April 18 2022

Bruce Pulman Park played host to the U18 finals of the National District 9’s Competition on a windy day in the South of Auckland.

The National District 9’s final day kicked off with the seventh vs eighth playoff as Southland vs Canterbury kicked off a southern derby. In a tightly contested match, Southland’s three length of the field tries were not enough as they went down 16-12 in the day’s first game. Manawatu and Southland boys then took the field, with the contest going deep into golden point, where a late try in the left corner from Manawatu sealed the 16-12 victory.

Fifth vs sixth saw Waikato girls take on Auckland’s Glenora Bears. A fightback late was not enough for the Waikato side as Glenora won the match 18-10. Wellington then took on locals Manurewa Marlins as both teams traded blows during the half, with the scores at 4-4 going into the break. The Marlins took control of the second half, scoring two unanswered tries to win a comfortably, 12-4.

Otahuhu and Bay of Plenty girls played another scintillating golden point affair as both teams couldn’t be separated after 18 minutes. With only seconds remaining in golden point, quick thinking from the Bay of Plenty side saw them cross over and take the 14-10 win. Otahuhu boys went up against Waikato in their third vs fourth matchup as late tries from both teams saw another golden point thriller. Both teams went into the extra period on 18 points. When a 40-metre field-goal effort from Waikato excruciatingly hit the left upright, Otahuhu capitalised and took the game 22-18.

The first vs second finals kicked off as Auckland’s Howick Hornets faced off against the Wellington Orcas. Howick hit first to go up 4-0 early. Wellington, however, scored two consecutive tries off Howick’s mistakes to go into the half up 8-4. On the back of several penalties, Howick finally found a way through going over in the right corner to tie the game with under three minutes remaining. A late raid in the dying embers saw Wellington snatch the game at the death, winning 12-8 to capture the first U18s Girls National District 9’s title.

The boys saw Canterbury vs the Bay of Plenty after an early battle back and forth, Canterbury opened the scoring early and on the stroke as they took a convincing 8-0 lead into the break. The South Island side proved dominant, scoring three second-half tries to run out 20-0 winners and take home the U18s Boys National District 9’s trophy for 2022.

April 17 2022

The NZRL National District 9’s finals took place at Auckland’s Bruce Pulman Park.

The U16s Finals kicked off with the seventh vs eighth matchups as the Otago girls took a convincing 20-6 victory over their Waikato opponents. The boys then took the field, and after being down 8-0 at the half, Northland was able to pull out a 10-8 victory over Otago in the game’s dying embers.

The sixth vs fifth finals started with Taranaki girls putting on a convincing display as they scored three tries to one, winning 12-4 against the Bay of Plenty. Hauraki met Manawatu for the boys as the Manawatu team ran out 20-4 winners in a one-sided affair.

Canterbury and Northland started the third vs fourth rounds as a dominant Canterbury side took a 14-0 win. Marist and Wellington then met in an inspired contest, as Wellington stole the game at the death in a scintillating finish. A broken play resulting in a length of the field try to secure a 16-14 victory.

Wellington met Auckland’s Mangere Easts in the first vs second finals as both teams traded the lead early. Both teams traded blows as Wellington carried a 10-6 lead into the half. The Auckland side hit right back after half-time and added another late as they ran out as winners in the Inaugural U16’s Girls National Districts 9’s competition.

The boy’s final saw Canterbury and Waikato Mana battle it out, with Canterbury running out 14-4 winners. Canterbury captured the lead in a clinical display and never relinquished it as they took home the U16s Boys National District 9’s trophy.

02 June 2021

NZRL is pleased to announce an inaugural National District 9s Tournament will take place in early 2022 involving four age group divisions: 16s Boys, 16s Girls, 18s Boys and 18s Girls. 

The National District 9s will entail three stages:

District Tournaments – Early 2022, the districts across New Zealand are invited to run 9s Tournaments for their clubs to enter, to which districts will then select teams for each applicable age group to enter the ‘Regional Tournaments.’

Regional Tournaments – Selected district teams will then battle it out at the Regional Qualifier Tournaments held throughout the country, managed by the zones and Auckland Rugby League (in Auckland), for a place in the National District 9s Tournament.

National District 9s Tournament – The top qualifying eight district teams (per age group) will compete in the National 9s Tournament in April 2022. The National District 9s Tournament will collectively see 32 teams compete with a 16s Boys Champion, 16s Girls Champion, 18s Boys Champion and 18s Girls Champion, all crowned at the conclusion of the tournament.

David McMeeken, National Football Operations Manager at NZRL, says: “The 9s format is a proven successful entry point for rugby league as it nurtures and grows the game at a district level.”

“Auckland Rugby League (ARL) is the only district in the country that offers a weekly competition in the girls’ space, to which they also accommodate two Waikato clubs in their competition. The ARL started with the 9s format to introduce the game and have seen evergrowing success since with seven U18s, 13 U16s and 12 U14s girls teams. 

“The goal is to see other districts emulate this and build momentum and participation numbers in both boys’ and girls’ age groups. The new District 9s Tournament brings that competition back at a regional level while fostering and developing rangatahi talent throughout the country. It’s great for the game and an exciting addition to the football calendar.”

Luisa Avaiki, Head of Women’s Rugby League at NZRL, says: “There is significant and growing interest in the girls’ game across the country and it’s formats like the 9s that enable this.”

“We have 16 girls teams who have expressed interest to attend the inaugural NZRL National Secondary Schools Girl’s Tournament in August. A lot of this comes down to the mahi done by ARL and even New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL), who offer a platform for Kotiro to represent their people at the Rangatahi tournaments. 

“I’m beyond delighted that we can now offer a National District 9s Tournament to continue this momentum. It’s a significant milestone and one that hopefully encourages girls from every district across New Zealand to get involved and fall in love with rugby league.”

NZRL will release further details on confirmed National District 9 Tournament dates and locations in due course.