Rugby League Zone of NZRL

Location:         Wellington Region.

Kō wai mātou |About us

Wellington Rugby League Zone (WRL) is an Incorporated Society responsible for the sport in the Wellington to Ōtaki area. It is responsible for club competitions, representative teams and ensuring coaches, managers, trainers, refs and volunteers are supported. Wellington has local and representative competition, masters, premier and junior teams and nine clubs. WRL also works with colleges in the region delivering ‘Leadership through League’ and the ‘Backyard League Programme’ in primary and intermediate schools.

Due to Covid 19 the region will have challenges in the short term but remains solvent with grants from a range of generous sponsors, NZRL and Sport NZ.

WRL are seeking to appoint three directors due to rotation and retirements, which will see the board at seven members. The board are seeking two directors with independence and one with rugby league passion and knowledge. A succession plan for the Chair is also in play.

WRL has in place an experienced team including a general manager and administrator based in Lower Hutt.

Hei whakahere | What we offer

Appointment term: the term is four years with the possibility of reappointment, subject to effective performance and rotation, up to a maximum of two terms.

Location: to ensure regional connection it is desirable for the director to live in the area or have a meaningful connection.

Commitment: Board meetings are held first Monday of each month except January, start at 5.30 and end by 7pm. Virtual meetings, AGM and events supporting the development of the sport in the Greater Wellington region are expected.

The role is voluntary but could be a stepping-stone to the national board or a host of other governance opportunities.

It is important the successful candidate has the time available to undertake the role effectively, taking note of the director’s duty to act with due care, diligence and skill in the best interests of WRL.

He korero mōu | About you

We are looking for:

  1. Proven track record in governance, sport administration or comparable experience
  2. Financial acumen within a modest budget
  3. A commitment to the kaupapa and community connections
  4. Desire to build the sport in the region
  5. Gender diversity and inclusion are a focus

The last three years have seen our women’s game grow exponentially with numbers doubling to now represent 12% of the rugby league playing population. We envisage this momentum continuing in the years to come.

Any member of the Wellington district league or a club can send their CV for consideration.

WRL would be shortlisting for interview end of July 2020 with a full induction and governance training programme for the preferred candidates.

To apply please send your CV to:

Applications close 24 July 2020.

New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kia Toa Tiger, Josiah Mani (24) who unfortunately passed away due to a tragic accident on Saturday morning leaving behind his partner and many friends.

Mani helped win the region’s grand final last season for the Kia Toa Tigers. On Sunday, the Kia Toa Tigers team gathered at the Kensington Tavern to raise a glass, sing and release a single yellow balloon (team’s official colour) to honour the player.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family during this time.

A Give a Little page has been set up to assist with getting Josiah back home to PNG –https://givealittle.co.nz/cau…/josiah-mani-lets-get-you-home

March 24, 2022

As of 11:59 pm this Friday, there will no longer be crowd restrictions at vaccinated outdoor rugby league events.

Those who hold a My Vaccine Pass (MVP) can attend this weekend’s National 20s, and Women’s Premiership matches at Trusts Stadium in Auckland.

MVPs will be checked at all NZRL events until April 4th to allow for unlimited gatherings.

From April 4th, vaccine passes will no longer be required; however, venues may still choose to use them in some cases.

It’s important to note masks are not mandatory for outdoor events but still encouraged, and there is no longer a need to scan in.

Indoor gatherings have increased to 200, but seated hospitality and face mask requirements remain for indoor settings.

Despite the ease in restrictions, we still encourage all in our rugby league communities to practise care in the community. Any person feeling unwell or presenting cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms should isolate immediately and get tested.

We thank all of our communities for their patience and co-operation; we look forward to seeing you back at the rugby league fields soon.



Does NZRL require players to be fully vaccinated?

Up until April 4th, for NZRL run and/or sanctioned events and competitions, players, staff, volunteers and spectators need to be fully vaccinated, yes.

Vaccines are necessary for these events and competitions to run under the Covid-19 Protection Framework.


Is NZRL mandating vaccinations for players under 12?

No. Players under 12 are treated as vaccinated. They are still counted toward the capacity limit of an event or gathering but do not contribute to the vaccination status of an event or gathering.

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required


Do I need to be fully vaccinated to play any rugby league in New Zealand?

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required

No. If you are unvaccinated, you can still partake in rugby league activity (e.g. 9s, training) subject to a 25 person gathering limit.

Multiple gatherings of up to 25 can take place (players and team management being one gathering and spectators a separate gathering); however, these must be defined by 2m spaces (2m) and must NOT mix.

Zones, districts, clubs and venues reserve the right to require proof of vaccination at any organised gathering or event within their respective regions.


What if there is only one person who is not vaccinated?

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required

 If someone is not vaccinated, the gathering they are involved in will need to abide by the 25 person gathering limit.


Do spectators need to be vaccinated?

Up until April 4th, for NZRL run and/or sanctioned events and competitions, yes. Vaccines are necessary for these events and competitions to run under the Covid-19 Protection Framework.


Can attendees use a negative Covid-19 test to attend an event or gathering where vaccine passes are required?

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required

No. A negative test is not a substitute for vaccinations for events or gatherings. If there are unvaccinated people at your event or gathering, then you must follow the rules and limits for where vaccine passes are not used.


Are Australian vaccine passes acceptable proof of vaccination?

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required

Overseas COVID-19 vaccination certificates and passes can’t be used as proof of vaccination within New Zealand. People in this situation need to apply to have their overseas vaccinations recognised in New Zealand by submitting evidence of them.  You can find all the information here: https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/my-covid-record-proof-vaccination-status/covid-19-overseas-vaccinations-and-my-vaccine-pass#evidence


I am not able to be vaccinated due to a recent covid infection, can I still play in a tournament or competition where vaccine passes are checked?

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required

It is recommended that you wait at least 4 weeks after you recover before getting the first or second dose.  An application for exemption will need to made and provided the your local district our competition manager.  You can find the information here on how to do that https://www.health.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-response-planning/covid-19-mandatory-vaccinations/covid-19-exemptions-mandatory-vaccination


Can gatherings in defined spaces share the same entrances, toilets and changing facilities?

It is okay for multiple gatherings in defined spaces to use the same entrances and share toilets/changing facilities so long as the risks of intermingling groups is limited as far as possible.

Queuing or congregating should not take place in common areas. Masks should be worn in common areas or facilities accessed by gatherings (like shared toilets).

The Ministry of Health also recommends ensuring frequent cleaning of bathroom facilities and drinking fountains. Clubs could encourage members to bring water bottles filled from home and provide reminders about how to use drinking fountains most hygienically.


What if I have a vaccine exemption?

From April 4th vaccine passes are no longer required

In the rare case a person meets the specified exemption criteria, the application is submitted to the temporary medical exemptions panel run by the Ministry of Health. If the application is granted, then a copy of the exemption will be provided in written or electronic form, noting the expiry date of the exemption, which is for up to six months.

If you’re given a temporary medical exemption, you will see a record of this in My Covid Record. When your pass is scanned at venues, your exemption status will not be disclosed to the business. You will be able to gain access like everyone else.


When is it mandatory to wear a face mask?

From March 25 face masks outside are no longer mandatory but recommended. Face mask requirements remain for indoor settings.


Is it okay if I just use a bandana or scarf or a towel as a face covering? 

Alternative face coverings such as bandannas, scarves and t-shirts are no longer allowed to be used instead of a face mask. From March 25 face masks outside are no longer mandatory but recommended. Face mask requirements remain for indoor settings.


What if I have a mask exemption?

From March 25 face masks outside are no longer mandatory but recommended. Face mask requirements remain for indoor settings.

You will need to present your Mask Exemption Card or letter from your doctor prior to entering the indoor premisis. We know some people have a disability or health condition where they may not be able to wear a face mask safely or comfortably.

Mask Exemption Cards are issued by the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ (DPA). While at the facility, please carry your Mask Exemption Card with you in case you are questioned by concerned members or staff.


What do we do if there’s a positive case at our gathering or event / it becomes a location of interest?

At Phase 3 (as of 25 February), close contacts no longer need to isolate and locations of interest will not be published.

Contact tracing will focus on identifying high-risk contacts of cases. If someone at your gathering or event tests positive for COVID-19, they will be supported to notify people they may have spent time with while infectious.

Notified close contacts should monitor symptoms for 10 days. If anyone develops symptoms they need to get a test, and should isolate until they get their result.


What do I have to do if I test positive for Covid-19?

You are required to isolate for 7 days.  You will be given instructions and will need to advise contacts so they can get tested. For example, if you were at training, you will need to notify your team management and club who will contact fellow players and parents. If you have the NZ COVID Tracer app this will assist in identifying and notifying.


If I test positive for Covid-19, what happens to my whānau or household?

If you live with whānau or have flatmates or people living at your address, they are household contacts. Household contacts must isolate for 7 days. 


What if I am identified as a close contact of someone who is infected with Covid-19 but don’t live at the same address?

At Phase 3 (as of 25 February), close contacts no longer need to isolate. If you get a notification from your workplace, school or through the NZ COVID Tracer app that you are a Close Contact, you should monitor your symptoms for 7 days. If you develop symptoms get a test, and you should isolate until you get your result.

If you live with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you are considered a Household Contact and will need to isolate for 7 days. If you develop symptoms you should get a test sooner. If you are a Household Contact and you test positive, you will need to isolate for 10 days.

Please note Government guidance is subject to change in response to the Omicron outbreak.


17s National Youth Tournament Final

5 October

Puketawhero Park, Rotorua

Akarana 30  Counties 26 

Applying early pressure on attack must have been the game plan for Akarana who sent a strong message to their opposition from the get go.

A cross field kick from Akarana had their no.2 winger Asoleilei score in the left corner in the first few minutes, a tricky conversion scored by their half to take the score to 6-0 in the opening minutes.

The classy stepping game of Counties’ Paea Fotu had him dodge three players from Akarana on his way to the left hand corner where he levelled the scoreboard after another difficult conversion, this time from the South Aucklanders.

With increasing momentum, the boys in red were back near the try-line, a slick offload sending Counties across the line again for their second four pointer – score 10-6.

Then came another beauty cross field kick from Akarana which sat up just in time for their winger to score in a similar fashion to his first of the match, a successful conversion sending Akarana out to a 12-10 lead.

Counties replied with a try of their own under the posts minutes later regaining the lead with the scoreboard reading 16-12. That was backed up by another try shortly after as the teams headed into halftime, Counties up 22-12.

The second half started much like the first, with a bit of Akarana flare in the shape of two tries in several minutes successfully converted to put the boys in blue out in front, 24-22.

A kick chase from Akarana had spectators on the edge of their seats, catching Counties off guard slapping another six points on the scoreboard after yet another successful conversion, 30-22.

The exemplary defence of Akarana was held on their own line for almost eight minutes before Counties’ countless attempts at crossing the line were shut down.

Counties were then faced with a ‘must score’ set in the dying minutes of the game which they delivered on scoring in the right hand corner, score 30-26. One final miracle was needed if they were going to score in the final minute to overtake Akarana. But back-to-back title wins were not to be for Counties, Akarana enjoying a sweet 30-26 victory taking home the 2018 17s National Youth Tournament title.

Man of the Match – Jyris Glamuzina

Merit Team:


















17s Results:


Akarana 30 Counties 22


Southern 16 Auckland Vulcans 26


Wellington 14 Wai-Coa-Bay 25


Central 26 Northern 14

We are hitting the road and bringing grassroots livestreams to your backyard showcasing a variety of New Zealand’s regional rugby league talents.

Stay tuned on the New Zealand Rugby League Facebook page each weekend to catch finals actions. First up we will be in New Plymouth for the Paddock to Plate Butchery Taranaki Rugby League Premiership Grand Final.

Keep an eye out for the team from Pirtek who will also be at each game giving away lots of freebies.

  • Otago Premier Men’s Final – July 7 University Oval 5 Livestream from 2pm
  • Northland Premier Men & Womens Final – July 28/29
  • Wellington Premier Men’s Final – August 4
  • Waikato Premier Men’s Final – August 11
  • Bay of Plenty v Northland Premiership Qualified – August 18
  • Canterbury Premier Men & Womens Final – August 26

There was not a cloud in the sky at St Peters College in Cambridge as the NZRL Development U16s took on the Vodafone Warriors 16s to mark the final day of the CCL: Revera Talent Development Camp for 2020.

The NZRL Development squad kicked off the points scoring with a runaway try down the right edge to Akarana centre Tre Fotu off the back of some dominant meters by the NZRL forward pack.

Handling errors by both teams saw key scoring opportunities go astray with the first quarter siren sounding 4 – 0 to the NZRL Development squad.

The Vodafone Warriors hit back, but good scramble defence by NZRL saved any scoring opportunity. More handling errors by the NZRL Development squad gifted the Warriors another chance on their goal-line; however, NZRL’s Nathaniel Tangitimaiti shutdown the crossfield kick as the score remained 4 – 0.

The NZRL development squads’ goal-line defence was nothing short of impressive saving back to back tries in the second quarter; however, a fourth handling error gifted the Warriors yet another repeat set in which they finally capitalised to bring the score to four apiece.

Wasting no time, Vodafone Warrior Paula Latuila backed up the points crossing over in the corner to make it 8 – 4. Warriors with the momentum and meters, Dorian Lotaki crashed over the try line shortly after to make it 12 – 4 to the Warriors 16s.

The NZRL Development squad then hit straight back off some dominant meters down the middle; winger Jayden Harris crossed over in the corner in the final seconds to make it 12 – 8 at half time.

Second half underway and an unlucky error under the highball gifted the Vodafone Warriors their fourth try pushing their lead out to 16 – 8. Another handling error from the NZRL development squad saw powerhouse prop Ben Peni steamroll over the line to extend the Warriors lead to 20 – 8.

NZRL’s Dallas Hurrell-Jones ran down the left edge to score for the Development squad after a clever intercept lessening the gap to 20 – 12, however, the Vodafone Warriors were quick to hit back with big metres down the middle scoring shortly after, the twelve-point gap remains, 24 – 12.

Warrior winger Paula Latuila ran down the right edge after a clever cut out pass to score his second making it 28 – 12. A good restart kick gave possession back to NZRL in which they earned a repeat set, Khalan Clyde only centimetres away from scoring before the third quarter siren. The score remains 28 – 12.

The NZRL Development squad kicked off the final quarter with a try on their first set to Samuela Vakadula making it 28 – 18. Cantebury’s Felix Fa’atili ran through the middle to score off the back of some good hit-ups from the NZRL forward pack, with teammate Dallas Hurrell-Jones crossing over in the corner shortly after for his second, making it 28 – 24 with ten to go.

NZRL Hooker Joseph O’Leary jumped on a loose ball running into open space; however, the NZRL Development squad couldn’t capitalise on the momentum. An impressive comeback was unfortunately cut short with the Vodafone Warriors U16s taking out the match, 28 – 24.

Players from both teams will be selected for the NZRL U16s wider squad set to be announced in the next three weeks. Our young Kiwi talent was certainly on display here in Cambridge and safe to say after this close-fought battle – selectors will be spoilt for choice.

The NZRL Development U18s took on the Vodafone Warriors 18s to mark the final day of the CCL: Revera Talent Development Camp for 2020 at St Peters College in Cambridge.

Big defensive efforts on display by both teams to kick off the match, but it was the Warriors that got first points on the board as centre Jeremiah Asi dives under the post off the back of a high ball. The Warriors wasted no time following up with back to back to tries to Carl Lolohea and Tea-Rani Woodman-Tuhoro making it 12 – 0 after ten minutes.

NZRL 18s found some momentum after forcing a repeat set, a long ball to winger Jeremiah MarGraff put NZRL on the board with the score 12 – 4 at the end of the first quarter.

Warriors hit straight back in the second quarter with a try down the right edge to winger Zyon Maiu’u. NZRL soon responded as Manaia Ngataki-Matthews set up Ethan Faitaua to cross for NZRL’s second, score 16 – 8.

Rawiri Matthews extended the lead for the Warriors but NZRL quickly hit back with what looked like a spectacular try in the corner but it was not to be as the touch judge called out, the score remains 20 – 8 at half time.

NZRL start the second half was some big defensive efforts but it was the Warriors that managed to cross first taking the score to 24 – 8. Zyon Maiu’u then showed his speed down the left edge crossing over for his second bringing the score to 28 – 8.

The Warriors then extended their lead yet again off another impressive running set, shortly after Zyon Maiu’u steamrolled over for his third for the day making it 34 – 8 at the end of the third quarter, all momentum with the Warriors U18s.

Vaka Sikahele opened the scoring for the Warriors in the fourth quarter bumping off defenders to put it down under the sticks 38 – 8.

NZRL Development squad then found some momentum through the middle after a great offload from Jareny Proctor-Harwood who set up a runaway try to Riley Pascoe, score now 38 – 12.

Soon after Montel Peppard brushed off defenders to give speedster Matua Robinson a 50m run to the try line gifting NZRL their fourth try, however, the Warriors dot it down one last time before the siren making the full-time score 42 – 16.

In the end, the Vodafone Warriors 18s were too good for the NZRL Development 18s, however, players from both teams will be selected for the NZRL U18s wider squad set to be announced in the next three weeks.

Thanks to the support of Sky Sport, the Under 19 Junior Kiwis will take on the Australian School Boys Sunday, September 29th in Queensland.

The Junior Kiwis Under 19s will take on their Trans-Tasman rivals at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium with kick-off scheduled for 1 pm NZT; the game will be televised live on SKY Sport.

Greg Peters, CEO of New Zealand Rugby League said: “We are extremely grateful for Sky’s ongoing support as this fixture would not have been possible otherwise.

“The Junior Kangaroos recently moved to an U23s structure as they are set to take on France U23s later in the year. We are looking at re-introducing an U23s team next year, however in the meantime, giving our U19 Junior Kiwis a run against high-quality competition like the Australian School Boys is great for the development of our young players.

“We have some undeniable Kiwi talent coming through and it’s exciting we get to see them take the field in what will be nothing short of a high class, entertaining game of rugby league.”

Sky Director of Sport, Tex Teixeira says: “We’re proud to be playing our part in supporting the Junior Kiwis Under 19s and we can’t wait to watch them take on the Aussies – go well team!”

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the following players have been selected for the Junior Kiwis U19 wider squad:

Bayleigh Bentley-Hape – Sydney Roosters

Dylan Brown – Parramatta Eels

Valance Harris – Parramatta Eels

Kayal Iro – NZ Warriors

Temple Kalepo – NZ Warriors

Asu Kepaoa – Sydney Roosters

Spencer Leniu – Penrith Panthers

Etu Vinny Lui – Parramatta Eels

Christian Ma’anaima – Newcastle Knights

Sione Moala – NZ Warriors

Griffin Neame – North Queensland Cowboys

Shalom O’ofou – St. George Illawarra Dragons

Junior Pua – NZ Warriors

Selestino Ravuataumada – NZ Warriors

Jordan Riki – Brisbane Broncos

Simi Sasagi – Newcastle Knights

Ioane Seiuli – Gold Coast Titans

Tyler Slade – NZ Warriors

Vito Tevaga – Cronulla Sharks

Matthew Timoko – Canberra Raiders

Starford Toa – Newcastle Knights

Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard – NZ Warriors

Christian Tuipulotu – Sydney Roosters

Paul Turner – NZ Warriors

Isaiah Vagana – NZ Warriors

Junior Kiwis coaching staff are as follows:

Head Coach: Ezra Howe

Assistant Coaches: Moehewa Armstrong, Francis Meli

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach: Donny Singe

Head Trainer: Junior Mautairi

Physio: Simon Keepa

Manager: Jerry Seuseu

Georgia Hale’s exceptional qualities on and off the rugby league field have tonight seen her honoured as the 2020 Young New Zealander of the Year.

On a momentous night for the Vodafone Warriors and rugby league, Hale (24) combined her sporting prowess with her selfless contribution in the community to head off fellow young achievers Tabby Besley and Fraser McConnell for the award.

Hale, who works for the Vodafone Warriors as their community relations coordinator, rose to become Warriors WNRL captain last year and also helped the Kiwi Ferns to win the inaugural World Cup 9s tournament in Sydney.

“This is a phenomenal achievement,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.

“We couldn’t be prouder of Georgia. She brings enormous credit on herself in the most selfless manner and richly deserves this recognition as an exceptional young New Zealander.

“It’s also a tremendous night for the game and for rugby league as a code to be able to celebrate this recognition.”

The citation for Hale on the KiwiBank New Zealander of the Year Awards Facebook page says:

“Georgia Hale is a champion sportsperson who has represented New Zealand in four separate sports. She has used her sporting profile as a platform to a create huge community impact around New Zealand.

“Georgia is one of the youngest-ever captains in New Zealand sport, captaining the Women’s Warriors Rugby League team when she was only 24. She has represented New Zealand in touch, tag, league nines and league thirteens.

“Georgia has dedicated herself to supporting communities. She influences thousands of children by visiting schools around the country and teaching students how to live a healthy lifestyle. She has set up a number of community initiatives with the Warriors, including the Great Charity Day which raised more than $120,000 in its first two years. She has also set up a number of initiatives through her platform to help young children, rural communities, the intellectually disabled, and a wide range of other charities.

“A role model to many, Georgia epitomises a Young New Zealander who is striving to better herself and the communities around her.”

A Kiwi Fern since 2015, Hale was appointed Warriors captain last August. In choosing her, Warriors WNRL coach Luisa Avaiki said she epitomises what a leader should be.

“Georgia stands out with the way she holds herself, with her values, her strengths and the passion she has for every team she plays for,” said Avaiki.

“I’ve watched her and she has really good relationships with everyone around her and she’s respectful. Her work ethic, competitiveness and drive are important qualities she demonstrates on and off the field.”

A demonstration of Hale’s all-round abilities could be found in the past three weeks.

For a week she was on the road with the Vodafone Warriors and the New Zealand Rugby League with the Sky Sport Rugby League Roadshow, taking the game to Gisborne, Ohope, Mount Maunganui and Whitianga before flying to Perth to lead the Warriors at the NRL Nines last weekend.

After attending tonight’s awards dinner in Auckland, she will be on an early morning flight to Palmerston North to playing a leading hand the Vodafone Warriors’ community programme ahead of the club’s NRL trial against the Melbourne Storm at Central Energy Trust Arena on Saturday.

A dominant New Zealand performance in the second and final Test against Great Britain on Saturday night saw the Kiwis win 23-8 and secure their first series victory over the Lions in 21 years.

After emerging 12-8 winners in a dour affair a week earlier in Auckland, the Kiwis found their attacking mojo in Christchurch with returning playmaker Shaun Johnson a leading contributor, terrorising Great Britain’s makeshift left edge which included regular five-eighth Blake Austin playing on the wing.

Having run out of specialist outside back, coach Wayne Bennett named Austin on the wing following the late withdrawal of Zak Hardaker with a shoulder injury on Friday.

Another standout for the home side was Jamayne Isaako who scored 11 points via four penalties, a conversion and a late field goal.

The Brisbane winger was playing his first Test in his hometown of Christchurch with his terminally ill father Taai watching on from the crowd.

The Kiwis led 16-2 at half-time thanks to tries from Joseph Manu and Shaun Johnson, along with eight points off the boot of Isaako.

Earlier New Zealand got the scoring started thanks to a penalty in front of the posts, which came after Austin dropped a Johnson bomb and gifted them back-to-back sets with the ball.

But three minutes later Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was ruled to have taken too long to leave a tackle and Gareth Widdop locked things up with a penalty of his own.

Despite bringing in another towering bomb sent his way, Austin was promptly bundled into touch and on the next set centre Joseph Manu made the Lions pay, bouncing out of a three-man tackle to slam the ball down.

Isaako then landed two penalty goals in the space of four minutes to stretch the Kiwis’ lead to 10-2 on the half hour.

Cleary out to prove a point after being dropped from the national team for the first time in his career last week, Johnson earned a repeat set with a pinpoint long kick into the in-goal area and then produced a brilliant individual run to score New Zealand’s second.

After standing up Elliott Whitehead with some dazzling footwork the Sharks playmaker weaved his way over, with Isaako converting for a 16-2 lead at the break.

More points following in the second spell for the Kiwis, and after getting his side into attacking position with a powerful run where he broke five tackles, Ken Maumalo scored his fifth Test try with an athletic finish in the corner.

Trailing 20-2 with half an hour to play Great Britain needed something to spark them to life, and got it in the way of a late Josh Jones offload which resulted in a try to Josh Hodgson.

Widdop converted to reduce the deficit to 12, but hopes of building momentum were thwarted when Alex Walmsley dropped the ball 10 metres off the Lions’ line on the very next set.

Great Britain were twice denied tries by video referee Henry Perenara inside the final 20 minutes.

First John Bateman was found to have missed the ball on a desperate effort to ground it before the dead ball line, before Jake Connor was ruled to have knocked on in the lead up to a would-be try nine minutes from time.

With any hope of a comeback now lost, Great Britain were dealt one final blow when Isaako slotted a field goal and another penalty to stretch the final deficit.

The Lions have little time to lick their wounds, with a clash against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby awaiting them next Saturday.

Maori All Stars coach David Kidwell has selected an imposing pack to lock horns with the talented Indigenous team at Cbus Super Stadium on February 22.

The Maori side shouldn’t lack go-forward with Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, James Tamou, Kevin Proctor, Briton Nikora, Zane Tetevano and Corey Harawira-Naera among an elite crop of big men chosen.

“We wanted to have a bit of a narrative about being powerful, fast and dynamic. I think the team reflects that,” Kidwell told NRL.com.

The backline packs plenty of punch too. The dazzling Kalyn Ponga will play his natural position of fullback after struggling to impose himself on the game at five-eighth last year in a 34-14 loss.

“I think that’s where he plays his best footy, he can sweep both sides of the field, he can inject himself where he needs to,” Kidwell said of Ponga.

“Touching on that forward pack, he can sniff around for the offload. Talking to him, he’s really excited. He doesn’t have to worry about leading the team around.”

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Bailey Simonsson appear as the likely wingers, while Dylan Walker, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Brad Takairangi and Esan Marsters are centre options.

Marsters, who had off-season ankle surgery, is in doubt to play and discussions with the Cowboys medical staff about his fitness are ongoing.

Given Benji Marshall made himself unavailable for Maori selection to prepare for the upcoming NRL season with Wests Tigers, Jahrome Hughes and Kodi Nikorima will combine in the halves.

Brandon Smith and the experienced Issac Luke will share the hooking duties.

Raiders duo Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Joseph Tapine were initially named but were withdrawn.

Kidwell, who has taken over the coaching duties from Stacey Jones, is elated to be involved with such a special fixture and believes his troops can match the Indigenous team in the entertainment stakes.

“We’re going to play a bit of an expansive style of football. I thought the Indigenous team, with the experience of having played it for nine years, really caught us off guard last year.

“It’s a different concept, it’s a different way of playing football … [But] you still have to execute and have a high completion rate, so it’s about finding that balance.”

Kidwell hasn’t settled on a captain but he said incumbent skipper Adam Blair “epitomises what the week’s about.”

He added: “I’ve got some great leaders there and we’ll talk about who’s going to captain the side. But whoever does, it’s going to be a great honour.”

Kidwell considered results from an online fan poll before settling on his final squad.

In the women’s All Stars clash the star-studded Maori side will feature Kiwi Ferns Krystal Rota, Raecene McGregor and Kiana Takairangi as well as Jillaroos Corban McGregor and Botille Vette-Welsh.

Playmaker McGregor was part of the Brisbane side which stormed to victory in the NRLW grand final last October, scoring a try in the 30-6 triumph.

After playing second fiddle to McGregor in the NRLW decider, Dragons youngster Maddison Weatherall will line up alongside the Broncos star for the Maoris.

Coached by Rusty Matua the side features 10 players with NRLW experience.

Maori Women’s All Stars: Harata Butler, Sarina Clark, Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell, Laishon Jones, Amber Kani, Kerehitina Matua, Raecene McGregor, Corban McGregor, Capri Paekau, Krystal Rota, Christyl Stowers, Kiana Takairangi, Jonsal Tautari, Botille Vette-Welsh, Maddison Weatherall, Geneva Webber, Kathleen Wharton, Kat Wira-Kohu.

Troy Whittaker – NRL.com

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is pleased to announce, OPRO, the producer of the world’s most technically advanced mouthguard, is now the official mouthguard supplier of New Zealand Rugby League.

As part of the three-year agreement, OPRO will provide every single registered player in New Zealand between the ages of 6 – 12 with a free Snap-Fit mouthguard; their entry level mouthguard that received the Queen’s Award for Innovation.

OPRO will also be the official mouthguard supplier for the World Number 1 Ranked Kiwis, World Nines Champions Kiwi Ferns and the Junior Kiwis for their international campaigns, supplying each representative player with a fitted mouthguard.

NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, said: “We are delighted to enter into a long-term relationship with such a trusted and quality brand such as OPRO.

“Their calibre of clients speaks for itself and we are extremely grateful for their generosity and what they are providing, not only our rugby league communities at a grassroots level but also our high-performance athletes as we set sight on the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.”

OPRO Sports Marketing Director, Daniel Lovat added: At OPRO, we’re passionate about fostering safe sport from grassroots to the elite level. As Rugby League’s number one ranked nation, we’re excited to help NZRL continue to achieve excellence into the future by providing every single player between the age of 6 and 12 with one of our award-winning mouthguards.”