A stirring haka from the Junior Kiwis set the mark for what was to be a passionate test match between the Trans-Tasman rivals at Dolphin Oval.

A flying Habiso Tabuai-Fidow opened the scoring for the Australian Schoolboys, yet it was rugged early with Howarth put on report for a dangerous throw. Junior Kiwi prop Etuale Junior Lui Toeava was hard to handle with the Junior Kiwis side well led by Broncos-contracted lock Jordan Riki.

An error by Australian fullback Reece Walsh gave the Junior Kiwis possession and it was all too easy for star fullback Starford Toa from the ensuing scrum to score untouched to level the score.

A short kick in behind the line by Sydney Roosters bound Australian half, Sam Walker, found his fellow Queensland under 18s teammate Walsh racing through to score in the 29th minute to break the deadlock.

Walker then schemed down the left to almost put Mathew Feagai away to score. Minutes later Walsh injected himself and put the after burners on to find skipper Jackson Topine in support. Australia took an 18-6 lead into the break.

The Junior Kiwis started the second half full of running and centre Kayal Iro, son of former Kiwi legend, Kevin Iro, determinedly crashed over to reduce the margin to eight.

The Australian Schoolboys hit back after a burst by Tabuai-Fidow the ball went through the hands to wide-running Howarth whose one-handed overhead offload sent Feagai over. Howarth then reached out himself from a Walker grubber to give the Australian Schoolboys a 30-10 lead in the 53rd minute.

The Junior Kiwis soon gained momentum scoring back to back tries which looked like the beginnings of a hopeful comeback. Kiwi winger Selestino Ravutaumada scored wideout to cut the lead to 30-14 soon followed by an impressive length of the field try by Kiwi fullback Starford Toa to cut the margin to 10 points with 14 minutes to go.

However, the Junior Kiwis were unable to capitalise on their possession and it was Sam Walker who put the result beyond doubt with a try from close range for the Australian Schoolboys. Final score 36 – 20.

Adapted from NRL match report by Joel Gould


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 


Dunedin will host the annual South Island 13/14 and 19 years rugby league tournaments over the weekend of Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September. The tournaments are being played at Kettle Park with games starting at 10am each day. There will be an evening fixture on Saturday 28th September at Logan Park 6, with the Otago 19’s team taking on Canterbury 19’s at 5pm under lights.

The 13/14 tournament which is in its second year, presents a fantastic opportunity for boys and girls to give rugby league a go and put their skills on display while setting a great foundation for them to move up to the 15/17 tournament next year. The 19’s tournament will see the cream of teenage rugby talent from the South Island compete and put their best foot forward to move up into their district club and premier teams in the following years.

The 13/14 tournament will have three grades: boys 13’s, boys 14’s and girls 13’s/14’s, with each grade having three teams participating, while the 19’s grade will be made up of four teams. Each of the tournaments is comprised of teams from 4 districts – Canterbury, Southland, Otago and West Coast.

The tournaments provide players with the opportunity of competing at a level that allows them to challenge themselves against their peers. Past tournaments have seen players being identified and provided with further opportunities to follow their dream, be it NRL clubs or NZ age-group teams. West Coast’s Griffin Neame is an excellent example of this, Griffin played for the West Coast 19’s team at last years tournament and has just been selected in the Junior Kiwis and is a part of the North Queensland Cowboys setup.

Following the 19’s tournament, a South Island squad will be announced. This squad will train in preparation for a match against an Auckland 19’s team in Christchurch on November 9th. This is the first year a South Island side has been picked from this tournament and provides a fantastic opportunity for players to test themselves against top-class opposition and push their case for higher honours.

These tournaments are a great opportunity for those in Dunedin wanting to see high-quality rugby league being played.


2019 SZRL 13’s/14’s AND 19’S TOURNAMENT DRAW

Kettle Park, Dunedin

Saturday 28th September and Sunday 29th September



10am: Otago 13’s vs West Coast 13’s, West Coast 14’s vs Canterbury 13’s

11am: Otago 13/14 girls vs West Coast 13/14 girls

12pm: Southland 13’s vs West Coast 13’s. Southland 14’s vs West Coast 14’s, West Coast 19’s vs Southland 19’s

1pm: Otago 13/14 girls vs West Coast 13/14 girls

2pm: Otago 13’s vs Southland 13’s, Southland 14’s vs Canterbury 13’s

2:30pm: Canterbury 19’s vs West Coast 19’s

5pm Otago 19’s vs Canterbury 19’s (Logan Park 6)



10am: Otago 13’s vs West Coast 13’s, West Coast 14’s vs Canterbury 13’s, Otago 19’s vs Southland 19’s

11am: West Coast 13/14 girls vs Southland 13’s girls

12pm: Southland 14’s vs West Coast 14’s, Southland 13’s vs West Coast 13’s

12:30pm: Canterbury 19’s vs Southland 19’s

1pm: Otago 13/14 girls vs Southland 13 girls

2pm: Otago 13’s vs Southland 13’s, Southland 14’s vs Canterbury 13’s

3pm: West Coast 14/14 girls vs Southland 13’s girls, Otago 19’s vs West Coast 19’s

The Canterbury Bulls’ dominance continues in round two of the National Premiership Competition, coming away with a 46 – 6 victory over a spirited Waikato team.

Canterbury fullback, Jordan Coleman, opened the match scoring the first try of the day, set up after an offload from the number seven Brad Campbell. Within minutes the Canterbury halves ignited the attack to set up for another try, this time from the co-captain Tevin Arona, setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Wounded from their defeat last week against Canterbury, the Akarana Falcons came out firing at Pulman Park for game two.

Save my Bacon player of the month Eiden Ackland opened the scoring for Akarana for the second consecutive week which was soon followed by a barrage of tries from the impressive Akarana team.

Counties Manukau surged back in the second half scoring early but fell short in the end, ultimately leaving Akarana to take the win over Counties Manukau 30 – 18.

Counties Manukau is set to face Canterbury next week in Christchurch while Akarana takes on Waikato in Hamilton for the final round of the National Premiership Competition.

Congratulations also to the Wellington Orcas who pipped the Northern Swords in the last minute to take out the North Island Championship 28 – 24. Wellington will take on the South Island Championship winners, Otago Whalers, in a curtain-raiser match ahead of the 2019 NZRL Provincial Premiership Final on Saturday, October 5th.

At a glance:

Counties Manukau Stingrays 18  Akarana Falcons 30

Canterbury Bulls 46  Waikato 6

Click here to keep up with the Premiership draw and all results.

Click to here to keep up with the North Island Championship results


Round 3 NZRL National Premiership | Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 September 

Waikato v Akarana Falcons – 1pm, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Canterbury Bulls v Counties Manukau Stingrays – 1pm, Nga Puna Wai Stadium, Christchurch

All NZRL Premiership matches will be televised on SKY Sport.

Friday 25th October 2019 – Tokoroa Bowling Club

  • 5:00pm – 9:00pm – First get together and finger food


Saturday 26th October 2019 – Tokoroa Cub

  • 2:00pm – Kick off
  • 5:00pm – Welcome
  • 6:00pm Finger food
  • 6:30pm – Tributes
  • 8:00pm Band


Sunday 27th October 2019 – Tokoroa Club

  • 11:00am – Final Catchup, BBQ Lunch



Tokoroa Club Inc.

Chambers Street, Tokoroa, NZ



To acknowledge and recognise past members of the club, paying special tribute to those who gave above and beyond the call of duty toward:

  • Formation of the club
  • Growth & Development of the club
  • On-field success
  • Administration & Management of the club







Reunion Committee Members Email: Mobile:
Kerry Brown [email protected] 0064 27 471 5896
Patricia Cowley [email protected] 0064 27 521 1730
Colin Dawson [email protected] 0064 21 082 42269


New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the following players have been selected for the Junior Kiwis U19 team set to take on the Australian School Boys on September 29th in Queensland:


NAME                                          CLUB




Junior Kiwis coaching staff are as follows:

Head Coach: Ezra Howe

Assistant Coaches: Moehewa Armstrong, Francis Meli

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach: Donny Singe

Head Trainer: Junior Mautairi

Physio: Simon Keepa

Manager: Jerry Seuseu

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

The Canterbury Bulls’ caused an upset win over reigning premiers, Akarana Falcons, coming away with a 28 – 18 victory, showing they’re one to watch in this year’s competition.

Co-captain Tevin Arona scored a hat-trick and scrumhalf Brad Campbell and loose forward Michael Butson also had standout games. Canterbury’s 17-year-old second rower, Caius Fa’atili, impressed on the day with pace and a dominant defensive performance.

Eiden Ackland opened the scoring for Akarana early in the game which was soon followed by an impressive long-range intercept try as Akarana’s, Simon Luafaleao ran almost 80 metres to score.

The Bulls rebounded from a 12-0 deficit to score 26 unanswered points against Akarana, despite being without two of their team leaders, captain James Baxendale and Rulon Nutira.

The Bulls unleashed four tries in the second half, after some impressive approach play by Fa’atili, Ilalio and Danny Latu.

Game one saw the Counties Manukau Stingrays score 11 tries to beat Waikato 62-16. Counties were dominant across the park with Prop Connor Taurua-Purcell grabbing a hat-trick for the Stingrays with second-rower Nicholas Halalilo and wing Geronimo Doyle both scoring twice.

At a glance:

Canterbury Bulls 28 (Tevin Arona 3, Ben Ilalio, Justin Lynch, Regan Stanton tries; Caius Fa’atalii 2 goals) Akarana Falcons 18 (Eiden Ackland, Simon Luafaleao, Sam Fa’apito tries; Francis Leger 3 goals).

Counties Manukau Stingrays 62 (Connor Purcell 3, Nicholas Halalilo 2, Geronimo Doyle 2, Erin-Wayne Clark, Junior Tukinga, James Dowie, Richard Holani tries; Drew Radich 9 goals) Waikato 16 (Pawhare Brown, Duane Sykes, Caleb McLean tries; Hayden Karena 2 goals).

Played Win Lost Draw Scored Against Points Pts  diff %
AKARANA FALCONS 1 0 1 0 16 28 0 -12 57%
CANTERBURY BULLS 1 1 0 0 28 16 2 12 175%
COUNTIES MANUKAU STINGRAYS 1 1 0 0 62 16 2 46 388%
WAIKATO 1 0 1 0 16 62 0 -46 26%


Click here to keep up with the Premiership draw and all results.

Click to here to keep up with the North Island Championship results


Round 2 NZRL National Premiership – Sunday 22nd September 

Waikato v Canterbury Bulls – 1pm, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Akarana Falcons v Counties Manukau Stingrays – 3pm, Pulman Park Auckland

All NZRL Premiership matches will be televised on SKY Sport 4.

New Zealand Rugby League’s Premiership competition for 2019 kicks off this Saturday 14th of September at Pulman Park, Auckland, with Counties Manukau taking on Waikato at 1:00pm followed by Akarana taking on Canterbury at 3:00pm.

All NZRL Premiership matches will be televised on SKY Sport 4.

Click here to keep up with the Premiership draw and all results.

Click to here to keep up with the North Island Championship results

Click here to keep up with the South Island Championship results



The New Zealand Residents team will play the England Community Lions on November 1st at Trusts Arena in Auckland. A sought after fixture that will end the first-ever England Community Lions tour down under.

The Residents squad will make up the best from the NZRL National Men’s competition and the match will be broadcast live on SKY Sport.

NZRL is in need of a high-quality team to ensure a successful campaign for the boys in Black & White.

If this is of interest, please see below for job descriptions and how to apply –



2019 NZ Residents Head Coach

2019 NZ Residents Assistant Coach

2019 NZ Residents Team Manager JD

2019 NZ Residents Trainer


Application process:

Click on the below online link to fill out the questionnaire and attach your CV and cover letter.


Application closing date – September 23rd 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bayleigh Bentley-Hape – Sydney Roosters

Dylan Brown – Parramatta Eels

Valance Harris – Parramatta Eels

Kayal Iro – NZ Warriors

Temple Kalepo – NZ Warriors

Asu Kepaoa – Sydney Roosters

Spencer Leniu – Penrith Panthers

Etu Vinny Lui – Parramatta Eels

Christian Ma’anaima – Newcastle Knights

Sione Moala – NZ Warriors

Griffin Neame – North Queensland Cowboys

Shalom O’ofou – St. George Illawarra Dragons

Junior Pua – NZ Warriors

Selestino Ravuataumada – NZ Warriors

Jordan Riki – Brisbane Broncos

Simi Sasagi – Newcastle Knights

Ioane Seiuli – Gold Coast Titans

Tyler Slade – NZ Warriors

Vito Tevaga – Cronulla Sharks

Matthew Timoko – Canberra Raiders

Starford Toa – Newcastle Knights

Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard – NZ Warriors

Christian Tuipulotu – Sydney Roosters

Paul Turner – NZ Warriors

Isaiah Vagana – NZ Warriors


Junior Kiwis coaching staff are as follows:

Head Coach: Ezra Howe

Assistant Coaches: Moehewa Armstrong, Francis Meli

Head Strength & Conditioning Coach: Donny Singe

Head Trainer: Junior Mautairi

Physio: Simon Keepa

Manager: Jerry Seuseu


In the most closely contested Southern Zone Premier Rugby League competition to date, with the last round of games resulting in a three-way tie on competition points, it was the Otago Whalers who won the right to represent the South in the game against the top North district.

Otago, Southland and Aoraki each sustained only one loss in the round-robin games and so had to be separated by points differential. Going into the final games there were several possible scenarios. However, the 38-22 defeat of Southland not only gave Otago enough wins but also enough points to lift their differential above the other two districts.

As the case throughout the competition, the final weekend of games was incredibly close with Otago winning 38-22 over Southland and Aoraki beating West Coast with a try scored in the last play of the game. Top Canterbury referee Jason Wilson who has officiated in every season of the competition has said that the standard of play and the intensity shown this year was significantly higher than when the competition first started and is a credit to the work being done in the districts.

Tasman referee Eric Kneepkens who refereed the West Coast Aoraki game said that he thoroughly enjoyed the game – the spirit in which it was played was excellent. This has been a feature of the competition as well.

Southern Zone General Manager Steve Martin is thrilled with the competition. “To have such an even competition with the games going down to the wire is fantastic. This competition is the shop window for South Island Rugby League and as such we couldn’t ask for a better advertisement for the game. The addition of the Canterbury Maori team added real value to the competition, and it is hoped that they as well as the Tasman Titans will feature again in 2020.”

Former NZRL National Premiership player, Morgan Harper, made his professional NRL debut in the centres for the Bulldogs on Saturday and played a key role in the Bulldog’s 30 – 14 upset win against the Broncos.

Originally from Ngaruawahia, the last two years have been nothing short of eventful for the young father of two. Morgan came to the forefront in the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership Grand Final, where he scored the winning try for the Bulldogs in the final ten minutes of the game. The 21-year-old has been contracted to the Bulldogs for five years after coming through the club’s high-performance youth program here in New Zealand. Morgan was originally named as one of the club’s development players, but following an exciting pre-season, was elevated to the teams Top 30 at the beginning of the 2019 season.

Before making the move over to Australia, Morgan came through NZRL’s pathways. At the young age of 16, Morgan had gone through a very unique circumstance, becoming a father to twins – which has come to drive his desire to make it in the NRL. Successfully balancing his personal and professional life, Morgan represented the New Zealand 16s, 18s and the Junior Kiwis.

Morgan always put his hand up to represent his district – Assisting Waikato when coming through the Regional and Championship pool, which earned him the right to play in the Promotion/Regulation match just a few weeks prior to turning 18, which he went on to win.

Other players from the NZRL National Premiership who have achieved great things include, Tevita Satae from the 2016 competition and Setu Tu from the 2018 competition.

Tevita made his NRL debut in 2017 for the Vodafone Warriors, where he made 15 appearances before heading to the UK to play for Hull FC in the English Super League. With 20-year-old Setu currently the leading try-scorer in the Canterbury Cup NSW Competition scoring 15 tries in 15 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors.

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

He’s won a premiership, a rugby league World Cup and is a hero to a generation of kids who grew up practising flick passes and side steps in their backyard.

Now, Benji Marshall can add Philips Sports Dad of the Year to his impressive list of achievements.

The Wests Tigers veteran is this year’s winner after polling more than 20 per cent of the vote to beat out NRL colleagues Cameron Smith, David Klemmer, Matt Scott, James Maloney and John Sutton, AFL superstars Jack Darling and Scott Pendlebury, NBA superstar Joe Ingles and Test cricketer Matthew Wade.

“I’m very proud and honoured to win the award,” a humble Benji said. “I just want to thank people who supported me and all the other dads.”

Besides winning the title, Benji will donate his $5000 prize to Ronald McDonald House. “I was in there not long ago and seeing how much they needed to do around the place, and kids doing it tough…..

“The work Ronald McDonald House do looking after families that are not from around here is amazing. They help families stay together and close to the care they need when their child is fighting serious illness.

“Now I have a son in Fox, seeing what the families go through and the work Ronald McDonald House does, I think this $5000 can only help add to their facilities and improve people’s quality of life.

“This donation will allow them to keep up the great work.”

Benji spent Father’s Day scoring a try and sealing a victory against the Dragons as the Tigers continue to fight for a top-eight berth.

“To get the win with the boys was awesome’

“I just feel privileged being a dad. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I feel pretty lucky.

“I’ll still get to bath and feed him and put him to bed and the cuddles I get just before bedtime are the best ever.

“Just getting to see him grow every day, just change – he’s gone from crawling to walking to talking. It’s the greatest.

“But I can’t take all the credit for raising such a nice child, my wife Zoe is just unbelievable.

“And finally, I’d like to thank Philips for getting behind such a great award.”

New Zealand Rugby League has made the executive decision to cancel next week’s NZRL Secondary Schools competition in light of the current measles outbreak.

The Secondary School’s competition was to be held at Pulman Park, Takanini from the 2nd – 6th of September, hosting 26 schools from across the country. Several of the schools involved have recorded measles cases among their students in the past week.

Unfortunately, the occurrence of measles has been most prevalent in South Auckland, with Counties Manukau DHB recording 72% (527) of Auckland’s 731 confirmed cases of measles. With this in mind, we do not want to risk potentially exposing others travelling for the tournament. The health and safety of the players, staff, supporters and volunteers are paramount above all else.

Greg Peters, CEO of NZRL, says: “This is an unfortunate outcome, as our Secondary Schools Tournament is one of our most exciting events, but it is the only decision that can be made under these circumstances. We sought medical advice and liaised with stakeholders who all agreed with our positioning. We understand people may be disappointed by our decision and we apologise for any inconvenience caused; however, the welfare of our players and all involved in the tournament comes first.”

Dr John Mayhew, Head of NZRL Medical Advisory, says: “The vaccination status of the participants in this tournament is uncertain therefore the risk of transmission is very high. It is not appropriate for NZRL to host the tournament under these circumstances.”

Garry Carnachan, CEO of New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council, says: “Rugby League have identified a number of additional risk factors that are unique to this event which we appreciate. These factors are difficult to mitigate and Rugby League have therefore made the decision to cancel this event.”

Keep up with all the action from NZRL’s competitions below:

2019 National Premiership draw

2019 National Premiership results 

2019 North Island Championship draw 

2019 North Island Championship results 

2019 South Island Championship draw

2019 South Island Championship results 

The Winner of the South Island Championship will play the winner of the North Island Championship in a curtain-raiser match ahead of the 2019 NZRL Provincial Premiership Final on Saturday October 5th at Pulman Park, Auckland.

Disclaimer – results are not always loaded in real-time.

Physical Disability Rugby League NZ (PDRLNZ) is pleased to announce, former Warrior and New Zealand International, Kiwi #657 Tony Tatupu, has been appointed as PDRLNZ’s new ambassador.

Tony made his NRL debut against the Brisbane Broncos in 1995 as Warrior #12 and has represented both New Zealand and Samoa. Tony now serves as a New Zealand Police officer and represented the New Zealand Police at the inaugural Police World Cup 2008.

Tony’s appointment as PDRLNZ’s new ambassador comes at an exciting time for disability rugby league. The PDRLNZ South Pacific 9’s Challenge will see the Polynesia All Stars take on the Invitational All Stars as the curtain-raiser match for the Great Britain League Lions v Tonga test at Waikato’s FMG Stadium on October 26 – a first for the sport.

“It is an absolute honour to have been considered for the Ambassador position and it was an easy decision after having met the Physical Disability Rugby League NZ team and their families for the very first time,” Tony said.

“I was immediately captivated and inspired by the player’s individual journeys, their resilience and determination to overcome barriers so they can play and enjoy our game.  To witness our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in action is truly humbling and I have nothing but aroha and respect for each of them and their families.  Grateful to Paul Walsh and Vaughan Perry for introducing me to PDRLNZ.

“PDRLNZ has empowered me to advocate and champion this wonderful kaupapa by promoting its vision – to normalise physical disability, and encourage our physical disability families to get involved.  It has motivated me to reconnect with the Warriors Old Boys, NZ Warriors and NZRL and as a result, a number of brothers from the OGs who have kindly offered their support.”

Sandra Hickey, Founder and Chair of Physical Disability Rugby League, said: “We are thrilled to bits that Tony has accepted the role of Ambassador for Physical Disability Rugby League NZ. Tony is a very humble and honourable person who has a big heart for people, especially those who don’t get as much opportunity in this life as others. We are looking forward to working together to encourage more people with a physical disability to get out and get active. The future is looking really exciting for PDRL”.

Click here to purchase tickets to the GB Lions v Tonga test match / PDRLNZ curtain-raiser



NZRL are now open to receiving applications of interest for the role of National Playgroups Manager.


 The National Playgroups Manager oversees the implementation of the NZRL early childhood education playgroup project in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

The project focus is on the development and sustainable implementation of playgroups for young children and their families through rugby league club facilities.

This position requires a self-motivated, passionate, connected and capable person to provide educational experiences for young children, in a fun setting, that enhances their capacity to achieve as they move into primary school or kindergarten. This is a parent-led initiative and therefore the Playgroups Manager will need to ensure activities are suitable for pre-school aged children and their families.

The Playgroups Manager champions the values of the NZRL and encourages participation by parents in the running of the playgroups while role modelling interaction and management behaviours so that parents may learn these skills and contribute to the supported playgroups.

The role requires that the playgroups work towards building a sustainable model that can be replicated at a national level. Each playgroup has individual needs and the Playgroups Manager and staff will work towards developing a community link that each playgroup can become involved with, or lead on, community initiatives.

APPLICATION CLOSING DATE: 5pm Friday 30th August, 2019

For more information on the role please click here

To apply, please submit your application with cover letter to: 

[email protected]


New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce, former Governor-General of New Zealand, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand GNZM QSO has been appointed as New Zealand Rugby League’s Patron.

Sir Anand has a long-standing connection to the game of rugby league which he says encompasses multiple layers.

“Firstly, as a youngster, I came from a sport loving family.  My father was GP who was the doctor for the Auckland and New Zealand Rugby League teams in the 1950s and 1960s. My brother and I would accompany him to Carlaw Park on many winter weekend days whilst he was on duty and we enjoyed the games, mainly Club but also Internationals.

“Secondly, as a young lawyer in Auckland in the 1970s, I spent time on the Rules and Interpretations Board when Rugby League shifted to the six tackle rule.  Thirdly, at the end of the 1970s when there were negotiations necessary about transfer fees when players went off to Australia and England, I spent some time on the NZRL Council (as the Deputy Delegate for the West Coast) which was a way of getting a legal mind on the Council for these purposes. When I became a Judge in 1982 I needed to resign from these offices but have maintained an interest in the code as a television watcher and attender at fixtures.”

When asked what he loves about the game, Sir Anand pointed out the excitement that takes place on the field as well as the benefits it brings to many people off it as well.

“It is an exciting free-flowing brand of football that places great emphasis on ball distribution and encourages, to a high level, essential physical skills of running and jumping…It promotes camaraderie and teamwork but also prepares people for participation in life more generally. I see the game growing even more as the game of choice among the country’s Māori and Pasifika communities and for women as well as men.”

Sir Anand says being NZRL’s Patron enables him the opportunity to reignite his connection with the sport and with those in charge of running it.

“The Rugby League family will not have changed over years and it will be good to have a connection with it again and to follow the efforts of the Rt Hon Helen Clark and Sir Peter Leitch as patrons of the recent past.”

Greg Peters, CEO of New Zealand Rugby League says Sir Anand’s appointment marks an exciting time for NZRL.

“Having such an influential figure as our Patron is extremely beneficial to the direction our organisation is heading – we’re very grateful to Sir Anand for accepting our invitation,” Greg said.

“He has a strong league connection and has already had an impact on the game in New Zealand as a member of the Council of New Zealand Rugby League and Secretary of the Rules and Interpretations Board.

“Currently, we’re working to emphasise our More Than A Game philosophy, where we aspire to transform lives and community well-being through Rugby League. Sir Anand epitomises this philosophy through his years of public service at a local and parliamentary level, as well as the notable impact he has had on our Māori and Pasifika communities throughout his remarkable career.


“Having Sir Anand as our Patron will only strengthen the important work we’re doing in this area and hopefully further the impact we have off the field.”



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.

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce a series of international fixtures that will see our brightest future league talent on display from up and down the country.


The NZ Resident 16s and 18s are set to take on TOA Samoa 16s and 18s at Auckland’s Pulman Park on Sunday 6th October, while the NZ Resident 18s will also come up against France’s U19s on Thursday, October 3rd at International Stadium, Rotorua.


As well as the NZ Residents 18s fixture, French Rugby League will embark on a historic tour of New Zealand facing the South Island 20s, Waikato 20s and Auckland 19s.


Full list of fixtures in date order (all times are NZT):


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


New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the following successful players have been selected to represent the New Zealand Resident 16s and 18s teams for 2019.


New Zealand Resident 16s:  

Name Club District Zone Team
Keano KINI Marist Auckland Akarana
Zyon MAIU’U Te Atatu Auckland Akarana
Stanley IONGI Marist Auckland Auckland
Heneli LUANI Pakuranga Auckland Counties Manukau
Sione VAIHU Waitemata Auckland Auckland
Filipo WHITEHOUSE-OPETAIA TOVIO Waitemata Auckland Auckland
Ali LEIATAUA Pakuranga Auckland Counties Manukau
Francis MANULELUA Papatoetoe Auckland Counties Manukau
Ben PENI Papatoetoe Auckland Counties Manukau
Carlos TARAWHITI Pakuranga Auckland Counties Manukau
Arama KITE Manukura Manawatu Mid Central
Fatiauma MOEAHU LEOTA Waitara Taranaki Mid Central
Tea-Rani WOODMAN TUHORO Takahiwai Northland Northland
Ethan FAITAUA Linwood Canterbury Southern
Felix FA’ATILI Hornby Canterbury Southern
Jaedon WELLINGTON Hornby Canterbury Southern
Uriah TULI Linwood Canterbury Southern
Cassius COWLEY Pikiao Bay of Plenty Upper Central
Manaia NGATAKI-MATTHEWS Turangawaewae Waikato Upper Central


Head Coach: Bejay Hewitt (Akarana)

Assistant Coaches: Chris Langley, Eugene Davis (Upper Central)

Manager: Junie Shelford (Northland)

Trainers: Sean Witanga (Counties Manukau), Iripa Rangi (Vodafone Warriors)

Physio: Quentin Hokianga (Vodafone Warriors)

Wellbeing Support: Te Iwi Ngaro Wairau (Southern)


New Zealand Resident 18s:

Name Club District Zone Team
Caleb PESE Ellerslie Auckland Akarana
Jyris GLAMUZINA Ellerslie Auckland Akarana
Lani GRAHAM-TAUFA Marist Auckland Akarana
Moana GRAHAM-TAUFA Marist Auckland Akarana
Temple KALEPO Richmond Auckland Akarana
Jonah PALOTA-KOPA Richmond Auckland Akarana
Luani Naufahu WHYTE Marist Auckland Akarana
Eteru ROPETI Marist Auckland Auckland
William FAKATOUMAFI Otahuhu Auckland Counties Manukau
Otukinekina KEPU Manurewa Auckland Counties Manukau
Peesi Valingi KEPU Manurewa Auckland Counties Manukau
Sione MOALA Manurewa Auckland Counties Manukau
Taniela OTUKOLO Otahuhu Auckland Counties Manukau
Semisi SIKEI Otahuhu Auckland Counties Manukau
Semisi TAPA Otahuhu Auckland Counties Manukau
Feao TONGIA Otahuhu Auckland Counties Manukau
Brooklyn HEREWINI Whanganui Manawatu Mid Central
Tyson CHASE Kia Ora Manawatu Mid Central
Jordan COLEMAN Hornby Canterbury Southern
Caius FA’ATILI Hornby Canterbury Southern
Tukimihia SIMPKINS Pikiao Bay of Plenty Upper Central
Dallas MCEWAN Randwick Wellington Wellington


Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele (Counties Manukau)

Assistant Coaches: Daniel McEwan (Wellington) and Cody Walker (Akarana)

Manager: Tania Harris (Counties Manukau)

Trainers: Lee Paru (Southern) and Jasen McCarthy (Akarana)

Physio: Allan Horn (Counties Manukau)

Wellbeing Support: Te Iwi Ngaro Wairau (Southern)


NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, says these fixtures are a teaser of the international rugby league to come.


“What’s really exciting about these matches is that we get a glimpse into the future of New Zealand Rugby League. These National Teams provide a platform for players to springboard their future opportunities in the game and are an essential part of the NZ pathway.


“The fixtures are also a display of the impressive domestic talent developed through our Clubs, Districts and Zones and having our future Kiwis come up against quality competition such as TOA Samoa and France will be exciting to see.”


Geoff Brown, Rugby League Samoa Executive said: “We are thankful for the opportunity to come up against the NZ Residents, and at the same time, continue to strengthen our international relationships as these fixtures are vital to the development of Samoan rugby league.

“To play for your country is the ultimate goal and we’re always working to provide elite pathways for our young players to achieve this at a range of age levels. Thanks to New Zealand Rugby League for their ongoing support, we look forward to the upcoming clashes.”


Marc Palanques, Executive Chairman Federation Français Rugby a XIII said: “We are looking forward to this historic U19’s tour of New Zealand with a distinct vision of preparing a competitive squad capable of mixing it with the world’s best in the future.


“The current rep cycle means we are preparing for a World Cup every four years and this is our first step in giving our players the experience they need to compete against the world’s best players. The four-match program we have is ambitious while providing a wonderful mixture of games and community engagements for our young players.


“Mixing sport with the local culture and experiencing their first haka, will be a life-changing experience and we hope to be able to reciprocate this with the NZRL when they visit next. A special word of thanks to our rugby league hosts in the South Island; Canterbury Rugby League and the North Island; Waikato Rugby League, Auckland Rugby League and New Zealand Residents.”


Details on how to view each fixture will be released in due course.

Image – Photosport

By warriors.kiwi & Photosport.nz

As seen on warriors.kiwi/news

New Zealand rugby league greats Ruben Wiki and Stacey Jones have tonight been revealed as two of the four players to join the NRL Hall of Fame in a formal induction ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday night.

In a momentous night for the game in New Zealand, they will be inducted alongside Australians Danny Buderus and Craig Young, joining 106 players previously honoured.

The Kiwi legends were among last year’s nominees when Kiwi legend and New Zealand player of the century Mark Graham (the first Kiwi included) was inducted along with Petero Civoniceva, Cliff Lyons, Steve Menzies, Ricky Stuart and Gorden Tallis.

And they were again included in a list of 25 nominees announced last week for this year’s intake.

Wiki (46) and Jones (43) were long-time Kiwi teammates throughout their careers, Wiki playing a then-world record 55 Tests from 1994 to 2006 while Jones made 46 Test appearances from 1995-2006; they also both captained the Kiwis.

Wiki became the first New Zealander to play 300 NRL games, finishing with a total of 312 appearances including 225 for Canberra and 87 for the Vodafone Warriors.

Jones played his entire NRL career with the Vodafone Warriors, making a club record 261 appearances (until Simon Mannering went ahead of him).

Wiki and Jones have both worked extensively for the Vodafone Warriors since their playing careers ended, Wiki as a strength and conditioning coach and Jones in a number of coaching positions (he’s now an NRL assistant coach).

They were both named in the New Zealand Rugby League’s Team of the Century and have both been included in the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

A voting college representing a cross section of the game – scroll down to see college members – selected their top five players to be included in the exclusive Hall of Fame club. The four players were selected through an independent audit of the votes.

NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said the four inductees were all worthy recipients of the honour.

“All four of our player inductees will stand proudly alongside the 106 players who they will join in the Hall of Fame,” Greenberg said.

“These are some of the best players of their generations, and they will now join the best of the best.

“They each dominated their respective eras and commanded enormous respect. They still do.

“This year’s Hall of Fame class is an exceptional one. We will be recognising greatness when our latest class are formally inducted.”

Senior manager of NRL awards Frank Puletua said the induction ceremony would be one of the most important nights on the calendar.

“This year, we will be acknowledging our contributors as well as our players,” Puletua said.

“The Hall of Fame induction has become an incredibly important night for the game as we take the opportunity to reflect on our pioneers and our finest players.

“All four of our player inductees can now forever be known as Hall of Famers, and that only adds to their standing in the game.”

Three contributors – one each from administration, broadcast media and print media – will be announced tomorrow ahead of the formal induction.

For more information on the NRL Hall of Fame and Immortals, please visit nrl.com/hall-of-fame/




Born: February 6, 1978, Taree, NSW

Junior Football: Taree United

Club: Newcastle Knights

Position: Hooker

Premiership Career 1997-2013: Newcastle Knights: Played 257. Points 246 (61 tries, 1 goal).

First Grade Debut: Newcastle v South Queensland at Marathon Stadium, 23/3/1997 (Rd 3)

Grand Finals: 1 – Newcastle 2001 (W)

Rep Career: Australia: Tests 24 (2001-06), Kangaroo tours 2001, 2003; Tri-Nations 2004, 2005. New South Wales: State of Origins 21 (2002-08). Country Origin: 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008



Born: May 7, 1976, Auckland, NZ

Junior Football: Point Chevalier

Club: Vodafone Warriors

Position: Halfback

Premiership Career 1995-2009: Vodafone Warriors: Played 261. Points 674 (77 tries, 176 goals, 14 field goals). Super League 2006-2007: Les Catalans: Played 45 games.

First Grade Debut: Warriors v Parramatta at Parramatta Stadium, 23/4/1995 (Rd 7)

Grand Finals: 1 – Warriors 2002 c (L)

Rep Career: New Zealand: Tests 46 (1995-2006), World Cups 1995, 2000, Tri-Nations 1999, 2005, 2006; Captained Kiwis in seven Tests



Born: January 21, 1973, Auckland, NZ

Junior Football: Otara Scorpions

Clubs: Canberra Raiders, Vodafone Warriors

Position: Centre/Second Row/Prop


Tickets are on sale at 12pm today for the Australia vs New Zealand Double-Header Test matches set to take place on October 25th at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.


Thousands of rugby league fans are expected to join the strong local support for the only Test Matches scheduled on Australian soil in 2019.


“The Australia-New Zealand rivalry is a special one and it will be the only occasion this year fans can witness both the male and female teams competing in official Test Matches,” NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said.


“It is the best players in both the NRL and NRLW competing for the unofficial title of the world’s best.


“We hosted a great crowd for the last international played in Wollongong in 2014, and we are excited to be returning to this important rugby league region again this year.”


It will be the first time the Australian Kangaroos have faced the New Zealand Kiwis at WIN Stadium, with the women’s sides having clashed at the venue back in 2014.


New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Officer Greg Peters said: “Trans Tasman rivalry showcases everything that is great about our game.  To be able to see four of the World’s top Rugby League teams with points to prove in action on one day will make for a not to be missed fan experience. The Men’s match will also form part of the inaugural Oceania Cup and may well decide the winner of that trophy.”


The Harvey Norman Jillaroos held on for a nail-biting win over the Kiwi Ferns at Mt Smart on October 13 last year, while the Australian Kangaroos will be looking to avenge their 26-24 loss against the New Zealand Kiwis from the same day.


Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and nrl.com/tickets. Event-goers can also catch free train and shuttle services to and from WIN Stadium using just their event ticket, making public transport an attractive travel option for the event.


The Australia v New Zealand Double Header is supported by the New South Wales Government via Destination New South Wales.


The women’s and men’s matches will be broadcast live nationally across the Nine Network, Fox Sports and NRL Live Pass, and well as Sky NZ in New Zealand.

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

The Kiwis, Kangaroos, Great Britain Rugby League Lions and emerging Pacific powers Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are all set to hit New Zealand’s shores in October and November – and tickets are now on sale for the incredible blockbuster programme of international rugby league.

An Eden Park triple header that sees the Kiwis rekindle hostilities with old enemy The British Lions; the Kangaroos lock horns with Jason Taumalolo’s mighty Mate Ma’a Tonga; and Samoa and Fiji clash in a vital Oceania Cup showdown to showcase the international game on a single day at a single venue like never before.

With Christchurch also hosting a thrilling test match double header, and Hamilton welcoming back Tonga to the scene of their 2017 World Cup victory over the Kiwis – as they attempt to subdue another international superpower in the shape of Great Britain – New Zealand will play host to the best teams and players in the world over an incredible few weeks.

“This is an international rugby league spectacle which we’re not used to witnessing outside of the world cup,” NZRL chief executive Greg Peters said.

“The Oceania Cup and Lions Tour not only give fans and players more test match action but they highlight the quality of league being played around the globe.

“From the power and flare of our Pacific Nations to the long-awaited return of the GB Lions, these tests will shine a big spotlight on our game, as fans and players from both hemispheres set to congregate down under to witness nothing but world-class rugby league action.

“It’s a really promising time for rugby league, we know fans are already excited – so I’d urge people to get their tickets nice and early. We look forward to the blockbuster international calendar that awaits.”

International Rugby League Federation General Manager Southern Hemisphere Jeremy Edwards said the action-packed schedule was great for the entire Pacific region.

“It is the first time in many, many years we have got some meaningful content into the Pacific,” Edwards said.

“The Oceania Cup competition finally gives the nations down here a bit of respect.”

While the Kiwis, Kangaroos and Tonga are vying for the Oceania Cup, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea also have plenty to play for with the Oceania Shield and promotion to the Cup competition up for grabs.

The winner of the Shield will replace Australia in the Cup competition in 2020.

“That not only gives the top team in Pool B a chance to move into Pool A, but allows us to bring in the Cook Islands to Pool B,” says Edwards. “The Cook Islands has produced some incredible rugby league players and they are doing really well at the moment. They have got a match in November against the USA for the final position in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

“There is some really exciting stuff happening down here in the Pacific.”

Edwards said the return of the Great British Lions after a 12-year hiatus was also a huge positive for the international game.

“To be able to reinvigorate that and bring them down to this part of the world is really fantastic,” he said.

“And the desire for the Lions to go to Papua New Guinea to play the Kumuls says a lot about the development of rugby league in the Pacific. These matches open up so many doors for tourism and government opportunities – I think it is sensational.”

With Adult tickets starting from $20* (Christchurch and Hamilton) $25* (Auckland) and family passes from $50* (Christchurch and Hamilton) $60* (Auckland), Edwards said the triple header at Eden Park would provide tremendous value for money for rugby league fans.

“That is one of the things we have tried to do, to be able to appeal to Mum, Dad and the kids to come along and watch six great nations on family tickets that are really attractively priced.

“It’s three great matches of footy at a great venue, right in the middle of downtown Auckland. It’s a sensational evening of rugby league in rugby union heartland.”

The return of international rugby league to Christchurch and Hamilton after the cities successfully hosted matches during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup was also exciting, he said.

“Christchurch is a great venue, great city, beautiful scenery. Why not go and have a couple of days while you are there? And Hamilton is a great place as well with a great venue.”


Saturday October 26 –  FMG Stadium, Waikato

  • Great Britain Rugby League Lions v Mate Ma’a Tonga
  • Plus Physical Disabled Rugby League New Zealand South Pacific 9’s Challenge


Saturday November 2 – Eden Park Triple Header, Auckland

  • Toa Samoa v Fiji Bati
  • Great Britain Rugby League Lions v New Zealand Kiwis
  • Mate Ma’a Tonga v Australia Kangaroos


Saturday November 9 – Double Header, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

  • Fiji Bati v Papua New Guinea Kumuls
  • Great Britain Rugby League Lions v New Zealand Kiwis


*Ticket pricing Plus Fees




As well as a host of blockbuster Great Britain Rugby League Lions and Oceania Cup fixtures, rugby league’s international programme features a first for the sport – a Physical Disabled Rugby League curtain raiser match ahead of the GB League Lions v Tonga clash at FMG Stadium Waikato on October 26.

The PDRLNZ South Pacific 9’s Challenge will see the Polynesia All Stars take on the Invitational All Stars over two 25-minute halves.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for us,” says PDRL player Gary Endacott.

“What I love about the PDRL is that is an opportunity for people to play the sport that they love but not necessarily in a wheelchair. No disrespect to wheelchair sports, but there has always been way more options for people with physical disabilities to do stuff in wheelchairs.”

Endacott, who is the son of former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott, says people will be surprised by the quality produced by players whose physical disabilities prevent them from being able to play open grade rugby league but stop short of being restricted to a wheelchair.

“The quality of the play, I think many people will find quite surprising, not just the skill factor but also the physical intensity.”

Having started in Australia in 2010, PDRL began in New Zealand in 2015 with a match at the Mt Albert Lions club.

The sport has grown to include regular trans-Tasman competition, including three international matches between New Zealand and Australian sides.

Endacott, who was born with cerebral palsy, has played presidents grade rugby league for 30 years but never dreamed he’d get the chance to play the sport on a major stage.

“Obviously the game is in the blood,” he says. “I’ve done a lot of different sporting things and I can say this with a high degree of certainty: there is nothing that put a bigger smile on my face than actually getting to play the game I love at a level that I always wanted to aspire to. I really thought this would never happen.

“I’ve climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and won world tennis championships in the disabled arena, but I’d chuck all that out the window to do what I am doing now with the league.”

The PDRLNZ South Pacific Challenge is nine players per side, and features players in black shorts who play full contact and red-shorted players who play touch, as well as two able-bodied players to help facilitate play.

Endacott has largely played as a black shorts player however his age and disability level means he is now tending towards the red shorts.

“But I like the physicality of the game. I’m probably a wee bit too physical at times. I’m pretty affected in the legs and I’ve not got the best balance – but physical strength would be as good as a lot of people. And as far as balls skills and things like that, I’ve been a wee bit lucky in the gene pool there!”

The chance to play a curtain-raiser at an international match was a major boost for a sport that was progressing well but still encountered challenges accessing funding and sponsorship, Endacott said.

“We need people to get behind it and NZRL have obviously been very supportive by making sure we are the curtain raiser (game), which is great.”

Sandra Hickey, Founder & Chair of Physical Disability Rugby League NZ, says this is an opportunity the athletes would have only dreamed of.

“We are very grateful to New Zealand Rugby League for the opportunity to showcase PDRL on the global stage, giving our athletes the chance to show off their hard work and play the game in front of an international crowd. It’s a momentous occasion that will have long-term benefits on the growth of PDRL.”

“We are delighted we have been able to include this fixture as part of our busy international calendar,” NZRL chief executive Greg Peters said.

“We are always looking to provide more opportunities for our players to play this great game, despite what level they are, where they’ve come from or if they have a disability or not. Rugby league is inclusive and having our PDRLNZ athletes take the field in October is really exciting.

“Going forward, we are working to provide more regular opportunities for our PDRLNZ athletes to showcase their skills on the world stage. The curtain raiser match is an important milestone and hopefully, the beginnings of what’s to come.”

Richard Becht & Photosport.nz

While a Counties Manukau side laden with Warriors NRL premiership players dominated the final, Akarana and Warriors loose forward Georgia Hale claimed the top individual honour on the last day of the NZRL national women’s tournament at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura today.

The Stingrays just squeezed into the decider after edging the Mid-Central Vipers 14-12 in their semi-final yesterday but they responded by overpowering the Akarana Falcons 32-4 in the final to retain their crown.

Kiwi Ferns and Warriors centre Amber Kani opened the scoring for Counties Manukau before Akarana responded through another Warriors NRLW player in centre Jules Newman, who switched to rugby league just a few months ago.

That would be the only joy for the Falcons as the Stingrays struck again through Kiwi Ferns and Warriors hooker Krystal Rota to take a 10-4 lead into halftime.

Rota had a second after the break while Kiwi Ferns and Warriors fullback Apii Nicholls also crossed.

While she was in the beaten Akarana side, Kiwi Ferns star and Vodafone Warriors community relations coordinator Hale was the standout individual over the three days to claim the player of the tournament award.

Earlier in the day, the Auckland Vulcans accounted for Wai-Coa-Bay 30-8 in the play-off for fifth and sixth while Canterbury finished third after edging the Mid-Central Vipers 6-4 in the third and fourth play-off.



At Bruce Pulman Park, Papakura



Counties Manukau Stingrays 32 (Krystal Rota 2, Amber Kani, Mele Hufanga, Apii Nicholls, Kararaina Wira-Kohu tries; Apii Nicholls 4 conversions).

Akarana Falcons 4 (Jules Newman try).

Halftime: 10-4 Stingrays.


Third-fourth play-off:

Canterbury 6 (Cassie Siataga try; Cassie Siataga conversion).

Mid-Central Vipers 4 (Sherri Burgess try).


Fifth-sixth play-off:

Auckland Vulcans 30 (Laishon Albert Jones 2, Aleasha Brider, Mele Toki, Tahina Heta, Alix Leaupepe tries; Jhana Magele 3 conversions).

Wai-Coa-Bay 8 (Nina Barton, Daumavia Herewini tries).



NZRL National Women’s Tournament Team











11 Ngatokotoru ARAKUA AKARANA




15 Tanika-Jazz NOBLE AKARANA

16 Geneva Tainui WEBBER COUNTIES




  • Coach of the Tournament – Awarded by Justin Morgan NZRL – Ross Uele
  • Manager of the Tournament – Awarded by (TBC) Nadene Conlon NZRL = Sabrina Manu
  • Referee of the Tournament – Awarded by Luke Watts NZRL – Rochelle Tamarua


  • Trainer of the Tournament – Awarded by Elizabeth Richards = Haze Rewiti
  • NZRL “More Than Just A Game” Team of the Tournament – Awarded by Elizabeth Richards – Mid-Central Vipers
  • Best Back of the Tournament – Awarded by Justin Morgan – Joeannha Purcell
  • Best Forward of the Tournament – Awarded by Justin Morgan – Aiesha Leigh Smalley
  • Player of the Tournament – Awarded by Luisa Avaiki – Georgia Hale

New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce that Luisa Avaiki, former Kiwi Ferns World Cup-winning Captain, current Kiwi Ferns Assistant Coach, NZ Order of Merit recipient and current Head Coach of the WNRL Warriors team, has been granted a Prime Minister’s Scholarship enabling her to take on the role of Head of Women’s Rugby League.

Avaiki has been involved in rugby league for more than three decades dating back to her Kiwi Ferns debut in 1995. Sporting the Black and White jersey, she’s lifted the Women’s Rugby League World Cup three times (2000, 2003, 2008), two of them as captain. This year, she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2019 New Years Honours for her ongoing services to rugby league and the women’s game.

Luisa has held development and welfare roles at both the Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Rugby League, just recently as the Women’s Wellbeing and Development Manager.

Her new role as Head of Women’s Rugby League will see her develop and drive the women’s rugby league strategy throughout New Zealand. Luisa will work closely with NZRL zones and districts, further strengthening the female game at a community level right the way through to the elite pathways, at the same time, still continuing as the Kiwi Ferns Assistant Coach and Warriors NRLW Head Coach.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to contribute further to the women’s game and it highlights NZRL’s dedication to seeing our female game thrive at all levels,” Avaiki said.

“It’s exciting to see the women’s game experience significant growth I’m really looking forward to what we’ll be able to achieve for all girls across the country involved in rugby league.”

CEO of NZRL, Greg Peters, said: “Luisa has already contributed so much to rugby league, she’s an inspiration to many of the women who play our game and she has an undeniable passion for what she does; therefore we couldn’t think of a better person to take on this new role. We’re extremely lucky to have someone of her calibre on board, especially during a time of such important growth.”


Why do you play league?

I love the physical challenge the game offers and the people I play with.


What got you into the game? 

My first introduction to league was when I was six playing for my uncles’ team.  After my first season we ended up moving north there was no comp for kids, so I ended up playing rugby instead.


How long have you been playing for? 

I’ve been playing women’s for around 5 years


What do you do outside of league?

I’m a mum of two, I work for a Maori Charitable Trust, Te Tihi o Ruahine Whanau Ora Navigation Alliance.  I dabble in a few other sports rugby, touch and I like to do a bit of CrossFit and boxing as well.


What are your biggest highlights or proudest moments?

Watching my 11yr old daughter Emerald play league, she is profoundly deaf and wears cochlear implants, shes amazing!. Winning the Wellington Women’s League Comp with my friends.  Winning this year’s Manawatu women’s rugby club comp with my club Kia Toa.


What advice would you give to young girls wanting to get into league?

Give it a go!…you’ll love it.


What are your goals? 

To stay injury-free and make semi-finals for nationals


What are you looking forward to most about the National Women’s Tournament? 

Playing with my mates!



The NRL has confirmed the three pools which will make up the inaugural Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019, to be held at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta on October 18-19.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said today the format of the pools would ensure key rivals face each other in the fast-paced, action-packed short form of Rugby League.

During the official launch of the tournament today in Parramatta, it was revealed that:

  • Group A would include Australia, New Zealand, PNG and USA
  • Group B would include England, France, Lebanon and Wales
  • Group C would include Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands

Mr Greenberg said the two highest-placed teams from Group A would progress to the Semi Finals, alongside the winners of Groups B and C.

The two highest-placed teams from the Women’s pool, which features Australia, New Zealand, England and PNG, will feature in the women’s final.

The Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019 was formally launched today in Parramatta featuring Damien Cook (Kangaroos), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Kiwis), James Segeyaro (PNG), Maika Sivo (Fiji), Michael Jennings (Tonga), Anthony Milford (Samoa), Alex Glenn (Cook Islands), as well as Isabelle Kelly (Jillaroos) and Raecene McGregor (Kiwi Ferns).

Mr Greenberg said the pools were chosen to ensure exciting match-ups between traditional rivals.

He added all teams would play one match on Friday and a minimum of two matches on Saturday.

“The World Cup 9s will feature the most exciting players to watch in the game, representing their nations and their cultures,” Mr Greenberg said.

“It will be a festival of Rugby League and the fast-paced, frenetic nature of Nines will be fantastic to watch.

“This is Rugby League rebooted – a unique and exciting way to showcase our wonderful athletes.”

Mr Greenberg also detailed some of the key rules which will be in place during the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s:


  • A Bonus Zone, giving teams the chance for a five-point try, will be included
  • A 20-40 rule, in addition to the 40-20
  • A 25-second shot clock on drop-kicked conversions
  • Golden Try in the event of a match drawn after regulation time

NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, said: “It’s an exciting time for our international game, we’re looking forward to watching both our Ferns and Kiwis take the field in what will be an entertaining weekend of fast-paced rugby league action.”

Two-day passes for the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s will go on sale for the General Public on Wednesday (July 24).

Single-day passes will be available to purchase for the General Public from August 7.

Tickets will be available via nrl.com/tickets.

The 12 teams in the men’s competition and four teams in the women’s tournament will compete across 28 matches and 12 hours of action. Every men’s and women’s match will be broadcast live across the two days of competition.

By Will Evans – Canterbury Rugby League

Cushla Nukunuku has more motivation than most of Canterbury’s rookie representatives ahead of the NZRL National Women’s Tournament.

The Linwood Keas prop/second-rower will make her provincial debut in Auckland next week, which shapes as the highlight of a season she has dedicated to the memory of her mum, Lena Nukunuku, who passed away two years ago this month.

“This is probably going to be my last year playing, but I’m really happy that I’ve finally got to represent Canterbury and play for my mum – I feel like she would be so proud of me,” Nukunuku says.

Nukunuku reveals that she gained her initial first-hand exposure to rugby league thanks to her mum, who played for Woolston Rams.

“When I think about it, I love the smell of deep heat and liniment – it reminds me of going into the changing sheds.

“I played a bit of social league way back when, but there was no competition then in Canterbury. Woolston Rams used to have a past versus present game, so I would play for mum.”

The 32-year-old mother of three has earned a maiden call-up for Canterbury midway through her third season of rugby league and is thriving in the representative environment so far.

“I love it, actually. You get to know the players from the other clubs better,” she explains.

“(Usually) you only get to meet them on the field – and it’s like ‘I’m gonna smash you’. Now it’s like, ‘yeah smash her – but don’t hurt her!’”

“I played rugby (union) for eight years and felt like I wasn’t really learning as much anymore, so three seasons ago I thought I’d give league a go, and I love it.”

If Nukunuku transfers the passion she displays at club level to the rep stage, Canterbury’s rivals are in for a torrid time at the National Women’s Tournament.

She played in Linwood’s 2017 CRL Grand Final loss to Papanui and backed up for last year’s decider, when the Keas turned the tables on the Tigers 36-33 in an epic contest at Rugby League Park.

“Green and black is life to me – Linwood Bulls (rugby union team) and Linwood Keas is just home.

“(Winning the Grand Final) was the best feeling in the world. I can’t even express to the girls that are just new to the Keas this year about how much different it is when you go and play a Grand Final. It’s just amazing.”

Nukunuku has tried to take on more a leadership role in a new-look Keas squad in 2019.

“I feel like the smallest things in someone’s game – like at kick-offs, standing on the right angle so if you do drop the ball it goes backwards – it’s a small thing, but it could be (the difference in) winning a game,” she says.

“We’ve got Saga (Manu) and Lupe (Manu) who play for the Keas and also got selected for Canterbury, and I try to take them under my wing. Lovely, lovely girls and just small things like that, they’re like, ‘oh, that’s awesome’.”

But despite being one of the older members of both the Linwood and Canterbury teams, Nukunuku still finds inspiration from some of her experienced teammates.

She nominated one current clubmate, Kiwi Ferns and Samoa rep Sui Pauaraisa, and one ex-Kea, Cassie Siataga, now with Burnham Chevaliers, as her biggest rugby league inspirations.

“Sui, who doesn’t look up to her? She’s my age and she’s just 110 percent all the time. Even at training. She’s always lifting girls up.

“Not having Sui around because she’s constantly travelling with the Samoa league and rugby teams is a bit of a downer, so I’m looking forward to her coming back (for Canterbury). It’s going to be really good for the team, for morale.

“She’s played for Samoa, played for the Warriors and got called up for the Kiwis last year as well, so it brings a lot of good vibes for our girls.

“I also look up to ‘BC’ (Siataga). I just think she’s an amazing player, she just makes things look so easy. It’s almost like she glides on the field – anything with the ball really, she’s just really talented.

“If you ever need tips, she’s always willing to help out whoever. It doesn’t matter what team you’re on.”

But reuniting with Pauaraisa and Siataga is just one of myriad reasons Nukunuku is buzzing ahead of next week’s competition.

She is set to have her own personal cheer squad on the sidelines at Pulman Park.

“I’m trying to convince my partner to take some time off work for him and the kids to come up, because his family is from Huntly,” Nukunuku says.

“They’re all coming, his friends from there are coming to watch.

“As a mum, it’s sad because we leave on Thursday and I’m going to miss my kids, but then it’s also a bit of holiday. But you’ve got to work really hard as well.

Nukunuku relishes the physical side of rugby league. A winger in the 2017 Grand Final and a centre in last year’s decider, increasing her involvement in the more confrontational aspects of the game was behind her shift to the forwards this season.

But with up to five games to play over three days next weekend for the Canterbury team – who are aiming to build on their impressive third-place finishes in 2017-18 – as well as squaring off against the best players from the North Island for the first time, the National Women’s Tournament looms as a new challenge for Nukunuku.

“I’ve had tournaments for Canterbury Maori for rugby (union), but I haven’t had a full-on tournament like this before,” she enthuses.

“I’m excited to see the other teams and what they bring to the tournament – and also be able to smash people and not get in trouble!

“Even though I’ll be like, ‘oh snap, am I going to be at (the opposition players’) level’, I’m so, so excited. I’m constantly thinking about how I’m going to go into a tackle, or how am I going to chase that person down.

“All in all, I’m trying not to psyche myself out, but I think it’s excitement more than anything.”

The Mike Linton-coached Canterbury team’s NZRL National Women’s Tournament campaign kicks off at Pulman Park in Auckland on Friday, July 26 with an 11am clash against Mid Central Vipers, before facing the might of Akarana Falcons at 3pm.

Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has today revealed the confirmed nations who will participate in the women’s tournament in 2021.

The announcements were made across the tournament’s official social media channels, we saw each of the eight individual nations revealed with a unique video showcasing what each nation will bring to RLWC2021.

Set to be the most inclusive rugby league event ever, RLWC2021 will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments played concurrently for the first time. International nations were asked to submit their expressions of interest earlier this year for RLWC2021 and Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) representatives to review.

The nations confirmed for the women’s tournament are:

  • England (Hosts)
  • Australia (Holders)
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Cook Islands
  • France
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea

Each nation was assessed against set criteria that reviewed their current international and domestic infrastructure, their plans for growth and their potential impact on RLWC2021. The draw for the tournament will take place in November 2019.

Speaking about the announcement, Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, said: “We’re delighted the three-times world champions, the Kiwi Ferns, will be taking part in the biggest and best Women’s RLWC in 2021. The Kiwi Ferns have fantastic quality in their ranks, and it will be brilliant to see them showcased to the world, here in England.

“I would like to congratulate each nation that has been chosen to take part in the women’s tournament. We had some fantastic submissions and unfortunately, we couldn’t say yes to each nation, however, we’re confident the chosen nations will play their role in delivering the greatest, and most inclusive, Rugby League World Cup of all time. It is especially pleasing to see an inaugural South American nation compete in a Rugby League World Cup”

RLIF Chief Executive Officer Nigel Wood added: “Women’s sport is growing exponentially, and rugby league is no exception. The fact that we were oversubscribed for this competition demonstrates the immense appetite for our sport. We are encouraged that female athletes around the world are participating and rising to the challenge of skill, fitness, strength and mental toughness provided by rugby league.

“I would like to add my congratulations to each nation and wish them all the best in their build-up to what will be a fantastic event in 2021 and to thank all the nations who participated in this process and we hope that they will join in the women’s Emerging Nations World Cup, which will be a part of the Festival of World Cups 2021.

“We have to ensure that there is clear pathway developed quickly to cater for a fuller women’s international programme with events organised locally, regionally and globally, all leading to a full qualification process for the RLWC2025.”

RLWC2021 will begin with the men’s opening fixture featuring England at St James’ Park on Saturday 23rd October 2021. The women’s tournament will begin at Anfield on Saturday 13th November 2021 and the wheelchair tournament will begin on Sunday 14th November 2021 at the Copper Box Arena, with England both featuring in those opening fixtures. The event will finish with a finals weekend (27th-28th November) with the wheelchair tournament concluding at the M&S Bank Arena and men’s and women’s final held as a double-header at Old Trafford.

When did you debut for the Kiwi Ferns?

2008 World Cup

How many tests have you played?

14 I think. 2008 – 2013 I played in two World Cups and all the tests in-between. Then I took a break and have just returned this year.

How does it feel to represent your country?

It’s the highest honour in our sport and the feeling is nothing but pure pride. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your job in youth justice? What does that entail?

My role as a Youth Justice Coordinator is to hold Young People aged 14-17 accountable for their alleged criminal offending.

I convene and facilitate Family Group Conferences that involve the Young Person, Whanau and professionals i.e. Lawyers, Police, Social Workers, Victims, Lay Advocates and Community Organisations etc.

Collectively our main goal is for our young people not to re-offend, we try to do that by building a support system and plan around the young person and their whanau. Having the victim of their crime participate in this restorative justice process is a key component to positive outcomes for all.  

Offences can range from an unlawful getting into a motor vehicle which is a penalty of two years imprisonment right through to aggravated robbery which is 14 years imprisonment. 

How long have you been doing this?

I have worked with young people in different capacities for the past six years but have been in this particular role for one year.

Why did you get into this occupation?

After working in a corporate space for so long, I wanted to utilise the skills I learnt there and invest these skills into young people and their whanau in my community. I grew up in Mangere, so working in South Auckland with our most vulnerable is familiar and my way of giving back to a community I love.

What do you love most about it?

I love seeing young people and their whanau succeed!!

Do find it challenging to balance rugby league and your professional career? If so, why?

Previously I did, I have only returned to league this year after a 6-year break as I wanted to focus on my family and career.

For me, balancing family life and Rugby League is much harder than juggling my professional career. It’s harder because we have a young family and my husband does shift work, so my training schedule one week is early mornings and then the following week it will be nights after the kids have gone to bed, plus all the normal duties in between but I love my life and my family – we know how to make it work for us.

This year, the National Women’s Tournament will take place Friday 26th – Sunday 28th July at Pulman Park, Auckland.

24 Teams from around the North Island converged on Rotorua Puketawhero Park last week. Representation was excellent with teams entering from Northland down to Manawatu. Puketawhero Park was an ideal venue to host the Tournament, which was delivered jointly by personnel from Bay of Plenty Rugby League, the Upper Central Zone League and New Zealand Rugby League.

The fields were in excellent condition and held up well through four days of matches, on the final day (Friday) the heavens opened up with heavy rain all day dictating the state-of-play.

After the round-robin fixtures, the finalists were named in each age-group category.

Under 13 Boys Final: Waikato 20 – Taranaki 14

Both teams performed well through the first days of pool play. Waikato went into the final as the slight favourites given their results over the first two days, but Taranaki didn’t let that phase them as they came out hard against Waikato through much of the final match.

Not much separated the two sides over the 50-minute mark with Waikato’s organised defence proving the difference.

The remaining finals were played on Friday, and as mentioned, the weather was unfavourable and perhaps for some observers, seen as ‘the great leveller’ as teams played a much tighter game than that of the free-flowing and wide-ranging footy on display through the first part of the week.

Under 15 Girls Final: Waikato 32 – Taranaki 10

Waikato again was the form team through pool-play and their structured attack and defence were on display in the Final.

They did not allow Taranaki to play the ball wide, where they had some dangerous runners, instead, compressing the Taranaki play, restricting them to playing in the middle of the park.

Waikato took their chances with faster and smarter ball playing and decisions that saw them post a comprehensive final score.

Under 15 Boys Final: Waikato 16 – Manawatu 8

A very even and well-contested final between two well-coached sides. Waikato had a plan to keep the ball down in Manawatu’s half of the field and from there force the mistakes, it worked well.

Under 17 Girls Final: Waikato 28 – Manawatu 0

Manawatu played some good football through the pool stages of the tournament, making their way to the Final.

Waikato showed early in pool-play that they were going to set the standard and be the team to beat as they won their way into the Final.

Under some very trying conditions, the Waikato team played as smart and accurate as you could possibly expect from any team in such weather.

A solid platform was set by ensuring their tackle-sets were completed, and some safe, accurate decisions in the halves ensured that the game was mainly played down in the Manawatu half of the field. Manawatu was put under constant pressure, and the points eventually came for Waikato.

Under 17 Boys Final: Manawatu 20 – Bay of Plenty 10

Fading light and a wet, muddy field resulted in some tight but accurate football on display from both teams.

With that said, each side took opportunities to kick the ball down-field and chase hard, taking a chance on spreading the ball wide, which on two occasions paid off for Manawatu.

Bay of Plenty got off to a good start, but Manawatu stuck to a great game-plan, and their centre pairing took the ball over the gain-line regularly and effectively.

Manawatu was deserved winners of this Final however both teams played some excellent football throughout the Tournament.


Tournament teams:


  1. Legacy Katene –   BOP
  2. Matua Robinson – Manawatu
  3. Sheldon Tairea – Manawatu
  4. Kalis Mason – Manawatu
  5. Xavier Mitchell – Windsor BOP
  6. Cassius Cowley – BOP
  7. Tipene Rewiti – Manawatu
  8. Bailey Umaki – BOP
  9. Dayna Bidois – BOP
  10. Memphis Hennessy – Manawatu
  11. Tumatauenga Te Koi – Waikato
  12. Pacey McGregor – Waikato
  13. Tyson Chase – Manawatu
  14. Dylan Parau Rogers – Coastline
  15. Manaia Ngataki – Matthews – Waikato
  16. Tesimoni Uilou – Coastlines
  17. Rewiti Brown – BOP

COACH. BJ Tahana – BOP

MANAGER. Jackie Tuala – Manawatu

TRAINER. Haze Rewiti – Manawatu

BEST BACK. Sheldon Tairea – Manawatu

BEST FORWARD. Dayna Bidois – BOP

MVP – Cassius Cowley – BOP



  1. Dawn Huhua – Waikato
  2. Jashana Te Uawiri – Manawatu
  3. Alio Pihama Maipi-Hill – Waikato
  4. Leah-Rhys Toka – Waikato
  5. Olive Salisbury – Taranaki
  6. Paj Walker – Waikato
  7. Honor Wilson – Waikato
  8. Mya Hill-Moana – Wakato
  9. Nga Mako Totorewa – Waikato
  10. Victoria-Rose Green – Waikato
  11. Hollyrae Mete-Renata – Manawatu
  12. Jasmin O’Connell – Manawatu
  13. Isabella RawririWharerau – Manawatu
  14. Nadya WestonJacobson – Taranaki
  15. Hope Ah Chong – Taranaki
  16. Chyann Kaitapu – Waikato
  17. Haraira Green – Waikato

COACH. Mike Wilson – Waikato

MANAGER. Maria Paul – Manawatu

TRAINER. Thomas Taiarua – Manawatu

BEST BACK. Dawn Hohua – Waikato

BEST FORWARD.  Mya Hill-Moana – Waikato

MVP. Victoria  Rose Green – Waikato




  1. Jonte Rikiriki – Waikato
  2. Te Rauna Whaiapu – Taranaki
  3. Ramses Ah Chong -Taranaki
  4. Kono-Papita Pene-Gestro – Waikato
  5. Zayne Poole – Manawatu
  6. Maraki Aumua – Manawatu
  7. Te Hurinui Apanui Twidle – Waikato
  8. Colin Poka Tomlinson – Waikato
  9. Te Potiki Morgan – Waikato
  10. Karioi Tihori- Moke – Waikato
  11. Bayley Toto-Froster – Manawatu
  12. Xavier Sefani Calder – Taranaki
  13. Te Umuariki Heremia-Tukere – Waikato
  14. Akaina Tairea -Thompson – Manawatu
  15. Christian Ray Hiha – Taranaki
  16. Harry Durbin – BOP
  17. Dallas Boynton Rameka BOP

COACH. Leroy Morgan – Waikato

MANAGER. Mel Stevenson – Manawatu

TRAINER. Viliami Vunipola – Manawatu

BEST BACK. Te Hurinui Apanui Twidle – Waikato

BEST FORWARD. Xavier Sofani-Calder – Taranaki

MVP. Te Umariki Heremia- Tukere – Waikato



  1. Katana Te Miha – Barlow – Waikato
  2. Wizdym Williams – Taranaki
  3. Syteiva Wilson – Waikato
  4. Trishzan Lloyed-Clune – Waikato
  5. Dylan Paekau-Phillips – Waikato
  6. Anahera Campbell – Waikato
  7. Letisha Royal Meyer – Taranaki
  8. Manaia Te Aho – Waikato
  9. Paige Wilson – Waikato
  10. Pikitoria Weston Jacobson -Taranaki
  11. Matakino Gray – BOP
  12. Jeanne Tawera  – Waikato
  13. Runi Cowan – Waikato
  14. Tori Tanga – Taranaki
  15. Angel-Lee Ruakore -Taranaki
  16. Kimoana Niupalau – BOP
  17. Sunny O’Carroll-Leota – BOP

COACH. Joshua Cowan – Waikato

MANAGER. Manawa Rhind – Waikato

BEST BACK. Katana Te Miha Barlow – Waikato

BEST FORWARD. Pikitoria Weston Jacobson – Taranaki

MVP. Paige Wilson – Waikato



Why do you play league? 

My bread and butter was actually in Rugby Union, and I decided to venture over to Rugby League this year because I wanted to learn a new code, meet new people, test my capabilities both skill and character to truly see whether I had what it took to play professionally.

What got you into the game?

Funnily enough, it was through current Kiwi Fern and Warriors representative Georgia Hale and also former Kiwi Fern Alex Cook that planted the seed so I put my hand up to give league a go. I played Rugby Union both 15s and 17s with Georgia & Alex and over the years they had dropped the idea here and there, now it’s really happening.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when it comes to playing league?

There are quite a few challenges that I have to face in Rugby League. In terms of the game itself; when you’ve only ever played one sport it can be extremely difficult changing your mindset to fit the code. Everything I have been taught in Rugby Union has basically gone out the door. For example, Learning new terminology, style of running, running lines, strategy of play and new techniques – especially around tackling & playing the ball.

To illustrate how green I am to league I didn’t know what “markers” were and that you had to roll the ball between your legs with your foot. Having to remind myself to get back 10m on defence and that you don’t form rucks at a breakdown or form mauls whilst only have six tackles is mentally challenging to break those behaviours.

From where I started to now, I am utterly thankful for the support and guidance from Victor Heke, my coach and mentor, and I’m especially grateful to my teammates from Mt Albert Rugby League Club. I have learnt so much and been embraced by them as though I was their family member. This has immensely helped me to become comfortable in the game and showcase what I am capable of.

Because I’ve only been in Rugby League for a few months and have been given the highest accolade to represent the Warriors in NRL and also New Zealand means another big challenge is actually having to learn the game at sprint rather than picking up things over seasons in which generally happens.

What advice would you give to young girls wanting to get into league?

I would encourage them to jump in with both feet, even if you’re scared because I’m an adult and I still get scared of the unknown. The best part about trying something new is that you can say you’ve done it. It’s a really brave thing to put yourself into a new environment with new people and for me, I’ve been blessed with a whole new group of friends that are now family, I’ve learnt new skills and found a true love for Rugby League.

So take a deep breath, be brave and jump in with both feet.

What’s your occupation?

Cultural Strategist in an IT Firm

What does this entail?

My role involves looking at user behaviours within organisations in order to better implement technology. My drive for what I do is about people. In my eyes, the most important thing in this world is people and as the demand for technology continues to increase, I believe we need to keep people at the forefront of our priorities.

Furthermore, I am also designing alongside my Aunt, an App that requires a large portion of time and energy.

How long have you been doing this?

4.5 years at V-dito

What got you into it?

Family. I studied psychology and I ended up falling into the role. I knew nothing about technology but I do understand human behaviour.

What do you love most about it?

There are two things: Firstly, helping my family prosper financially. Secondly, working with people because I genuinely care about putting people first through empathy, authenticity and logic.

By incorporating both of these means, I am theoretically in my dream job.

Do you find balancing your job and rugby league difficult? If so, why?

The challenges I face in regards to my career is that I work 24/7. With my Rugby League timetable and requirements, I can work remotely, but it doesn’t mean work stops. Whether I’m on my cellphone or laptop, I am connected at all times. People don’t necessarily understand why I do what I do, and to me that’s fine. Why I work so hard is because the business I work for is a family business so the biggest motivator for me is my family. We’ve come a less than fortunate place and for me, we aren’t going back. In my eyes, if our business is successful, my entire family prospers.

Nothing means more to me than making my family proud and with me playing and training at the highest level possible in league and working to feed the business; it is a privilege. I continuously pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming.

What’s your professional goal?

My professional goal is to eventually start my own business.

What’s your rugby league goal?

I want to silence the naysayers and prove that through hard work, you can achieve great things. I don’t have the Kalyn Ponga flare or a crazy Benji Marshall whack, but I have an insane work ethic.

I’ve had four ACL reconstructions on my right knee (the last one was 2017) I was told that I would never be able to play a pivoting sport again and at that point, I decided what my body is capable of doing and through that mentality and never give up attitude that has got me onto this platform.

I’m a firm believer that we are the decider of what we can and cannot do. 

This year, the National Women’s Tournament will take place Friday 26th – Sunday 28th July at Pulman Park, Auckland.

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

The first Indian representative rugby league team, the Indian Jungle Cats, played their first international match against Columbia on Sunday 14th July at WJ Scott Park, Holland Park, Brisbane to which they came away with a 30 – 16 win.

Over half the full 18-man Jungle Cats squad was made up of New Zealand players who play in the Ethnic Rugby League Competition (ERL) including the coach Tony Tietie, who coached the very first Counties Manukau Indian team – a testament to the hard work and dedication that’s gone into growing New Zealand’s ethnic community game.

The Ethnic Rugby League Competition (ERL) was founded by Kasey King, General Manager Counties Manukau Rugby League (CMRL) over six years ago and the development of the competition was largely assisted by the leadership group formed from participating teams and the very first player recruited, Joshua Naidu. The ERL provides a platform for ethnic minorities, i.e. anyone of Indian, Asian, African or Middle Eastern descent, to develop their skills and regularly play the game.

Since 2013, the ERL competition has gone from a two-team, best of three-game series to a four-team, 4 – 6 week competition and 5 team Nine aside tournament with representative teams selected to compete in the annual Cabramatta Nines, held in Sydney Australia.

In 2016 discussion between CMRL and NRL occurred, exploring opportunities of international Indian representation and although it did not eventuate, the seed was planted. The Indian Jungle Cats team was formed by Nick Samra (AUS), Joshua Naidu (NZ) and Shaniyat Chowdhury (USA) upon a suggestion from Queensland Rugby League in September 2018.  In less than a year, they’ve played their first international match against Colombia Rugby League who is ranked 41st in the world and have already played international fixtures.

Nigel Vagana, GM of Football and Well-being at New Zealand Rugby League, says this is a significant milestone for New Zealand’s ethnic community game.

“We’re really fortunate to have people from all walks of life involved in rugby league. The ERL has shaped some impressive players in a very short time, with international representation in several countries such as; Philipines, Thailand, Hong Kong and now India. It’s exciting this talent gets to be showcased at an international level on Sunday.

“We’re looking to further develop Indian Rugby League at both a grassroots and representative level, as well as provide more opportunities for our ethnic players going forward. We’d like to see other minority ethnicities follow suit and front representative teams in the future as well.

“Overall, this is a really exciting time, not only for our Indian players but all involved in the ERL.”

Richard Becht & Photosport.nz

The Warriors have pulled off a huge coup by signing New Zealand sporting superstar, Honey Hireme to headline their 22-strong squad for the second WNRL Premiership starting September.

The double rugby league-rugby union international and current Kiwi Ferns captain has been secured after appearing for the St George Illawarra Dragons in the inaugural WNRL last season.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Honey in our squad this year,” said Warriors head coach Luisa Avaiki.

“She’s a great athlete and an outstanding performer in all her sports.

“Honey is a fantastic example with the way she goes about her career, still maintaining the highest standards even after all the years she has been competing at the highest level.”

The 38-year-old Putaruru-born Hireme was again in superb form leading the Kiwi Ferns to a 46-8 win over Fetu Samoa at Mount Smart Stadium on June 22. She scored two tries and made 214 metres from 19 runs.

A disability sport adviser in Hamilton, Hireme is the standout signing in the Warriors’ 2019 squad. One of 11 new faces signed, she’s also one of 16 players who were in last month’s Kiwi Ferns and Fetu Samoa Test squads.

Among the other newcomers are former Fiji rugby union sevens stars Roela Radiniyavuni and Timaima Ravisa who clinched contracts after originally being scouted in Fiji. They’ve both being playing in the Auckland club competition this season.

Another new signing is Canterbury’s Charntay Poko, who made her Test debut in the halves against Samoa, while experienced former Kiwi Ferns winger Atawhai Tupaea makes a return to top-level football after giving birth to her second child.

Mosgiel-born Jules Newman, a 30-year-old cultural strategist, has been signed after she switched to rugby league from rugby union only three months ago. She immediately impressed in the code earning selection in the Kiwi Ferns’ 19-strong Test squad to face Samoa.

Apart from Hireme and Newman, other occupations listed by the squad members include mother, police, fitness co-ordinator, teacher aide, youth justice, student liaison officer, student, community co-ordinator, customer support and freight logistics.

Avaiki, who has Kiwi Ferns head coach Justin Morgan as assistant coach this season, said the squad would assemble in early August to train ahead of the WNRL starting on September 13-14.

She said the players’ focus had been on local club football. A big contingent of the signed players will be involved in the Auckland grand final between the Richmond Roses and Papakura Sisters at Mount Smart Stadium No 2 on Sunday (2.30pm kick-off).

Next on the agenda is the New Zealand Rugby League’s national women’s tournament at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura from July 26-28.



BILLY JEAN ALE (Akarana, Mount Albert Lions)

MADISON BARTLETT (Akarana, Richmond Roses)

GEORGIA HALE (Akarana, Richmond Roses)

HONEY HIREME (Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions, Hamilton City Tigers)

AMBER KANI (Counties Manukau, Manurewa Marlins)

ONJEURLINA LEIATAUA (Counties Manukau, Otahuhu Leopards)

HILDA MARIU (Counties Manukau, Papakura Sisters)

VA’ANESSA MOLIA-FRASER (Akarana, Richmond Roses)

JULES NEWMAN (Akarana, Mount Albert Lions)

APII NICHOLLS (Counties Manukau, Papakura Sisters)

TANIKA-JAZZ NOBLE-BELL (Akarana, Mount Albert)


KANYON PAUL (Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions, Hamilton City Tigers)

CHARNTAY POKO (Akarana, Richmond Roses)


TIMAIMA RAVISA (Richmond Roses)

KRYSTAL ROTA (Counties Manukau, Papakura Sisters)

TASIA SEUMANUFAGAI (Victoria, Combined Affiliated States)

AIESHALEIGH SMALLEY (Counties Manukau, Otahuhu Leopards)

CRYSTAL TAMARUA (Akarana, Richmond Roses)

ATAWHAI TUPAEA (Counties Manukau, Papakura Sisters)

KATHLEEN WHARTON KEREMETE (Counties Manukau, Papakura Sisters)

NZRL seeking a National Coaching Education Manager



The National Coaching Education Manager is responsible for researching and identifying best practice coaching models as well as the overall development and implementation of the NZRL coach development programmes partnering with the coaching and development staff within Zones/Districts to deliver the plan. You will also develop coaching resources to support the NZRL coach accreditation programmes to ensure that a strong pipeline of coaches are progressing from the grassroots through the system.



  • Previous rugby league coaching experience in a national or professional environment is desirable but not essential.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully lead, communicate and develop people and apply knowledge and skill in a range of areas.
  • Proven experience in identifying coaching capability gaps and developing development plans to address.
  • Sound skills in Microsoft Office products: Word, PowerPoint and Excel.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver instructional presentation.
  • Excellent communication skills both verbal and written as well as strong organisational skills and the ability to multitask.
  • Sound interpersonal and people management skills, including the ability to interact with people at all levels from the community game through to HP.

This is an exciting opportunity to identify and develop best coaching models and deliver them through the coaching and development staff within the Zones and Districts.  



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 Premiership / Championship, as well as women’s, youth and schools’ competitions.

NZRL is not just about success on the field – Through its “More Than A Game” philosophy, NZRL aspires to transform lives and community wellbeing through Rugby League. Underpinning this philosophy is The Kiwi Way.  We are diverse, we call New Zealand home and therefore we are all Kiwis, We live and play The Kiwi Way –all day/every day.

  • We are inclusive, respectful and humble.
  • We are responsible
  • We are innovative and courageous
  • We are family first


APPLICATION CLOSING DATE – Wednesday 24th July, 2019

Download Job Description

Global Elite Sports (www.globalelitesports.com) have been contracted on behalf of New Zealand Rugby League to manage the recruitment for this position. To apply, please click here or send your resume and cover letter directly to [email protected]

By Tony Kemp

An icon on the field, a leading coach and exemplary administrator off the field, and an all-round legend of the game, we celebrate, Matua Kevin Tamati.

Kevin Tamati is approaching five decades of service at the highest level in Rugby League in Aotearoa, making him well-deserving of the most prestigious of awards – A New Zealand Rugby League Life Membership.

Kevin Tamati was born and raised in the Hawke’s Bay. He burst to national prominence when he (along with our President, life member and cousin, Howie Tamati) were selected to represent the Junior Kiwis in 1972, and would go on to earn his full international honors debuting for the Kiwis  in 1979 – the first of 22 tests he accumulated through an international career that lasted until 1986.

As a player Kevin spent time with Wellington clubs the Petone Panthers, Upper Hutt Tigers, Randwick Kingfishers as well as the Northcote Tigers in Auckland before embarking on an international career with Widnes and Warrington in the UK, where he played in excess of 200 top-flight games.

Kevin has made a significant contribution to our domestic game, playing for Auckland, Wellington, and representing Central Districts. There was a stint where Kevin would play for Northcote in the Auckland comp on a Saturday and then fly down to Wellington on Wednesday nights to play for the Kingfishers.  Kevin was known as a tough and uncompromising player throughout his career and was a role model and hero to many players, (including myself and many past Kiwis) during this period as a player.

Once his playing days were over, Kevin remained in the UK and began his coaching career at the helm of teams including, Chorley, Whitehaven, Widnes and Warrington. He also coached the British Army in the mid-1990s.

However, Kevin Tamati was always coming home. Upon his return to New Zealand, Kevin began a career as an administrator in the Hawkes Bay. He took up roles as the Chairman of Hawkes Bay (a position he still holds today) alongside refereeing at all age group levels as well as coaching Hawke’s Bay teams at age group and senior levels.

Even today, Kevin still works in a voluntary capacity and currently serves as Vice Chairman – Mid- Central Zone and is the current Assistant Coach of NZ Māori Women’s team which were the curtain raiser to the NZ Maori – Indigenous All Stars game earlier this year.

In 2006 Kevin was appointed to the NZ Māori Rugby League Board and helped lead the 2008 delegation to the International RL Federation – successfully establishing the inaugural indigenous international match between NZ Māori Rugby League and the Australian Indigenous Rugby League. This pioneer match provided the ground-breaking work to establish the hugely popular annual NRL Indigenous vs Australian All Stars game, promoting indigenous rugby league. Kevin has also coached the NZ Māori Rugby League side in 2007-08.

Kevin Tamati was made a life member of the Wellington Rugby League and named in the Wellington Rugby League Team of the Century in 2012. He was named a life member of Hawkes Bay Rugby League in 2016. Kevin Tamati was also named an Auckland Rugby League Immortal Hall of Famer and was inducted into the NZRL Legends of League for his service to the game.

Few people have had a greater impact on the sport of rugby league, from grassroots to the elite levels from playing, coaching or administrating than Kevin Tamati in the past half-century.

As you have heard, Kevin Tamati has Rugby League running through his veins. Kevin’s legacy of leadership will continue to pave the way for our future leaders of the game, for generations to come.

Congratulations Kevin Tamati on your  New Zealand Rugby League Life Membership, thank you for your years of invaluable service and dedication to our great game. 

Congratulations to Cameron McGregor who has been awarded a New Zealand Rugby League Life Membership.

Following in the footsteps of his father, Cameron McGregor has dedicated his in entire life to the great game of rugby league.

At the age of six he began his rugby league journey playing for Richmond Rovers in 1961. Cameron played through the grades until making the premier team in 1980.

Cameron was the treasurer of Richmond Rovers Rugby League for over five years and also began and ran the Grey Lynn Park Touch tournament. He was the manager of the Marist Rugby League Premier Team and coach of the Reserve grade. On top of this, he was an ARL board member for two years in 1996 & 1997 and Deputy Chair for three in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

He had two tenures as ARL Chairman from 2001- 2013 and again 2016-2018 collectively enjoying 16 years’ of service.

He was instrumental in the sale of Carlaw Park and development of the remainder of the land with a current value of approximately $70 million. He oversaw and was instrumental in the 2/3’s purchase of the NZ Warriors and currently sits on the board, as Deputy Chairman.

Cameron was the previous Chairman of the Auckland Vulcans, Chairman of the Rugby League Development Foundation and Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Akarana Zone.

Cameron was inducted as a Life member of Auckland Rugby League in 2011 and was awarded the MNZM for Services to Rugby League 2013.

We’d like to congratulate Cameron McGregor on his NZRL Life membership, thank you Cameron, for your years of invaluable dedication and service to the great game of rugby league.

Evelyn Brooker

By Carey Clements

It is with great sadness that the New Zealand Universities and Tertiary Students Rugby League announces the death of one of its former Presidents and Life Members, Wesley Owen ‘Bud’ Lisle MNZM, who died peacefully last night at the Papakura Rest Home and Hospital following a month of declining health. He was aged 88, following his birthday last Thursday on 27 June.

Few people can claim to have been involved in league for more than 80 years, but in the case of Bud, it is very true, from the time he began playing as a five year old with the Aranui and then the Linwood Clubs in Christchurch. A decade later saw him selected into the Canterbury team which competed at the very first New Zealand Schoolboys tournament in Auckland in 1946. The following year he was selected in the first ever NZ Schoolboys team. After leaving secondary school, he then took up employment with the New Zealand Railways, which was to last more than 30 years.

As a result, Bud maintained his enthusiasm with league whenever a train would take him over to the South Island’s West Coast, although whenever he was back in Christchurch he would also be involved, most famously being to get former rugby player and future Kiwi and Kiwi coach Lory Blanchard, into playing league. Bud later transferred up to Wellington and joined the St George Club. Although stocky in physique, Bud played as a winger who was noted for outstanding speed out wide. He represented Wellington between 1953 and 1963

Although he was now very busy with his job with the Railways, Bud still found time in to establish rugby league in Manawatu in 1957 and in doing so became the provincial body’s first Life Member. As his playing days finished in 1965 following 17 years of competitive league, Bud got involved with league as an administrator as well as a coach and referee.

As well as selecting the Wellington provincial side for a number of years, Bud coached the team in 1967 and then again between 1970 and 1973, during which time the black and olds captured and subsequently held onto the Rugby League Cup for a number of challenges between 1970 and 1971.

In 1974, Bud began his involvement with New Zealand Universities as a selector and then within a few years was managing the national side to 7’s tournaments as well as the 1979 tour to Australia, the first internal tours between 1980 and 1983 and the first side which went to England and France in 1984.

A man who never suffered fools and who was always there when it came to the hard yards off the field around areas like fundraising (which seemed to be his specialist), Bud also never forgot the players that played for NZU and for many years, would send them Christmas cards.

Between 1985 and 1992 Bud became the President and Chairman of the NZ Universities Rugby League and in that time, saw it hosted the inaugural Student World Cup, while seeing the side go overseas on three other occasions in addition to more internal tours. He also continued to manage the NZU team. His last involvement in that role came in 1994 when the team played fixtures against Otago, West Coast and Canterbury.

Not one to move on from the game in a happy retirement, Bud was elected onto the NZRL Board during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, where his blunt and frank nature cast him aside from some of his fellow administrators, while at the same time became an unofficial voice of the big league public.

In addition to being Manawatu’s first Life Member, he was also a Life Member of the St George Club, the Wellington provincial body and NZ Universities. He was awarded a NZRL Distinguished Award in 1984 and four years later became a Life Member. In his spare time, he also became a magpie of rugby league memorabilia, which absolutely filled his house in South Auckland, which was where he relocated to in the mid 1970’s.

Bud also continued to attend NZRL Annual Meeting where again his distinctive voice around accountability would keep the officials on their toes, as well as getting out and watching games or simply doing more fundraising.

In short, rugby league was Bud Lisle’s life. He was unique, he was loyal, he was stubborn, but was overall entirely devoted to a game as a servant which he thought he owed and not the game owing him. We thank him for being part of our lives and for being involved in the game for eight long decades.

The annual NZRL National Women’s Tournament sees the best female rugby league talent from across the country come together to represent their zones in Auckland.

This year, the National Women’s Tournament will take place Friday 26th – Sunday 28th July at Pulman Park, Auckland.






RD Date Team 1 VS Team 2 Field Time
1 26 July Counties Manukau Stingrays vs Auckland Vulcans Dev 2 11.00 am
1 26 July Canterbury vs Miid-Central Vipers 3 11.00 am
1 26 July Akarana Falcons vs Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 1 12.15 pm


RD Date Team 1 VS Team 2 Field Time
2 26 July Mid-Central Vipers vs Counties Manukau Stingrays 1 14.00 pm
2 26 July Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions vs Auckland Vulcans Dev 2 15.00 pm
2 26 July Akarana Falcons vs Canterbury 3 15.00 pm



RD Date Team 1 VS Team 2 Field Time
3 27 July Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions vs Mid-Central Vipers 3 09.30 am
3 27 July Counties Manukau Stingrays vs Akarana Falcons 2 09.30 am
3 27 July Canterbury vs Auckland Vulcans Dev 1 10.30 am


RD Date Team 1 VS Team 2 Field Time
Game 2


27 July 1st Group B vs 2nd Group A 3 13:00 pm
Game 1
27 July 1st Group A vs 2nd Group B 1 13:00 pm



RD Date Team 1 VS Team 2 Field Time
5th/6th Play off 28 July 3rd Group A vs 3rd Group B 3 10.30 am
3rd /4th Play off 28 July Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 2 2 11.30 am
Grand Final 28 July Winner Game 1 vs Winner Game 2 1 13.05 pm





Two tries from star half Shaun Johnson and a brilliant showing from young hooker Brandon Smith led the New Zealand Kiwis to a 34-14 victory over Mate Ma’a Tonga in the opening game of the Oceania Cup on Saturday.

Smith was in a class of his own for much of the match at Mount Smart Stadium, at times making Tonga’s defence appear second rate with his piercing runs, as he clocked up 10 tackle busts and 126 running metres in less than an hour on the field.

The energetic Melbourne Storm rake was also directly involved in two of New Zealand’s six tries, scoring the opening one with a 35-metre dart before setting up another early in the second half with another long-range run and kick.

There would have been daylight between Smith and the next best Kiwi had it not been for Johnson’s performance, with the playmaker starring in his first game back in Auckland since his dramatic exit from the Warriors at the end of 2018.

It was also his 30th Test for his country.

Johnson crossed twice at the back end of the first half and managed the game well alongside Benji Marshall in what was only the pair’s second Test together.

In front of 23,624 mostly Tongan fans in Auckland, the Kiwis raced out to a 16-4 lead at the break and didn’t look back, going some way to avenging their shock 28-22 loss to the island nation at the 2017 World Cup.

After Smith’s 11th minute try, which Esan Marsters converted, Tonga began to dominate the game and eventually hit back via Solomone Kata, after Daniel Tupou’s clever bat-back of a John Asiata kick.

Up 6-4 with half-time approaching, the Kiwis got a timely injection from Johnson, with the Cronulla Sharks ace twice slicing through Tonga’s left edge to extend the home side’s lead.

Minutes into the second half Smith’s destructive carry through the middle of the park, and well-weighted grubber into the goal-post pad, saw Roger Tuivasa-Sheck pounce on the loose ball for New Zealand’s fourth.

Tonga fought hard to try and get back into the match, but their lack of a genuine play-maker was clear to see and they struggled to build pressure.

With 20 minutes to go the air appeared to have been knocked out of Tonga, and the Kiwis made them pay with tries in quick succession to debutant Jahrome Hughes and centre Joseph Manu.

Back-to-back tries to Sydney Roosters Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Daniel Tupou inside the final 10 minutes saw Tonga reduce the final deficit to 20.


Kiwi Ferns centre Kiana Takairangi followed in her brother Brad’s footsteps by scoring for New Zealand on debut in the comprehensive 46-8 win over Samoa.

But Kiana went a step further and scored a brace at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday. Coincidently her first Test points were against the same country as older brother, when he scored a try on debut for the Kiwis against Samoa in the 2017 World Cup.

Kiana’s speed and a nifty left-foot step in producing her two four-pointers helped the Ferns jump to 26-0 lead after 29 minutes.

The Samoans were finding it difficult to match the Ferns skills, especially when centre Honey Hireme fends off two players with her right arms on the way to the white line.

The Samoans at least went into half-time with something to show for a hard 40 minutes.

Billy-Jean Ale came off the bench to score in the 38th minute but the road back was still a lengthy one, down 26-4 at the break.

But a good way to start was by being the first to score in the second half, when winger Moana Fineaso-Levi pushed through two defenders to plant the ball in the 47th to make it 26-8.

But the gap quickly widened again as Hireme scored her second (51st), winger Madison Bartlett spun out of a tackle (55th) in the left corner, former NSW Origin utility Nita Maynard (58th) crossed, and suddenly it was 40-8.

Maynard was ineligible for NSW this year due to a rule change on eligibility of Kiwi players playing in the NRLW and Harvey Norman club championships.

Ferns fullback Apii Nicholls scored in the 73rd minute to wrap up the nine tries-to-two victory.

It was Samoa’s first women’s international in eight years – the last was in 2011 against Australia in Apia. They had not played the Ferns since 2008.


Waikato rugby league achieves a special double by providing captains of both the New Zealand Kiwis and the Kiwi Ferns in today’s international double header at Mount Smart Stadium.

Hamilton-born, Ngaruawahia-raised Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s junior club was College Old Boys in Hamilton.

He captains the Kiwis for the fifth time in today’s Oceania Cup Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga after making his captaincy debut in last October’s clash against Australia at the same ground.

Putaruru-born and raised Honey Hireme brings a Waikato flavour to the Kiwi Ferns’ captaincy today. Hireme, who now lives in Hamilton, played her junior rugby league for the Putaruru Dragons and is playing for the Hamilton City Tigers this year.


Kiwi Ferns team changes

Kiwi Ferns head coach Justin Morgan has shuffled his line-up for today’s international against Fetu Samoa at Mount Smart Stadium (3.10pm kick-off).

Debutante Charntay Poko was named in jersey #18 when the team was officially submitted on Tuesday but following the week’s training sessions, Morgan has brought her in to start in the halves with Raecene McGregor.

That sees Raquel Anderson-Pitman (#6) moved to the interchange while there’s also a change in the starting front row with Amber Paris Hall (#15) swapped in for Aieshaleigh Smalley (#8).

The bench is Anderson-Pitman, Smalley, Nita Maynard and Crystal Tamarua with Amber Kani and Jules Newman the 18th and 19th players.

The New Zealand Kiwis are confirmed to line up 1-17 as named on Tuesday with Zane Tetevano and Kieran Foran in #18 and #19.

While Kani has missed the playing 17 for the Kiwi Ferns, eight of her 2018 Warriors WNRL team-mates are in the side. The Vodafone Warriors also provide three members of the coaching staff in Justin Morgan and Luisa Avaiki plus trainer Mark Harvey. The eight players lining up are Apii Nicholls, Hilda Mariu, Krystal Rota, Annetta Nuuausala, Georgia Hale, Anderson-Pitman, Smalley and Tamarua.

In a reversal of their Kiwi Ferns roles, Avaiki will again coach the Warriors in the WNRL this year while Morgan will be her assistant.

The Vodafone Warriors also provide two of Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire’s assistant coaches in Stacey Jones and Nathan Cayless as well as three players in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ken Maumalo and Leeson Ah Mau.


Previous clashes against Tonga

Tonight’s Test will be the sixth between the Kiwis and Mate Ma’a Tonga.

Results since the first in 1995:

1995 | Kiwis 25, Tonga 24 at Wilderspool, Warrington (RLWC)

1999 | Kiwis 74, Tonga 0 at Carlaw Park, Auckland

2008 | Kiwis 56, Tonga 8 at Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

2009 | Kiwis 40, Tonga 24 at International Stadium, Rotorua

2017 | Kiwis 22, Tonga 28 at Waikato Stadium, Auckland


Sir Peter Leitch Challenge Trophy at stake

The Kiwis v Tonga Test is the first in the new Oceania Cup competition.

The Kiwis will meet the Kangaroos at the end of the season and Tonga will play the Australians as well.

Also at stake tonight is the Sir Peter Leitch Challenge Trophy.

This was first contested as the Peter Leitch QSM Challenge Trophy in 2008 when the Kiwis met Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium.

A new version of the trophy was struck after Sir Peter was knighted. It’s at stake whenever the Kiwis play island nations in non-Rugby League World Cup internationals.


Marshall not most experienced Kiwi

While the 34-year-old Benji Marshall made his Kiwi Test debut as long ago as 2005, he won’t be the New Zealand side’s most experienced international on the field today.

That honour belongs to halves partner Shaun Johnson who is Marshall’s junior by six years.

Johnson (28) will play his 30th Test today while Marshall, off the international scene for seven years, lines up for the 28th time.

In fact, two other Kiwi players have also made more Test appearances than Marshall. Props Jesse Bromwich and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves both take their Test tallies to 29 in this contest.

Richard Becht & Photosport.nz

New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Bill Deacon Kiwi #445.

Bill played for the Ngaruawahia Panthers in the Waikato Rugby League competition representing Waikato. He was first selected for the New Zealand national rugby league team in 1965, the same year he was also named New Zealand Rugby League player of the year.

Deacon was included in the Kiwis squad for the 1970 World Cup and played his last test match for New Zealand in 1971. He finished his career having played 14 tests for New Zealand.

His contribution to New Zealand Rugby League will not be forgotten.

Kiwi Ferns Head Coach Justin Morgan has named two debutantes for Saturday’s test against Fetu Samoa. Madison Bartlett and Kiana Takairangi will take the field in the Black and White jersey for the first time in the inaugural Oceania Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium.

Sydney-based Takairangi, who plays for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, will join her brother Brad Takairangi as a Kiwi international.

Bartlett, a former New Zealand age-group touch representative and current Richmond Rovers player, will start on the wing with Takairangi joining Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme in the centres.

The much-anticipated match between Samoa and the Ferns will kick off at 3:10pm, this Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium.


Kiwi Ferns: 1 Apii Nicholls, 2 Madison Bartlett, 3 Honey Hireme (c), 4 Kiana Takairangi, 5 Hilda Mariu, 6 Raquel Anderson-Pitman, 7 Raecene Mcgregor, 8 Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala, 9 Krystal Rota, 10 Aeishaleigh Smalley, 11 Kathleen Wharton, 12 Teuila Fotu-Moala, 13, Georgia Hale. Interchange: 14 Nita Maynard, 15 Amber Paris-Hall, 16 Amber Kani, 17 Crystal Tamarua, 18 Charntay Poko, 19 Jules Newman.

Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson have been listed as the starting halves combination for the New Zealand Kiwis’ Oceania Cup Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday, June 22 (5.40pm kick-off).

Head coach Michael Maguire has named Marshall (34) in the No 7 jersey for his 28th Test, seven years after his last. Johnson is listed in the No 6 jersey for his 30th international.

The Kiwis were required to submit their team tonight despite having just their first field session at Mount Smart Stadium today. Of the starting team used in the 34-0 third Test win over England in Leeds last November, four players are missing.

Captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been named on the wing replacing Jamayne Isaako with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback in his first Test since the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Marshall replaces the unavailable Kodi Nikorima while debutant Briton Nikora and Kenny Bromwich – on the interchange in Leeds – come into the starting back row to replace the injured Kevin Proctor and Adam Blair.

The extended bench comprises Jahrome Hughes, Leeson Ah Mau, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, James Fisher-Harris, Zane Tetevano and Kieran Foran.

Kiwi Ferns coach Justin Morgan has also named a strong and clinical team to take on Fetu Samoa on Saturday (3.10pm). It features debutantes Madison Bartlett and Kiana Takairangi.

The Kiwi Ferns also trained at Mount Smart Stadium today.


5.40pm, Saturday, June 22, 2019
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Referee: Ben Cummins (Australia)


(Vodafone Warriors)
(Vodafone Warriors)
(Wests Tigers)
(Sydney Roosters)
(Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
(Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
(Wests Tigers)
(Melbourne Storm)
(Melbourne Storm)
(Sydney Roosters)
(Melbourne Storm)
(Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
(Sydney Roosters)
(Melbourne Storm)
(Vodafone Warriors)
(Melbourne Storm)
(Penrith Panthers)
(Sydney Roosters)
(Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)


For full player profiles please click here – https://bit.ly/2KYd6wS


Player Club Kiwi No Tests for NZ
LEESON AH MAU Vodafone Warriors 812 5
NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA Melbourne Storm 804 5
JESSE BROMWICH Melbourne Storm 775 28
KENNEATH BROMWICH Melbourne Storm 796 7
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS Penrith Panthers 801 5
KIERAN FORAN Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 757 21
JAHROME HUGHES Melbourne Storm
SHAUN JOHNSON Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 774 29
ISAAC LIU Sydney Roosters 805 7
JOSEPH MANU Sydney Roosters 815 4
BENJI MARSHALL Wests Tigers 717 27
ESAN MARSTERS Wests Tigers 809 5
KEN MAUMALO Vodafone Warriors 810 5
BRITON NIKORA Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
BRANDON SMITH Melbourne Storm 816 4
ZANE TETEVANO Sydney Roosters
ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK Vodafone Warriors 779 16
JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES Sydney Roosters 755 28
DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 794 11



3.10pm, Saturday, June 22, 2019
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Referee: Paki Parkinson (New Zealand)





Photo – photosport

SKY Sport and New Zealand Rugby League have today announced a new partnership for 2019 that is set to further enhance the game of rugby league in New Zealand.


This partnership is in addition to the long-standing broadcast agreement that has showcased rugby league in New Zealand and abroad for many years.


The SKY Sport logo will be proudly displayed on the jerseys of the Kiwis, Kiwi Ferns and Junior Kiwis, as well as on the Kiwi Ferns’ shorts ahead of the Oceania Cup that kicks off this Saturday with the Kiwi Ferns taking on Fetu Samoa, followed by the much-anticipated rematch between Mate Ma‘a Tonga and the Kiwis.


NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, says this partnership with SKY Sport couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Like other codes, we are experiencing an explosion in the women’s game, and this high-profile partnership will shine a brighter spotlight on this.


“Their support will enable our Kiwi Ferns and Junior Kiwis to take the field in more fixtures this year than would have otherwise been possible. Our Kiwi Ferns will play in the upcoming inaugural World Nines in Sydney and take the field again against the Jillaroos at the doubleheader in Wollongong on October 25th. Our Junior Kiwis are also set to take on their Australian counterparts towards the back end of the year as well.


“We are very grateful to have SKY Sport on board to enable further momentum for these teams. We’re excited about what we can achieve this year as a result, as well as going forward, as we work towards a long-term partnership. Thank you SKY Sport for your ongoing and invaluable support.” Greg concludes.


SKY Director of Sport, Tex Teixeira says: “SKY Sport has been a long term supporter of rugby league in New Zealand and we’re thrilled to be able to help increase the number of Kiwi Ferns and Junior Kiwis matches being played in 2019, to have SKY Sport on the jerseys is a proud moment for us.”


Veteran halves Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran have tonight been confirmed in the 19-strong Kiwi squad for the inaugural Oceania Cup Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday, June 22 (5.40pm kick-off).

The pair were initially included in a 27-man group named on Thursday night but have now moved a step closer to the prospect of a return to the Test arena.

The 34-year-iold Marshall joined the New Zealand team’s camp in Auckland tonight seven years after last wearing the black and white jersey in the end-of-season Test against the Kangaroos in Townsville in 2012. Marshall was captain that night – the 27th Test of his career – in a match the Kiwis lost 10-18.

Foran returns to a New Zealand squad for the first time since lining up in the 2017 Anzac Test in Canberra, his 21st international. He won’t join the Kiwis until tomorrow following his appearance for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs against the Roosters in Sydney today.

He’ll travel with new Bulldogs team-mate and 2018 Kiwi captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak along with Roosters players Joseph Manu, Issac Liu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Tokoroa-born Zane Tetevano, one of three players in line to make their Kiwi Test debuts on Saturday night.

Tetevano (28) was originally selected for last year’s end of season campaign against Australia and England before being ruled out with injury following the Roosters’ grand final win. He now has a chance to wear the Kiwi jersey for the first time after previously representing Cook Islands in five Tests.

The other players in line to debut are Wellington-born Melbourne utility Jahrome Hughes (24) and Tauranga-born Cronulla second rower Briton Nikora (21), who made his NRL debut in the opening round this season.

Vodafone Warriors halfback Kodi Nikorima and Canberra’s Jordan Rapana and Joseph Tapine have been ruled out by their clubs while Vodafone Warriors second rower Tohu Harris was also unavailable.

In all 14 of the 19 players were involved in last year’s campaigns and a 15th – Tetevano – was an original selection. As well as Marshall and Foran, Vodafone Warriors captain and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – who has scored 13 tries in 16 Tests – makes his return to the Kiwis after last appearing in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.


  • The Kiwis v Tonga Test is the second leg of a doubleheader which kicks off with the Kiwi Ferns facing Fetu Samoa at 3.10pm.




LEESON AH MAU (Vodafone Warriors)


JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)


JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)

KIERAN FORAN (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)

JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)

SHAUN JOHNSON (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)

ISAAC LIU (Sydney Roosters)

JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)


ESAN MARSTERS (Wests Tigers)

KEN MAUMALO (Vodafone Warriors)

BRITON NIKORA (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)

BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)

ZANE TETEVANO (Sydney Roosters)

ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (Vodafone Warriors)


DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs) Captain


Veteran halves Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran are among 27 players named in a wider Kiwi squad for the inaugural Oceania Cup Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday, June 22 (5.40pm kick-off).

The last of the 34-year-old Marshall’s 27 Tests was in 2012 when he captained the Kiwis in a 10-18 loss to the Kangaroos in Townsville.

Foran (28) last played at international level in the 2017 Anzac Test in Canberra, his 21st outing for the national team.

Another feature of the extended squad is the inclusion of Tauranga-born Sharks second rower Briton Nikora, who made his NRL debut in the opening round this season.

The only other three players named who are yet to make their Kiwi Test debuts are Wellington-born Storm fullback Jahrome Hughes (24). Tokoroa-born Roosters middle forward Zane Tetevano (28) and Tonga-born Vodafone Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi (27). Hughes and Paasi were in the Kiwis’ end-of-season touring squad last year but didn’t appear in a Test while Tetevano, who has played at international level for Cook Islands, was originally selected for the campaign before being ruled out by injury.

“We’re really pleased with the quality and form of the players we’ve been able to select,” said second-year Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire.

“Nearly all of them have come through the Test we had against England in Denver last year and the matches against Australia and England later in the year. As a group we made a lot of progress and now it’s all about building on that.

“This Test against Tonga at Mount Smart is going to be a huge occasion and we can’t wait to be part of it.

“It kicks off what is a tremendous year for the international game with the introduction of the Oceania Cup competition, the Downer Rugby League World Cup Nines and our series against the Great Britain Rugby League Lions.”

In all 22 of the 27 players named in the Kiwis’ wider squad tonight were involved in last year’s campaigns; the exceptions are Marshall, Foran, Tetevano, Nikora and Vodafone Warriors captain and 2018 Dally M Medal winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

NRL competition leader Melbourne provides five players in the Bromwich brothers Jesse and Kenny, front rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona, hooker Brandon Smith and Hughes while there are seven Vodafone Warriors in fullback Tuivasa-Sheck, wing Ken Maumalo, halfback Kodi Nikorima, prop Leeson Ah Mau, hooker Issac Luke, second rower Isaiah Papali’i and Paasi.

The Sydney Roosters boast four players in 2018 New Zealand Rugby League Player of the Year Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, centre Joseph Manu, back rower Isaac Liu and Tetevano.

The final 19-man Test squad will be announced after the NRL’s 14th round finishes with the clash between the Sydney Roosters and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on Sunday evening.

  • The Kiwis v Tonga Test is the second leg of a doubleheader which kicks off with the Kiwi Ferns facing Fetu Samoa at 3.10pm.


LEESON AH MAU (Vodafone Warriors)


JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)


JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)

KIERAN FORAN (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)

JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)

JAMAYNE ISAAKO (Brisbane Broncos)

SHAUN JOHNSON (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)

ISAAC LIU (Sydney Roosters)

ISSAC LUKE (Vodafone Warriors)

JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)


ESAN MARSTERS (Wests Tigers)

KEN MAUMALO (Vodafone Warriors)

BRITON NIKORA (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)

KODI NIKORIMA (Vodafone Warriors)

AGNATIUS PAASI (Vodafone Warriors)

ISAIAH PAPALI’I (Vodafone Warriors)

JORDAN RAPANA (Canberra Raiders)

BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)

JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)

MARTIN TAUPAU (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

ZANE TETEVANO (Sydney Roosters)

ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (Vodafone Warriors)


DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)


Photo – Photosport

Kiwi Ferns head coach Justin Morgan has tonight named his 19-strong squad ahead of their clash against Fetu Samoa to launch the inaugural Oceania Cup at Mount Smart Stadium on June 22.

The all-Pacific doubleheader will see the Kiwi Ferns take on Fetu Samoa for the first time in 11 years ahead of the much-anticipated rematch between the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma‘a Tonga.

The Kiwi Ferns will be captained by 2018 Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year and veteran centre Honey Hireme, who first wore the black and white jersey 17 years ago.

She’s joined by a number of stand-out players from last year’s blockbuster Trans-Tasman Triple Header including 2017 Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year and star fullback Apii Nicholls, centre Amber Kani and front rowers Annetta Nuuausala and Aeishaleigh Smalley – all with the Warriors – plus St George Illawarra halfback Raecene McGregor, Sydney Roosters hooker Nita Maynard, Brisbane Broncos second rower Teuila Fotu-Moala and Warriors playmakers Georgia Hale and Raquel Anderson-Pitman.

Four Kiwi Ferns debutantes have been named including Jules Newman (Mt Albert), Madison Bartlett and Charntay Poko (Richmond Rovers) and Sydney based Kiana Takairangi.

“We’re really lucky to have that mix of leadership and young talent in the team,” said Morgan.

“The girls are eager to take the field again in the black and white and a lot of them are following on from last year’s triple header Test, which is a strength for us.

“The narrow loss to the Aussies still hurts and we know Samoa will come out firing, but we’ve got some great leaders who will bring that invaluable experience, coupled with exciting new debutantes, so we’ll be bringing our best game.

“We’re really looking forward to getting into camp and focusing all our efforts on the Test.”

Tickets are still available for the Oceania Cup doubleheader here.

Gates at Mount Smart Stadium will open at 2.00pm on June 22 with the Kiwi Ferns v Fetu Samoa match kicking off at 3.10pm and the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma‘a Tonga match kicking off at 5.40pm.





















Photo – Photosport

Canterbury Rugby League (CRL) is the regional organisation charged with leading, developing, promoting and fostering Rugby League in Canterbury. CRL has built a strong and loyal following across the Canterbury region for over 100 years.  As an organisation CRL plays an important role within the community by delivering on its strategic plan, CRL will continue to build on its rich history and create a bright future for the game.

Job tasks and responsibilities

Lead the development and promotion of rugby league in primary, intermediate and secondary schools.

The primary focus of the Development Officer is the delivery of Canterbury Rugby League’s youth and junior coaching and development plan within the Canterbury District.  They will also be required to assist in the overall planning and delivery of training to all coaches, however, their primary focus will be upon developing and supporting youth coaches in the club setting.

Skills and experience

  • Previous experience in a sport development role (minimum 1-2 years) is preferable but not essential.
  • Relevant tertiary training and/or qualification.
  • Have a passion for delivering sport to youth.
  • An understanding of sport and education settings in New Zealand.
  • Be an outstanding communicator, be able to present to a wide variety of people.
  • Have excellent inter-personal skills.
  • Have strong (and timely) reporting skills.
  • Be able to deliver (high quality) programmes in an educational setting at all levels.
  • A sound knowledge of Canterbury Rugby League, its goals and objectives.
  • Confidence dealing with clubs, youth, volunteers and local authorities and community groups.
  • Good computer skills.

For a copy of the Job Description please email [email protected].

To apply for this job please click here

If you require any further information please contact Duane Fyfe on 021-994-494.

Wellington Rugby League (WRL) is the local sporting body responsible for the administration of rugby league in the Greater Wellington region. The board is responsible for developing and leading the strategic plan, including setting the priorities and performance criteria in order to help maintain and grow the game of Rugby League in Wellington.

WRL currently have three board vacancies for appointed members to complement the current board which is made up of independent and club representatives.

We invite applications from those who have:

  • Experience in governance
  • Good working knowledge of Rugby League in Wellington
  • Leadership qualities to assist the current board and general manager to create opportunities for rugby league to grow in the region.

Additional skills and experience sought are:

  • Strong financial expertise
  • Legal knowledge and experience
  • Demonstrated leadership capabilities
  • Strong commercial and community connections
  • Understanding of the sporting sector

Currently, WRL is an action-oriented board and seek applications from those who have a “roll up your sleeves” attitude to join the team and make things happen for Wellington Rugby League.

Please send applications along with a copy of your CV to [email protected] or [email protected]



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


Congratulations to league legend, Sir Graham Lowe, who headlined NZ sporting identities in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours – becoming a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Firstly known for his dedication to the game, this accolade recognises his important services off the field, as he’s knighted for his work with youth and education.

Sir Graham has enjoyed a distinguished career in the game, coaching the Kiwis to victory over the all-conquering Kangaroos, guiding Manly and Wigan to success in Australian and English professional ranks, and steering Queensland home over NSW at State of Origin.

He previously received a Queen’s Service Medal in 1986 New Year Honours and became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013 New Year Honours, but all his titles – including this latest – have recognised his community service.

The 72-year-old was knighted for his services to youth and education, with his Lowie Foundation delivering a literacy and numeracy programme to 12-19-year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Rugby league and sport are really important and play a big part in our lives, but I’m a believer in supporting, helping and educating disadvantaged young people,” he said.

“I saw many times young people who were oozing rugby league talent, but they lacked a successful pathway because they didn’t appreciate how important literacy and numeracy were in life. So many of them missed out and when I combine that with many of the players I’ve coached, I owe so much to them.

“A lot of them came from these really disadvantaged backgrounds and I wanted to see if I could put something back in that area. That’s what I’ve been really focused on for many years.”

We want to congratulate Graham for epitomising our More Than A Game philosophy and thank him for his hard work and dedication to effecting important change within our communities.

It’s with great sadness that we announce, former New Zealand Secondary School and under-18 representative Zae Wallace, has passed away after being struck down with the flu.

The young sportsman who’s represented New Zealand at age group level returned to Auckland this year following a stint with the Gold Coast Titans under-20 side and had been in an induced coma for four weeks.

At the beginning of the 2017 season, Wallace signed a contract with the Titans to play in the NYC under-20 competition. Wallace spent that season with the Titans then joined the Burleigh Bears in the Intrust Super Cup.

Playing at halfback and being the youngest member of the squad, Wallace was one of the Akarana Falcons star performers in their National Premiership championship victory in 2016. That same year he was named Auckland Rugby League’s College Player of the Year.

He won selection following a standout season with the Mt Albert Lions in Auckland’s Fox Premier Rugby League Competition. He had returned to New Zealand to play with the Northcote Tigers and had only played one game when he became ill.

Wallace is described as a “lovely and cheeky” young man, who had a great sense of humour and a great bunch of friends. A givealittle page had been set up to raise funds in support of his courageous battle, one friend wrote, “Champions don’t stop, they dust themselves off and push on. This young man is all champion.”

Our deepest condolences go out to Zae’s family and friends, not only was he a rising league star with exciting skill and potential, he was loved by many. A young talent that will be sorely missed.


Photo – Photosport

The New Zealand Rugby League Museum has unveiled a new cabinet celebrating Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand (PDRLNZ) and their contribution to the game.

As an associate member of NZRL, PDRLNZ has provided our players with a platform to develop, succeed and grow through rugby league, no matter the barrier. This cabinet showcases PDRLNZ’s contribution to the game on and off the field, as they continue to bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled athletes, break down social stigmas and effect change within our communities.

Since its launch in 2015, PDRLNZ has worked tirelessly to provide a platform for our disabled athletes to showcase their skills domestically and internationally. In 2017, PDRLNZ hosted the inaugural International tournament – the Auckland PDRL Nines. Following this, the PDRLNZ team went to the 2018 Commonwealth Championships in Brisbane, with the New Zealand squad playing a world first PDRL international Tri-test series against Australia and the Commonwealth All Stars. And just recently, PDRLNZ sent a Kiwis team to the 2018 Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championships in Sydney.

Sandra Hickey, Founder and Chair of PDRLNZ says “We are thrilled to have our journey displayed here at NZRL museum alongside the rest of our Rugby League family. This is a proud moment for all of us here at Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand as history has been made.”

Greg Peters, CEO of NZRL says “PDRLNZ is a perfect example of how we use rugby league to unite communities of people from all tribes and walks of life – which of course, is the Kiwi Way. Their athletes champion the Kiwi Way every single day, embodying values such as diversity, inclusiveness and courage – to name a few.

“PDRLNZ, it’s players, staff, volunteers and all associated, epitomise our More Than A Game philosophy, they lead by example, acting as role-models to all in our league communities from up and down the country. We want to thank them, not only for their work towards growing the game on the field but for effecting important change off the field as well.” Greg concluded.

Looking ahead, NZRL and PDRLNZ are hoping to have PDRL games as test curtain raisers, providing more opportunities for our athletes to play on the international stage.


Players, families and supporters from across the decades will head to Murray Halberg Park this weekend as the Marist Rugby League Club celebrates 100 years of existence.

It all starts with a masters game against Pt Chevalier on Friday night, with a number of the two clubs’ best-known players set to take the field.

Pirates legend Stacey Jones will don the No.7 jersey, with Monty Betham and Wairangi Koopu named on the bench, while current Marist coach Francis Meli heads up a Saints team which also includes Willie Wolfgramm and Henry Turua.

The game will be followed by a mix and mingle night at the club.

On Saturday the morning will be full of mini/mod games, and aside from rugby league the day will feature food stalls and activities for kids.

That evening the club will host a black-tie dinner at Alexandra Park in Epsom, with live entertainment from well-known musician Lapi Mariner and his 20/20 band.

The Saints will end the weekend on Sunday with a family day. Entertainment will be provided by the local community, including the Saints Up Performing Arts Academy and Owairaka Primary School.


Some points to note on the history of the club:

  • Marist was formed in 1919, with the membership drawing from Marist Brothers schools.
  • The club won its first championship in 1925 with a team featuring Bill Stormont – in whose memory the Stormont Shield is named.
  • The club has won six championships with the most successful team being the 1966 team featuring six Kiwis.
  • The club has produced 46 Kiwis in total including ARL hall of fame inductee Tony Kriletich, trailblazer Oscar Danielson, Sonny Bill Williams, current NZRL high-performance manager Motu Tony and current NRL superstar David Fusitu’a – to name a few
  • In 2019 the club fields teams from under 6’s to premiers including women and masters.

New Zealand rugby league has lost a legend.


It’s with great sorrow that we announce Kiwi #634 and Warrior #52, Quentin Pongia, lost his battle with bowel cancer on Saturday, May 18th, 2019.


Originally from the West Coast, Pongia moved to Canterbury at 18 in 1988. He crossed the Tasman in 1993 to play for Canberra, winning a premiership with them the following year. He remained with the club through to the end of 1997 before joining the Warriors in 1998, followed by the Roosters, Dragons and Wigan.


The relentless prop played 137 NRL games in his 13-year career, in which he gained a reputation as one of the game’s most feared players. On top of this, he also leaves behind a legacy carved by his black and white jersey.


Quentin represented the Kiwis 35 times between 1992 and 2000. He played a monumental role in New Zealand’s back-to-back victories over the Kangaroos at North Harbour Stadium in the 1990s, he then went on to captain the 1998 touring team that remains the only Kiwis side unbeaten from a three-test series in England, also earning himself New Zealand Rugby League player of the year.


In 2004, Quentin hung up his boots while signed with Wigan when it was discovered that he suffered from the contagious blood disorder hepatitis B. However, his involvement in rugby league didn’t end there. Pongia remained in the game when his playing days finished, having time on Canberra’s football staff and more recently he worked in the wellbeing area for the NRL, the Rugby League Players’ Association and lastly the Manly Sea Eagles.


He was also on the Kiwis’ staff for the 2009 end of season Four Nations campaign in the United Kingdom and France.


In an interview with stuff.co.nz last year, Quentin said “I’m a passionate Kiwi. That will never change … I’ve been away for 25 years in Australia, but I’m still black and white…It’s something that’s pretty close to my heart.”


A gentleman on and off the field, a legend of the game and a true friend to many. New Zealand Rugby League passes on their condolences to Quentin’s friends and family.



“Like a number of players who played with him, I have nothing but respect and a wonderful friendship with Quentin and although it saddens me to hear of the news, it comforts me to know he has no pain now. Quentin is the toughest individual I have ever played with and I know how hard he fought to beat this terrible disease. He will be sorely missed right across the rugby league community.” – Current Canberra coach and former teammate, Ricky Stuart.


“A legend, an absolute legend of rugby league. He played the game full on all the time, gave no quarter and the same with his cancer, he fought it until the bitter end – a wonderful man.” Sir Peter Leitch.


Vodafone Warriors and Kiwis hooker Issac Luke tweeted: “Farrrrrout this has saddened our @NRL and @NZRL_Kiwis  community. Moe mai rā tōku tuakana. Thoughts and love to Q’s whanau. No more pain now brother. Only memories of how tough you were as a player on and off the field. May you rest in Love.”


Ex-Kiwi and Vodafone Warriors centre Nigel Vagana tweeted: “My @NZRL_Kiwis debut .. the 1st Anzac Test.. Johnny Lomax got hurt in opening 30secs. Q had to play 80mins in the front row, 1st game back after a long suspension & led us to victory. One of the toughest ever in the Black & White. Ka kite ano Uso.”


Very sad to hear the passing of Quentin Pongia. One of the toughest NRL players of modern rugby league, and that reflected especially when he represented the Kiwis” – Kiwi and Manly Sea Eagles player, Martin Taupau tweeted.


“Being born in NZ but growing up in Oz, I found myself always following Kiwi players, regardless of the club jersey they wore. Quentin Pongia was one of the toughest to ever wear the black jersey and I’m so grateful to have known him. Rest In Peace Q” – Former Kiwi, Dene Halatau tweeted.


We invite you to join us at a luncheon hosted by Sir Peter Leitch, in support of Quentin’s family at the Ellerslie Event Centre on June 7.


Photo – PhotosportNZ

As seen on nrl.com by Corey Rosser


The promise of a permanent spot in the halves was the key factor in Kodi Nikorima deciding to seek an immediate release from Brisbane and join the New Zealand Warriors.

The Warriors announced the signing of Nikorima through until the end of 2021 on Friday, with the 25-year-old expected to debut for his new club against the Dragons during the NRL’s Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium in round nine on Saturday.

Nikorima said the Broncos made it clear they saw teenager Thomas Dearden as their long-term halfback, at which point the positional security on offer at the Warriors became too good to turn down.


“[Brisbane] were pretty up front and honest in saying that Tom was probably their future half there,” Nikorima said.

“The Warriors came to me and said that they want me to play in the halves here … in the end it was the best decision for myself.

“At the end of the day it was just the fact that there’s a lot of security here, there’s a future for myself in a position that I want to play.

“The Broncos couldn’t offer me anything like that. I could have waited until the end of the year, but that contract that was on offer [from the Warriors] might not have become available then.


“I am grateful for the opportunity that [Brisbane] have given me [by releasing] me right now, and excited about the new journey and new chapter ahead.”

Nikorima said the Kiwi connection at the Warriors was also a crucial factor in his decision to sign with the Auckland-based club.

He was given his Test debut for the Kiwis by now Warriors coach Stephen Kearney in 2015, and he has strong relationships with a number of the squad through time together in camp with New Zealand.

“Knowing Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] and Issac Luke, who form part of the spine too will definitely help me in transferring from the Broncos into the Warriors’ system,” Nikorima said.

“And also having that relationship with Steve Kearney should help as well.

“That played a big part too. I have had a pretty good relationship with Mooks [Kearney], we have kept in touch over the years and I am really excited to play under him again.”

Nikorima also revealed he and future halves partner Blake Green had already held discussions about the roles they will play in the side, with Nikorima at pains to insist he wouldn’t be attempting to emulate Shaun Johnson’s style.

“I just spoke to Blake briefly before his game [against the Knights] and he sort of said that he wants me playing both sides and just playing off him, I guess playing more of that six role,” Nikorima said.


“Things aren’t going to click straight away … it might take time.

“I don’t really see it as replacing Shaun. What Shaun’s done here has been incredible and I don’t want to compare myself to him, nor will I compare myself to the past players like Stacey Jones.

“I have come here to be who I am. I’m Kodi Nikorima, I’m no one else and I won’t ever try and be anyone else.”



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

New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kiwi #373 Duncan MacRae who played three Tests for the Kiwis in 1956.

His contribution to New Zealand Rugby League will not be forgotten.



Rugby league is a sport for all New Zealanders, played from the grassroots level to the international stage. The sport is ‘more than a game’; it is part of the social fabric of our country and has a critical role in developing young men and women in our communities. 2019 sees a busy international calendar including the new Oceania Cup, Great Britain Rugby League Lions Tour, World Nines, games against Tonga and Australia and the Kiwi Ferns playing Fetu Samoa.

For more information on the organisation, please visit www.nzrl.co.nz

The NZRL Board plays a significant role in the organisation’s success, providing surety to stakeholders both within NZ and internationally. Since the Conference of League held in October 2018, NZRL has conducted a planning process to develop a new strategic blueprint to take it forward to 2025. This is nearing completion and will be rolled out in the coming months. The philosophy of More than a Game – Transforming lives and community wellbeing through Rugby League is central to the new strategy.

The Board comprises seven directors; four appointed and three elected. Of the seven there must be three Rugby League Knowledgeable and three independent directors.  A Board Appointment Panel, comprising of two independent Sport NZ representatives, an individual nominated from the Zones and a nominee of the NZRL board, is convening this appointment process.

Interviews will be held in Penrose, Auckland on the morning and early afternoon of 28 May 2019.



The Panel is seeking applicants for one Appointed (Independent) Director vacancy and one Elected Director vacancy. Incumbents are standing again for both roles.

All board members need to understand confidentiality, work collaboratively, possess sound judgment, have good communication and be able to demonstrate leadership ability.

Candidates who have the skill sets set out below and who can bring an element of diversity, particularly gender, to the current board mix will be looked upon favourably by the Appointments Panel.

The skills the Panel is looking for in the Appointed Director includes:


  • Experienced director with 5+ years governance experience on a commercial board
  • Strong strategic thinker
  • Established relationships with the ARLC/NRL as well as the wider International Rugby League community
  • Strong financial background
  • Previous experience on an Audit & Risk sub-committee
  • Broadcasting and sports commercial experience

The skills the Panel is looking for in the Elected Director includes:


  • Board (governance) experience – particularly with skills in strategic change
  • Able to distinguish between the separate but complementary roles of governance and management, and the need to act in the best interests of the NZRL at all times
  • A strong connection to the game of rugby league either through playing, administration, management, coaching or other roles within the sport.
  • Zone or district board governance experience is preferred but not essential
  • A strong and professional reputation in their business career
  • Strong networks – linked possibly to commercial experience and/or other sporting organisations

Applications for the Elected Director need to be supported by a nomination letter from an NZRL member (Zone or Affiliate) and written acceptance of that nomination by the nominee. Nomination letter templates are available if required.

Time commitment and term

As a guide, we expect an average time commitment of 1 to 1.5 days each month per director. Full day board meetings are held monthly in Auckland.

We anticipate the roles starting immediately after the AGM on 30 June 2019.  Terms are four years and directors are eligible for re-appointment for one further term.


Directors are paid $12,000 per annum.


All applicants must be available for interview in Penrose, Auckland on the morning/early afternoon of 28 May 2019.

To Apply

To apply for this role please do so online at www.appointbetterboards.co.nz/APT13415 (brief registration required)

The closing date for applications is 5.00pm Thursday 16 May 2019.

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.

Today marks what would have been Kiwi #556 Bernard Green’s sixtieth birthday.

Bernard Green was among workers in Roa Mine that were killed when a shaft of a coal mine collapsed just after 11am on September 7th 2006.

Bernie was selected for the New Zealand squad that was touring Great Britain and France, becoming Kiwi number 556.

Bernie was a Kiwi, a great guy, working class, a very popular and well-known sportsperson.

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.”

The Kiwi Ferns will play the Fetu Samoa women’s team as part of a blockbuster All-Pacific double header on June 22 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.


The women’s match will enhance what will be an electric occasion as the New Zealand Kiwis take on Mate Ma‘a Tonga in the second match of the double-header – the highly-anticipated opening match of the Oceania Cup.


The women’s match will be the first time the two Pacific rivals have clashed in 11 years, with the Kiwi Ferns winning the last match between the two nations at the 2008 Women’s Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane.


New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Officer Greg Peters was thrilled to announce the match.


“The Kiwi Ferns versus Fetu Samoa match is going to enhance what is going to be a momentous occasion for Rugby League in New Zealand and the wider Pacific.”


“We’re really thrilled that players from both teams will have the opportunity to play in front of their friends, families and supporters.”


“The women’s game is a real priority and it’s key we give the Kiwi Ferns the opportunity to play in Aotearoa and inspire young girls across New Zealand who dream of pulling on the black and white jersey.”


Rugby League Samoa President Tagaloa Faafouina Su’a said he was delighted that Fetu Samoa would get to face top class opposition in the Kiwi Ferns.


“It’s great to have Fetu Samoa back playing 13-a-side Test Rugby League on what will be a really special occasion for our team.”


“Developing Fetu Samoa is a real focus for us, so to have our women playing on such a big stage is a real boost for the women’s game.”

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, Head of Major Events Stuart Turner says the announcement of Fetu Samoa as opponents for the Kiwi Ferns clash is the perfect complement to a blockbuster year of league events taking place in Auckland.


“We are excited to be in a position to host such an exciting array of teams, and provide a great platform to highlight women’s sports particularly while the secretariat for the International Working Group on Women and Sport is based here in Auckland,” he says.


“This historic double header will attract a strong crowd of supporters from throughout the country and the Pacific in one of our traditionally quieter months.”


Tickets go on sale for the double-header at Mt Smart Stadium on April 11. Fans can join the waitlist for early access to tickets at GBOceaniaTour.com.


The Kiwis-Mate Ma‘a Tonga clash is the first time the two teams will meet since Tonga shocked the Kiwis in Hamilton during the Rugby League World Cup.


Gates at Mt Smart Stadium will open at 4pm on June 22 with the Kiwi Ferns-Fetu Samoa match kicking off at 5pm.


The Oceania Cup opener between the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma‘a Tonga will kick off at 7.30pm.

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.




Auckland, New Zealand, March 18, 2018 – Vastly-experienced Justin Morgan has today been confirmed as Kiwi Ferns head coach through to the 2021 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.

The 43-year-old former Parramatta, Canberra and Warriors forward takes on the role after assisting the Kiwi Ferns with their preparation for last year’s one-off Test against the Australian Jillaroos.

His appointment comes at a time when the Kiwi Ferns have been confirmed to line up in end-of-season Tests against the Pacific Islands and the Jillaroos.

“Justin is the ideal coach to lead us forward and develop not only our female players but the coaching and support staff that will be involved in the Kiwi Ferns” said New Zealand Rugby League GM high performance Motu Tony.

“His vast experience as both a coach and player at professional and international level will bring valuable high-performance knowledge which will benefit the Kiwi Ferns and our women’s game in general.

“I look forward to working with Justin to prepare the Kiwi Ferns for the RLWC in 2021, grow the women’s game in New Zealand and prepare the next generation of players and staff capable of representing the Kiwi Ferns in the years to come.”

Tony said the Kiwi Ferns and women’s rugby league are a major priority for the NZRL.

“The 2021 World Cup is an opportunity to add to our three World Cup wins (2000, 2005 and 2008) and regain our status as the best international women’s team in the world,” he said.

After his playing days were ended prematurely, Morgan began a long coaching career which included seven seasons with Hull Kingston Rovers from 2005-2011. He has also been an assistant coach with Canberra, Melbourne and the Warriors as well as the New Zealand Kiwis.



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.

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.




New Zealand is set to get a massive injection of international rugby league matches in 2019, with the Great Britain Rugby League Lions tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, and the inaugural Oceania Cup getting the green light.


The first match of the Oceania Cup has the New Zealand Kiwis going head-to-head with Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mt Smart in the re-match that everyone has been waiting for. The Kiwi Ferns will also take on a Pacific Island team on the same night. This mid-season clash is one of three Tests the Kiwis will play in New Zealand, with the end-of-season Test against the Kangaroos being played in Wollongong.


The inaugural Oceania Cup will be made up of Pool A – comprising New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga  – and Pool B – made up of Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.


Organisers also announced that the Great Britain Rugby League Lions will be in action in the southern hemisphere for the first time in 13 years, playing two Test matches against New Zealand (2 November at Eden Park and 9 November at Christchurch Stadium) and Tests against Tonga and Papua New Guinea.


New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters said he was “excited to see all the hard work behind the scenes come into fruition with more international rugby league content locked in for our country and our fans.”


“We could not be doing this without the support of New Zealand Government, the host cities and NZRL’s commercial partners so I’m incredibly grateful to all of them for making this possible.”


“Our rugby league community in New Zealand has been hoping for more international and Kiwis fixtures in our back yard for a while now so I’m pleased we’re able to deliver on this for them,”


“New Zealand Rugby League is also delighted to be bringing such an event to New Zealand that will also benefit the teams throughout the Pacific.”


RLIF Southern Hemisphere General Manager Jeremy Edwards was delighted to announce such a packed schedule.


“This international program is both exciting and ground-breaking and it is great to see the Great Britain Rugby League Lions following in the historic footprints of previous tours.”

“The Oceania Cup is an important step in creating a full international calendar that fans, players and commercial partners can enjoy.”


“It has taken a huge amount of work to deliver this and I commend the efforts of all those who have brought us to this point. It is a great platform for the international game in the Asia Pacific Region.”

Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) Chief Executive Officer Ian Prendergast says the Oceania Cup and Great Britain Rugby League Lions are fantastic additions to the International Rugby League calendar.


“It is fantastic that there will be significant international content in 2019, including new properties in the Nines and the Oceania Cup, as well as the Great Britain Rugby League Lions touring down under.”


“It reflects the enhanced profile, interest and competitiveness of International Rugby League. In particular, the Oceania Cup provides a tremendous new platform for the Pacific nations to compete on the world stage.”


“We have enjoyed working through the process with the RLIF and the nations to establish the schedule for 2019 and look forward to continuing these discussions when planning for future matches takes place.”


“The international game presents exciting opportunities for our members and through continued collaboration we look forward to further showcasing the wonderful rugby league talent we have in the game.”


Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer said the return of the Great Britain Rugby League Lions was highly-anticipated.


“The return of the famous Great Britain jersey is something people have been talking about for a long time so this is an exciting announcement for us.”


“It’s 12 years since Great Britain last played a Test, and 13 since they last travelled to the southern hemisphere, for the Tri-Nations series of 2006.”


“There is such history and tradition around that Great Britain shirt, it’s great for the game to have it back and we’ll be committed to respecting and honouring that tradition.”


Note: Event organisers are grateful for the support for New Zealand government through the Major Events Development Fund, ATEED, H3 and ChristchurchNZ.


2019 Kiwis fixtures:


Saturday, 22 June – Kiwis v Mate Ma’a Tonga – Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, 25 October – Kiwis v Kangaroos – WIN Stadium, Wollongong, Australia

Saturday, 2 November – Kiwis v Great Britain Rugby League Lions – Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, 9 November – Kiwis  v Great Britain Rugby League Lions – Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand




By Adam Pearse – Northern Advocate

With the last name ‘Woodman-Tuhoro’ it’s hard to stay out of the spotlight in Northland rugby and league circles.

But Tea-Rani Woodman-Tuhoro is making a name for himself as one to watch for the future, being selected in the New Zealand Rugby League under-16 wider squad for 2019.

After the initial selection, the 15-year-old Whangārei Boys’ High School student made it through the first squad reduction from 40 to 26 players.

The squad would be reduced further to 18 players, but the young winger was hopeful he would make it through the final selection.

“There’s some pretty good wingers there, so hopefully I can be the best winger and get in.”

As well as his national selection, Woodman-Tuhoro signed a four-year contract with the New Zealand Warriors in October last year.

The Auckland-based club were drawn to the young Northlander after his performances at a regional league tournament in Rotorua.

“It was before one of our biggest games against Bay of Plenty and some of the boys started saying I was being scouted,” he said.

The club’s interest was a surprise to Woodman-Tuhoro, who hadn’t known he was being watched by Warriors representatives.

“It kind of put me off, it took my mind out of the game because I didn’t want to make a mistake, but I must have played all right because they called my mum and my coach afterwards, which was pretty cool.”

The contract allowed Woodman-Tuhoro to stay in Whangārei for the remainder of the year, at least.

After turning 16 in December this year, Woodman-Tuhoro’s future in Northland would be unclear as he had the possibility of being selected and could join the Warriors development set-up in Auckland.

For Woodman-Tuhoro, living in Northland and travelling to Auckland for Warriors training camps was the best of both worlds.

“I probably wouldn’t want to live in Auckland, I’d miss my family in Whangārei and all my mates that are here.”

Both sides of Woodman-Tuhoro’s family had been heavily involved in rugby and league. His grandfather on his father’s side, George Tuhoro, formerly managed the under-16 and junior national league teams.

On his mother’s side, Woodman-Tuhoro’s grandfather, Fred Woodman, was an All Blacks winger and is the father of Black Ferns sevens legend Portia Woodman.

While it was big reputation to live up to, Woodman-Tuhoro said he was proud of his family’s history in the two sports.

Woodman-Tuhoro’s grandparents became a big influence in his life when his parents separated when he was a child. He said having an All Black for a grandfather was great for motivation.

“He’s definitely one of my idols, and he’s always at my games.”

Ironically, Woodman-Tuhoro didn’t find his way to league until he was 8 years old.

Once he started playing, he was immediately in multiple age-grade representative teams.

After taking a break from league to play rugby for two years, Woodman-Tuhoro, at age 13, returned to league and was picked in the national age-group squad two years later.

With dreams of playing for either the Warriors or the Brisbane Broncos, Woodman-Tuhoro said he was happy to take things one step at a time and enjoy time with his friends.

“I just want to do my best in rugby league and go hard,” he said.

“My friends always give me a bit of stick and say things like, ‘I’m sitting next to a Warrior’, or they shake my hand and say, ‘I’ve just shaken the hand of a Warrior’.”

Former coach Hori Tuhoro, who is also Woodman-Tuhoro’s uncle, said he knew his nephew had enormous potential from a young age.

“I’ve always known he’s had that talent, and he was quite easy to coach as well.

“He’s been to a lot of camps now with rugby and league so he’s a bit ahead of the rest of the boys in terms of development.”

Tuhoro, who coached his nephew in the Takahiwai rugby league club under-15 team last year, said Woodman-Tuhoro was the whole package on the field, but also had the skills to manage the pressure of the national spotlight.

“He hasn’t had all that pressure yet, so give him time, but he will be able to cope with it because he’s in that frame of mind to want to go all the way.

“It’s always been his dream to make the NRL as a little kid so I’m pretty proud.”

Woodman-Tuhoro will attend more training camps in Auckland with the wider squad in April and July before the final selection of 18 players is confirmed.

As seen on TVNZ Breakfast and the 1 Newsnow website.

Retired Kiwi league player Lewis Brown is using the heartbreak of losing his father to suicide to help him launch a new career as a fashion designer.

Brown retired from the NRL after last season and has since found a new passion to invest his time in – clothing.

“I’ve always been into fashion and I’ve always liked sneakers and street fashion,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“My biggest fear while I was playing footy was ‘am I ever going to be passionate about something as much as footy when I finish’, so I found that passion in fashion and decided to bite the bullet, jump in the deep end and launch my own range.”

The result was Earl’s Collection – a street clothing label launched at the start of February.

Despite his limited knowledge on terminologies in the business, Brown is already seeing success, with an excess of 300 orders in two weeks.

The former Kiwis second-rower, who played in the NRL for the Warriors, Penrith and Manly, said he found inspiration for the name from his dad.

“My middle name is Earl and my father’s middle name is also Earl,” he said.

“Unfortunately, two years ago, my father took his own life. I never really had much of relationship with my dad when I was younger – I grew up with my single mum – and it was a bit of a tough time.

“But my dad was styley dude so I kind of just thought, ‘I didn’t really have the relationship I did when I was with him when I was younger,’ so I’m taking him on this journey now.

“When my dad’s stuff happened, it taught me that life is too short and to do something that you love doing.”

Brown says since launching the company, he’s living life with a smile on his face.

“I’m picking and packing orders out of my own lounge and stuff like that so I’m really connected to the brand.”


New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the appointment of new Board Member, Grant Stapleton. He fills the Independent Board Director position left vacant by Motu Tony, who joined the NZRL senior leadership team as General Manager of High Performance in June of last year.

Stapleton boasts over 30 years of experience as a director, executive leader and entrepreneur bringing a wealth of knowledge in finance and strategy. He has led numerous businesses to success spanning various different industries including Bakers Delight, Hue, Mariposa Restaurant Holdings (holding company of Mexicali Fresh and Burger Wisconsin), Retail New Zealand, Thermal Solutions Holdings, Collective Hospitality, Laser Group Holdings and ATL Group.

Grant is also managing director of specialist consulting company, Cornell Consulting Group, which assists clients in the areas of financial performance, organisational design and strategy.

NZRL Chairman Reon Edwards welcomes yet another valuable addition to the NZRL team which, led by CEO Greg Peters, enters a new era of change and progression as the national body looks to reinvigorate the rugby league landscape in New Zealand.

“Grant’s track record as a director is exemplary. We as a Board are pleased to have his expertise at the table as we look to solidify our strategic plan for the next four years,”

“There are some exciting prospects in the pipeline for rugby league both in New Zealand and internationally, that could be hugely beneficial for the grassroots game and we know our hard-working communities are really looking forward to another action-packed season ahead,” Edwards said.

When asked what drew him to his new position on the NZRL Board, Stapleton said, “Sport and rugby league are inextricably woven into the fabric of NZ. This is a great opportunity to grow our communities and the interactions they have through the sport of rugby league.”

Alongside the new additions to the NZRL Board, CEO Greg Peters’ senior leadership team is now complete with the recently appointed General Manager of Commercial and Communications, Gordon Gibbons and former Kiwi Nigel Vagana, moving into the General Manager of Football and Wellbeing.

Gibbons has been involved in rugby league for several decades having recently been the New Zealand Warriors Corporate Sales Manager following his 10-year stint as Football Operations Manager at Auckland Rugby League. He was also the Kiwis Team Manager for the infamous 2008 World Cup winning team.

New Zealand Rugby League Board: Reon Edwards (Chair), Elizabeth Richards (Vice-Chair), Hugh Martyn, Tawera Nikau, Bill McEntee, Andrew Fraser, Grant Stapleton.

By Stuff.co.nz – Sam Phillips

It’s all about iwi for the New Zealand Māori All Stars.

Iwi, the Māori word for “people” or “nation”, identifies which tribe a New Zealand native is from and when the official team lists are printed in Friday’s match program, each player will have their iwi next to their surname.

That will mark a proud moment for each of the inaugural Māori All Stars and their families, according to hooker Brandon Smith.

“It’s definitely a proud moment, particularly for my mother’s side of the family,” Smith said in Melbourne.

“She’s a Māori and for her this is massive. Getting to see my iwi next to my name in the team lists – she was super excited.

“This game is for her.”

Many of Smith’s team-mates feel the same way.

While not all are well versed in the intricacies of their heritage, James Tamou pointed to each player’s family roots when asked what the game meant to those taking part.

“It’s what you grow up with as family,” Tamou said.

“That’s why all the Māori players are here, representing that.

“Even still to this day there are parts of my family that are pretty solid foundation, keeping strong within the Māori culture in our family.

“They want to help me out and that’s why I’m here: to represent them.”

Each Māori All Star was presented with a special greenstone upon arrival in camp on Sunday.

The gift will serve as a reminder of the culture the team is representing when they run onto AAMI Park on Friday night.

“It was a gift to take away on your journey so you always remember where you came from,” Tamou said.

“All these players have their own journey in life and they will always be part of the Maori heritage and Maori culture to go with it.

“Some boys will cherish it everywhere we go.”

The energy with which the Maori men have embraced the new All Stars concept leads one to believe the NRL may be onto a winner.

The fan vote, combined with the clash of two iconic cultures, leads Maori coach Stacey Jones to believe the concept would work in New Zealand as well.

“I’m sure it would [do well] anywhere in New Zealand,” he said.

“When you look at the calibre of players on both teams – there would be massive support.

“It’s very special.

“These guys playing in this game are giving back to the game, giving back to the Māori people.

“Hopefully some kids that will be watching will say one day I want to be in that team.”

Tamou echoed Jones’ sentiment.

“As soon as they announced it, I imagined the passion which was going to come out from both teams,” he said.

“It will be unreal. It will be a good showcase for the fans.

“This week we are getting a really good understanding about Māori and I’m sure the Indigenous team are doing the same over there.

“When it all comes together it will show how cultures collide and not only the excitement of football but how passionate the players can all be about it.”

Smith believes that passion would also translate to a potential Pacific Nations team.

Should Friday’s match prove a success, the Storm hooker suggested a Tri Nations type tournament should be looked at in the near future.

But first, Smith believes stamping this fixture as an annual event should be top priority.

“It showcases the two cultures and the ability that they have, so I think it’s a really good idea,” he said.

“The way the NRL is pushing it at the moment … hopefully it goes really well.

“What the Tongans have done for rugby league is really good for the Pacific Nations.

“Hopefully one day we could get a Pacific team as well in there – a tri series – something like that.”

Smith also likes the notion of taking the match to New Zealand but with Storm-Warriors games often drawing 50-50 crowds, he cheekily suggested it may feel like a home match on Friday anyway.

“I think we will have a lot of home support. When we played the Anzac test at AAMI Park there were a lot of Kiwis there,” he said.

“Melbourne has a lot of Kiwi fans, so hopefully they all turn up on the weekend.”

NZRL are now open to receiving applications of interest for the roles of Head Coach, Assistant Coach and Head Trainer for the Kiwi Ferns and the Junior Kiwis.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday 25 February 2019.

Kiwi Ferns Head Coach Job Description, click here.

Kiwi Ferns Assistant Coach Job Description, click here. 

Kiwi Ferns Head Trainer Job Description, click here. 

Junior Kiwis Head Coach Job Description, click here.

Junior Kiwis Assistant Coach Job Description, click here. 

Junior Kiwis Head Trainer Job Description, click here. 

For any enquiries about the roles or if you are interested in applying, please send your covering letter and coaching CV to: [email protected] before the allocated time and date.

By NRL.com Reporter, Chris Kennedy

After a one-year hiatus, a revamped NRL Harvey Norman All Stars fixture is back on the calendar with the New Zealand Māori to take on the Indigenous All Stars for the first time.

The move is a positive one with the Māori to present a welcome – and no doubt passionate – addition to the fixture.

Both teams will boast some huge names as well as some scintillating young talent.

While the Indigenous side will be without the likes of Ryan James and Greg Inglis (both knee), and Ben Barba (deregistered) and the Māori team has lost Jordan McLean (Townsville floods), their absences present opportunities to other players.

They won’t have an easy time of it against a Māori side boasting a stack of Test talent including Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Dane Gagai, Peta Hiku, Adam Blair, Tohu Harris, Kevin Proctor, James Tamou and Dean Whare.

What you need to know

Key Match-up

Cody Walker and Tyrone Roberts v Kalyn Ponga and Jahrome Hughes. The two halves pairings in this match have boundless ability. For the Indigenous side, Walker and Roberts bring plenty of experience, calm heads and, in Roberts, the most developed kicking game from either team.

While Walker is one of the code’s most dangerous running halves the Māori team still has the edge in this department with Ponga and Hughes both still better-recognised as dangerous running fullbacks despite each spending time in the halves last season.

With the squads having so little time to gel there is a chance the game plan goes out the window – which would play into the Māori pair’s hands – but any extra control and polish Roberts and Walker can add could well prove the difference in even an unstructured contest.

For the Indigenous All Stars to win

The injury to Ryan James leaves the Indigenous squad a little light on for props. They have one of the most dangerous big men on the planet in Andrew Fifita but for the Indigenous side to triumph, he will need some good support from the likes of promising but uncapped rookie Kerr and journeymen Leilani Latu and Chris Smith to match it with a powerful Māori pack that has five middle forwards with Test experience in the squad.

For the Māori All Stars to win

You can all but guarantee that potent pack will create some attacking sets for the Māori side. While none of their playmakers (which also includes fullback Peta Hiku and hooker Brandon Smith) is playing out of position as such, each is playing in a jersey number which has not been their regular one at NRL level. The question is whether something of a makeshift spine can come together in time to create enough point-scoring opportunities to win the match – if they can do that they’ll go a long way towards claiming the trophy.

Indigenous Stat Attack

Players from the Indigenous squad were near the top of some significant stats in the Telstra Premiership last season. Winger Blake Ferguson finished best for total and average metres with 4862 at 203 per game. Andrew Fifita’s 70 offloads were the second-best of all players while his 105 busts were the second-most of any forward.

When it comes to line breaks, Ferguson (19), Walker (18), Mitchell (17) and Addo-Carr (16) were all in the top 10 of the competition. There’s no doubt this squad contains some of the most dangerous ball-runners in the game right now.

Māori Stat Attack

The weight of Test experience in favour of the Māori side is startling. In total the Indigenous squad has 33 Test caps shared among five players. The Māori team has a whopping 223 Test caps among 17 players. In fact, from the entire squad only the two halves and Corey Harawira-Naera are yet to represent their nation in a Test and even then it’s probably just a matter of time.

These numbers include starts for Tier 2 nations but the gulf only gets wider if you trim it to just Tier 1 caps – the Indigenous squad have nine Tongan caps between Fifita and Latu while the Māori team have four Cook Islands jerseys between Brad Takairangi and Esan Marsters. The remaining 219 Test starts for the Māori side are all for Australia (Dane Gagai and James Tamou) and New Zealand. Adam Blair’s 47 Kiwi Test caps outnumber the entire Indigenous squad’s Test experience.

Maroons and Kangaroos back Dane Gagai is one of a handful of players in the NRL to qualify for both teams and this year becomes the first player to represent both the Indigenous and Māori All Stars. Gagai’s cousin and one-time Indigenous All Star Josh Hoffman could potentially become another in future


Live on Nine, Fox League

Indigenous All Stars

Bevan French (Eels); Blake Ferguson (Eels), James Roberts (Broncos), Latrell Mitchell (Roosters), Josh Addo-Carr (Storm); Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), Tyrone Roberts (Titans); Andrew Fifita (Sharks), Nathan Peats (Titans), Josh Kerr (Dragons), David Fifita (Broncos), Adam Elliott (Bulldogs), Tyrone Peachey (Titans). Interchange: Will Chambers (Storm), Leilani Latu (Titans), Chris Smith (Bulldogs), Alex Johnston (Rabbitohs), Jesse Ramien (Knights), Tyrell Fuimaono (Panthers), Kotoni Staggs (Broncos).

New Zealand Māori All Stars

Peta Hiku (Warriors); Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs), Esan Marsters (Wests Tigers), Dean Whare (Panthers), Jordan Kahu (Broncos); Kalyn Ponga (Knights), Jahrome Hughes (Storm); Jesse Bromwich (Storm), Brandon Smith (Storm), James Tamou (Panthers), Kevin Proctor (Titans), Tohu Harris (Warriors), Adam Blair (Warriors). Interchange:Danny Levi (Knights), Brad Takairangi (Eels), James Fisher-Harris (Panthers),  Gerard Beale (Warriors), Corey Harawira-Naera (Bulldogs), Joseph Tapine (Raiders), Kenny Bromwich (Cowboys)

After a highly successful Talent Development Programme held in Cambridge last month, New Zealand Rugby League wishes to announce and congratulate those players who have been selected in the New Zealand Resident 16s and 18s, 26-man squads.

80 of the best 16s and 18s players in the country were put through their paces both on and off the field at the three-day camp, with everything they learnt culminating in two trial matches on the final day. The talent on display left selectors with some difficult decisions to make as players battled it out in hopes of catching the coaches’ eyes.

These squads will assemble on the first Monday of the school holidays, 15 April and 8 July, with a game in October to be announced in the coming months.

New Zealand Resident 16s Wider Squad

AKARANA; Benaiah Ioelu, Zion Maiu’u, Paaua Papuni-Abbott: AUCKLAND; Nathaniel Tangimataiti, Nathaniel Cama, Stanley Iongi, Heneli Luani, Sione Vaihu, Filipo Whitehouse-Opetaia Tovio, Sione Fotuaika: COUNTIES MANUKAU; Ali Leiataua, Ben Peni, Carlos Tarawhiti, Salesi Ataata, Francis Manulelua. MID CENTRAL; Arama Kite, Fatiauma Moeahu-Leota: NORTHLAND; Tea-Rani Woodman-Tuhoro: SOUTHERN; Felix Fa’atili, Jaedon Wellington, Ethan Faitaua, Nikau Waikato, Uriah Tuli: UPPER CENTRAL; Manaia Ngataki-Matthews, Cassius Cowley: WELLINGTON; Joshua Williams.

Head Coach: Bejay Hewitt

Assistant Coaches: Eugene Davis and Chris Langley

Trainers: Sean Witanga


New Zealand Resident 18s Wider Squad

AKARANA; Caleb Pese, Luani Tavake Naufahu Whyte, Moala Graham-Taufa, Jyris Glamuzina, Lani Graham-Taufa, Matthew Palu, Temple Kalepo, Totive Junior Tuileisu: AUCKLAND; Eteru Ropati: COUNTIES MANUKAU; Otukinekina Kepu, Peesi Vailangi Kepu, Semisi Sikei, Taniela Otukolo, Paea Fotu, Quinnlan Tupou, Semisi Tapa, Sione Moala, William Fakatoumafi: MID CENTRAL; Brooklyn Herewini, Tyson Chase: SOUTHERN; Jordan Coleman, Levi Pascoe, Caius Fa’atili. UPPER CENTRAL; Sean Field, Tukimihia Simpkins. WELLINGTON; Dallas McEwan.

Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele

Assistant Coaches: Cody Walker and Daniel McEwan

Trainers: Lee Paru and Jasen McCarthy

Manager: Tania Harris

Physio: Allan Horn


Taranaki Masters Rugby League invite expressions of interest from any rugby league players 35 years and over or league legends who are wanting to be part of this 2019 Masters Rugby League event in Taranaki, New Zealand on 16 March at Hickford Park, Bell Block.

To register or for more information, please contact Sam Pullen on 0274485358 or email [email protected]

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.”

Team Fisher-Harris proved too good for Team Papali’i at the final hooter of the 16s trial, final score reading 24-16.

16s selectors will have their hands full separating the talent after a hard fought battle where the players put their best foot forward.

Ben Peni from Team Fisher-Harris put the first four points on the board off the back of some outstanding forward momentum from the props. That was converted by Benaiah Ioelu, the beginning of what turned out to be a stellar performance from the Akarana representative.

It didn’t take long for Team Papali’i to add to the scoreboard with their captain Stanley Ionga, stand-out player from the 2018 National Youth Tournament and TDP, crossing the try line, which was then converted by Francis Manuleleua.

It was clear there was a lot of defensive work done alongside specialist coaches, Ben Gardiner and Nathan Cayless, with line speed looking impressive also.

Ben Peni’s strong efforts were evident, him identifying the holes in his opposition’s defensive line, and capitalising with his second try.

Another name that was on the lips of spectators was stand-off from Team Papali’i, Francis Manuleleua, his footwork turning heads as he tip-toed around anyone that tried to take him on.

Some players copped the wrath of Zion Maiu’u’s force as he ran over the defensive line to earn some much needed metres.

Both teams were guilty of several errors in their own 10 metre zones, and it was the team who took advantage of this that won out.

His boot was on form today, and so were Benaiah Ioelu’s try-scoring abilities, coming up successful for Team Fisher-Harris inching their lead ahead once again followed by a successful conversion from Esmonde Parangi.

A kick chase from Team Papali’I looked like more points were imminent but a fumble sealed their fate and they were back on the offensive – but, not for long.

A sniff of the try-line was all Francis Manuleleua needed scoring in the right-hand corner for Team Papali’i. His teammate Te Wano Ngamotu-Tahana got his slice if the pie too scoring before Manuleleua converted again closing the gap in the scoreline to 18-16.

However, one more converted try from Team Fisher-Harris sealed the fate of the game, Zion Maiu’u having the last say – the final score being 24-16 to team Fisher-Harris.

Team Lauiti’iti take the win at the Talent Development Programme 18s trial

Semisi Tapa was always going to be a strong contender in the 18s trial, and a try in the first few minutes only confirmed that.

Minutes later Elijah Tuhura joined the party, with another try for Lauiti’iti. Successfully converted the score read, 10-0.

Kicking would be a crucial part of the game given the talent going head-to-head in a tight clash – Brooklyn Herewini the MVP of the TDP last year making the conversion.

A penalty to Team Wiki, threw them the lifeline they needed, the blue team struggling to make it past the half way mark. But, the opportunity was missed with several rogue passes.

Team Wiki fired up though, Semisi Sikei scoring with Brooklyn Herewini making it two from two with the boot after his first conversion of Naufahu Whyte’s try earlier. However, a fumble on their try-line resulted in the ball going dead and perhaps, not the most desirable restart after their try, a line drop out to follow.

But, Team Lauiti’iti came up with an error too giving Team Wiki a sigh of relief.

It was only a matter of time before Tuki Simpkins would make it over the line, and he did just that  – successfully converted by Sione Moala.

Team Wiki fought and fought, and Sean Field finally got through the brick Lauiti’iti defence levelling the scoreboard, 16-16, with a kick to come – Tyrone Waipouri making it look like clock work pushing Team Wiki out in front for the first time, 18-16.

Team Wiki didn’t have time to kick themselves for the error on their try-line, with an absolutely outstanding 100 metre intercept try from Daeon Amituanai, the heat proving no obstacle for the boys in blue. That was converted by Tyrone Waipouri right before the second quarter break.

At the beginning of the final quarter was an error for Team Wiki, of course, well received by Team Lauiti’iti who were looking to get more points on the board. And, it was Paea Fotu who took one for the team and Caius Fa’atili who converted taking the score to 22-22. But Fotu wasn’t finished, minutes later he scored again and Fa’atili followed suit with the boot, the score reading 28-22.

The goalkicker Fa’atili, was also the one taking the first hit-ups being one of a few props in the game who also have a reliable boot.

Sean Field then hit back for Team Wiki with his second try of the day but the conversion bounced off the posts.

Konrad Tu’a worked his way around the field nicely in the halves but he also found himself scoring under the posts, the conversion being unsuccessful, 32-26.

Elijah Tuhura struck for his second try of the day also, right before the final whistle with a conversion from Quinnlan Tupou, the final score reading 38-26.

New Zealand Rugby League would like to send their condolences to the family and friends of Emile Vollenhoven who tragically passed away in Bolivia this week following a mountain biking accident.

Emile was a very talented and humble physio who was a valued member of the New Zealand Rugby League whanau, as the 2018 phsyio for the New Zealand 16s team.

Rest in peace Emile.

The final day of the Talent Development Programme in Cambridge sees the 16s and 18s battle out on the field, in hopes of catching the eyes of the NZ team selectors.

Both the 16s and 18s trials will be livestreamed on the New Zealand Rugby League Facebook page at 10am (16s) and 12pm (18s).

Team Fisher-Harris proved too good for Team Papali’i at the final hooter of the 16s trial, final score reading 24-16.

16s selectors will have their hands full separating the talent after a hard fought battle where the players put their best foot forward.

Ben Peni from Team Fisher-Harris put the first four points on the board off the back of some outstanding forward momentum from the props. That was converted by Benaiah Ioelu, the beginning of what turned out to be a stellar performance from the Akarana representative.

It didn’t take long for Team Papali’i to add to the scoreboard with their captain Stanley Ionga, stand-out player from the 2018 National Youth Tournament and TDP, crossing the try line, which was then converted by Francis Manuleleua.

It was clear there was a lot of defensive work done alongside specialist coaches, Ben Gardiner and Nathan Cayless, with line speed looking impressive also.

Ben Peni’s strong efforts were evident, him identifying the holes in his opposition’s defensive line, and capitalising with his second try.

Another name that was on the lips of spectators was stand-off from Team Papali’i, Francis Manuleleua, his footwork turning heads as he tip-toed around anyone that tried to take him on.

Some players copped the wrath of Zion Maiu’u’s force as he ran over the defensive line to earn some much needed metres.

Both teams were guilty of several errors in their own 10 metre zones, and it was the team who took advantage of this that won out.

His boot was on form today, and so were Benaiah Ioelu’s try-scoring abilities, coming up successful for Team Fisher-Harris inching their lead ahead once again followed by a successful conversion from Esmonde Parangi.

A kick chase from Team Papali’I looked like more points were imminent but a fumble sealed their fate and they were back on the offensive – but, not for long.

A sniff of the try-line was all Francis Manuleleua needed scoring in the right-hand corner for Team Papali’i. His teammate Te Wano Ngamotu-Tahana got his slice if the pie too scoring before Manuleleua converted again closing the gap in the scoreline to 18-16.

However, one more converted try from Team Fisher-Harris sealed the fate of the game, Zion Maiu’u having the last say – the final score being 24-16 to team Fisher-Harris.

Team lists for the 16s teams, Team Papali’i and Team Fisher-Harris are below:

16s – Fisher-Harris – 10am

Uriah TULI (C)
Benaiah IOELU
Arama KITE
Tavita TAFEA
Portman PAUL

16s – Team Papali’i – 10am

Unaloto UASI
Nathaniel CAMA
Cassius CAMA
(C) Stanley IONGA
Heneli LUANI
Tuhokairangi MILLER

Team Lauiti’iti take the win at the Talent Development Programme 18s trial

Semisi Tapa was always going to be a strong contender in the 18s trial, and a try in the first few minutes only confirmed that.

Minutes later Elijah Tuhura joined the party, with another try for Lauiti’iti. Successfully converted the score read, 10-0.

Kicking would be a crucial part of the game given the talent going head-to-head in a tight clash – Brooklyn Herewini the MVP of the TDP last year making the conversion.

A penalty to Team Wiki, threw them the lifeline they needed, the blue team struggling to make it past the half way mark. But, the opportunity was missed with several rogue passes.

Team Wiki fired up though, Semisi Sikei scoring with Brooklyn Herewini making it two from two with the boot after his first conversion of Naufahu Whyte’s try earlier. However, a fumble on their try-line resulted in the ball going dead and perhaps, not the most desirable restart after their try, a line drop out to follow.

But, Team Lauiti’iti came up with an error too giving Team Wiki a sigh of relief.

It was only a matter of time before Tuki Simpkins would make it over the line, and he did just that  – successfully converted by Sione Moala.

Team Wiki fought and fought, and Sean Field finally got through the brick Lauiti’iti defence levelling the scoreboard, 16-16, with a kick to come – Tyrone Waipouri making it look like clock work pushing Team Wiki out in front for the first time, 18-16.

Team Wiki didn’t have time to kick themselves for the error on their try-line, with an absolutely outstanding 100 metre intercept try from Daeon Amituanai, the heat proving no obstacle for the boys in blue. That was converted by Tyrone Waipouri right before the second quarter break.

At the beginning of the final quarter was an error for Team Wiki, of course, well received by Team Lauiti’iti who were looking to get more points on the board. And, it was Paea Fotu who took one for the team and Caius Fa’atili who converted taking the score to 22-22. But Fotu wasn’t finished, minutes later he scored again and Fa’atili followed suit with the boot, the score reading 28-22.

The goalkicker Fa’atili, was also the one taking the first hit-ups being one of a few props in the game who also have a reliable boot.

Sean Field then hit back for Team Wiki with his second try of the day but the conversion bounced off the posts.

Konrad Tu’a worked his way around the field nicely in the halves but he also found himself scoring under the posts, the conversion being unsuccessful, 32-26.

Elijah Tuhura struck for his second try of the day also, right before the final whistle with a conversion from Quinnlan Tupou, the final score reading 38-26.

18s – Team Wiki – 12pm 

Naufahu WHYTE
Soakai TAUFA
Te Oranga HAIKA
Dallas McEWAN
Otukinekina KEPU
Semisi SIKEI
Peesi Vailingi Pasi KEPU
Caleb PESE (C)

18s – Team Lauititi – 12pm 

Konrad TU’UA
(C) Temple KALEPO
Matthew PALU
Semisi TAPA
Quinnlan TUPOU
Tukimihia SIMPKIN
Totive Junior TUILEISU