23rd May 2022

Prior to 2012, no student from Tokoroa High School’s first XIII Rugby League team had gone on to tertiary education. Principal William Ford and daughter Tairi decided to prioritise their efforts in changing this, initiating the SUP3 (Supported academic learning) programme, which focused on creating a pathway for students to transition into education past high school. Since then, multiple rugby league starlets have gone on to university and tertiary courses and in recent years Ford and his staff have opened the programme up to the broader year 13 cohort.

After working with the Warriors, Tairi Ford returned to Tokoroa in 2018 to upstart the SUP3 programme, which focuses on three specialised subjects that would grant students university entrance (UE). Students had three domain classes with specialist teachers, where students could receive their UE and NCEA level 13 qualifications while being managed by Ford.

Tairi has been directing the programme for multiple years and has watched it grow from 14 young rugby league players to over 70 year 13 students.

“We used Rugby League as the hook. We knew our rangatahi loved the game, so we coupled their education directly to their ability to play for the school team.” Ford said.

“My father birthed the programme”, Tairi added, talking about Principal William Ford. “He wanted to invest more into the care and wellness of our young people.”

“Many of our boys have not experienced much outside of Tokoroa, and even less have experienced a higher form of education. So, we wanted to give our youth the best chance to do that.”

Former students of Tokoroa High School have gone on to study Medical Science at Otago, Law at Waikato University, and the fullback of the 2016 Tokoroa side has also returned, working as a physiotherapist in the blue-collar town.

Tokoroa High School Principal and former Kiwi’s trainer William Ford had this to say.

“Rugby league is a big part of the community here in Tokoroa. Most of our rangatahi are connected to either the Pacific Sharks or Forestland Falcon’s rugby league clubs which are influential hubs in our region.”

“As a school, we wanted to emphasise the importance of tertiary education and showcase there is more to life than just the labour than just the mill. Rugby League gave us an avenue to do that.”

 

 

 

 

Canterbury Rugby League is pleased to announce the appointment of Malcolm Humm as CRL’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Malcolm’s acceptance of the role renews his association with Canterbury Rugby League, having played for Halswell over a ten-year period which cumulated in two premiership wins in 1985 and 1988. Malcolm represented Canterbury U18’s and Victoria, Australia. In the early 2000’s he was also the strength and conditioning coach for the Canterbury Bulls.

Malcolm has over 20 years’ experience in sport leadership roles with peak bodies, government sporting agencies, franchises and clubs.

He has business experience where, more recently he has been delivering strategic planning and leadership services to regional, national and international sports organisations out of his own business Humm Consulting Ltd.

In his role as High Performance Director Malcolm led the NZ Paralympic high-performance programme to three Paralympic Games (Beijing, London and Rio).

Additional key leadership roles he has held have been Interim CEO at Paralympics New Zealand and GM Performance at Netball Mainland.

In conjunction with Malcolm’s work and rugby league experience he has a Bachelor of Physical Education (BPhEd) degree from University of Otago and in 2016 completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) through University of Canterbury.

Canterbury Rugby League feel fortunate to obtain Malcolm for the role where he will bring rugby league, sport and business knowledge to the game. He will be graduating his hours from 16th May through to Tuesday 7th June 2022 when he will then be aboard full-time.

Please join Canterbury Rugby League and the CRL Board in congratulating and welcoming Malcolm into the CEO role.

March 14 2022

A group of family-orientated rugby league enthusiasts banded together to start the Papamoa Panthers (now Papamoa Bulldogs) junior rugby league club in 2003. The Papamoa Bulldogs Senior Men’s side was established as the number of members grew and demand increased for junior players to stay. The Papamoa rugby league was thriving, consisting of over 18 teams across the club.

Fast forward to today, like many other sports clubs, the Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League & Sports Club Inc (PBRLSC) are struggling to recruit players and volunteers to keep the club going. According to veteran Bulldog Teia Dunster, “The Club has been doing it quite tough the last few years; finding volunteers is getting harder by the year.” The PBRLSC are looking for ways to re-engage with the community to gauge interest back into the club, not only for memberships within the club but also for the community to become more involved.

In hopes to restore the club, Dunster and his team at WEON put together an event, Operation getting Bryce Dinneen to the top of Papamoa Hills 3118.

Bryce Dinneen is an inspirational man who, unfortunately at the age of 29, had a diving accident, which resulted in him becoming tetraplegic.

Regardless of his circumstances, Dinneen is resilient and strives to push on with the hope that he can continue to achieve great things in life. Dinneen is the driving force behind his charity “wish4Fish’, which provides individuals with a physical or mental disability and illness the opportunity to enjoy the freedom and pleasure of Aotearoa ocean waters.

While helping others to achieve their goals, Dinneen has his own goals he wants to achieve. One of them is to have the ability to reach the top of Papamoa Hills.

With Dunster and WEON’s operation, the Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League Club and community aim to band together to help this extraordinary man achieve his goal.  This operation will also help lift the club’s profile, re-build the connection with the Tauranga community, and hopefully attract interest to the Rugby League Club. It is also an excellent way to channel pre-season fitness training for the Bulldogs.

“This is a way I thought we could build interest and try and get a buzz happening around the place. I’m a firm believer if the vibe is good, the people will come,” Dunster shares.

The day of the event is set to happen on Saturday 26th March. There will be organised teams of six rotating in carrying Dinneen to the top of Papamoa hills. They will be joined by a local kaumatua, Quentin Bidios, who will korero about the significance of Papamoa sites and Maori historical battles that happen. The day will end with a wind-down BBQ and cold drinks back at the Papamoa community centre.

Teia Dunster expresses, “We would love for as many people as possible to be involved!”

To get behind this inspiring event, feel free to donate here

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/papamoa-bulldogs-rugby-league-and-sports-club-inc?fbclid=IwAR2E1TLVR71KPFRsoPtuFly-mfXVb9ucO2sz-DEw6uLAohJgC5cTuZ-894Q

All funds will go towards the Papamoa Bulldogs Rugby League & Sports Club to pay for ongoing expenses this season.

For more info about the event, visit

https://www.facebook.com/events/343015071052169/?active_tab=discussion

03 February 2022

as seen on warriors.kiwi

Former Kiwis Jerry Seuseu and Ben Henry will again be familiar faces when the Vodafone Warriors combine with wellbeing provider Le Va and the New Zealand Rugby League to deliver another series of workshops for clubs from the Auckland Rugby League region in the coming months.

After being with the Vodafone Warriors in a wellbeing role for many years, 132-game club favourite Seuseu is now the NZRL’s wellbeing manager but he remains involved with the Vodafone Warriors’ wellbeing support team.

Now leading the Vodafone Warriors as player wellbeing and education manager is Ben Henry, who graduated to the welfare and education space after his immensely promising NRL career was cruelly cut short at 52 games only one match into the 2016 season.

Together with Le Va, Henry and Seuseu are well-versed in bringing mental wealth workshops to clubs from the NZRL’s Akarana and Counties Manukau zones.

They began a programme again last year but their plans were undone by Auckland’s Covid lockdown.

Now they’re ready to roll again with an initiative that sees Auckland clubs being transported on the Vodafone Warriors’ bus to be hosted at workshops at the club’s Mount Smart Stadium base.

As well as players from clubs throughout Auckland, squad members from the Sky Sport Future Warriors programme will be involved in the workshops which combine mental and physical drills targeted at the younger age bracket.

“The main drive of the workshops is to help young people manage their mental health through developing strong mental health tools and strategies,” said Henry.

“These are aimed at building the protective factors required to live a robust life in Aotearoa and meet the challenges of modern day living.”

Seuseu added this year’s mental wealth programme runs off the back of the model used in 2019 and 2020.

“We will be delivering the latest offering from Le Va, the Atu Mai programme,” he said.

“It is an anti-violence programme aimed at building mental health strength through understanding and developing players’ cultural identities. Individuals are more resilient if they have a strong sense of whakapapa and identity.”

The workshops will kick off with a visit from the New Lynn Stags on February 11.

For more information about the Le Va programmes:

CLICK HERE for Atu Mai workshops. 

CLICK HERE for resources and research.

Wellbeing colleagues collaborate

Wellbeing colleagues Seuseu and Henry are both accredited through the NRL and are NRL endorsed and funded to deliver wellbeing services to Vodafone Warriors players.

Seuseu left the Vodafone Warriors in May last year to head up the national programme at the NZRL after 11 years as the Vodafone Warriors’ wellbeing manager.” he said.

“We are lucky to partner with the Vodafone Warriors to facilitate discussions about the state of wellbeing and offer tools and strategies that are used in high performance sport to grow resilience at the grassroots level starting with the ARL clubs.

“I am enjoying the switch from high-performance athletes to the grassroots communities.” NZRL Wellbeing Manager, Jerry Seuseu commented.

“We are more than just a game and it is important to have programmes and strategies to look after our rugby league community. One in five people go through serious mental distress at some point in their lives.”

Henry has stepped in to lead the Vodafone Warriors’ programme and has five years’ experience as a wellbeing officer.

While his playing career was shortened by serious injury, he is a perfect example of what could be accomplished as a professional athlete. He completed several qualifications while playing – a certificate in computer programming, a certificate (level four) in business and a certificate in applied engineering. He is the ideal fit to help young players plan for a footy career and to also look ahead to transition away from the game.

Henry has quickly built a team around him with Jason Fiddes running point in Australia with the NRL players; Fiddes previously worked as a wellbeing officer at the Brisbane Broncos.

Also back on board is Enroy Talamahina, who continues his four-year relationship with the club. Talamahina is from the Sports Chaplaincy New Zealand service and assists Henry in his role for the players back in New Zealand.

Anyone interested in the programme, please contact Jerry Seuseu at [email protected] or Ben through [email protected]

14 December 2021

Despite another Covid riddled year, this has not deterred the passion of our rugby league communities across the motu. A plethora of talent and staff committed their best towards the game as NZRL is pleased to announce the 2021 NZRL Grassroots Awards.

The Grassroots Rugby League Club of the Year Award for 2021 was highly contested. NZRL would like to recognise runner up clubs; Turangawaewae, Bell Block Marist, Whiti Te Ra and the Timaru Outlaws. Each club has significantly contributed to the growth of the game and its opportunities in their respective regions.

The Otara Scorpion’s dedication and commitment both on and off the field saw them awarded the prestigious Grassroots Club of the Year Award for 2021.

Situated in the heart of South Auckland, the Otara Scorpions have done incredible mahi to cater towards its staff, players and community. As a club, they managed to open new clubrooms, start a Junior Academy development programme and most notably, organise several high-profile drive-thru vaccination events that saw thousands of their community members rally together to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

CEO of NZRL Greg Peters says, “In what was another testing year, Otara RL Club put the needs of their communities above all else, epitomising our More Than A Game and Kiwi Way philosophies. Thank you to all involved in the club for their important mahi; they’ve had a widespread and positive impact on the wellbeing of our communities.”

The Men’s National Competition Player of the Year was awarded to Upper Central Zone’s Tony Matautia. Matautia’s Stallions side came away with the National trophy after his scintillating hat-trick in the final, earning him Player of the Match.

After a stellar season with Canterbury, Kiwi Fern #144 Charntay Poko was named the National Women’s Competition Player of the Year. Poko brought her international professionalism and leadership, guiding her Canterbury side to a Sky Sport Women’s championship victory.

The NZRL 16s Youth Competition Player of the Year went to Mid-Central’s Kylem Vunipola. Described by his coaching staff as ‘effective, well-mannered and considerate,’ Vunipola starred both on and off the field, making the fullback spot his own each week.

Tome Poona of Upper-Central Zone took out this year’s NZRL 18s Youth Competition Player of the Year. The NZRL School’s representative captained his side to a grand final success earning the Player of the Final accolade. Poona showed exceptional leadership in a difficult, Covid interrupted season.

The National 20s Player of the Year went to competition MVP Zyon Maiu’u. The Kelston Boys product led his undefeated Auckland Blue side right to the grand final, where they were unable to overcome an inspired Central Districts outfit.

After that fairy-tale run to the trophy, Central Districts Head Coach Daniel McEwan received the National 20’s Coach of the Year Award.

Upper Central Head Coach Jeremy Siulepa took home National Coach of the Year, and Mid-Central Vipers 16s Head Coach Shaun Egan was awarded the National Youth Coach of the Year. Both coaches successfully led their sides to competition titles throughout several regional lockdowns.

Paki Parkinson took home Match Official of the Year for the second year running after refereeing the National Competition Final.

The 2021 Pirtek Volunteer of the Year was awarded to July winner Raymond Greaves.

Four years ago, Raymond began volunteering for Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL); he brings passion and vitality at every opportunity, investing hours into creating, planning, and executing disability-specific programmes for PDRL players.

Pirtek CEO Chris Bourke commented, “Although he has only been a volunteer for the past four years, Raymond provides a truly positive experience for Physical Disability Rugby League and the people involved. Raymond is now Head Coach and exemplifies the core values of NZRL’s Kiwi Way, being family first, innovative, inclusive, respectful and humble.” 

NZRL CEO Greg Peters says, “These awards recognise exceptional work in our grassroots, domestic and community space both on and off the field. We congratulate each recipient on their outstanding achievement.

“Thank you to those in our rugby league communities who continue to go above and beyond for our game. In what was another challenging year, it’s the dedication of our people that keep rugby league thriving – thank you.”

2021 Grassroots Community Award Winners

Club of the Year – Otara Rugby League Club (Counties Manukau)

Men’s Competition Player of the Year – Tony Matautia (Upper Central Zone) 

Women’s Competition Player of the Year – Charntay Poko (Canterbury) 

16’s Youth Competition Player of the Year – Kylem Vunipola (Mid-Central Zone) 

18’s Youth Competition Player of the Year – Tome Poona (Upper Central-Zone) 

20’s Player of the Year – Zyon Maiu’u  (Auckland) 

20’s Coach of the Year – Daniel McEwan (Central Districts) 

Youth Competition Coach of the Year – Shaun Egan (Mid Central Zone)

National Competition Coach of the Year – Jeremy Siulepa (Upper Central Zone) 

Match Official of the Year – Paki Parkinson 

Pirtek Volunteer of the Year – Raymond Greaves (Physical Disability Rugby League)

As seen on ABS.CBN News (https://news.abs-cbn.com/sports/08/20/21/pinoy-rugby-players-mula-ph-at-nz-nagsanib-puwersa)

26th August, 2021

Counties-Manukau Rugby League has been delivering the game to its Asian community since 2013, creating opportunities and pathways for participants not usually renowned for playing rugby league.

The Ethnic competition and encouraging diversity in the game have always been priorities for Counties-Manukau; therefore the affiliation between Pambansang Ragbi Liga Ng Pilipinasand Auckland based rugby league team, United Eagles, was a natural fit.

The Eagles are the first all-Asian based rugby league team endorsed by Counties Manukau Rugby League (CMRL) and the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) to compete in Auckland’s Ethnic Cup competition. The team comprises 70% Filipino players with a mix of other players from Japan, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

The Ethnic Rugby League Competition was established in 2013 by NZRL’s Counties Manukau Rugby League General Manager Kasey King. The competition currently accommodates the following teams, the Counties Manukau Piranhas, Auckland Wasps, Onehunga Guardianz, the Eagles, and the Dragons. It comprises groups of ethnicities, mainly from New Zealand’s increasing Asian community not renowned for playing rugby league. The players gain valuable rugby league experience through the competition each year, leading to players being selected to represent their country of origin through international matches.

The PNRL have longed to establish a partnership with the Eagles for some time now, with talks over the past week confirming the interest on both sides. With this affiliation, the PNRL will assist in expanding the reach of rugby league to the New Zealand based Filipino players and increase Filipino participation in the six-week Ethnic Cup competition held yearly. The affiliation will also provide pathway opportunities for players to represent the Philippines at a developmental or national level and provide access to national development programs.

Ex-Tamaraw player Odyssey Laderas and current player Carmilo Manuyag (Head Coach of Eagles) have been actively working with Asian based NZ players of all levels to provide a safe pathway for player representation into the Ethnic Cup competition. Carmilo has also been the team’s driving force from the start, with a clear vision of where this group could go. He also ensured the transition from Eagles to Dragons to keep the reputational name of Eagles for future use as we had family sabbaticals during this time. The PNRL will work closely with the pair to help increase their overall participation numbers with the goal of entering more development teams into the Ethnic Cup competition each year.

“The affiliation with the Philippines governing body for the sport of Rugby League (PNRL) will provide pathways for rugby league development and participation of NZ based Filipinos. This will also ensure a healthy, active club and international membership. Built on family and brotherhood as its foundation, we encourage each other to excel in our talents and abilities with a focus on support at all aspects of the game, whether on or off the field,” says Eagles Manager.

“We look forward to working with Carmilo and Odyssey to promote and develop Philippine Rugby League and share our values to our fellow New Zealand based Filipinos. We want to be part of the Eagles future successes and share these achievements with the rugby league community. We hope other rugby league associations will follow suit and provide the same opportunities for heritage players across the globe. Rugby League is a game for everyone, regardless of size, skill, gender, or ethnicity,” PNRL President Reynaldo Nery states.  

16 June 2021

The much loved Sky Sport NZRL Rugby League Roadshow is back and will be visiting Canterbury Agriculture Park in Christchurch next Saturday, June 26th.

The Roadshow will run alongside scheduled Mini Mod games and will kick off around 9 am.

The Roadshow is then scheduled to visit Timaru on July 30th and Hawkes Bay on August 28th; NZRL will release further information on the upcoming destinations in due course.

In association with the Vodafone Warriors and Sky Sport, the Roadshow aims to promote rugby league in the regions to showcase our great game and encourage new registrations.

There will be plenty of fun games, giveaways and spot prizes on the day for participants.

The Roadshows can also provide local league clubs with the opportunity to have a presence at each activation to connect more directly with community members to find their future players.

In addition to this, Kiwi League Kids (12 and under) who register with a club will later receive a Sky Sport starter pack which includes a brand new OPRO mouthguard, Kiwis/Ferns poster, rugby league ball, and ball bag.

NZRL General Manager of Community Ani Cherrington says: “We are excited to see the Roadshow return as it’s an important way for us to showcase and grow our game. It’s great we can do this in partnership with Sky Sport and the Warriors, and we to hope see our communities turn out in force.”

The Roadshows are a free event and open to all members of the community.

Upcoming Roadshows

Christchurch Canterbury Agricultural Park | Saturday June 26th | 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Timaru  | Ashbury Park |July 30th | 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Hawkes Bay | TBC | August 28th | TBC

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) has launched a new Swim School initiative in association with Swimsation through its NZRL Playgroup programme. NZRL is now offering complimentary swimming lessons to pēpi and tamariki in an effort to continue prioritising our communities in need.

Swimming and especially water safety are essential life skills for Kiwi kids. Aquatic facilities exist in almost all major towns; coupled with the endless access to coastal beaches, lakes and rivers; New Zealand kids are exposed to water dangers from a young age.

Despite swimming competency being crucial for our tamariki, many existing swim school programmes are too expensive for those in our communities. With the cost of living continuously on the rise, many families can not financially prioritise swimming safety.

Water Safety New Zealand reported in 2020 alone, New Zealand had a total of 74 drownings; out of these 74 fatalities, 28 were Maori/Pasifika.

Because of this, we have recognised the need to support our tamariki better when it comes to water safety, ensuring these skills are more easily attained and water safety education is more accessible to our communities.

These new Playgroup Swim Schools offer pēpi and tamariki free swimming lessons during the day and weekends at select Swimsation pools. At this level, parents or guardians are required to be in the pool with their children.

A Playgroup mother said she enjoys being able to learn beside her child and grow together. “I am more confident with taking him to the pools now, and the fact my son is learning to swim makes me feel better knowing he will be safer around water.”

An NZRL Playgroup father of five said due to financial restrictions, he has never had the opportunity to take his older children for a swimming lesson. Now thanks to Playgroup, his younger two tamariki have the chance to learn these essential life skills.

To find out more information on where you can enrol your child into an NZRL Playgroup, please contact;

Toyah Brooking | [email protected]

Swim School Learning Objectives

Confident using hip hold

Confident using up-right hold

Confident using front prone hold

Confident using side prone hold

Confident using cradle hold

Confident using supported back hold

Knows the Swimsation submersion cue

Show signs of readiness for submersion

Confident being submerged (Assisted by parent) – Level goal to move up

Safe entry

Safe exit

Standing jump with submersion assisted

Assisted submersion and pick up a toy

Assisted submersion with a release

Confident using extended back hold

Back float with supported back hold

Back float with supported extended back hold

Submersion with release and grip – Level goal to move up

Submerge and pick up toy

Assisted back kick

Unassisted back kick

Assisted front kick

Unassisted front kick

Assisted front to back rotation

Unassisted front to back rotation

Assisted front to back rotation – Kicking

Unassisted front to back rotation – Kicking

Jump into pool and roll onto back assisted

Jump into pool and roll onto back unassisted

Seated jump and u-turn to wall

Submerge, float and u-turn to table – Level Goal to move into our preschool level class

February 26, 2021

Rugby League and other New Zealand sports are coming together to walk alongside the rainbow community in the Auckland Rainbow Parade next month, celebrating diversity and inclusion.

We’re delighted to announce that the Rainbow Parade in Auckland has been rescheduled for Saturday 13th March 2021.

The parade was originally planned for earlier this month but was cancelled due to the recent COVID-19 community cases – but thanks to some quick work from the organisers a new date has been confirmed.

All participants, supporters, and communities from across New Zealand sports are invited to pull on their club colours, matchday kit or sports outfits and come together in a show of unity and support for our rainbow communities.

The Auckland Rainbow Parade will be an uplifting event with a carnival-style atmosphere, dancing, performances, and plenty of music and noise!

The Auckland Rainbow Parade details:
Saturday 13 March, Parade begins on Ponsonby Road.
6.00pm-7.00pm, followed by Ponsonby Street Festival which runs from 7pm – 10pm.

We invite our rugby league communities to join and walk with sport at the parade, if you’re interested in being involved, please register your details here and we’ll be in touch | https://bit.ly/3qGQYsn

Those best dressed (most rainbow and rugby league) will be up for great rugby league prizes including signed Kiwis and Ferns jerseys, rugby league balls, mouthguards and NZRL apparel.

New Zealand Rugby League, alongside other sports from across the country, is committed to supporting and celebrating our people in sport and pursuing diversity throughout our game. For more details of how you can be involved, please email us at [email protected]

December 16, 2020

The 2020 NZRL Community Award recipients have tonight been announced with Mangere East Rugby League Club taking out NZRL Grassroots Club of the Year.

What was a truly testing year, Mangere East shone through as a servant for its community, going above and beyond to provide a safe space, while continuing to promote and grow the game of rugby league despite the year’s challenges.

Mangere Easts’ weekly ‘Life Soup Kitchen’ provided free hot meals throughout the year in a safe environment for families that were struggling to make ends meet. The club responded quickly to Auckland’s second lockdown by providing a free Covid-19 testing station in their car park, encouraging members within their community to get checked.

Gala days, school holiday programmes and free meals for local families, are only a fraction of the work Mangere East have been doing off the field to continually serve the needs of their people, epitomising NZRL’s More Than A Game.

The 2020 NZ 16s Player of the Year was awarded to Marists’ Tre Fotu. He was a standout against the NZ Māori 17s scoring a double and continually asking questions of the defence.

NZ 16s Head Coach, Phil Gordon says; “Tre is a young man who epitomised the meaning and value of wearing the Black and White jersey. He was a focused trainer, disciplined in his approach and committed to executing game plans and structures at the highest level.”

The NZ 18s Player of the Year for 2020 was awarded to Northcote Tiger and NZ 18s Clubs captain, Sam McIntyre. Sam captained the NZ 18s Club team in the inaugural Schools v Clubs match, scoring one try and leading his side to a 34-22 victory.

NZ 18s Head Coach, Tusa Lafaele says; “Sam has always displayed a high skill level, technique and ability as an athlete. Often what separates the talented from the successful, is the attitude and fortitude to work hard and be prepared to make sacrifices. Sam has always applied himself in this manner, striving for success and competing with true grit.”

Akarana veteran, Francis Leger, was awarded NZRL Domestic Men’s Player of the Year due to his outstanding season captaining Akarana to their fifth straight NZRL Premiership victory, as well as the NZ Residents.

Harata Butler took home NZRL Domestic Women’s Player of the Year after a successful season in Counties Manukau colours, earning her MVP of the Sky Sport Women’s Premiership as well as her international Kiwi Ferns debut.

NZRL Domestic Coach of the Year was awarded to Phil Gordon after he coached his undefeated Akarana side to an impressive fifth NZRL Premiership, as well the NZ Resident 16s to a convincing 42-6 victory over the NZ Māori Resident 17s.

NZRL Match Official of the Year was awarded to veteran Paki Parkinson after a successful season officiating the NZRL Premiership, NZ 16s and the NZ Residents v NZ Maori Residents.

Pirtek’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Takahiwai’s Shayne Wassel. Despite several disabilities including mild deafness, speech impediment and blindness in one eye, the single father of four never lets that get in the way of his ability to go above and beyond for his local club, whanau and community – Read more about Shayne’s story here.

NZRL would also like to give a special mention to runner up clubs for Grassroots Club of the Year, the Eastern Eagles and Timaru Outlaws.

Despite financial difficulties, the Eastern Eagles immediately switched focus to supporting its club members and the wider community through the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeking support from local businesses, the Eagles procured and co-ordinated the receipt and delivery of hundreds of food packs and other essentials items, reaching pockets of the community that were often missed.

The Timaru Outlaws, just four years old, had only one U7s team in 2018, as of 2020 they now have five junior teams playing under the senior side equating to around 100 registered U13 players. Based in a non-traditional rugby league area, with no club rooms, it’s the collective efforts of the community and their strong whanau values-driven approach that has seen this club flourish with momentum only continuing to rise.

NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says, “These awards recognise exceptional work in our grassroots, domestic and community space both on and off the field. We congratulate each recipient on their outstanding achievement.

“Thank you to those in our rugby league communities who continue to go above and beyond for our game. In what was a challenging year for most, it’s the dedication of our people that keep rugby league thriving – thank you.”

 

2020 NZRL Community Award Winners

  • Grassroots Club of the Year – Mangere East
  • Domestic Men’s Player of the Year – Francis Leger
  • Domestic Women’s Player of the Year – Harata Butler
  • Domestic Coach of the Year – Phil Gordon
  • U16s Player of the Year – Tre Fotu
  • U18s Player of the Year – Sam McIntyre
  • Match Official of the Year – Paki Parkinson
  • Pirtek Volunteer of the Year – Shayne Wassel

To watch the NZRL Community Awards, please click here.

The NZRL High-Performance Awards will be broadcast tonight Sky Sport 4 at 7:30 pm.

Wainuiomata Rugby League Club, with the backing of Regional Public Health, championed a smokefree cars campaign in their community to which the results have led to the passing of a bill banning smoking in cars with children under 18.

On December 7 2011, the Dominion Post printed a front-page article on research by the University of Otago which reported ‘smoking in cars carrying children’ was 11 times higher in Wainuiomata than in Karori.

This caused an immediate reaction from the Wainuiomata community who requested support and leadership from Regional Public Health to help reduce the occurrence of smoking in cars carrying children.

In response, Regional Public Health formed a working group which included students from Wainuiomata High School and Wainuiomata Intermediate and selected the Wainuiomata Rugby League Club to help champion the campaign who played a pivotal role in influencing some outstanding results.

Wainuiomata Rugby League Club captain at the time, Simon Itula, had all club members promise to not smoke in their cars when carrying children, the club then made their junior grounds completely smoke-free.

The junior grounds is a council-owned reserve in which the council stated that the league club was prohibited from placing any smoke-free signage around the grounds. Therefore the promotion was mainly by word of mouth. Club mums, dads, cousins and uncles managed the grounds and enforced the smoke-free initiative during games.

All visiting junior teams and whanau were informed that the Wainuiomata League Club was supporting a smoke-free cars campaign and encouraged visitors to smoke before and after they got in their vehicles to protect their children from tobacco harm.

The campaign was supported by the Associate Minister of Health at the time, Tariana Turia and the late Honorary Parekura Horomia.

Approximately six months later, a repeat of the study by the University of Otago reported that within a timeframe of 3-6 months, people smoking in cars carrying children reduced by half.  Wainuiomata Rugby League Club played a pivotal role in achieving these remarkable results for their community. 

This then ignited a national campaign for prohibiting smoking in motor vehicles carrying children under 18 to pass as law.

Students from the Intermediate and High School appeared before a Parliamentary Select Committee last year making final oral submissions in what would be a landmark decision to extend smoke-free environments to include cars by 2021.

On May 27 2020, the bill passed its final hearing with support from all parties. 2021 will see it illegal to smoke in cars with children under 18.

Current Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa, said the new law would mean thousands of children across New Zealand will have healthier lungs.

“We know that second-hand smoke can accumulate in vehicles, even with the windows down. That presents an unacceptable risk to kids who never asked to be exposed to second-smoke, and deserve a fighting chance at a life of healthy, clean lungs.”

NZRL CEO Greg Peters says “Thank you to the Wainuiomata Rugby League Club for epitomising our Kiwi Way values and driving such an important kaupapa. Their efforts and contribution to the campaign for a safer community have led to nationwide policy change that will benefit tamaraki for generations to come. We are very proud of their efforts. This is a true example of how rugby league is More Than A Game.”

Smokefree Cars Law Celebration!It's been a long journey that started in 2011! Wainui Rugby League Club were the…

Posted by Wainuiomata Lions Rugby League Club on Tuesday, 8 September 2020

The extension of restrictions which limit gatherings to 10 people in Auckland has forced the cancellation of the remainder of the season for all Auckland Rugby League grades.

The Government announced last Friday that level 2.5 restrictions – which include the gathering limit of 10 – would be extended through until at least September 16 in Auckland, ruling out a possible return to play on September 12-13.

The decision – which has the full backing of the ARL Board of Directors – means all grades from U13 up are now cancelled, with mini/mod (U6-U12) grades having already been cancelled last week. 

No winners will be declared for any grades.

Auckland Rugby League CEO Greg Whaiapu said as well as running out of time to safely complete the season before the impending New Zealand Rugby League National Competitions and the start of the summer sports season, the ARL has an obligation to prioritise the health and safety of all participants.

“It’s unfortunate news to be delivering and an outcome none of us wanted,” Whaiapu said. 

“In making this decision we considered, among other things, the fact that teams have not been able to complete contact training for several weeks due to the restrictions in place, and therefore would be put at a higher risk of suffering injury if asked to return straight into games.

“While we pushed the proposed return to play date back as far as we could, the reality is there is no longer enough weeks left to safely complete our season either. 

“At this point I’d like to acknowledge the work of our clubs and the people involved with them, through what has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone.”

This cancellation applies to club grades only and at this stage does not impact planned Auckland Rugby League representative games or Kiwi Tag modules scheduled for later in the year.

CANCELLED | It's the news we didn't want to deliver, but COVID-19 restrictions have forced the cancellation of the season for ALL GRADES. Full details below.

Posted by Auckland Rugby League on Saturday, 5 September 2020

Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. Although the second wave of COVID-19 put a temporary pause on rugby league activity in Auckland, this hasn’t stopped the selfless efforts of our volunteers throughout the year. Congratulations to our August Volunteer of the Month, Polu Paselio. 

Polu Paselio of the Pt Chevalier Pirates is a volunteer referee and known for his consistency and fairness. So much so he’s sought after by countless teams due to the fact he always exercises good judgement, takes time to explain the rules to each side before the match and is clear and well communicated on the field.  

Polu recently was asked to ref last minute for a U10’s away match at Waitemata; without hesitation, he grabbed his boots from his car and refereed despite horrible conditions and only sporting his t-shirt. 

Polu is well respected in the community and always puts the game and its players before himself. 

Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek, says, “We are very pleased to see a referee receive a nomination for the Pirtek Volunteer of the Month, as referees tend to be the forgotten ones that do an amazing job keeping our Rugby League games progressing.  
 
“Polu Paselio as volunteer referee selflessly gives up his time for what has to be one of the hardest roles to undertake within the Rugby League community. Not only being there when required to undertake the refereeing role, Polu has to be fit, fast and fair with a great knowledge of the game. Volunteers like Polu can have an amazing influence on our young Rugby League players which generates respect for those that embark on those tough roles.  
 
“Polu Paselio is a very well deserved winner of the Pirtek Volunteer of the Month.” 

Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s September Volunteer of the Month. https://nzrl.co.nz/more-than-a-game/volunteer-of-the-month/  

Volunteers will be chosen based off how well they demonstrate our Kiwi Way values: 

We are family first – stronger together. 

Innovative and Courageous – punch above our weight. 

We are responsible. 

We are inclusive, respectful and humble. 

Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers. 

#TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame 

Pirtek Volunteer of the Month Submission Form

Who is your Pirtek Volunteer of the Month?
  • Drop files here or
    Max. file size: 2 MB.

    UPDATE: August 12, 2020 

    In light of New Zealand’s move to Alert Level 2 (not including Auckland) rugby league activity (training and playing) is permitted, ONLY if clubs and facilities can abide by strict health requirements below, until further notice. 

    These requirements include what ‘must’ be done such as:  

    • A contact tracing register must be kept for all participants and spectators and able to be accessed quickly. NZRL recommend IDMe app or Government COVID Tracer app.
    • Physical distancing is required at all times, this is mandatory for those not participating on the field (2 metres). 
    • As it stands, Rugby League activity must abide by 100 person gathering / spectator limit (subject to Government updates). 
    • Participants should wash and dry their hands before and after playing; equipment should be sanitised and dried before and after playing. No one should be participating (or leaving home) if they show any signs of being sick, displaying symptoms of COVID-19, awaiting a test, or if required to self-isolate.  

    As of the 24th of August, it is mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport.

    NZRL is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to update you with the latest information, subject to ongoing Government updates. 

    Please refer to your appropriate District and Club for more specific information on upcoming competitions and fixtures.  

    All Auckland rugby league activity (training and playing) remains postponed until further notice, subject to Government updates. 

    We appreciate this is an unsettling time, however we remain vigilant and prepared to tackle this collectively once again. 

    Thank you for your co-operation and understanding. 

    Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. The COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary pause on this for 2020, however, we are back and kickstarting this great initiative again with our July Volunteer of the Month, Simon Watson.

    For the past three years, the Glenfield Greyhounds have been bumped off their home ground, Sunnynook No.1, as the park underwent significant field renovations. As a result, retaining team numbers and club registrations became a real challenge. While this may have overwhelmed and wiped out some clubs, Simon Watson, Glenfield Greyhounds Club Chairman, has been steadfast in his commitment and advocacy for the future of the Greyhounds.

    He has established community partnerships with nearby organisations, connected with schools and relentlessly questioned the District on the strategic growth imperatives for the North Shore. This extensive community engagement has been coupled with the physical tasks of game day as Simon ensures they are carried out seamlessly and safely for his members and visitors to the club, while also wearing whatever hat is needed at any stage of the week. While Club Chairman may be his official title, he is also the tech guy, the barman, the club hire contact and field logistics coordinator.

    This month, the Greyhounds celebrated the reopening of Sunnynook Park with an open community club day on Saturday 26 July. Simon coordinated an inclusive, entertaining event for all ages and marked the occasion with some morning formalities that included staff and Board members from Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and Auckland Rugby League. While the DJ entertained in the background and everyone enjoyed watching games back on Sunnynook No.1, Simon could be seen setting up flags, greeting sponsors and even stopping to thank the local rubbish removers for the contribution they were making to the day.

    Ever humble and extremely hearty, Simon is invaluable to the game and truly epitomises ‘The Kiwi Way’.

    Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek says, “As with all of our Rugby League volunteers Simon exemplifies the embedded hunger they have for the success of the game of Rugby League at a local level, and the sacrifices they make in their personal lives to ensure the teams are well looked after.

    “With the significant disruptions we have had this year and coupled with the significant changes to the Greyhounds home ground, many people may have given up their support. Simon has gone above and beyond normal volunteering and with his community engagement to ensure the continuity of the game in this key location.

    “Congratulations on the re-opening of Sunnynook Park and congratulations to Simon Watson for being an integral part of this process. Simon is a well deserving winner of the Pirtek Volunteer of the Month for July 2020.”

    Volunteers will be chosen based off how well they demonstrate our Kiwi Way values:

    We are family first – stronger together.

    Innovative and Courageous – punch above our weight.

    We are responsible.

    We are inclusive, respectful and humble.

    Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

    #TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

    Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s August Volunteer of the Month.

    Pirtek Volunteer of the Month Submission Form

    Who is your Pirtek Volunteer of the Month?
    • Drop files here or
      Max. file size: 2 MB.

      It was a try fest at Whenuapai Air Force base as the Royal New Zealand Air Force took on the NZ Police Open Men’s at the annual Heroes Rugby League Tournament.  

      The NZ Police opened the scoring with a strong run down the right edge to make it 6 – 0 after 15 minutes. Ill-discipline from the Air Force gifted possession back to the Police as they stumbled over for their second only moments after.  

      Strong meters up the middle saw the Police back in the opposition 20 and a dummy half duck under the posts resulted in the Police extending their lead to 16. 

      The battle up the middle evened out as the Air Force found their feet, a couple of impressive line breaks saw the Air Force in good attacking position. The Air Force soon capitalised on their attacking momentum and mounted their first points with 10 to go in the first half.  

      The Police force hit back impressively earning a repeat set, however, a forward pass cut their attacking efforts short. Some ill-discipline from the Police saw the Air Force back on their goal line as they barged over to make it 10 – 16 at half time. 

      The Police were quick to open the scoring in the second half extending their lead back to 10 however the Air Force quickly answered back. A conversion miss by the Air Force meant they still trailed by 6 with 30 to go.  

      The Police then stepped up a gear for the remainder of the half scoring five back to back tries impressively extending their lead by 28.  

      Despite the momentum shift, the Air Force bounced back off some good meters up the middle barging over for their fifth try. Strong defence then earned the Air Force more attacking possession as superb support play saw them score the final try of the match.  

      Final score – Royal New Zealand Air Force (24) v NZ Police Open Men’s (48) 

      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

      Thanks to the generosity of Sky Sport with support from OPRO and Steeden, NZRL is providing a starter pack to all kids (U6-U12) who register online to play Rugby League in 2020.

      Those who register will receive a Sky Sports Starter Pack valued up to $70. This includes a Steeden Ball, OPRO Mouthguard, Kiwis and Ferns Poster and a handy bootbag. Kids who registered before the Covid-19 pandemic will also receive a Starter Pack.

      NZRL staff have been working tirelessly behind the scenes packing thousands of bags that are being delivered across the country as we speak.

      NZRL CEO Greg Peters says, “We know how much of a challenging time this has been and we wanted to give back to the tamariki in our communities who are readying for a return to the field.

      “Thank you to our valued partners Sky Sport, OPRO and Steeden, all providing quality equipment for the packs that will go a long way with those who receive them.

      “We are excited for the much-anticipated return of rugby league this weekend. Thank you once again to all those in our rugby league communities for the patience and resilience shown throughout this period.”

      Ngariri Nuku Lee Waitokia from Eastern Eagles Rugby League club down in Christchurch has been recognised as a standout volunteer as part of Pirteks’ – Communities through Covid initiative.

      Nuku is an invaluable volunteer of the Eastern Eagles rugby league club and a woman of many roles from team manager to committee member to Club Secretary. However, it is her most recent work during this time of uncertainty which deserves some special recognition.

      The harsh unemployment realities of a country in lockdown due to Covid-19 were fast approaching, and it was clear the vulnerable families in lower-income areas would be impacted the most.

      So Nuku along with the newly appointed Club President (Zion Taumiti) created a Covid-19 response team made up of coaches and managers from across the club. They created a survey for each player and their families asking what their situation and main concerns were during this time.

      Nuku took on the responsibility of ensuring all the administration was complete concerning the club survey. She ensured every single player and their family members were included in a database and that their needs were categorised accordingly to allow the club to act efficiently with goods, services and support.

      The database totalled 60 families with as least five or more in each family from infant to elderly, about three-quarters of those who responded to the club’s survey said they needed more food and were feeling isolated.

      Without her organisation, the club would not have been in a position to do the important family drops that covered all areas of Christchurch. Eastern Eagles rugby league club distributed family packages to about 30 families over 30 over Easter, which included colouring in sets and easter eggs.

      “This is what Pirtek loves about Rugby League and the Rugby League community. There are always people that will go out of their way to help others, people that take a selfless approach to life in general,” says Pirtek General Manager Chris Bourke.

      “In times like these, its great people like Nuku, along with Zion and the Eastern Eagles Rugby League Club, that stand out to support the community and do this without the expectation of recognition. They are simply there to help others in the Rugby League family and beyond.

      “Nuku is a well deserved recipient of the Pirtek Communities Through COVID Award. Congratulations.”

      Nominate someone you feel deserves some recognition here – https://nzrl.co.nz/community/ourcommunitiesthroughcovid/

      Each person nominated will go in the draw to win a Kiwis merchandise prize package. NZRL in liaison with Pirtek will promote some of the best nominations on NZRL channels.

      Alistar Kata talked to Clinical Psychologist Dr Elizabeth Mati about how our Pacific people can stay mentally well during lockdown.

      -For more information on Le Va’s #CatchYourself initiative: https://www.leva.co.nz/our-work/catchyourself

      -Make sure you’re staying up to date with the Government’s Covid-19 information here: https://covid19.govt.nz/

      -For more information on looking after your mental wellbeing: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/

       

      Due to the ongoing implications of the Covid-19 outbreak, New Zealand Rugby League regrets to advise that all NZRL run representative competitions and tournaments have been called off for the remainder of the year.

      Community and Club competitions and trainings are still currently postponed until May 2 with that date to be reviewed in due course.

      Due to the current uncertain revenue lines, these representative competitions would place too big of a financial burden on the Zones. International rugby league has also been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and NZRL has ceased all non-essential expenditure.

      Greg Peters, NZRL CEO, “We are extremely disappointed that these competitions will not happen in 2020, but unfortunately, it was a decision that had to be made for the financial longevity of our game.

      “Due to the extensive consequences of this pandemic across the code, we have had to make some significant short term sacrifices in order to see the game thrive long after this virus is contained.

      “The impact and influence rugby league has is felt widespread both on and off the field. Although unprecedented, this decision was made fully with the longevity of our game in mind and the important role it plays within our communities.”

      NZRL will provide a further update on club and community competitions in due course. Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, the focus will be on getting the grassroots game operating as quickly as possible.

      All Kiwi families must stay at home during this lockdown period in order to protect themselves from exposure to COVID-19.

      Ordinarily, when children are home for long periods – such as the school holidays – there are programs and activities available outside the home to keep them busy. In the case of a pandemic, however, it is time for parents to start thinking of ways to keep the kids entertained while on lock-down.

      It can be hard to keep kids entertained indefinitely.

      Fortunately, we have rounded up some top tips and tricks to help parents keep their kids exploring and entertained. Here are some activities to keep children busy during self-isolation:

       

      1. Spring clean
      Keep the kids occupied and organise a day to declutter and re-decorate their bedrooms. Doing a spring clean as a family will keep everyone busy and provides parents with the opportunity to make some extra cash by selling unwanted items online. Gumtree’s ‘Second Hand Economy’ report revealed that Australian households have an average of 23 unwanted or unused items lying around the house, so it’s a great time to get rid of some of that clutter.

       

       

      2. Plant an indoor herb garden
      Herb gardens are a great way to keep children occupied: They are easy and quick to grow, are hardy and their multi-sensory nature make them very appealing to children. Many herbs grow well indoors on a warm window sill and the gardening supplies can be sourced easily.

       

       

      3. Create an indoor camping experience
      Create a personalised camping ground in your own living room. Unplug from all technology for a night, and spend the night in a tent to make a memory that will stick with you and your children for years to come in the comfort of your own home. Gumtree offers plenty of tents, blow up mattresses and camping chairs to kit out the campsite.

       

      4. ‘Go’ to the movies
      Host a family movie night with a cinema that’s set up in your home. All you need are lots of pillows and snacks, and your children’s favorite movies! Or take it one step further and create a backyard movie theatre for your kids to enjoy a cinema experience under the stars.

       

      5. Cubby House
      Gift your children a cubby house or have them build one out of the materials they can find in your home. Cubbies provide hours of entertainment for kids – whether it be decorating the space or playing games under their own roof. Renovating a second-hand cubby house could even become a great project that involves the entire family.

       

      This has been adapted by KidSpot

       

      Due to the ongoing safety concerns regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, New Zealand Rugby League regrets to advise that all community rugby league competitions, tournaments and trainings run by NZRL Zones, Districts and Clubs have been postponed until Saturday, May 2nd, effective immediately.

      Given the fast-changing situation, these guidelines and advice are subject to change.

      Fo now, restrictions do not prevent clubs from operating on their facilities, however we urge clubs to adhere to Ministry of Health regulations in this regard; these include:

      • Staying away from the club if you are experiencing flu like symptoms
      • Regularly washing hands with soap (recommended) or an antibacterial wash
      • Covering coughs and sneezes
      • Bringing and using personal drink bottles (not sharing)
      • Limiting spitting
      • Cleaning surfaces regularly (e.g. hit shields, balls etc)
      • Limiting person-to-person contact (conduct any essential meetings online whenever possible)

      We are continuously liaising with government agencies and will continue to update you with the latest information.

      We appreciate this is an unprecedented step being taken for community rugby league; however, this decision has been made solely with the safety and wellbeing of our players, staff, volunteers, whanau and the wider community in mind.

      We understand this is an unfamiliar time for us all, but rest assured we are doing all we can to ensure our communities remain safe so we can return to play as soon as possible. NZRL thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work through this together over the coming weeks.

      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.”

      The Sky Sport Rugby League Roadshow will be travelling Aotearoa this year to bring the great game of rugby league to your region.

      This joint initiative between Sky Sport, New Zealand Rugby League and the Vodafone Warriors aims to make noise in the local communities about the game of rugby league and overall, encourage new player registrations.

      The Roadshows will provide local league clubs with an opportunity to have a presence at each activation to connect more directly with members of the community and find their future players.

      The first four Roadshows will take place on the local beach, with music, food, fun games, opportunities to learn football skills, run drills, play Kiwi Tag and rub shoulders with some of the game’s greats.

      There will be plenty of giveaways and spot prizes to win on the day, as well as the chance to win a meet and greet with the Kiwis and Ferns at this year’s mid-year June test.

      In addition to this, Kiwi League Kids (12 and under) who register with a club will later receive a Sky Sport starter pack which includes a brand new OPRO mouthguard, Kiwi / Ferns poster, rugby league ball and ball bag.

      NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, says: “We all want to see our local rugby league talent thrive and represent New Zealand at an international level.

      “The community game is critical to the future of rugby league in New Zealand and we are aiming to shine a spotlight on this as the new 2020 season approaches. The Roadshow also provides us with an opportunity to identify where there’s potential for more rugby league opportunities.

      “It’s exciting that we can do this as a collective with the Warriors and Sky Sport while also giving our zones, districts and local league clubs the chance to be involved.”

      The Roadshows are a free event and open to all members of the community.

       

      Upcoming Roadshows

      Gisborne | Gisborne Sound Shell | Thursday 6th February | From 12:00pm

      Whakatane | Mahy Reserve | Friday 7th February | From 4pm

      Mt Maunganui | Tay St Beach Reserve | Saturday 8th February | From 10am

      Whitianga | Moewai Sports Park | Sunday 9th February | From 10am

       

      The next Roadshow locations to be confirmed in due course.

      As seen on the Otago Daily Times

      Grant Gibson is “quite excited” to gain a New Year’s honour for his contributions to rugby league on the West Coast for more than 55 years.

      “It’s just nice to get recognised,” he said.

      Mr Gibson (78) hoped the award would also contribute to greater community awareness of rugby league and its referring, and he highlighted the positive opportunities for people wanting to try refereeing.

      Mr Gibson volunteered as a referee for West Coast Rugby League (WCRL) for 25 years, before becoming the chairman of the WCRL Referees Association, holding that post for the past 32 years.

       

      He has also served on the WCRL board since 1976, including as vice-president since 1995.

      A member of the directorate of the New Zealand Rugby League Referees from its inception in 1995, he has also remained a member of the NZRL referee training department after the directorate’s restructure.

      Appointed as the West Coast co-ordinator by NZRL in the 1990s, he still travels throughout New Zealand holding referee seminars and training courses.

      He has also been significantly involved in the development of youth rugby league in the West Coast.

      And he is the referees co-ordinator at all Southern Zone Rugby League age-group tournaments.

      Mr Gibson is a life member of the West Coast Rugby League Referees Association and West Coast Rugby League, and has received a Distinguished Service Medal from New Zealand Rugby League.

       

      The 2019 NZRL Community Award recipients have tonight been announced with Taniwharau Rugby League Club taking out NZRL Grassroots Club of the Year.

      Seventy-five years strong and situated in an area where the playing population is quickly diminishing, this has not hindered the growth of the North Waikato Club who have not only retained players but expanded in numbers and accolades across the park.

      Taniwharau’s Premier team remain undefeated after they took out the Waikato Men’s Premiership for the third year running. The club also impressively sports a team at every age group including two female grades, who due to lack of local competition travel each weekend to compete in Auckland. Taniwharau’s U18’s Girls team, coached by Mike Wilson, reigned supreme taking out the U18’s Auckland Women’s Competition which earnt them a nomination for Sport Waikato Team of the Year and Mike a nomination for Sport Waikato Coach of the Year.

      Canterbury’s Tevin Arona picked up NZRL Domestic Player of the year due to his outstanding season with the Bulls helping guide them to the NZRL Premiership final. He also Co-Captained the NZ Residents to a victory over the England Community Lions in November and represented the Cook Islands at International Nines and Test level.

      Andrew Auimatagi was awarded Domestic Coach of the Year after he coached the Canterbury Bulls to their most successful season in recent time, the Linwood Keas to their third Premiership title in a row, and also the NZ Residents to their victory against England. Andrew has been a driving force within Canterbury and the Southern Zone for a number of years and continues to give back to age-grade representative teams and coaches.

      Tokoroa’s Cassius Cowley was awarded U16s Player of the Year after a remarkable 2019 season that saw him captain the Vodafone Warriors 16s team, receive MVP of the 17s North Island Tournament, as well as MVP at the NZ16s test against Toa Samoa in October.

      Temple Kalepo was awarded U18s Player of the Year for 2019. The Ellerslie Junior made his debut for the Vodafone Warriors Jersey Flegg and Canterbury Cup team before taking the field for the Junior Kiwis against the Australian Schoolboys. He was also named in the NZ18s squad who took on France and Toa Samoa.

      Chris McMillan was awarded Match Official of the Year after he was appointed Touch Judge for all Kiwis home Test matches for the season and refereed the NZRL National Premiership final. Chris also continues to provide coaching at a grassroots level in his spare time.

      The Pirtek Volunteer of the Year Awards went to Bryarn Nuku from Omahu Huia Rugby League Club and Anaru Paul from the Hamilton City Tigers after those within their communities nominated them for their selfless dedication to their clubs.

      Bryarn kick-started junior rugby league at Omahu Huia Rugby League club which hadn’t seen a junior grade for more than 20 years. Her actions epitomise the Kiwi Way, from fundraising, transporting local kids to their games and paying for their playing fees. Anaru has held the Managers role at the Hamilton City Tigers for over five years, he was a part of two Waikato Premiership winning teams himself and has managed the current Waikato Men’s Premier squad for the last three years. He is described as a true gentleman and an extremely humble man who puts everyone involved in the game before himself.

      NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says, “It is these people that keep our game thriving whether you’re a player, coach, referee or volunteer at any level.

      “I want to thank all recipients for their dedication to what happens on the field as well as off it. These awards recognise outstanding work in our grassroots and community space and the growth of our game is a testament to them. We congratulate each recipient on their outstanding achievement.”

      The NZRL High-Performance Awards will be broadcast on Sky Sport in the new year.

      2019 NZRL Community Award Winners

      • Grassroots Club of the Year – Taniwharau
      • Domestic Coach of the Year – Andrew Auimatagi
      • Domestic Player of the Year – Tevin Arona
      • U16s Player of the Year – Cassius Cowley
      • U18s Player of the Year – Temple Kalepo
      • Match Official of the Year – Chris McMillan
      • Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year – Bryarn Nuku
      • Pirtek Male Volunteer of the Year – Anaru Paul

      A spine-tingling haka and a stand off set the tone for the much-anticipated match between the Community Lions and NZ Residents. It took 20 minutes to get the scoring underway as Connor Dwyer ran a clean line untouched through the Residents goal line defence to put first points on the board for the Community Lions.

      The NZ Residents however hit straight back capitalising on an offside penalty as co-captain Francis Leger went over to give the home side their first points making it six a piece with 15 to go.

      There were some big defensive displays by both teams throughout the half and for the majority, both teams were evenly matched in the middle, however, the Kiwis gained the upper hand and steamroll over the line in the last five to make it 12-10 at the break.

      Moving into the second half the NZ Residents displayed their dominance and scored two tries within the first 10 minutes. The first two tries were scored by Simon Luafalealo, and Penitito Llalio respectively.

      The English Community Lions proved they couldn’t be caged and bit back scoring a try as a result of the NZ Residents giving away a crucial penalty on their goal line.

      Co-captain Tevin Arona scored the final try of the match securing the win and effectively taming the English Community Lions 28 – 12.

       

      Congratulations to all prize winners and those selected for Tournament Teams at the 2019 National Youth Tournament.

      15s Grade

      15s Champions: Akarana Falcons

      15s Player of the Tournament: Keano Kini (Akarana)

      15s Final MVP: Nathaniel Tangimataiti (Akarana)

      Fair play 15s Team of the Tournament: Wellington Orcas

      Manager of the Tournament: Rachael Te Hau (South Island)

      Trainer of the Tournament: Joshua Te Aomarere (Wai-Coa-Bay)

      Coach of the Tournament: Henry Nicholas (Akarana)

      15s Tournament Team

      Nathaniel TANGIMATAITI, Akarana

      Keano KINI, Akarana

      Jayden SMITH, Akarana

      Benaiah IOELU, Akarana

      Caylis LATU, Akarana

      Taniela MAPUSUA-LOTAKI, Counties

      Francis MANULELEUA, Counties

      Ben PENI, Counties

      Salesi FOKETI, Counties

      Siamani LEULUAI, Northland

      Dalls HURRELL-JONES, South Island

      Felix FA’ATILI, South Island

      Rico TAEPA KIHI, Auckland Vulcans

      Jonte RIKIRIKI, Wai-Coa-Bay

      Joseph O’LEARY, Wai-Coa-Bay

      Jordan CHAPMAN, Wellington

      Jacob LABAN, Wellington

       

      17s Grade

      17s Champions: Counties Manukau Stingrays

      17s Player of the Tournament: Riley Pascoe (South Island)

      17s Final MVP: Ethan Faitaua (South Island)

      Fair play 17s Team of the Tournament: South Island Scorpions

      Manager of the Tournament: Marty Brown (Akarana)

      Trainer of the Tournament: Sean Witanga (Counties)

      Coach of the Tournament: Archie Jacobs (South Island)

      Referee of the Tournament: Justyne Mantagi-Lui

      Referees’ Choice Referee of the Tournament: Keven Ah-Ken

      17s Tournament Team

      Wiremu KAIRE, Akarana

      Flipo WHITEHOUSE-OPETAIA TOVIO, Auckland Vulcans

      Jarney PROCTOR-HARWOOD, Counties

      Peesi Valingi KEPU, Counties

      Otukinekina KEPU, Counties

      Jeremiah MARGRAFF, Counties

      Sheldon RAPANA, Central

      Tyson CHASE, Central

      Jacob LOWE, South Island

      Ethan FAITAUA, South Island

      Thomas CAMPBELL, South Island

      Riley PASCOE, South Island

      Tamati CHRISTIE, South Island

      Callum DONALDSON, South Island

      Jaedon WELLINGTON, South Island

      Dayna BIDOIS, Wai-Coa-Bay

      Bailey UMAKI, Wai-Coa-Bay

      Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Bryarn Nuku from Omahu Huia Rugby League Club in Hastings for being our September Volunteer of the Month.

       

      Omahu Huia hasn’t seen a Junior grade for more than 20 years, so Bryarn took it upon herself to start up the Junior division at the club, in which everyone at the club loves seeing the Juniors back up and running. “I didn’t actually realise how much effort this young lady has gone through in order to get us to where we are. She picks up all the kids for training and their games, as parents are unable to and she does this all at her own cost.” Shane, nominator.

       

      Bryarn saw the need for fundraising in her Rugby League community because most of the kids could barely afford a pair of football boots. She ran a sausage sizzle two weeks in a row in order for the club to be able to pay their fees. She also managed to organise mouth guards and ex-conditioned rugby boots for the kids to play in, as she wasn’t able to purchase brand new ones.

       

      You can always count on Bryarn to be at every game with oranges for each of the three teams. She also manages to have the ‘player of the day’ certificates organised for each game, along with chocolate bars for all the kids so that no one misses out. You’ll also see Bryarn collecting all the gear at the end of the day so that she can take them home to wash them, as well as folding all the team’s strips – fresh, clean and ready for the Juniors every Saturday morning.

       

      “This lady here is the future of Rugby League in the Hawkes Bay community.” Shane, Nominator.

       

      “Young Bryarn is another great example of the selfless people that are involved at the grassroots of Rugby League in New Zealand,” says Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek.

       

      “To instigate the club along with the extent she goes to ensuring the kids get to play, including some funding from her own pocket, is exemplary. Bryarn demonstrates the true character of Rugby League volunteers and why she should be the Pirtek volunteer of the month.”

       

      Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

      #TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

      On Sunday afternoon a very sunny and hot Pulman Park saw three international showdowns played out, showcasing the best under 18s rugby league talent across New Zealand and the rest of the world.

      First up the New Zealand Resident 16s would face the TOA Samoa 16s, a tight contest between the two nations proved Samoa was more than prepared to take on their big brother counterpart.

      New Zealand looked to be in the game after a decent first half, with tries across the field from the boys in white. Cassius Cowley and New Zealand Captain Jaedon Wellington would put the team in front going into the second half 14 – 10.

      Samoa went into the sheds trailing by four, but complacency, a lack of discipline from the New Zealand team and pure passion from the Samoans lead them to take the win over the hosts in the end 26 – 20.

      The French team who faced the New Zealand 18s earlier in the week, arrived ready to finish their tour of Aotearoa on a high, with only Auckland U19s standing in their way.

      While the first half was a grind – with France kicking a penalty on the siren to lead 14-12 at the break – the second stanza saw 38 combined points scored.

      A big second half saw Auckland U19 get past France U19 38-26 in their one-off representative clash.

       

      Fresh off the back of their win against France on Thursday, the NZ18s were keen to finish their campaign undefeated, however, if the Toa Samoa 16s performance was anything to go by, this wasn’t going to be an easy task.

      Both teams came out firing but it was NZ who capitalised on early possession to get first points on the board. That momentum, however, was short-lived as Samoa fired straight back with an overlap to the right as centre, Sam Taunga, went over for Samoa’s first points. Neither side was able to convert making the score four a piece after ten minutes

      A tackle in the air from NZ put Samoa in the lead as they took the two penalty points soon followed by a try to Vaiala Tamati off a clever cross-field kick extending their lead 12 – 4.

      NZ answered straight back as Semisi Sikei dived on a kick in goal to make it 12 – 8. Poor discipline from NZ gifted Samoa further field possession as hooker Jeremiah Schuster dived through the defensive line making it 18 – 8 at the break.

      The Kiwis had no choice but to come out firing if they were to remain in the game, and that they did, NZ opened the second half with a try to Vaka Sikahele in corner to tighten the gap to 18 – 12. Kina Kepu then steam-rolled the Samoan defence to score a great solo try making it 18 – 16 with a kick to come. Sione Moala was having a less than ideal day with the boot missing another conversion; the Kiwis still trail by two.

      The NZ forward pack were proving hard to handle breaking the Samoan defensive line two more times, yet handling errors by the Kiwis cost back to back try opportunities. NZ then caught Samoa napping and finally capitalised on their possession as Jordan Coleman scored under the posts making it 22 – 18.

      Samoa gained momentum off poor discipline from the Kiwis yet a try went begging as Samoa’s chasers were caught offside. NZ went straight back on the attack as William Fakatoumafi skillfully caught a highball and offloaded to winger Semisi Sikei who extended the Kiwis’ lead to 26 – 18.

      Fakatoumafi then defused Samoa’s last play option catching yet another high ball to run 100m untouched adding an extra four for NZ, Moala was unable to convert keeping the score 30 – 18. Feao Tongia crossed for the Kiwis eighth, and final try making it 36 – 18 at full time.

      An impressive second-half performance by the Kiwis concluded an entertaining day of footy at Auckland’s Pulman Park. Congratulations to all involved.

      https://www.facebook.com/NZLeague/videos/509277579912559/

      The National Championship final between the Wellington Orcas and the Otago Whalers set the scene on a cold afternoon at the new Canterbury Rugby League home ground, Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub. The Wellington Orcas completed a successful campaign to take the win over the Otago Whalers 38-28.

       

      Congratulations to the Wellington Orcas who have taken out the NZRL Championship with a 38-28 win over the Otago Whalers #TheKiwiWay📸 photosport.nz

      Posted by New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) on Friday, 4 October 2019

       

      The Akarana Falcons were reigning premiership champions coming into the finals, prepared to play a passionate and undefeated Canterbury Bulls team on their home turf.

       

      From the moment the whistle blew, there would be nothing between the two teams until clever play set up Captain Francis ledger’s opening try on the eighteenth minute to put first points on the board.

       

      The Bulls would soon strike back off a nice play from the outside backs. Canterbury number four, Jope Tagicakiau had a magnificent offload to teammate Regan Stanton who scored a try in the corner. Stanton again took the opportunity to score another try, proving the fine-looking left edge was a real threat to the Akarana defence, closing the gap between the teams.

       

      Akarana Hooker Josiah Afu would score before half time with a successful conversion to take the lead into the second half over Canterbury.

       

      Akarana’s number nineteen Nalu Tuigamala, was the first to score in the second half extending their lead but Ledger would miss the conversion off the posts. The match was still within reach for Canterbury at 16-10 with twenty minutes remaining. Akarana would deny the hosts any opportunity to take the lead for the rest of the match with a bombardment of tries from the visitors. Brilliant attack from Akarana created opportunities and eventually tries for Afu and Solomon Vasuvulagi.

       

      With only ten minutes to go Canterbury set up for a last-ditch attempt to attack the line. Akarana defence was tested by the do or die attitude from the Canterbury side but in the end, was no match for the reigning champs.

       

      Akarana came away with the win in the end, beating Canterbury and retain their Premiership title with a convincing win. The final score 28 – 10.

       

      Congratulations to the Akarana Falcons who have taken out the NZRL Premiership Competition with a 28-10 win over the Canterbury Bulls. #TheKiwiWay📸 photosport.nz

      Posted by New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) on Friday, 4 October 2019

       

      While Akarana hope to continue their winning streak and the Bulls work to take out the Premiership for the first time since 2014 – this 2019 final will be one to watch.

       

      Nga Puna Wai Stadium will be jam packed full of rugby league action on Saturday as the Wellington Orcas take on the Otago Whalers for the Championship at 12:30pm followed by the much anticipated clash between the on fire Bulls and reigning Premiers Akarana at 2:30pm.

       

      For those who can’t make it down to Christchurch both games will be televised live on Sky Sport #TheKiwiWay

       

      Nga Puna Wai Stadium will be jam packed full of rugby league action on Saturday as the Wellington Orcas take on the…

      Posted by New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) on Wednesday, 2 October 2019

      It was a scrappy match up today as Waikato 20s met the traveling France U19s in wet conditions at the foot of the Hakarimatas in Ngaruawahia.

      Tensions were high after the conclusion of La Marseillaise and the Waikato Haka with France starting in high gear with two back to back tries. Waikato would bite back with their own successive tries to take the lead into half time 16 – 12.

      Midway through the second half, try scorer Waikato number five Arama Moana, was sent to the bin with a high tackle. With one less man on the field Waikato number nineteen, Te Wakaroa Tonga scored a try after a strong defensive display on the Waikato try line.

      Unfortunately for Waikato, the inspiration didn’t last long, France was on the comeback. French sixteen Lima scored his second try of the match, followed by a try from Dorce-Hantz sealing the deal for France.

      France beat Waikato 28-18 in the end. The real test for the French comes Thursday when they take on the New Zealand Resident 18s in Rotorua.

       

      Friday 27 September 2019 – Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch

      Canterbury Invitation XIII vs. France U19s; 5pm kick off

       

      Monday 30 September 2019 – Ngaruawahia, Waikato

      Waikato 20s vs. France U19s; 4pm kick off

       

      Thursday 3 October 2019 – International Stadium, Rotorua

      New Zealand Resident 18s vs. France U19s; 6:30 kick off

       

      Sunday 6 October 2019 – Pulman Park, Auckland

      New Zealand Resident 16s vs. TOA 16s; 10:30am

      Auckland 19s vs. France U19s; 12:15pm

      New Zealand Resident 18s vs. TOA 18s; 2:00pm

       

       

       

      Grassroots rugby league will be given a huge boost when the England Community Lions and Country Rugby League of New South Wales both tour New Zealand in October this year.

      The tours will provide opportunities for New Zealand players to take on the visiting teams with the matches involving the Community Lions being broadcast live on SKY Sport.

      The England Community Lions will kick off their first-ever New Zealand tour with a match against a North Island Championship Selection at Owen Delany Park in Taupo on October 24.

      They’ll then feature against the New Zealand Māori Residents XIII team at the New Zealand Māori Rugby League National Tuakana Tournament in Rotorua on Sunday, October 27, with a third match to be announced soon.

      The Country Rugby League of NSW team will play the same North Island Championship Selection taking on the Community Lions at the NZRL Youth Tournament at Pukerawhero Park in Rotorua on October 8, followed by an encounter with the Rockcote Canterbury Bulls at the new Christchurch home of rugby league, Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub, on October 12.

      “This is extremely exciting for our local game,” said NZRL CEO Greg Peters.

      “With the Community Lions’ games being televised live, these matches will attract national audiences and further showcase the undeniable regional talent we have on offer. We’re very thankful to SKY Sport for their ongoing support.

      “Going forward we’re looking to provide more regular opportunities to further enhance the quality of our grassroots game for both our men’s and women’s teams, as well as for international teams wanting to make the trip down under.

      “We’re thrilled that our local game will be showcased nationwide during a busy international calendar. It’s an exciting time for rugby league at all levels.”

      Rugby Football League international manager Alan Davidson said: “There is a buzz around the squad who are all eager to travel and challenge themselves against very good opposition.

      “As the England Community Lions are made up of amateur players from across the country, having the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world is something that doesn’t come around too often.

      “This is the first time the Community Lions have toured New Zealand and the players are looking forward to not only the caliber of games lined up but also the chance to be able to experience the Kiwi culture and visit different places across the country.”

      Country Rugby League of NSW CEO Terry Quinn said his organization was looking forward to the upcoming tour and the benefits it will bring.

      “This is the first time Country Rugby League will tour New Zealand with our Men’s Under-23’s Representative side so we are extremely excited,” Quinn said.

      “This is a wonderful opportunity for some of the brightest talent in regional New South Wales to showcase their skill and compete against players they wouldn’t normally compete against, as well as experience a different culture.

      “The relationship we have with the New Zealand Rugby League is one we are hoping to continue for many years, and this tour is a fantastic opportunity for Australian and New Zealand Rugby League to unite.”

       

      🐍 Congratulations to the following Men who have been selected from the North Island Championship competition to play in…

      Posted by Mid Central Zone Rugby League on Tuesday, 24 September 2019

      Teams from Wellington, Auckland, Mid-Central, Upper Central, South Island and Northern Zones will compete for the 2019 15s and 17s National Youth Tournament titles, October 8-12 at Puketawhero Park, Rotorua.

      To keep up with the draw and results please click here 

       

      Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Pam Haua from the Randwick Kingfishers for being our August Volunteer of the Month.

      Pam is the Junior delegate for the Randwick Kingfishers and is considered the “face of the small junior committee”. She is the junior coaches’ and managers’ go-to person when it comes to anything they need assistance with. Pam’s contribution is key to the success of the Junior club’s registrations, tournaments and prize giving.

      Prior to the 2019 season starting, Pam started collecting registrations and even had a table set up for Junior registrations at a local Naenae community event, she also went out of her way to collect registrations in Taita – showing her dedication to the growth of the game and club in her community.

      During the season, the Randwick Kingfishers hosted juniors one Saturday – Pam and her husband wore bright bibs and were out on the field helping teams, ensuring that everyone was aware of the time they were playing and where they were needed to be. This is not an easy job for two people, with five different age groups playing at one venue over one day. The club received comments from other clubs who mentioned that it was a well hosted day.

      Pam was responsible for hosting the entire Junior prize-giving night and kept all teams well informed on the details of the event. She also kept all the volunteers in the loop right from the start of the season up until the final event.

      “You can tell she is someone who knows what needs to happen in the background to have things run smoothly. Pam also knows what’s required for things to be made easy for coaches, managers and families in order for our kids to get out there and play the game we all love,” said Peggy, nominator.

      Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek, said: “Pam certainly covers a multitude of roles (along with husband Kevin), and demonstrates the true character of a volunteer. Maintaining that sort of commitment to the game we love shows the valued integrity and work ethic that Pam displays and that is why she deserves to be the Pirtek Volunteer of the Month.”

      Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s September Volunteer of the Month.

      Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

      #TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

      New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the New Zealand Residents team will play against the England Community Lions on November 1st at Trusts Arena in Auckland.

      The game will be televised live on SKY Sport and is set to Kick off at 6:35pm.

      The Residents squad will make up the best from the NZRL National Men’s competition, taking place from September 14th to October 5th. This match will showcase New Zealand’s highest quality grassroots players as they take on England’s best community names.

      The sought after fixture will be the closing bout of the first-ever England Community Lions tour down under. The England Community Lions will also come up against a North Island Championship Selection at Owen Delany Park in Taupo on October 24 and the New Zealand Māori Residents XIII team in Rotorua on Sunday, October 27. All games will be televised live on SKY Sport.

      Greg Peters, CEO of NZRL, says this fixture will further showcase the undeniable regional talent on offer.

      “Our National Men’s competition brings out the best of our grassroots talent from up and down the country and now that we’re adding in the Residents selection as something else to play for, the standard of the competition will only increase.

      “It’s extremely exciting, not only for the players but for the game in general. The more opportunities we give to our local players, the better the game gets and to come up against an international side is a bonus. The Community Lions tour in itself is a great milestone for our game, now coupled with the inclusion of the Residents match – our game is in an exciting place.”

      The first weekend of November will be jam-packed with New Zealand Rugby League action at all levels, as the Residents take on the England Community Lions on Friday 1st closely followed by the much-anticipated clash between the Great Britian Lions and Kiwis on Saturday 2nd November.

      The NZRL Residents squad will be announced at the conclusion of the NZRL National Men’s Competition.

      Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Georgina Peters from Papakura Sea Eagles / Sisters for being our July Pirtek Volunteer of the Month.

      Georgina has been integral to the re-opening of Papakura playgroups and is the parent champion; without her, a lot of Papakura’s players wouldn’t be able to train.

      Playgroups is an NZRL initiative where anyone can bring their children (5-0) along to their community club room for a safe place to play with their parents at designated times throughout the week.

      Papakura’s playgroup operates for three hours in the evening from 5.30pm until 8.30pm, twice a week, each Tuesday and Thursday. After a hard long day at work, Georgina volunteers her time to run Papakura’s playgroup, which has roughly 10 to 20 kids and families every session.

      Not only does she set up and run each playgroup, she also goes above and beyond feeding everyone that attends, as well as the women’s team. Some of her meals include mince stew, boil up and curried sausages – all hearty Kiwi meals that take a bit of pressure off the parents and keep the kids full.

      The Papakura Sisters (Papakura’s women’s team) say the playgroup has immensely contributed to the success of their team, due to the immense amount of stress it takes off, allowing them to focus on training for a couple of hours.

      Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek said: “Georgina is the type of person Rugby League relies on in New Zealand. Like all volunteers, she gives up her own time to help support the game. The playgroup is a great initiative and it’s great to see the support for the women’s teams. Another deserving winner of the Pirtek Volunteer of the Month. Congratulations Georgina.”

       

      Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s August Volunteer of the Month.

      Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

      #TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

      Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Anaru Paul from Hamilton City Tigers, for being our June Pirtek Volunteer of the Month.

      Anaru’s leadership has seen rugby league in the Waikato thrive. Anaru has held the managers’ position at Hamilton City Tigers for over five years and played a crucial role in winning two Waikato Grand Finals. He’s also been the Waikato Men’s Premier manager for the last three years, which as a result, has seen the District promoted from the Championship to the Premiership competition in 2016, reach the Grand Final in 2017 and retain their spot in the 2019 Premier Competition with a win against Northland in 2018.

      Anaru intended on stepping down from club responsibilities at the end of 2018 to focus his efforts on Waikato. With many people unavailable to fill the role, Anaru has stayed with the club, albeit unofficial to his wife!

      Anaru’s dedication to his community extends well beyond his involvement with the Tigers. With Resthills being the main playing venue for most of the Hamilton-based clubs; Hukanui, College Old Boys, Hamilton Hornets and Hamilton City Tigers, there are often six or more teams playing on just two fields every Saturday.

      When the players from all clubs arrive on a Saturday to see the goalposts up and the lines on the field drawn, they have Anaru to thank. Fourteen days and nights he commits himself to the club, district and game (Premiers), not including the hours he’s involved with the Youth grades.

      Anaru’s dedication to his community and the great game of rugby league has not gone unnoticed, and as a result, there are now generations of Paul’s at the club with all his boys having played for Tigers Premiers, some for Waikato, and now Grandkids wearing the club colours.

      “He is a true gentleman and an incredibly humble man who puts everyone involved in the game before himself.” David McMeeken, nominator.

      Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek says “It’s people like Anaru that keep the grassroots game thriving and it’s clear the impact of his leadership is felt far and wide. On behalf of the team at Pirtek, we’d like to thank Anaru for his dedication to the game and congratulate him on being our well-deserved June volunteer of the month.”

       

      Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s July Volunteer of the Month.

      Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

      #TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

      Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Alan Utanga from the Pacific Sharks Rugby League Club, Tokoroa, for being our May Pirtek Volunteer of the Month.

      Over the last 20-years, Alan has gone above and beyond for his league club. He was nominated by Richard and Gen McNamara who had nothing but good things to say. They described Alan as a humble person with an amazing passion for the game whose impact is felt by many on and off the field.

      “Over the past two decades, Alan has worked closely with men he once trained as boys and continues to build their potential. Alan’s involvement may seem to go unnoticed to many, even to himself, being a humble individual. But his dedication to ensuring team safety both on and off the field never goes unseen.” Richard says.

      “Even with the players and their post-game antics, Alan is always readily available to sober drive and keep the team safe. I have seen Alan offer exceptional advice, help and support to generations of boys playing under 13’s, to now playing senior league, coaching or better yet currently playing NRL. He’s also a growing ref for our younger age levels and has vast knowledge and passion for the women’s league. It is an ongoing privilege to see Alan give his time, energy and efforts week in, week out, season after season. He has helped shape a lot of boys into amazing men playing rugby league.”

      “I hope my son is fortunate enough to be taught by Alan, as my brothers and I were.” Richard concludes.

      Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek says “Alan’s commitment to the game of rugby league is outstanding and his ability to transfer and share his knowledge of the game to generations of players is a credit to him.”

      “With safety a priority at Pirtek, we appreciate Alan’s commitment to team safety on and off the field. His ability to cross over with support to all aspects of the game within the Pacific Sharks makes Alan an indispensable asset to the game for Tokoroa and for New Zealand.”

      Nominations are now open for Pirtek’s June Volunteer of the Month.

      Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

       

      #TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

       

      Sir Peter Leitch invites you to a buffet luncheon in support of Quentin Pongia’s family after he sadly lost his battle with cancer. With our M.C. former Vodafone Warrior and Kiwi Jerry Seuseu, come join us for interviews with Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki and Stephen Kearney, plus a special auction. All proceeds on the day will go to towards Quentin’s two-year-old daughter, Maia.

      Click here for tickets. 

      Event details:

      • Friday, 7th June at the Ellerslie Event Centre (Auckland Racing Club)
      • Tickets $200.00 per person; each ticket includes a buffet  meal, beer, wine and soft drinks
      • Doors Open 12.00pm – Mix & Mingle with some of the greats of our game
      • Luncheon commences 1.00pm
      • Dress code is ‘Smart Casual’
      • For any further enquiries contact Natalie Stol at [email protected] or phone 09-522-3805

      Thank you for your support.

      Sir Peter Charles Leitch KNZM QSM

      On the eve of ANZAC Day, New Zealand Defence Force Rugby League the have gifted NZRL with a signed jersey from the charity match played at Iraq’s Camp Taji between the NZDF and Australian Defence Force in 2018.

       

      Thank you to the New Zealand Defence Force Rugby League for donating a signed jersey from the charity match played at Iraq’s Camp Taji between the NZDF and Australian Defence Force.#TheKiwiWay 🇳🇿

      Posted by New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) on Tuesday, 23 April 2019

       

      In a charity league match held on a sweltering ANZAC Day in 2018, New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel beat their Australian counterparts 32-20.

      “Both teams played with passion, despite the heat and the hard surface they had to play on. It was all good fun and for a good cause, and the camaraderie was great,” Task Group Taji’s Regimental Sergeant Major said.

      The charity league match raised US$2,373 (about NZ$3,350) for the New Zealand Fallen Heroes Trust, an organisation that provides support for the families of military personnel killed or injured on operations overseas, and US$2,638(about NZ$3,720) for Legacy Australia, an Australian charity supporting families of service personnel.

      About 100 New Zealand and 300 Australian troops comprise Task Group Taji, the combined New Zealand-Australian training mission which has trained around 34,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel since May 2015.

      Tuesday 9th April 2019 will signal the end of an era for one of Rugby Leagues longest serving members. The 104th Annual General Meeting of West Coast Rugby League will see Peter Kerridge MNZM stand down from the Presidency/Chairmanship which he has held since 1997, thus completing 22 years as Chair, the longest-serving person in that role. During this time Peter also undertook the role of honorary secretary from 2002, doing both roles for 17 years.

      Peter started off his involvement in rugby league in the Kohinoor clubs’ midgets in 1948 and was a ball boy for the senior team which was coached by his father. From there he went on to play for Marist school, Greymouth moving through the ranks and on to captaincy of the Marist U18’s and then the Senior B team. He represented the West Coast in these grades. He also became an executive member and treasurer of the Marist club.

      Peter left Marist to join the Referees Association and gave 20 years’ service refereeing every Saturday(schoolboys) and Sunday (adults). He held most of the executive positions in the Referees Association at one time or another and was awarded Life Membership in 1986.

      He was secretary/publicity officer of the West Coast Rugby League supporters club for 30 years organising functions, raising funds, launching and organising the annual player of the year award.

      Apart from all the work associated with these roles he also has oversight of Wingham Park, headquarters of the game on the West Coast. Peters participation in working bees at Wingham Park started alongside his father back in the 1950’s. Through all of this involvement, Peter has accepted no payment or honorarium for any of his contributions to the game.

      In addition to his roles with West Coast Rugby League, Peter has been awarded Life Membership not only of West Coast Rugby League (2006) but NZ Rugby League (2007). He was awarded Member NZ Order of Merit MNZM in the New Year’s Honours in 2007. He was an NZRL Board member from 2007-2009, Chairman of the South Island Rugby Leagues Committee 2005-2006 and a Board member of the Canterbury/West Coast Sports Trust from 2005-2007.

      Rugby league in general, and the West Coast in particular have benefitted from the professional skills and personal qualities of a professional who held one of the biggest jobs on the West Coast, for some 20 years managing the regions public hospitals and allied services.  He is in constant demand within the rugby league fraternity and beyond for his professional expertise and deep knowledge of the game and its history.

      A longstanding feature of Peters contribution to rugby league is his articles that have been published in programmes, magazines, and newspapers. He has compiled histories from local clubs and West Coast Rugby League. At the present point in time, he is working on the Brunner clubs’ book for their centennial. A major history of West Coast Rugby League awaits completion.

      Peter is highly respected for his rugby league input as he is available 24/7 despite other demands on his time as a family man and his wider community roles. Most notable however is the consensus, in and outside of the game, that West Coast rugby league has survived in such difficult times because of the extraordinary contribution by Peter.

      Whilst relinquishing the Chairman’s role, Peter will not be lost to the game that he has given so much of his life to. He will continue to support and to offer his time and experience where required. He will however now be able to spend more time working on the many projects that he has wanted to complete.

       

       

      As seen on warriors.kiwi by Kelly Armitage

      Hundreds of Greymouth school students and locals turned out at New Zealand Rugby League and Vodafone Warriors community events this week, with NRL players Eliesa Katoa and Jackson Frei and the club’s community relations team visiting the South Island town.

      Sunday’s skills and drills session at the Greymouth Rugby League Open Day for 5-13 year olds was popular, with more than 100 children attending.  The players took children for different activities, giving them tips and tricks, and practising basic rugby league skills.  Later that day a development training session was held for aspiring rugby league players aged 15-18 years old.

      Following Sunday’s session with the players’ involvement, the community team held ACC SportSmart visits at three local schools with more than 300 local school children at Grey Main School, Paroa School and Greymouth High School.  The SportSmart programme teaches children how to do sport well so they can perform well, have fun and avoid injuries, setting them up with the knowledge and skills they need for life-long participation in sport and recreation.

      The programme is designed to incorporate important aspects of wellbeing that are vital to professional athletes for top performance and also how our children can include this into their daily routines. The school visits have a focus on hydration, sleep and encouraging a strong sense of belonging.

      Community Relations Manager Petrece Kesha said the Greymouth visit was a real success. “We know how much Greymouth locals love their rugby league, and it’s always so great coming down here – we know the Vodafone Warriors have a lot of fans in the town and we always get the warmest of welcomes.

      “It’s really special being able to connect with communities like Greymouth and bring players in to the town to encourage young athletes and aspiring rugby league players, not only teaching them skills relevant to the game, but also incorporating really important messages about personal wellbeing too.

      “Furthermore, both Jackson and Eliesa have never been to Greymouth and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, spending time with locals and sharing their knowledge and experience,” she said.

      Representatives from New Zealand Rugby League including Community Programme Liaison Manager, Ani Cherrington, and Women’s Development and Welfare Manager Luisa Avaiki, who is also the coach of the Warriors women’s team in the NRL took part in the sessions too. Kesha said NZRL’s West Coast Rugby League Development Officer Paddy Byrne was instrumental in organising the trip.

      New Zealand Rugby League is spearheading a new career pathways and wellbeing programme alongside Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

      Led by NZRL General Manager of Football and Wellbeing Nigel Vagana, the programme launched this week.

      Vagana says finding shared pathways within New Zealand is a key part of the NZRL’s new approach to supporting league players here.

      “Between the NZRL, the Vodafone Warriors and Fire and Emergency NZ we identified an opportunity that really showcased the benefits of all of our organisations.”

      “We want to provide a pathway for our players, we obviously share some common attributes in regards to fitness but also in the community.

      “This is the first of it’s kind in New Zealand and we are very excited to ensure it continues.”

      Vodafone Warriors Welfare and Education manager Jerry Seuseu highlighted the importance of ensuring players from all grades were able to find careers outside football.

      “This is a vital part of maintaining balance for players and to be able to provide yet another pathway is incredible,” he says.

      “It’s great to see how quickly the programme has been able to be set up and we’re already getting players, both men and women, through.”

      Vagana credited former Warrior Talite Liavaa for playing a key part in getting the programme set up.
      Liavaa, Warrior #71, played 11 games between 1999 and 2000 and is now an accomplished firefighter and station officer.

      Georgia Hale, Lorina Papali’i, Luisa Avaiki and Donald Tony attended the first session of the programme alongside Vagana and Seuseu.

      Liavaa says it’s great to see the link between football and Fire and Emergency created. Former New Zealand Rugby Black Fern Rochelle Martin MNZM has echoed those sentiments.

      “This is something that hopefully has great appeal for more codes and sports, there are obvious links between the sporting and emergency services communities and it would be great to see this expand.”

      The programme itself is an introduction to fire-fighting and the services that Fire and Emergency provides. Ultimately players are able to work with a mentor to go through the recruitment process and, if successful, join the ranks of Fire and Emergency NZ.

      NZRL CEO Greg Peters says the vision of the programme is to help find careers for players but also to encourage younger players to see there is a life outside football.

      “We want to ensure that our players, through all grades, can see that there are opportunities for them to play football and have a career at the same time,” Peters says.

      “Partnering with Fire and Emergency NZ is one initiative we are very proud to have kicked off.

      “This is just the beginning, we are constantly working to bring these opportunities to fruition for the betterment of the game and our players across the country.”

      Sir Peter Leitch invites you to a buffet luncheon to support Quentin Pongia to raise funds to help him in his fight to battle cancer. With our M.C. former Vodafone Warrior and Kiwi Jerry Seuseu, come join us for interviews with Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki and Stephen Kearney, plus a special auction. All proceeds on the day will go to the Quentin Pongia Trust.

      Click here for tickets. 

      Event details:

      • Friday, 7th June at the Ellerslie Event Centre (Auckland Racing Club)
      • Tickets $200.00 per person; each ticket includes a buffet  meal, beer, wine and soft drinks
      • Doors Open 12.00pm – Mix & Mingle with some of the greats of our game
      • Luncheon commences 1.00pm
      • Dress code is ‘Smart Casual’
      • For any further enquiries contact Natalie Stol at [email protected] or phone 09-522-3805

      Thank you for your support.

      Sir Peter Charles Leitch KNZM QSM

       

       

      As seen on NRL.com by Senior Reporter Margie McDonald

       

      Martin Taupau has the chance to do his bit and support his New Zealand brothers and sisters when Manly play the Warriors in Christchurch later in March.

      But that is round three. Taupau’s first focus is on the Roosters at Lottoland on Sunday in round two.

      However, the scenes and consequences of the mosque shootings in Christchurch last Friday have jolted Taupau into thinking of next week’s visit.

      He has been watching and listening at the outpouring of emotion from nations worldwide. And it makes his chest swell.

      “It makes me not only proud to be a New Zealander but proud to be a human being,” Taupau said on Monday.

      “There’s so much love going on around the world in support that gives me a lot of faith in humanity at the moment.

      “It’s a great sign with world leaders, movie stars, other influential people and sporting leaders of every capacity have come out in support. It’s awesome.”

      Tapau was born and bred in south Auckland, but events like last Friday immediately unite the South and North islands.

      “New Zealanders are New Zealanders. We’re all from one mother.”

       

       

      That explains in part his anxiety to get back home for the round three game at Christchurch’s ANZ Stadium.

      “It will great for us to get in among the community and show our support not just as a club but also as the NRL.

      “It’s hard, it’s a very sensitive subject to talk about, not just for there but for everyone globally.

      “It’s very sad and you feel lost for words.”

      Manly and the Warriors are sure to make their presence felt in the local community and try to spread some kinship and friendship.

      But first, the Roosters. The premiers are coming off a loss, which is never an easy scenario to face.

      “It’s perfect for us to play them at Lottoland. It’s our ground so hopefully we get the support out and not the torrential rain,” Taupau said.

      The Sea Eagles will be without Addin Fonua-Blake after he copped a one-match ban after being charged for two dangerous tackles in the 20-6 loss to the Wests Tigers last Saturday.

      Fonua-Blake was the highest metre-eater for the Sea Eagles with 198 metres.

      “It’s hard but we’ve definitely got the muscle with Kelepi [Tanginoa] back [injured knee in Sharks trial] and Jake [Trbojevic] on fire as well. Jake can do a million tackles and get up and not look fatigued at all. Same with Api Koroisau,” Taupau said.

      “Our defence was astronomical. It was awesome compared with the last three years. Our defensive structure was there – the intent, just everything. It all came into place.”

       

       

      Trbojevic agreed the defence was resolute against the Tigers but it only lasted for three-quarters of the game.

      “I guess we put ourselves under too much pressure [with errors] which got us in the end,” he said.

      “Our defence was good and that gave us a lot of confidence. But you can’t keep putting yourselves under that sort of pressure and come away with a win.

      “They kept getting repeat set, repeat set on our errors and penalties.”

      Trbojevic’s clash with Roosters No.13 Victor Radley will be a key head-to-head contest this Saturday.

      “He is great to watch and does everything at 100 miles an hour. He has great impact so any team will have to watch him,” he said.

       

       

       

      Notice of 2019 AGM: The Masters of Rugby League New Zealand Incorporated will be holding their AGM at 10am Sunday 7 April 2019 at Cornwall Park.

       

       

       

      There are two Selected Executive Committee vacancies for the Masters of Rugby League New Zealand Incorporated as determined by a revised constitution registered with the Incorporated Societies on the 21st February 2019.

       

      Please forward your expressions of interest by email to [email protected] by no later than 4pm on Friday the 29 March 2019. Please include a bio outlining your experience and suitability for the role with your email.

       

       

       

      NZRL would like to outline significant recent changes that have been made, or are in the process of being made, to the Governance of Masters of Rugby League NZ (an Associate Member of NZRL). This is to ensure that the communication is consistent on this matter.

      Background
      In 2018 NZRL responded to feedback from the game, with respect to the current status of the Masters of Rugby League NZ (MoRLNZ).
      The NZRL Board discussed this matter on a number of occasions and in early 2019 a letter was sent to MoRLNZ requesting that:

      • The current constitution be reviewed and updated to a more modern version, including membership criteria that is more representative of its membership of Masters’ Clubs in New Zealand.

      • A Special General Meeting be called to adopt the changes to the Constitution prior to the AGM.

      • MoRLNZ disestablish the existing Executive Committee and allow for a democratic process to appoint Executive Committee members in accordance with the new Constitution.

      • 2019 annual accounts are prepared.

      • The AGM is convened prior to 31 March 2019.

      • MoRLNZ and NZRL to work together to agree a Memorandum of Understanding as provided for in NZRL’s Constitution.
      Subsequent progress

       

      NZRL has received a positive response from MoRLNZ and the Association is working hard to meet all the requirements set out by NZRL. This includes:
      • An SGM was held in February, 2019 and the a new Constitution was approved, which is now available online at the Incorporated Societies website.

      • Districts Masters Associations will now have the opportunity to become full voting members as part of the new Constitution.

      • The revamped Constitution provides a full explanation of the transitional and future membership and Executive Committee structures.

      • The new Executive Committee will be made up of four Elected members and three Selected members.

      • As part of the three Selected members, NZRL will appoint one NZRL Board representative.

      • The remaining two Selected members will be appointed to the Executive Committee by way of an independent appointments panel. This will take place either before or following the AGM, now scheduled for late March/early April.

       

      NZRL is committed to continuing to work closely with various Masters’ stakeholders to ensure a positive outcome for all NZ Masters teams, whereby a united approach is achieved with ONE Masters Association.

       

       

       

      It was a trip down memory lane for Kiwis hooker Brandon Smith, and a once in a lifetime experience for 48 kids at the Waiheke Island Holiday Blast.

      A Waiheke Rams junior, Smith has in recent years become a key part of the Melbourne Storm’s NRL side and a capped Kiwi international.

      This week marked the first time the Auckland Rugby League has taken its school holiday programme to the island, and Smith said as soon as he found out it coincided with his visit to Waiheke, he was keen to be part of it.

      “What stood out to me was the attendance, to see so many happy faces, it reminded me of when I was a junior,” Smith said.

      “I loved being here at the rugby league club when I was younger, so just seeing the amount of kids with smiles on their faces, you can tell they are having a really good time.”

      Smith spoke to the attendees and took part in activities with them, and believed the programme was a great way to grow rugby league.

      “This is something that can help grow the sport moving forward on the island,” he said.

      “I gave up my time because I really want to help rugby league grow here in New Zealand, not just on Waiheke, and I believe it starts from grassroots rugby league.”

      Auckland Rugby League CEO Greg Whaiapu said it was great to see a local player giving back to his community.

      “For Brandon to do this and spend his free time helping the next generation of Auckland footy players, speaks volumes about the person he is,” Whaiapu said.

      “It’s always special to meet your sporting heroes, and even better when they come from the same club you are playing at.

      “We are very grateful for Brandon’s time and effort – he’s left a bunch of kids with an experience they will never forget.”

      Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Honey Hireme reign supreme at the 2018 New Zealand Rugby League Annual Awards announced on Sky Sport’s Kiwi League Show tonight.

      Waerea-Hargreaves (Kiwi #755) had one of his best seasons in the black and white jersey, accumulating over 130 run metres for all four end-of-season Test matches in England, and proved crucial in the Kiwis historic 26-24 win over Australia.

      Michael Maguire says: “As a senior player within the Kiwis camp, Jared put a lot of time into discussing the growth of the Kiwi team. He has immense passion towards where he wants to see the black and white jersey and this is a real quality of his,”

      “Off the back of his brilliant season in club land, he was in a good position to play his best footy for the Kiwis and that’s exactly what he did. His experience has been invaluable in mentoring younger players to step up into international rugby league,” Maguire says.

      The powerhouse prop capped off his 2018 NRL season with his second NRL premiership win, a title he was able to share with Kiwis teammate Joseph Manu (finalist for Kiwis Rookie of the Year).

      In one of the biggest years to date for women’s rugby league, Honey Hireme was hard to go past when it came to crowning the Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year, an award she won back in 2012. As co-captain of the Kiwi Ferns alongside veteran teammate Laura Mariu, she crossed the ditch to play for the St George Illawarra Dragons in the inaugural NRL Women’s Premiership, an experience she says has benefitted her game.

      “The addition of this year’s NRL competition was great for the women’s game. The fact that we could all come together in Kiwi Ferns camp following four weeks of competing in the elite space, was hugely beneficial when it came to pulling on the black and white jersey against the Jillaroos,”

      “The more we can play at the top level, the better our game gets. I’m grateful for receiving this award but would also like to recognise the efforts of the other finalists (Kimiora Nati and Aieshaleigh Smalley) and our Kiwi Ferns teammates, my family for their undying support, management and coaching staff,” she says.

      The Kiwis Rookie of the Year award was picked up by Kiwi #810 Ken Maumalo, a player who earnt his Kiwis call-up in June at Mile High Stadium before going on to play in all five 2018 Kiwis Test matches, scoring four tries. His impressive season with the Warriors and Kiwis attracted high praises from coach Michael Maguire and rightfully so, given he amassed 15 tackle breaks and 801 run metres over the three Tests he played against England.

      “Both Ken and Jared are two players that are hungry for the Kiwis jersey to reach new heights and that’s pleasing,”

      “It has been really enjoyable coaching Ken, the more he plays, the more he grows so I look forward to seeing what he does next year,” Maguire says.

      Joining Maumalo in playing her first Test at international level, Onjeurlina Leiataua has been rewarded for her break out season with the Warriors women’s team, and the stellar part she played in the Kiwi Ferns narrow loss against the Jillaroos at Mt Smart Stadium this year. These achievements saw her pick up Kiwi Ferns Rookie of the Year.

      Promising youngster, Isaiah Papali’i wins Junior Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, having been awarded Warriors Rookie of the Year and receiving his Kiwis debut in England after leading the Junior Kiwis in their match-up against the Junior Kangaroos in October.

      This year’s award winners showcase players and match officials performing at the pinnacle of rugby league, as well as community representatives and volunteers who prove to be the backbone of grassroots rugby league in New Zealand.

      New Zealand Rugby League wishes to congratulate the award winners from all 13 categories below:

      Pirtek Female Volunteer – Karen Gibbons Karen Gibbons (Akarana, Auckland)

      Pirtek Male Volunteer – Lawrence Erihe (Mid Central, Manawatu)

      Grassroots Club of the Year – South Pacific Raiders (Southern, Otago)

      Domestic Coach of the Year – Keith Hanley (Akarana, Auckland)

      Match Official of the Year – Paki Parkinson (Upper Central, Bay of Plenty)

      NZ 16s Player of the Year – Sione Moala (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      NZ 18s Player of the Year – Tyler Slade (NZ Warriors)

      Domestic Premier Player of the Year – Francis Leger (Akarana, Auckland)

      Kiwi Fern Rookie of the Year – Onjeurlina Leiataua (NZ Warriors)

      Kiwis Rookie of the Year – Ken Maumalo (NZ Warriors)

      Kiwis Fern Player of the Year – Honey Hireme (St George Illawarra Dragons)

      Kiwis Player of the Year – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters)

      He’s known to most as ‘The Mad Butcher,’ but what many may not know about Sir Peter Leitch, is just how much he has done for rugby league and the sport’s community in New Zealand.

      It’s hard to remember a Kiwis Test match where Sir Peter Leitch wasn’t present and when it comes to Warriors games, he’s basically a walking billboard who pulls people from all walks of life into the game to get a taste of being a part of the rugby league whanau.

      Many can recognise the unique ability rugby league has to unite and empower communities, and those people who make that possible very rarely want the accolades to show for their hard work. Sir Peter Leitch is one of those special people who inject rugby league with life and purpose but he is quick to point out that he “doesn’t do it for the awards.”

      At the Kiwis reunion recently, NZRL Chairman Reon Edwards presented Sir Peter Leitch with a special recognition pounamu taonga to honour his tireless contributions to rugby league that dates back to the 1970s.

      “Sir Peter has touched the lives of so many people within the NZRL community,”

      “Whether it’s assisting league communities with fundraising or helping individuals who may not otherwise have the resources to reach their goals, he generously gives his time and money to support those in need without expecting anything in return and has done for many years,” Edwards says.

      Leitch began his association with league through the Mangere East Hawks in Auckland during the 1970s before becoming involved with NZRL, the Kiwis and Warriors.

      He was NZRL patron from 2011 to 2017, manager of the Kiwis’ successful 2005 Tri-Nations campaign and the Warriors have even retired the No. 19 jersey in his honour.

      It’s safe to say his efforts go beyond the usual life membership criteria, his kind gestures purely done for the love of rugby league and its people.

      “My newsletter (Mad Butcher’s Club weekly newsletter) has been going for almost 20 years now and just like everything I do, it’s for the game and the people within it,”

      “I was humbled to receive the pounamu in front of the 2018 Kiwis team and a room full of Kiwis legends that have also given their lives to the game,” Leitch says.

      His passion for rugby league is infectious and New Zealand Rugby League wishes to thank Sir Peter Leitch for all that he has done for the game of rugby league in New Zealand.

      ABOUT NEW ZEALAND RUGBY LEAGUE:

      Rugby league has played a significant part in New Zealand sport for over 100 years. Formed in 1910, New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is the governing body for the sport of rugby league in New Zealand. The NZRL catchment is divided into seven zones that service the grassroots needs of the game. These zones compete in the National Championship, as well as women’s, youth and schools’ competitions.

      NZRL manages the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns who are both currently ranked number two in the world. NZRL is not just about success on the field – it is also charged with caring for a community off-field, promoting the values of integrity, respect, leadership, courage and passion. The “more than just a game” philosophy has seen NZRL establish innovative social development programmes using rugby league to help communities improve their lives off the field.

      PURPOSE OF THE ROLE

      You will be the key driver in supporting the community / grassroots game through adopting a proactive can-do approach to assisting the Zones and Districts in the delivery of the game as well as ensuring regular communication from NZRL to the game on Community Programmes and initiatives which you will be responsible for developing and implementing.

      You will develop resources and implement sustainable best practice processes with the objective of increasing overall participation and consumers of the game of rugby league in New Zealand as well as building strong relationships with the zones / district personnel to inform and maintain national alignment and consistency across all NZRL Community Programmes.

      You will also be the primary contact within NZRL for the operational relationship with external funders and Government agencies as well as helping to secure funding from potential new funding partners for the Community Game.

      KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND CAPABILITIES

      • A fundamental understanding of Community Sport and ideally experience within Rugby League.
      • Outstanding relationship management skills and experience with diverse stakeholders.
      • Proven background with successfully managing internal and external stakeholder relationships that have been critical to the achievement of targets.
      • Understanding of community sport funding processes and developing programmes that can attract investment from external agencies is preferred.
      • Experience developing and delivering both strategic and operational plans.
      • A team player who can work in a collaborative and supportive manner.
      • Excellent project management and administrative competency
      • Willingness to take ownership and be accountable for results

      This is an exciting opportunity to support the community / grassroots game and increase overall participation and consumers of rugby league in New Zealand.

      Download Job Description

      APPLICATION CLOSING DATE – Friday 14th December, 2018

      Click here to apply 

      Global Elite Sports (www.globalelitesports.com) have been contracted by New Zealand Rugby League to manage the recruitment process for this appointment. Please contact Richard Stenhouse – Managing Director ([email protected]) for more information or to submit your application here.

      ABOUT NEW ZEALAND RUGBY LEAGUE

      Rugby league has played a significant part in New Zealand sport for over 100 years. Formed in 1910, New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is the governing body for the sport of rugby league in New Zealand. The NZRL catchment is divided into seven zones that service the grassroots needs of the game. These zones compete in the National Championship, as well as women’s, youth and schools’ competitions.

      NZRL manages the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns who are both currently ranked number two in the world. NZRL is not just about success on the field – it is also charged with caring for a community off-field, promoting the values of integrity, respect, leadership, courage and passion. The “more than just a game” philosophy has seen NZRL establish innovative social development programmes using rugby league to help communities improve their lives off the field.

      PURPOSE OF THE ROLE

      The NZRL The Football Operations Manager will be responsible for managing day to day operations and logistics for all NZRL Competitions, Tournaments and Events to ensure they comply with the NZRL rules and regulations as well as ensuring they are delivered to the very highest standard.

      This includes managing all Football aspects of events including coordinating various requirements (match management, match officials etc) as well as arranging all logistical aspects such as flights, transport, accommodation, venues, fields, pre & post-match requirements etc.

      You will develop and maintain relationships with key external partners and providers, various venue staff, Zone / District liaisons, local authorities as well as working closely with appropriate Zone, Districts and Associates personnel to ensure all football activities, initiatives and KPI’s are constantly driven and are of the highest standard.

      KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND CAPABILITIES

      • A proven background in operations, logistics and / or event management.
      • Ability to develop strong working relationships with diverse groups of participants and stakeholders.
      • Be able to demonstrate innovative thinking, manage priorities and maintain performance under pressure.
      • Ability to work independently as well as influencing and leading others.
      • Relevant qualification or experience in sport development, project management, operations, logistics and / or business.
      • A Passion for Rugby League and growing the sport in New Zealand.
      • An understanding of the sports wider importance to New Zealand communities.

       

      This is an exciting opportunity to develop, manage and deliver outstanding events and match day experiences for consumers of rugby league in New Zealand.

       

      Download Job Description

      APPLICATION CLOSING DATE – Friday 14th December, 2018

      Click here to apply 

      NZ Kiwis skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Kiwi #794) is up against NRL Premiership winning forward, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Kiwi #755) and Kiwi #771 Kevin Proctor for the 2018 Kiwis Player of the Year Award.

      Finalists have been selected in all 13 NZRL Awards categories, including Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year which will be hotly contested by Kiwi Ferns co-captain Honey Hireme, NRL Grand-Final Player of the Match Kimiora Nati and powerhouse prop Aieshaleigh Smalley.

      Kiwis debutants Joseph Manu, Ken Maumalo and Dally M Rookie of the Year, Jamayne Isaako will face-off for the Kiwis Rookie of the Year award – all three having had outstanding seasons with their respective clubs and thriving in their Kiwis career debut seasons.

      Roger Tuivasa-Sheck took home the top Kiwis award last year but the 2018 Dally M Award winner was out of contention for this year’s Kiwis end of season campaign in New Zealand and England due to injury.

      Last year’s Junior Player of the Year, Isaiah Papali’i won the award as a 19-year-old and is still eligible this year following a stellar season with the Warriors and as captain of the Junior Kiwis. He faces challenges from the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Taranaki-born Mawene Hiroti, as well as Warriors youngster Joseph Vuna.

      The Pirtek Volunteer of the Year awards also shine light on the incredible efforts of grassroots volunteers from around the country. These finalists have contributed to their clubs and communities in ways that are invaluable to the game of rugby league in New Zealand.

      Award winners will be announced on 12 December on a special edition of Sky Sport’s Kiwi League Show at 7.30pm and NZRL’s website & social media channels.

      Below is the full list of NZRL Awards finalists:

      Kiwis Player of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      • Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers)
      • Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans)
      • Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters)

       

      Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      • Honey Hireme (St George Illawarra Dragons)
      • Kimiora Nati (Brisbane Broncos)
      • Aieshaleigh Smalley (NZ Warriors)

      Kiwis Rookie of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      • Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)
      • Ken Maumalo (NZ Warriors)
      • Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)

      Kiwi Ferns Rookie of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      • Onjeurlina Leiataua (NZ Warriors)
      • Masuisuimatama’alii Tauasa-Pauaraisa (NZ Warriors)

      Junior Player of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      • Mawene Hiroti (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
      • Joseph Vuna (NZ Warriors)
      • Isaiah Papali’I (NZ Warriors)

      Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Debbie Neylon-Kennedy (Southern, Canterbury)

      Michelle Harding (Southern, Canterbury)

      Hana Kakoi (Southern, Canterbury)

      Denise Proctor (Northland, Nga Tama Toa)

      Junie Shelford (Northland, Takahiwai)

      Sariah Matautia (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Agnes Koti (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Karen Gibbons (Akarana, Auckland)

      Rose Nahu (Upper Central, Bay of Plenty)

      Ally Tamihere (Mid Central, Gisborne Tairawhiti)

       

       

      Pirtek Male Volunteer of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      David Field (Southern, Canterbury)

      Tony Grenfell (Southern, Canterbury)

      Chris Perriam (Southern, Southland)

      Peter Kerridge (Southern, West Coast)

      Josh Cleaver (Mid Central, Taranaki)

      Lawrence Erihe (Mid Central, Manawatu)

      Frank Proctor (Northland, Nga Tama Toa)

      Nick Waihi (Northland, Marist Brothers)

      Tim Tapaki (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Stephen Purcell (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Carl Gribble (Akarana, Auckland)

       

      Grassroots Club of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Wairau Taniwha (Southern, Tasman)

      Lonestar Cowboys (Southern, Southland)

      South Pacific Raiders (Southern, Otago)

      Rolleston Warriors (Southern, Canterbury)

      Takahiwai Warriors (Northland)

      Otahuhu Rugby League Club (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Manurewa Rugby League Football & Sports Club Inc (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

       

      Domestic Coach of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Rusty Matua (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Tusa Lafaele (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Keith Hanley (Akarana, Auckland)

       

      Match Official of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Gary Smallridge (Southern, Canterbury)

      Owen Harvey (Southern, Canterbury)

      Chris McMillan (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Paki Parkinson (Upper Central, Bay of Plenty)

       

      NZ 16s Player of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Sione Moala (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Quinnlan Tupou (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      Lani Graham-Taufa (Akarana, Auckland)

       

      NZ 18s Player of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Kayal Iro (NZ Warriors)

      Tyler Slade (NZ Warriors)

      Mahuta Ngataki-Matthews (Upper Central, Waikato)

       

      NZRL Premier Player of the Year 2018

      Finalists:

      Drew Radich (Counties Manukau, Auckland)

      James Baxendale (Southern, Canterbury)

      Francis Leger (Akarana, Auckland)

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      The New Zealand Rugby League would like to thank the Southern Trust for its recent funding towards the roll out of the nationwide sideline behavior campaign, ‘Be a Good Sport’.

      By supporting this campaign, the Southern Trust is helping NZRL to create positive rugby league experiences for players, parents and volunteers both on and off the field.

      NZRL CEO Greg Peters “couldn’t thank the Southern Trust enough for their financial support.”

      “With the financial backing of the Southern Trust, we are able to support rugby league clubs and venues throughout the country to enable an environment where everyone is able to enjoy just how great the game of rugby league can be,”

      “We know our rugby league community is extremely passionate about the game, and campaigns such as ‘Be a Good Sport’, encourage supporters to harness their enthusiasm in a positive way that encourages young people to develop their skills and have fun,” Peters said.

      This significant round of funding ensures rugby league venues throughout New Zealand are supplied with current branded equipment and resources such as vests and sandwich boards, increasing the visibility of messaging that supports smoke, alcohol and abuse free sidelines.

      The education resources and workshops developed in 2018 have focused on creating conversations around the role adults play in the delivery of sport, through the use of the ‘Good Sports Spine’. These workshops have also been embedded into coaching and managers’ courses conducted throughout the country.

      Securing this funding is a testament to the work that the recently departed NZRL Legacy Manager, Kirsty Sharp, has done in driving these community initiatives at various national tournaments and fixtures in New Zealand for which feedback has been positive.

      To read more about the ‘Be a Good Sport’ campaign, click here.

      [easy_countdowner name=”NZRL Awards nominations close” theme=”default” animation=”smooth” end_date=”2018-11-21″ end_time=”00:17:00″ day_label=”Days” hour_label=”Hours” minute_label=”Minutes” second_label=”Seconds” day_color=”#60686F” hour_color=”#60686F” minute_color=”#60686F” second_color=”#60686F” circle_bg_color=”#E2E2E2″]

      Every year NZRL recognises those who have gone above and beyond with awards for Volunteer of the Year and Grassroots Club plus awards for players, referees and coaches.

      Complete your nomination form online to acknowledge someone you think has done an outstanding job for rugby league this year.

      Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Apii Nicholls picked up the top two Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns awards last year, while 76-year-old Hornby Panthers legend, Jack Newson and Northland’s Chantez Connor were recognised for their stand-out voluntary contributions to rugby league. Who will be this year’s award winners?

      Want to add your two cents? Submit your nominations by clicking here.

      For all other information including awards criteria click here.

      Nominations close 5pm Wednesday, 21 November, 2018.

      One question has been asked regularly by spectators during the first two weeks of Hawke’s Bay’s premier club rugby league competition.

      Is that former Hawke’s Bay’s Strongest Man winner Sam Magele turning out at prop for Maraenui? Yes it is.

      Father-of-four Magele, 40, who won the last Hawke’s Bay’s Strongest Man competition in 2013, last played league five years ago and returned to the sport this season as part of a weight-loss mission.

      “I started the 40-Week Challenge last November. You had to lose 40kgs in 40 weeks. I only managed 37kgs so I decided to carry on with the aim of completing it,” explained Magele, who was 213kgs when he started.

      “I’m hoping to keep losing weight so I can get my fitness up to play rugby for Tech next year.”

      Last year he bettered the New Zealand bench press record for competitors over 120kg with a lift of 307kg, a 1kg improvement.

      “My days of Strongest Man competitions are over. The boys are a lot bigger these days and they have a few lollies, which I’m not into,” he said, referring to performance-enhancing drugs.

      “It’s important I keep motivated. I want people to think if a big guy like me can get out on the field then they can do it too,” Magele explained.

      The truck driver for NZL Transport & Hiab Specialists had two short rests during 60 minutes of action when Maraenui were beaten 40-22 by Tamatea in Saturday’s second-round fixture at Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings. While he didn’t score a try as he did in the previous week’s 42-18 loss to Bridge Pa, Magele said he relished marking former Hawke’s Bay Magpies prop Mason Kean.

      “Everyone told me how highly Mason is ranked. He is tough but I enjoyed running it straight at him. Tamatea are a tight outfit and well organised with their systems. We did well to get 16 players for the game and although I hurt my shoulder in the first half I kept going because we ran out of subs.”

      “If my shoulder is right I’ll be back out there playing again next week,” Magele added.

      In the other premier grade clash, defending champions Kahuranaki were handed a 78-14 drubbing by the team they beat in last year’s grand final, Bridge Pa. Winger and man-of-the-match Jarome Mareikura scored four tries for Bridge Pa.

      “It was a bit of a grudge match for us and it was good to put on a display like that for Colin,” Bridge Pa player-coach Ihaka Waerea said, referring to scrumhalf Colin Hokianga who was playing his blazer game, 25th match, for Bridge Pa.

      Hokianga secondrower Rana Huata and captain and centre Jeston Craig joined Mareikura on Waerea’s MVP list. Waerea was impressed with his team’s ball security and completions.
      Secondrower Teina Huia celebrated his Bridge Pa debut with a try. Hooker James Bailey, Craig and winger Roger Paewai scored two tries each while standoff Waerea and substitute Buffy Wainhou also scored tries.

      Former Magpies winger Mikey Vuicakau also made his debut for Bridge Pa. Former Canterbury rugby league rep Jermahl Carroll shone at fullback for Bridge Pa, in general play and with his goalkicking.

      Kahuranaki were missing several key players in their first outing of the season. Standoff Czebalos Smiler and experienced forward Boy Waaka were their best players.

      Reserve grade games saw defending champions Bridge Pa beat Omahu Huia 38-22 and Bay Bulldogs wallop Flaxmere 60-8.

      Women’s grade fixtures saw Hastings Rugby and Sports upset Tamatea 32-22 and defending champions Bridge Pa beat improving newcomers YMP 50-4.

      By Hawke’s Bay Today reporter – Shane Hurndell

      By Tasman Rugby League

       

      The Tasman Titans representative campaign opened on Saturday when they hosted West Coast Chargers at Champion Green.  It was a great day weather wise, and a good sized crowd were entertained by two teams kicking off their South Island representative seasons looking for the win.

       

      Coast second rower Jordan Paterson opened the scoring in the 2nd minute after Coast capitalised on a handling error from Tasman. Tasman returned serve 5 minutes later with a try from their second rower Jason Garlick who found the gaps in the West Coast defence and backed himself and went for it.

       

      Then followed a period where the Coast gained the ascendancy through tries to Brogan Jackson, Anata Iraia & Hamish Paterson to extend the lead to 22-6 after 24 minutes. Garlick got his second try for Tasman which was duly converted by Simon Duncan to narrow the margin to 10 points. Coast winger William Clark finished off some good work from his inside to score a long range try & Jackson got his second try of the half when he crashed over from dummy half on the stroke of half time to make the score 32-12 to West Coast.

       

      The second half started like the first half with Iraia adding to his tally with a try wide out on the right hand edge. Tasman responded with a try to Ben Tikeri who scored after some good interplay from the Tasman halves and centres on their right edge.

       

      Coast extended the lead in the 54th minute with a try to Navare Jacobs. The game became a stop affair as tireness and the lack of recent game play took effect. West Coast prop Kiel Johnson rounded out the scoring in the 79th minute with a try from close range. Jordan Campbell added his sixth goal of the day to make the score 48-16 in a commanding performance for the West Coast team.

       

      Players that stood out for West Coast were half back Jordan Campbell and interchange player Alex Levien. For Tasman, Jason Garlick was the pick of the bunch with Ben Tikeri also having a great game making a nuisance of himself for the oppostion all over the field.   There are certainly some things for the Titans to work on before their next game but Coach Harry Tipene was pleased with their first run.   This was a great showing for West Coast Rugby League who were unable to have a senior competition this year, and shows the commitment and dedication of their players and management to keep league alive on the Coast.  Well done to everyone concerned.

       

      Everyone then headed to the Ocean Lodge where they were warmly welcomed for the after match function.  Thanks to Paul & Fiona for your hospitality.

       

      In the other representative game played in Invercargill, Otago Whalers had a narrow win over the Southland Rams 26-22.

       

      Next week the Titans face an away trip to Timaru where they play Aoraki Eels while the West Coast host the Southland Rams in Greymouth.

       

      Wishing all the teams the best of luck for the next round and safe travels.

      By Rotorua Daily Post – David Beck

      Many considered the Ngongotaha Chiefs to be underdogs against the table-topping Mangakino Hawks on Saturday, but they clearly did not get the memo. Ngongotaha produced a near flawless performance to beat Mangakino 34-10 in the grand final at Puketawhero Park and claim the 2018 Bay of Plenty/Coastline Premier Rugby League title.

      It was a heartbreaking result for a Mangakino side who had been the competition front-runners throughout but fell at the final hurdle. The grand final day tone was set earlier when Tauhara Te Maunga and Taneatua played out a hard-fought reserve grade final, with Tauhara Te Maunga coming out 24-18 winners. In the Premier final, Mangakino started strongly, taking a 4-0 lead in the first five minutes through a try to winger Aaron Bell in the right-hand corner. However, Ngongotaha¯ hit straight back after a Mangakino knock-on in their own 20m. They shifted the ball left early in the set and caught Mangakino napping as winger Karl Hart strolled over in the corner. The try was converted and Ngongotaha led 6-4.

      Fifteen minutes into the game Ngongotaha were in again. On the back of a Mangakino error and a penalty, Matthew Filipo showed great strength to crash over from close range. Ngongotaha extended the lead to 16-4 through a try to Chris Hodgson in the 20th minute and there was a real feeling around Puketawhero that it could be their day. When defending a lead, game management is crucial and Ngongotaha‘s playmakers were nailing that aspect of the game — kicking for the corners, pinning Mangakino down their own end or forcing repeat sets.

      The pressure paid off when Max Redstone scored from close range to make it 20-4. With minutes left before halftime, Mangakino looked to shift the ball from inside their own half, but it went to ground. Ngongotaha‘s Hart was quickest to react, scooping up the loose ball and racing away to score his second try, under the posts. It was converted and Ngongotaha had a commanding 26-4 lead at the break. While it was a handy lead, Mangakino were top of the table during the regular season for a reason and nobody was ruling out a comeback. However, it was Ngongotaha who added to their lead 10 minutes into the second half through a perfectly executed chip to the right wing from Destry Tamai. Centre Aaron Waiapu leapt to tap the ball back, straight into the arms of Courtney Marster who dived over to make it 30-4. Mangakino hit back with a try to front rower Roderick Boreham, who skittled defenders on his way to the line. The try was converted and the deficit reduced to 30-10. Mangakino looked to get themselves back in the game through physicality, producing some monster hits in defence, but Ngongotaha took the wind out of their sails with a try to Joseph Nuku, sealing a memorable win.

      Ngongotaha were beaten three times by Mangakino during the season, but coach Paul Nahu said he knew his side had the potential to cause an upset. “I thought it was a great performance, I knew we had it in us and that’s what we’ve been searching for all year. At the end of the day there’s one game that counts and it was today — you can take a loss or two during the season, as long as you know you can improve and do something like that today.” Nahu knows better than anyone how hard his players worked to get to this point. “I’m a pretty grumpy coach and I have high expectations, they realise that and they’ve worked hard. I’m really, really happy for them,” he said.

      While bitterly disappointed, Mangakino captain Johnson Peri was gracious in defeat, saying he was proud of what his team had achieved this season. “It was a good tough game, Ngongotaha just wanted it more I guess, and they were the better team on the day. I’m definitely proud of this team, it’s been a wicked season for us. “Coming from the [Bay of Plenty] Nines and into this competition, it all rolled into place for us, we just couldn’t get over that last hurdle.

      Last chance for you to have a say in the 2018 Voice of the Participant survey. This closes on the 12th August 2018, so get in quick to help NZ Rugby League shape its future strategy and programmes for a better club experience. Already we have had over 1000 people offer their views.

      It will take less than 10 minutes and by completing the survey will have the chance to go into the draw to win one of three prize packs including a signed Kiwis jersey and a double pass to the Kiwis vs Kangaroos test in Auckland on October 13, 2018*.

      Please share this with any players or members you think may want to take part.

      If you are a player and 16 years or over, or a parent/guardian answering on behalf of a player under the age of 16 then please click on the ‘Start Survey’ button below. Near the beginning of the survey there are questions to clarify this and you will then be directed to the correct version of the survey.

      Sport New Zealand is now undertaking a research programme that aims to understand what is important to players and how clubs are performing. For the past four years, New Zealand Rugby League has taken part in this Voice of the Participants survey which has hugely impacted improvements we have made, and aim to make going forward.

      This includes:

      • Implementing the ‘be a good sport’ sideline campaign nationally
      • Introducing an Educator network and further education workshops for our volunteers
      • Rolling out new rules for mini/mods that make the game more fun, engaging and easier to understand

      Nielsen, an independent research company, is carrying out this confidential survey on behalf of Sport New Zealand and results will not be reported in a way that will allow you to be individually identified.

      To complete the 2018 survey, click here

      The 2017 full report for NZRL can be found here.

       

      * There is a limit of one entry per eligible respondent. The double pass to the Kiwis vs Kangaroos test is tickets only. Travel, accommodation or spending money is not included.

       

       

      Some will argue that the small suburb of Hornby, is synonymous with rugby league and after listening to Jack Newson, you’re likely to agree.

      You’ll be hard-pressed to find a volunteer who has dedicated more of their life to rugby league than Jack Newson.

      Watch the video below to see just how much of an impact Jack Newson has had on Hornby Rugby League.

      The 76-year-old was the well deserved recipient of the Male Pirtek Volunteer of the Year award at the NZRL Annual Awards earlier this year. This award recognises the tireless efforts of our sport’s behind-the-scenes legends at grassroots level.

      As a Life Member of the Hornby Rugby League Club, Newson lives and breathes the game and is said to be one of the club’s biggest supporters.

      “He is extremely humble, and never ever asks for anything in return. We as a club are honoured to be in his presence”

      His involvement with the Hornby Rugby League Club spans over 65 years as a player, coach, executive member and life member, and he currently still plays for the Masters team. Not only does he help with skills days for juniors, he fixes and maintains the club and is always the first person to be watching and supporting around Canterbury’s fields.

      In the coming weeks, Sport New Zealand is undertaking a research programme that aims to understand what is important to players and how clubs are performing. For the past four years, New Zealand Rugby League has taken part in this Voice of the Participants survey which has hugely impacted improvements we have made, and aim to make going forward.

      This includes:

      • Implementing the ‘be a good sport’ sideline campaign nationally
      • Introducing an Educator network and further education workshops for our volunteers
      • Rolling out new rules for mini/mods that make the game more fun, engaging and easier to understand

      A random sample of players will be selected to represent the views of club members. In the next few weeks you will receive an email inviting you to take part in the survey, either from NZRL or Nielsen. The invitation will contain a link to the Nielsen survey.

      Nielsen, an independent research company, is carrying out this confidential survey on behalf of Sport New Zealand and results will not be reported in a way that will allow you to be individually identified.

      The survey will only take around 10 minutes to complete. It’s very important that as many players as possible that are selected complete the survey, as the results will provide guidance to NZRL as to how they can help clubs improve the experience of their members. At the end of the project a summary of the results will be shared with you.

      The 2017 full report for NZRL can be found here.

      Outward Bound are looking for the best of the best community volunteers to award a scholarship to attend Outward Bound:

      “We’re looking for New Zealand’s finest Do-Gooders, Change Makers and Social Impactors to reward for all their passion,

      commitment and hard work.

      If you’ve been out and about in your rugby league community trying to make a difference, whether it be through volunteering for local organisations, investing your time in supporting worthy causes or coaching, teaching, tutoring, and generally helping others, you could well be the finest that we’ve been searching for.

      Thanks to our generous funders, we have a few of these scholarships to offer for our upcoming 21 day Classic Courses.

      So if you’re 18-26 and think you could well be the finest ‘Community Cupid’ of them all, let us know why below.

      Apply now

      The details:

      This scholarship is available to 18-26 year olds to attend a 21 day Classic Course.
      Successful scholarship applicants will receive 50-75% of their course fee paid, meaning the most you’ll pay is half of the usual course fee for this life-changing experience.

      T&Cs

      • All applications are subject to Outward Bound’s standard terms and conditions, including payment of a $749 deposit, medical screening and fulfilling our enrolment criteria
      • Scholarship amounts can range from 50-75% off of your course. Scholarship amount awarded is the decision of Outward Bound based on funds and spaces available
      • Scholarships are only available for specified Classic Course dates. (30 July – 19 Aug, 27 Aug – 16 Sep).
      • This offer does not cover travel to and from Picton, travel insurance, or the cost of a doctor’s medical examination
      • This offer is only available to individuals who have demonstrated excellent commitment to their community through volunteering or community work

      New Zealand Rugby League are committed to creating more positive experiences on and off the field for our players, match officials and supporters. ‘Be a sport’ (BAS) in conjunction with the Aktive Good Sports programme, is designed specifically to encourage positive supporter behaviour and provide more enjoyable rugby league experiences for our community.

      Last Wednesday (23 May), NZRL held the first Good Sports workshop at Mount Albert Rugby League Club.

      The Mt Albert Rugby League club, like other codes and clubs around NZ, are facing declining membership numbers and were keen to ask the hard questions, why and what can we do about it?

      All team coaches and managers were invited, with a representative from every team in the club attending.

      The workshop was facilitated by Kirsty Sharp (NZRL Legacy Manager) & Gary Peacham (National Coaching Manager) who have worked with the Good Sports (an Aktive pilot) team over the past 12 months to develop a rugby league specific presentation on the role of adults in children sport.

      The main messages:

      • the impact of adults – coaches and parents on the junior members of the club
      • why children play sport
      • developing environments which keep children engaged in sport, including the embedding of the ‘Be a Sport’ programme
      • initiatives the club could adopt to help embed the Good Sports philosophy into the club

      NZRL have also created a video called “Remember WHY”, which profiles well known rugby league personalities who speak about their own childhood experiences, what they loved about playing sport as a youngster, along with some messages for parents supporting their children.

      Ani Cherrington, Mt Albert’s president:

      “The Good Sports Seminar is the best thing we have done for our club in a long time.  It gave us the opportunity and space to think about what we do and how we do it.  The conversations and self-evaluation have continued long after the seminar finished.”

      Feedback

      “ Haven’t been to a seminar before so have learnt that kids just need to enjoy football without the pressure and expectation of winning etc..”

      “ Adults/parents have a big influence on kids with their behaviour”

      “We have the ability to control a child’s experience /enjoyment of sport as well as contribute to their personal development”

      For more information https://nzrl.co.nz/community/be-a-sport-just-support/ or http://aktive.org.nz/good-sports/.

      If your club is interested in booking a Good Sports workshop contact  [email protected]

      League fanatic La’a Asi from Aranui has been fighting cancer for the past two and a half years and was recently given the news that he may only have weeks or months to live. Last weekend La’a was taken down to his local rugby league grounds to watch the boys play one more time.

      With five children to take care of, La’a and Dallas are reaching out to anyone in a position to help – any donation is appreciated.

      To donate and to read La’a’s story – click on his givealittle page here.

      WHAT’S GOING ON?

      For those of you that don’t know La’a has been staunchly fighting cancer for the past two and a half years. Unfortunately, the last 12 months has seen La’a’s condition worsen drastically and he had to quit his job. To La’a’s frustration his worsening condition has also meant he has been unable to provide the love and support he would have liked to his young children. As a consequence Dallas has been working full-time night shift and then coming home to get the kids ready for school and care for their youngest, Estella age 12 months. The older children are also doing their bit with Messiah aged 17 often caring for his younger siblings while his mum is at work and his dad is in hospital.

      HEART-BREAKING DIAGNOSIS

      Last week La’a and Dallas were told the heart-breaking news by his doctors that he has only weeks to months to live. It was with a heavy heart and lots of tears that they told the tragic news to their 5 children aged 1, 8, 17, 19 and 21 years.

      The cancer is attacking his entire body weakening his bones to the point he has broken bones in his back just from sleeping on a bed. The tumor is rapidly growing in his abdomen and now his body in only able to digest certain foods.

      YOUR HELP IS NEEDED

      With the terminal prognosis Dallas has naturally taken time off work to be with La’a in hospital and provide support for the children.

      Unfortunately, all of this has come at a cost. Dallas has no sick or annual leave left having used it all to support La’a during his illness. This has meant she has had to take Leave Without Pay. They are receiving minimal support from Work and Income to pay for their rent.

      With a young family of 5 children to care for while dealing the shock of a terminal diagnosis and no money coming in things are desperate. This Givealittle page is the very last resort for a family which has prided itself on never asking for help. It must be said they are still uneasy about doing this but we, their friends and family pleaded with them to allow us to set it up which they reluctantly agreed to.

      After using all of her sick and annual leave to support La’a during his illness Dallas now on Leave Without Pay. All of the funds raised will be used to cover their living expenses and mounting bills.

      By Stuff.co.nz

      An Invercargill Rugby League team is fighting back against family violence.

      He Tauaa Rugby League Club acting president Fipe Faamoe-Ioane said they are part of the initiative “It’s Not Okay” was about promoting healthy living, positive behaviour and building stronger individuals, families and communities.

      The club had always been whānau oriented, but with the help of Southern Zone Rugby League and the Respect Network the club became involved with the initiative in 2016.

      Flags and banners with the “It’s Not Ok” message are displayed at the games and club functions.

      There had been a decrease in negative behaviour on and off the field from the club since then, Faamoe-Ioane said.

      “For us as a club the focus is ongoing as change does not happen overnight.”

      For both players and supporters it was important to encourage good behaviour on and off the field, she said.

      “Each of us [in the club] have families with children and the most important starting point is within our own families.”

      Last week, the club was visited by the family behind Stop the Bus (Stop the AbusE) this week, and will feature in their documentary.

      The Lane family, who are behind the Stop the Bus project, were impressed with the work by the club.

      The family of six are touring the country to hear the stories people are doing to bring value to Kiwi children.

      Erinna Lane said the family, from Te Awamutu, have been on the road for a year and will finish in July, producing a documentary on the issue.

      Erinna and her husband Chris are both film producers for Big Kid Productions and saw child abuse as a nationwide issue they wanted to bring awareness to.

      Their Stop the Bus project hoped to address child abuse with a focus on what ordinary people can do to be a part of the change, Erinna said.

      “Most New Zealanders care about the issue but don’t know what to do to help,” she said.

      They have travelled from the far north to the far south and will finish in Blenheim in July.

      They had heard stories, mostly personal stories from people throughout the country, but Invercargill stood out with the rugby league team, Erinna said.

      Their initiative “It’s Not Okay” had building an environment within the club that family violence was not okay, she said.

      “Part of addressing child abuse in New Zealand is not only standing up for the rights of a child but also by taking responsibility for our own actions.”

      They were in Invercargill from last Thursday, and headed to Gore on Tuesday on their way back north.

      Tasman Rugby League had their first wet game of the season, which as everyone knows – rain can be a leveller. And that is exactly what happened when Motueka Tigers hosted the mighty men from over the hill, Wairau Taniwha.

      This was the Tigers first home game and they were welcomed onto Riwaka Rugby Club Grounds for the occasion. A small, but very noisy crowd were treated to a great game of league between two teams who were pretty well matched in skill. Both teams had their core group of seasoned players, but also a good mixture of young guns who brought some great energy to the game.

      Taniwha scored first with Tana Pounia dotting down (his first of four), followed by Tyler Aldridge and Michael Bates before the Tigers crossed the line three times before half time to give a half time score of 18-16 with Taniwha having a very narrow lead. Denym Antonievic and Elia Miatiakibau put the points on the board for the Tigers with Mitchell Duncan-Jonas doing kicking honours in the first half.

      The second half started with Iatausili Meki scoring for the Taniwha. This was answered with a try from the Tigers, before Tana Pouniu bagged his second for the Taniwha. Mitchell Duncan-Jonas from the Tigers was rewarded for his hard work with a try of his own followed by one of the Motueka Tigers key players, Sam Hedges crossing the line. This made the score 30-28 to the Tigers with not a lot of time left on the clock. There were car horns tooting, and cheering from the very loyal and vocal Tigers supporters. Could they hold on? The heightened level of intensity from both teams was fantastic and their focus and concentration amazing. You can’t beat a great game of league, and this was going to be a tight race to the finish line.

      The Taniwha came out strong and their player of the day, Tana Pounia crossed for his third and fourth of the day giving a final score of 38-30 to the Taniwha and dashed the hopes of the Tigers. However the Tigers should be commended for their effort and determination and providing a great game of league. They are really starting to gel as a team so will definitely be worth watching going forward.

      For the Tigers, Captain Sam Hedges and speedster Denym Antoneivic along with player of the day Elia Miatiakibau had strong games with Tigers props, Jason Rangihuna and Harley Thompson providing some solid platforms for Hayden Smith and Matiu Taiapo to work off. Damaging runs by Taniwha Captain Jason Garlick and prop Fetu Ieremia and the ever dangerous Tana Pouniu had stand out games for the Taniwha. And the ever dependable boot of Simon Duncan, now playing for the Taniwha, helped keep the scoreline just out of reach of the Tigers.

      The Motueka Tigers are improving with every game and have the potential to cause an upset or two in the upcoming games.

      Special thanks to Riwaka Rugby Club for allowing Tasman Rugby League to use Cooks Reserve for this game. What a great venue and great for Motueka to have their home games there. Thanks also to Vince and the team at Hotel Motueka for the after match function. The warm food was greatly received on such a dreary day.

      Next week sees Victory Phoenix travel to Blenheim to take on Wairau Taniwha.
      Kick off 2,30pm at Oliver Park, Blenheim.

      New Zealand Rugby League introduced the ‘Be A Sport’ programme to encourage positive supporter behaviour and provide more enjoyable rugby league experiences for our community – from players, referees, coaches and officials to fans and spectators.

      Adapted from an Auckland Rugby League programme, Be A Sport was launched in all seven NZRL zones’ junior programmes in 2017 and expanded into further grades this year.

      Be A Sport’s ethos has quickly become a cornerstone of Canterbury Rugby League’s campaign to eradicate antisocial behaviour from the game, attract new people to rugby league and make people want to stay in the sport.

      “From our perspective, Be A Sport helps change the culture and environment for our visitors to the park and the players on the field,” CRL Club Capability Manager George Lajpold says.

      “It’s also designed to help recognise that the people we have officiating games are volunteers.”

      Recruiting and retaining referees is one of the greatest problems facing grassroots sport – and rugby league is no exception.

      The biggest obstacle to new refs picking up the whistle and current refs remaining in the ranks is abuse from the sidelines. One of Be A Sport’s foundational principles is that this behaviour is unacceptable.

      “One of our real concerns – and that of the sport in general – is that people see a game of NRL and expect the same level of officiating at club level right down to the six-year-old grade,” Lajpold explains.

      “Part of the Be A Sport campaign is to say that these are young people still learning the sport, it’s an environment that should be full of positive experiences, and recognising that young people are there to have fun.”

      Lajpold says that creating a safer and more welcoming environment for referees is critical to the code’s crusade to bolster numbers, and to the health of rugby league in general. Without refs, you don’t have a game.

      “At the moment rugby league, as well as a number of other sports, are going through a process of trying to lift the profile of refereeing and let everyone know that they’re there to support our sport.

      “They aren’t there to have a huge influence, but they want to create a quality experience for our players and they are an integral part of our game.

      “We want everyone on the sideline to have a clear understanding of what the referees are trying to do on the field – which is to create a better experience for players and supporters.”

      Canterbury Rugby League is working alongside clubs to curb behaviour detrimental to creating a positive and safe environment for players, officials and fellow supporters.

      Each club appoints two ‘Team Champions’, who are identifiable by Hi-Vis vests marked with the ‘Be A Sport – Just Support’ message. Where behaviour is not appropriate, Team Champions are to follow the steps as described on the BAS guide sheet.

      “One of the key things about Be A Sport is that antisocial sideline behaviour should normally be dealt with by the club where that person is from,” Lajpold says.

      “It’s not a confrontational thing – it’s an opportunity for a club member to stand alongside the spectator, ask what’s happening for them around the game and remind them of what constitutes appropriate sideline behaviour.

      “And it’s a positive thing to see clubs take more responsibility for their own supporters’ sideline behaviour. It’s a collective responsibility – it’s not just CRL’s responsibility or a club’s responsibility on their own.”

      Lajpold says the response from the clubs to the Be A Sport programme’s initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive.

      “It’s been pretty cool. From a juniors perspective every club has taken it on board.

      “When you see the Hi-Vis vests down at Canterbury Park on a Saturday or at a seniors game on a Saturday, those are the Be A Sport Team Champions – they’re the ones that are there to help create a positive environment and manage any inappropriate behaviour.

      “It’s been well-received, and Canterbury Rugby League is quite open to going into clubs and having conversations with parents and club members and people in the community around what their sport is, the principles that go with it and what we’re trying to achieve in this space.”

      Another key component of the Be A Sport programme is creating an alcohol-free and smoke-free environment on the sideline at games.

      “In the past rugby league has perhaps been seen as a sport where that’s a regular thing, drinking alcohol on the sideline, which often leads to antisocial behaviour,” Lajpold says.

      “What we’re saying from rugby league’s perspective is that actually we need to start changing our culture so people want to start coming to our games and have a positive experience while they’re there.”

      While supporters responsible for antisocial behaviour at rugby league games are very much in the minority, it only takes one negative incident to ruin a day out at the footy for many.

      The Be A Sport programme is one of the most effective tools at Canterbury Rugby League’s disposal to decrease those negative instances by promoting positivity, inclusivity and respectfulness.

      “The main thing to understand is that everyone that’s involved in rugby league, coaches, managers, the person with the whistle in the middle of the field, are volunteers and they’re also developing in the game and learning,” Lajpold enthuses.

      “We have a 31 percent turnover rate of people leaving our sport every year, and part of that is because of the experience they receive when they’re at the game on the sideline.

      “The Be A Sport initiative is part and parcel of us saying that as a group we need to look at the culture that’s been there in the past, changing the negative aspects of that and creating a more positive one.”

      NZRL hosted the first senior trainers’ course for the year over the weekend. Trainers from Zone representative teams attended the course to discuss the role of a trainer, communication skills, strapping and injury prevention. LeagueSmart, a key part of this ensures players enjoy the game in a safe and fun environment.

      To find a trainers’ course near you, click here.

      This week saw the first look at the Motueka Tigers as they started their 2018 campaign. There had been talk about a struggle for numbers, but that was certainly not evident by the side that travelled to Blenheim to take on Wairau Taniwha on their home ground of Oliver Park. Taniwha are always strong at home and there was a good crowd of supporters on hand to cheer on both teams. It was great to see so many young families on the sideline supporting their teams.

      The Taniwha who were on their second game of the season kicked things off with Tana Pounui crossing twice followed by Tyler Aldridge before Ben Kelly for the Mot Tigers put some points on the board for the visitors. Tana showed us why he was player of the day and crossed a third time, followed by Cairo Adam-Walsh and Ryan Craig also dotting down for the Taniwha. Half time score: 24-6 to the Taniwha.

      Motueka Tigers coach Roy Wattie obviously had a chat with the boys at half time as Sootaga Pani scored soon into the second half, with Taniwha responding with Fetu Ieremia getting on the score sheet. The ever dependable and very talented Sam Hedges, who was impressive with his strong running, crossed for the Tigers. The Taniwha pushed again and Meki Iatausili, Mel King and Taine Turnbull all crossed the line, before Luke Raharuhi finished the game off for the Tigers with another try for the visitors.
      Full time socre: 46-18.

      For the Taniwha, outstanding forwards were Tana Pounui (hat trick and player of the day) and Ryan Craig who was selected by the Tigers as having a awesome game. Jordan Hika & Cairo Adam-Walsh worked hard for their first hit out. In the backs the two new guys Tyler Aldridge & Taine Turnbull impressed in the back line with probing runs, both were rewarded with a try a piece. As usual the experienced players Jason Garlick, Fetu Ieremia, Phil Roberts, Ray Roebeck and Joe Asiata formed a solid platform for the new recruits to be blooded in.

      For the Mot Tigers, the experience of Sam Hedges, Hayden Smith and new comers Elia Miatiakibau and Ben Kelly proved their weight in gold, bringing a strength to the team that will certainly grow as the season develops. For their first hit out, it was an impressive Motueka Tigers who took to the field and we look forward to watching their progress as the season continues.

      This week sees Victory Phoenix hosting Motueka Tigers at Lower Ngawhatu. This will be Victory’s first home game at their new home ground. Kick off 2.30pm. Make sure you get along and support the teams.

      NZRL renew agreement with ACC for LeagueSmart

      New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the renewal of their agreement with ACC to continue driving the LeagueSmart programme.

      The contract was signed for a further three years with the focus of upskilling players and volunteers to stay in the game.

      The NZRL LeagueSmart programme has been developed to give players, coaches and referees training to increase their performance and get the most out of their game.
      LeagueSmart covers key areas including warm up and conditioning, game day technique and injury management.

      The partnership between ACC LeagueSmart and NZRL over the next three years will see the compulsory LeagueSmart registration for rugby league volunteers.

      This will help NZRL to ensure that all volunteers have access to these resources and that players have the best possible preparation to play the great game of rugby league.

      Round three of the Talent Development Programme’s competition phase saw the level of rugby league go up a notch where stakes were at their highest.

      Teams had finals in their sights as Northern faced Southern and Counties went head to head with Central in both 16s and 18s age groups. Counties 16s waltzed into the final winning three from three where they will take on Northern who conceded only one game to Counties.

      The 18s age-group saw Northern comfortably beat Southern for a spot in the final where they will play Central who pipped Counties in a thriller on Saturday afternoon.

      Results from round three with footage below:

      16s:
      Northern 44 – 6 Southern
      Counties 56 – 4 Central

      18s:
      Central 40 – 36 Counties
      Northern 52 – 36 Southern

      Finals draw to be played Saturday, March 24 at Cornwall Park:

      16s – Field one – 11am Counties v Northern
      – Field three – 11am Central v Southern

      18s – Field one – 1pm Northern v Central
      – Field three – 1pm Southern v Counties

      16s:
      Northern 44 – 6 Southern

      Counties 56 – 4 Central

      18s:
      Central 40 – 36 Counties

      Northern 52 – 36 Southern

      February and March continue to be the busiest months in the calendar for coach education. All zones and districts are well underway with running courses and workshops and we continue to see an increase in the uptake from our rugby league communities.

      Coaching courses continue to be offered nationally and some areas are really embracing the development opportunities on offer.

      Southern Zone has already serviced all districts with official NZRL accreditations and is now in a position to offer workshops to continue the learnings. Canterbury Rugby League continue to lead the charge down south with a healthy number of volunteers coming through the courses but Otago, Southland and Tasman have also welcomed a good number of volunteers to participate and complete courses.

      With 34 coaches in the South Island having completed the ‘Developing Coaching Course’ during February and March, footy in the South is bound to benefit with these coaches set to impart their knowledge onto new and returning players this season.

      The North Island is also experiencing increased levels of engagement in the coaching community. Auckland Rugby League are in full swing with their coach education programmes and we have seen a huge uptake in coaches attending workshops and courses. Signs are looking promising for another good year for coach development and NZRL encourage any new coaches, parents or volunteers to contact local zones and districts to enquire about the next personal development opportunity.

      Interested in up-skilling as a rugby league coach? Find a course near you here.

      Northland Rugby League’s very own wahine toa Chantez Connor selflessly gives her time to the game expecting absolutely nothing in return.

      Connor reluctantly accepted the Pirtek Female Volunteer of the Year award at this year’s Annual NZRL Awards and her touching acceptance speech encapsulated the passion that is so evident in the rugby league community.

      Her sheer dedication towards servicing the game of rugby league in Northland stems from when Connor first became involved in rugby league when she was five-years-old. She is now a qualified coach and referee, club administrator and team manager who is involved in all aspects of the game from juniors through to premiers.

      In recent years she has been instrumental in growing participation and interest in the women’s game. In 2016, Chantez started a women’s team and grew interest to organise a match in the far north and fundraised for an Auckland team to play in Whangarei. 2017, for this passionate Northlander, started with a revamp of the Rugby League Northland Premiership linking history, seeking sponsorshio and producing a video promotion for an advertising campaign.

      However, her work didn’t stop there. After a 25 year absence, she led the charge to include a Northland team in the NZRL National Women’s Tournament. As a result of this, there has been a surge in registrations from teenage girls no wanting to play rugby league. This success looks to be emulated through the formation of a school girls’ competition in the region.

      With these commitments, plus her own job and family to look after, Rugby League Northland appreciate the extra hours she puts in to making sure rugby league thrives in the region.

      New Zealand Rugby League would like to thank Chantez for her ongoing voluntary commitment and passion towards the game that is having such a positive impact in Northland.

      It is with deep sadness that the New Zealand Rugby League acknowledge the passing of Philip Campbell, who dedicated much of his life to serving the game of rugby league in New Zealand.

      Campbell, who passed away on Sunday, was the brainchild of Masters Rugby League in New Zealand, but he also looked out for the young, the up-and-coming and the social.

      He tirelessly worked with Auckland Rugby League and the Ponsonby and Mt Wellington clubs, and recently helped launch and run the Physical Disability Rugby League.

      Phil’s funeral is being held at Wm Morrison Funeral Home, Universal Drive Henderson on Wednesday March 14 at 12.30pm. In lieu of flowers, a donation box will be in the foyer.

      Tasman Rugby League in partnership with the Southern Zone of NZ Rugby League is seeking to employ a Rugby League Development Officer for up to 30 hours per week for the period April to October 2018, based in the Tasman area.

      The successful applicant will be a self starter who is passionate about rugby league, an effective communicator, computer literate with a high level of initiative, commitment with strong planning and organisational skills. The role will be responsible for the delivery of programmes into targeted schools, the facilitation of training and development opportunities for coaches, managers, trainers and club volunteers and the further promotion and development of the game in the Tasman district through the representative and junior programmes already in place.

      A job description is available on request.

      Please apply by sending a covering letter and CV to:

      General Manager
      Southern Zone Rugby League
      PO Box 969
      DUNEDIN

      Email: [email protected]

      Applications close at 5pm on Friday 23rd March 2018

      You’ll struggle to find a volunteer who has dedicated more of their life to rugby league than Jack Newson.

      The 75-year-old was the well deserved recipient of the Male Pirtek Volunteer of the Year award at the NZRL Annual Awards earlier this year. This award recognises the tireless efforts of our sport’s behind-the-scenes legends at grassroots level.

      As a Life Member of the Hornby Rugby League Club, Newson lives and breathes the game and is said to be one of the club’s biggest supporters.

      “He is extremely humble, and never ever asks for anything in return. We as a club are honoured to be in his presence”

      His involvement with the Hornby Rugby League Club spans over 65 years as a player, coach, executive member and life member, and he currently still plays for the Masters team. Not only does he help with skills days for juniors, he fixes and maintains the club and is always the first person to be watching and supporting around Canterbury’s fields.

      Newson sat down with Andrew King from Christchurch’s Western News to chat about his life of rugby league.

      So Jack, you have a longstanding tie with the Hornby Panthers, 66 years and counting. What got you into league?

      “When I was growing up every young kid around the country wanted to be an All Black. But we were from Hornby and we wanted to be Kiwis. That was the difference, we are a staunch rugby league area. League dominated and I still love the game right up to today. It has been my life.”

      Now you volunteer for the club and was named top male volunteer of the year by NZRL. Are there more people helping out nowadays or less?

      “There is plenty of people who help out with the club and we have an excellent committee who gets a lot of work done. I just help out when I can and I don’t live far away. I go over there every week. I like to go to the schoolboys’ prize giving. I love watching the younger kids coming through. Gave up coaching but I really like watching them develop their skills. There is a lot of good coaches there now, that have
      passed me. I used to coach 14s take them to 15s then to 16s and then drop back down and do it all over again.”


      So what keeps you coming back to help out?

      “It is part of my life. My love of the club, the sport all rolls into one. It is a major part of my life. When my boys finished playing I was a bit lost. I had been flat tack chasing teams here there everywhere then it just stopped. Now grand kids are coming through so it all started again.”

      The New Zealand Physical Disability Rugby League team have come away with a silver medal after a hard fought 0-0 golden point match against Australia at the inaugural Commonwealth Championships in Queensland.

      The first game against Australia on Friday night was a true Anzac battle, as two old foes of rugby league came together to represent their countries out on that field. The challenge laid down by the kiwi team with a very passionate haka led by Garry Kingi, set the tone for the next 18 minutes of footy.

      The level of rugby league was phenomenal, their skill level lifting immediately under the pressure to do the best for their fellow teammates. There was no doubt the players left nothing in the tank

      Although the final ended in a draw, Australia came away with the gold medal based on points differential. New Zealand went through the tournament conceding only one try.

      PDRLNZ Captain Brad Vear said “This is a really big milestone in their lives because of the adversities they’ve faced in their lives whether it be through accident or born with a disability, it’s such a big deal to be here.”

      The championships was one of the exhibition sports for the 2018 Commonwealth games with the physical disability tri-series making up one feature of the event.

      PDRLNZ hope it will encourage more physically disabled athletes throughout NZ into the sport.

      Greaves says “We want it to grow nationwide. We want our kaupapa to get out there so that people can see that what’s holding them back in themselves.”

      “Our next goal is to recruit players for a local competition over winter in preparation for our inclusion at the Rugby League Emerging Nations Championships in October 2018 in Sydney,” he said.

      NZPDRL would like to thank their sponsors especially NZRL, ARL, Sir Peter Leitch, Digital Island, First Sovereign, Lenco, Hilton Haulage, Parcel line express, DNI Electrical, Debtworks NZ, Straker Translations, YMCA, Graeme Williams, friends and family.

      You can see the results from the tournament below.

      Day one results:

      NEW ZEALAND 4 (Usa Adams try) def COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0.
      AUSTRALIA 8 (Mitchell Gleeson, Geoff Clarke tries) def COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0.
      AUSTRALIA 4 (Mitchell Gleeson try) def COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0.
      AUSTRALIA 6 (Kyle Lloyd tries; George Tonna goals) def NEW ZEALAND 0.

      Day two results:

      AUSTRALIA 0 drew with NEW ZEALAND 0.
      COMMONWEALTH ALL STARS 0 drew with NEW ZEALAND 0.

      Gold Medal match:

      AUSTRALIA 0 drew with NEW ZEALAND 0 (Australia declared winners of championship).

      Livestream link here.

      For the third year, New Zealand Rugby League has taken part in Sport New Zealand’s Voice of the Participants survey that aims to understand what is important to rugby league players and how our clubs are performing.

      The purpose of the survey is to provide New Zealand Rugby League and its clubs with an understanding of the experiences received within the clubs. The purpose being to better the experience for all those involved in rugby league in order to retain and grow participation in rugby league through clubs.

      Over 1200 people participated in the national survey providing these initial findings:

      – Four in five (78%) of rugby league respondents indicated they are likely or very likely to rejoin their current club next season
      – 65% of those surveyed indicated that they were very or extremely satisfied with the overall experience of playing rugby league at their club. This was the highest satisfaction rate of all sports who participated in the national survey
      – 67% of respondents said they were likely to recommend their club to someone else
      – 72% of players felt that their club encourages good sportsmanship and fair play

      Feedback also helped to identify some areas for improvement which would enhance club members’ experiences:

      – To ensure there are more opportunities to support volunteers (match officials, coaches etc) for further upskill and experience
      – To provide a welcoming environment and a place that people want to be a part of (e.g clean and well maintained facilities, introduction flyers, meeting club committee members)

      As a result, New Zealand Rugby League have:
      – Further invested in the educator programme (coach educators and referee coaches) strengthening the pathways for volunteers
      Rolled out the ACC LeagueSmart course that provides online support for volunteers
      – With the support of the crown agencies, made a slight adjustment to the ‘Be a Sport’ programme to ‘Be a Good Sport’ to further promote parental understanding around appropriate sideline behaviour, smoke free and alcohol free sidelines (Click here for Good Sports resources)
      -Worked with rugby league staff throughout NZ to enable them to support their clubs with junior programmes such as Backyard League, Volunteer Engagement Strategies and planning and budgeting documents.

      The feedback received through these surveys proves invaluable for New Zealand Rugby League to continue improving our sport at its grassroots level.

      The full report for NZRL can be found here.

      Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Kiwi #779) and Apii Nicholls-Pualau took home the Kiwis Player of the Year and Women’s Player of the Year awards respectively at the New Zealand Rugby League Annual Awards last Friday night.

      The dynamic full-back ended the 2017 World Cup with the equal most tries scored (3), the most carries (72) and the most metres carried (626) for the Kiwis. Head Coach David Kidwell says such achievements were no small feat considering Tuivasa-Sheck had recently returned from a serious knee injury.

      “In some cases, it takes a fair amount of time for a player to get back to fine form following such a serious injury, but Roger did everything right and ultimately showed great leadership at the back.

      “He’s a quality young-man who was a pleasure to coach and I congratulate him for his impressive performances throughout the NRL season and at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup,” Kidwell said.

      While top honours in the men’s category went to Tuivasa-Sheck, Women’s Player of the Year was picked up by his female fullback counterpart, Apii Nicholls-Pualau.

      After an outstanding season with the seven time National title winning Counties Manukau Stingrays, Nicholls-Pualau was selected to fill the void of previous Kiwi Ferns captain and fullback, Sarina Fiso, who won 2016 Women’s Player of the Year. Being named Back of the Tournament at the National Women’s Tournament was yet another feather in her cap.

      Apii took ownership of the number one jersey stamping her mark as the starting Kiwi Ferns fullback for the entirety of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. She also topped the leader board for kick return metres at the World Cup racking up a massive 279 metres, but Nicholls-Pualau was quick to downplay her accomplishments.

      “I’m honoured to even be considered alongside players such as Teuila Fotu-Moala and Krystal Rota, let alone to win this award.

      “There are a lot of people I have to thank for their on-going support including my incredible family – without them there is no way I could have dedicated as much time as I did to the sport I love,” she said.

      Kiwis Rookie of the Year was won by Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Kiwi #804) who was also a finalist in the top category after bursting onto the international rugby league scene in 2017.

      His physicality turned heads at the Rugby League World Cup causing defensive issues for his opposition and World Cup rankings showed he was only second to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck when it came to most carries (56) and metres carried (489).

      You can watch the livestream from the Annual Awards function here.

      Click here to view the photo gallery from the Awards function.

      Winners of all 12 NZRL Awards categories can be found below:

      Pirtek Female Volunteer – Chantez Connor (Otaika Eagles/Northland)
      Pirtek Male Volunteer – Jack Newson (Hornby Panthers/Southern)
      Grassroots Club –Taniwharau (Upper Central)
      Domestic Coach – Morgan Kutia (Waikato)
      Referee – Chris McMillan (Auckland)
      Domestic Player 16s – Christian Tuipulotu (Akarana)
      Domestic Player 18s – Tyler Slade (NZ Warriors)
      Domestic Player Premier – Aaron Jolley (Waikato/Hamilton City Tigers)
      Junior Player – Isaiah Papali’I (NZ Warriors)
      Kiwis Rookie – Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm)
      Women’s Player – Apii Nicholls-Pualau (Manurewa Marlins/Counties Manukau)
      Kiwis Player – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (NZ Warriors)