As seen on nswrl.com

The U17 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs wāhine etched their place in history with a convincing  36-0 win over the Wests Tigers in the inaugural Grand Final of the Westpac Lisa Fiaola Cup.

Winger Asha Taumoepeau-Williams continued what she’s been producing all season for the Under 17s girls. She had 11 tries coming into today’s decider and ratcheted that up to 15 by the end of the match.

But the one to snatch Player of the Match was hooker Mary-Jane Taito for her scheming work around the ruck and her relentless defence.

Former dual international Lisa Fiaola presented the match ball to Taito and congratulated five-eighth Evelyn Roberts, who scored two tries today, after she was named Player of the Series.

Taito and Roberts were just two of the young kiwi wāhine who made the move to Sydney to join the Bulldogs side. They were joined by Seriah Palepale, Lahnayah Daniel, Paige Tauaneai, Trinity Tauaneai, Josinah Filisi Tauiliili, and Giovanna Suani. 

Bulldogs coach Michael Stuart had warned his team not to expect everything to go their way in the finals even though they had been the dominant team all season to finish as Minor Premiers.

“Finals is a whole new competition, so we prepared a little bit differently to reflect that,” Stuart told nswrl.com.au

The Bulldogs beat the Newcastle Knights 22-4 in last weekend’s Semi-final to concede just one try in two matches while scoring 13 of their own.

“The girls deserve it, they’ve had a long, hard seven months and this is just the icing on the cake,” Stuart said.

“We’ve got a lot of local girls in the team. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team bond and come together as quick as these girls have.”

As for his winger’s four tries: “She’s only 15; turns 16 in November; and she’s a superstar.”

Taumoepeu-Williams said she had scored four tries before for her junior club in New Zealand.

“But it feels good to do it today,” she said. “We’ve bonded so well in a short amount of time. My teammates are my friends and like family.”

And as for the secret to scoring so often in a grand final?

“I just trusted my team.”

This was the Bulldogs 10th straight victory – eight in the regular season and two finals.

It might have been first versus fifth on the ladder, but the Wests Tigers mustered a fine Semi-final win with a 32-14 upset over the second-placed Illawarra Steelers.

Although they tried hard, they were denied possession today and were outclassed in the middle and on the edges.

A try in the opening minute, and then three more in a six minute period later in the first half, helped the Bulldogs to a commanding 18-0 half-time lead.

They gobbled up possession, restricting the Wests Tigers to only two entries into their territory for the first 30 minutes.

It was the Bulldogs right edge that shone – three of their first four tries came down that channel.

The first try was off a Tigers mistake in the opening set. On the third play the Bulldogs shot the ball through the hands for Taumoepeau-Williams to score his first for the day – her 12th for the season.

She followed up with a second in the 18th minute after a neat chip kick from halfback and skipper Olivia Vaalele.

The other first-half tries came from second rower Aliahana Fuimaono – cousin of Westpac NSW Sky Blues utility Taliah Fuimaono – who put on a mighty left fend to see her way to the chalk.

Then in the 20th minute five-eighth Evelyn Roberts stepped off her left foot, then her right, for a fine individual try.

The Wests Tigers were awarded the only penalty of the first half but were unable to capitalise.

In the second half the dominance continued with another three tries, including Taumoepeau-Williams grabbing her third and fourth.

Roberts bagged her second and centre Lahnayah Daniel got onto the scoresheet supporting Roberts, who drew in the defence on the left edge.

The win in the metropolitan version of the Lisa Fiaola Cup followed a 22-8 win by the Western Rams 22-8 over the Northern Tigers last March in the regional NSW competition of the same name.

Read more on nswrl.com

As seen on warriors.kiwi

The Warriors have become the first team in the history of the UNE Harold Matthews Cup to claim the premiership in their maiden year after defeating the Western Suburbs Magpies 34-16 at CommBank Stadium over the weekend.

It continued a fairy tale run for the Warriors who had to win their final game of the regular season to snatch the sixth spot in the finals, followed by sudden death wins over Parramatta Eels and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to make the decider.

Warriors lock Lennox Tuiloma, who scored two tries in the decider including a strong effort in the second half where he dragged defenders over the line with him before breaking free to score, was named Player of the Match.

South Island Scorpion Tuiloma featured in the 2023 NZRL National Secondary Schools team in the national representative competition. Teammates Turama Paranihi, Kairus Booth, Romana Whitiora, and Isaiah Savea all also featured in the competition for the Aotearoa Whaanui boy’s side.

Warriors coach Thaine Ashford said the historic result was just the beginning for pathways programs in New Zealand, with the Auckland-based club joining the UNE Harold Matthews Cup for the first time in 2024.

“It is probably bigger than us,” Ashford said.

“Obviously it is special to us, but (also) for the game in New Zealand having the opportunity to showcase that you can stay home and build something from where we are.

“I’m very grateful to be a part of something special and to be a part of history.”

The Magpies started strong with two back-to-back tries to back-rower Teancam Epati and five-eighth Jhevon Lele in the opening six minutes to take their lead out to 10-0.

The Warriors hit back in the 11th minute through halfback Jack Thompson who broke through the defensive line to race down the field to score (10-6).

Trailing by four points, the Warriors pushed the Magpies in defence – forcing an error in their half.

The Warriors pounced on the mistake and found themselves in front after Thompson passed short to back-rower Militonimolela Sikuvea who crashed over the line (12-10).

With momentum behind them, the Warriors scored another two tries along with a penalty goal to extend their lead to 24-10 at half-time.

The second half started with both teams testing one another in both attack and defence with set-for-set football being played for the opening 12 minutes.

The Warriors were the first to score in the second half after Magpies fullback Ali Hickam Karnib spilled a Thompson grubber.

Winger Ezekiel Davidson-Faaiuaso regathered the ball and charged to the line – carrying a defender on his back before passing the ball to utility Boston Krone to score (28-10).

The Magpies won the ball back from the kick-off before hooker Ashton Large found space for prop Christina Taupau-Moors to crash over the line and reduce the deficit to 12 points with 10 minutes remaining (28-16).

The Warriors sealed the deal in the final five minutes when lock Tuiloma powered his way through the goal-line defence for his second try.

“Every single one of these boys has played their part to get us here today, not just the boys that took the field today,” Ashford said.

“The boys turned up for each other and they believed in each other and that’s what it can do for you sometimes.

“I’m very happy and very grateful for the win.”

Read more on warriors.kiwi

As seen on warriors.kiwi

They stunned Parramatta last week and now the One New Zealand Warriors’ Harold Matthews Cup side has shocked minor premier Canterbury Bankstown to reach the under-17 competition’s grand final, the first time the club has had a team in a premiership decider since 2014.

The TJ Ashford-coached Warriors held on for a gritty 12-10 victory over the Bulldogs at Henson Park today to add yet another chapter to their fairytale debut campaign in the renowned pathways competition.

It began with what could have been a deflating 10-36 loss to the Eels in February but that result instead provided the launching pad for what has turned out to be an exceptional season so far – and the biggest game of all is yet to come.

It’s the first time a One New Zealand Warriors side has been in a grand final since the Stacey Jones-coached side beat the Broncos in the NYC (under-20) showdown in 2014.

When the Warriors’ 2024 Harold Matthews side was trounced 40-10 by Cronulla Sutherland in the second to last round of the regular season, chances of reaching the finals hung in the balance but the team snared the sixth and final spot a week later with a resounding 46-10 win over St George and hasn’t looked back since.

Last Sunday the Warriors avenged their opening-round loss to the Eels by racing to a 24-0 lead and then closing out the game 30-20 to eliminate the third-ranked side.

That lined them up against the minor premiership-winning Bulldogs in today’s preliminary final at one of Sydney’s most famous old venues Henson Park.

The Bulldogs had been dominant all season with seven wins and a draw averaging more than 37 points a game. The fewest points they had been restricted to in any match was 20.

As one of the two top qualifiers, they’d had the last two weeks off giving the One New Zealand Warriors a potential edge in match fitness.

With the match played in wild, wet and windy conditions, the Warriors again made a fast start as they had against Parramatta with winger Kairus Booth from Balclutha, scoring in just the seventh minute.

Then five minutes later powerful loose forward Lennox Tuiloma added to his try-scoring tally with Booth converting for a 10-0 lead.

Canterbury Bankstown responded in the 19th minute with an unconverted try to halfback Matthew Barakat to leave the Warriors holding a 10-4 advantage at halftime.

That became 12-4 with a Booth penalty four minutes into the second spell, two points that would prove vital in the final analysis.

South Island Scorpion Booth featured in the 2023 Aotearoa Whaanui representative team, while Tuiloma played in the National Secondary Schools team after winning the NZRL NZSS Boys Premiership with St. Thomas of Canterbury College.

Heading into the closing stages the Warriors still had an eight-point lead until the Bulldogs scored and converted with two minutes to play.

Defending heroically throughout, they shout out their opponents to prevail 12-10 to earn a grand final date with the Western Suburbs Magpies, who finished second in the minor premiership and held out Cronulla Sutherland 8-6 in today’s other preliminary final.

The Warriors now return home before heading back to Sydney for the season decider next Saturday (April 27), part of the New South Wales Rugby League’s super grand final day for all junior grades including the SG Ball Cup (under-19).

UNE Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final: New Zealand Warriors v Western Suburbs Magpies 2:00PM

Best of luck to our rangatahi hitting the field this weekend, live stream the Grand Final games on nswrl.tv.

15 Feb 2024

 

The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) proudly announces that the ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme, in partnership with the NRL, is back for 2024.

After its inaugural year in NZ in 2023, the ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme aims to better prepare young players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRLW, targeting female players aged 17-19 years of age.

This weekend, the ‘RISE’ programme expands to various cities in New Zealand. Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch will host Rise sessions for young aspiring female players to improve their skills, learn the basics of strength and conditioning, and understand the significance of player well-being.

2023, which also saw the establishment of the NZRL Ahi Kā Aotearoa squad that competed in the Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship in 2023. Players who were selected for the squad were part of the inaugural Rise programme, which serves as a pathway for young females to

With the NRLW growing from six to 10 teams in 2023, female players have more opportunities to be recognised and establish themselves as elite athletes. The RISE programme is the next step for aspiring Kiwi players to become NRLW players and future Kiwi Ferns.

October 23 2023

The 2023 16s and 18s boys and girls national representative fixtures showcased some of the best young rugby league talent throughout the four matches held at Auckland’s Bruce Pulman Park. Both Aotearoa Whaanui boys and girls teams produced wins over the Auckland invitational sides, while the Clubs v Schools matches saw the boys Clubs and girls Schools teams emerge as winners.

 

Aotearoa Whaanui 16s Girls v Auckland Invitational Girls

Aotearoa Whaanui 38-0

The Aotearoa Whaanui girls team portrayed much skill and strength in their convincing win over the Auckland Invitational girls side. Scoring for the match was opened by Whaanui winger Prayer Playle who crossed the white line off the back of an expert long ball by halfback Hera Maihi. Maihi was dependable with kicking duties throughout the match, successfully kicking four conversions and one penalty goal. The Whaanui side proved too strong for the Aucklanders going on to score eight unanswered tries, finishing the game as victors 38-0. Centre Te Maia Sweetman finished the match with a double, with her teammates Prayer Playle, Bailey Edwards, Ava-Lea Maxwell Ogilvy, Kayshana Rapana, and captain Mihikorama Kerr all crossing for tries.

 

Aotearoa Whaanui 16s Boys v Auckland Invitational Boys

Aotearoa Whaanui 20-10

Spine-tingling hakas set the scene for the Auckland v Aotearoaa Whaanui 16s Boys clash at Auckland’s Pulman Park. However, the first forty was one-way traffic for the Aotearoa side.  South Island’s Azaniah Roebeck opened the scoring, followed by consecutive tries to South Island’s Torino Jackson, Waikato’s Fine Fale and Wellington’s Shae TeKauri Taitua. The half-time hooter worked wonders for the Auckland side as they regrouped to find their comeback form. Auckland’s Charleston Te Rore set the scene for the second half, earning the 09’s first points through a barging run up the middle. Consecutive Auckland tries to Peter Faaleaga, and Steven Moala followed, but the clock rang full-time, and the comeback was cut short. An impressive second-half Auckland effort wasn’t enough for Whaanui’s first-half dominance, final score 20-10.

 

New Zealand Resident Clubs Boys v National Secondary Schools Boys

New Zealand Resident Clubs Boys 30-22

This intense clash saw heavy contact and excellent ball play from both 18s boys sides as they battled for the full 70 minutes. The Clubs team came out firing, with Captain Rodney Tuipulotu-Vea scoring first after an opportunity created by a kick from half Maui Winitana-Patelesio. Winitana-Patelesio was also successful for three conversions in the match. The NZ Resident Clubs side continued to dominate the first half, scoring three more tries bringing the score to 20-0 at halftime. The Schools side made a resurgence in the second half after prop forward Malachi Filipo crossed to put their first points on the board. They maintained momentum scoring two more consecutive tries but were ultimately outlasted by the Clubs boys, who went on to win the game 30-22.

 

New Zealand Resident Clubs Girls v National Secondary Schools Girls

National Secondary Schools Girls 32-28

Fullback Jessica Patea put first points on the board for NZ Clubs, but NZ Schools had the upper hand for most of the first half. Containing the Schools’ middles proved challenging as field position swayed heavily in favour of the Secondary Schools side. Schools led 20-6 at the break through tries to Shafenior Lui, Evelyn Roberts, Danii-Nicole Gray and Josinah Filisi Tauilili. Filisi Tauilili scored a double to kick off the final forty before Schools’ hooker Evelyn Roberts barged over for her second shortly after. NZ Club captain Braxton Sorensen-McGee cleverly found space on the line, injecting momentum into her side as they bridged the gap 32-12. That momentum carried as the return set saw winger Danii Mafoe crash over after a full-field effort from NZ Clubs with the deficit now 16. The Clubs began to find space as their comeback edged closer and closer. Consecutive line breaks saw winger Elenoa Havea barge over, making it a ten-point game with ten to go. More metres down the middle from an inspired Schools side saw it become a four point game with two minutes to go. A powerful kick-off from NZ Schools kept their lead alive as they got the ball back on the return set, but a knock-on soon after gave Clubs one final shot. A last-ditch attempt from Clubs to score a 100m try fell agonisingly short as the full-time hooter rang; NZ Schools held on to victory, 32-28.

October 19 2023

The 2023 16s and 18s boys and girls representative fixtures boast an extreme amount of top talent from across the motu. New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce the return of the Clubs vs Schools match-up as well as the return of Aotearoa Whaanui vs Auckland Invitational. This 16s clash puts the top talent from around Aotearoa up against the melting pot that is Tāmaki Makaurau, whilst the 18s Clubs vs Schools fixture is a combination of the best players from both the NZRL National Secondary Schools and National Youth Tournaments. All matches are set to take place at Auckland’s Bruce Pulman Park on Monday 23 October.

NZRL General Manager of Football & High-Performance Motu Tony stated, “Another successful year of the National Secondary Schools and NZRL National Youth Tournaments gave our rangatahi and rugby league community a fantastic opportunity to come together.

“The tournaments showcased the enormous talent we have playing and participating in rugby league, and our expanded female National Youth Tournament showed that the future of the Kiwi Ferns is bright and exciting.

“The efforts of those who performed exceptionally well in our tournaments have been recognised. They will get another opportunity to connect and compete with the rugby league talent throughout the motu.

I am excited about the talent we have that will compete in these fixtures and also proud that we can offer our young female players another representative opportunity.”

All games are free to attend at Bruce Pulman Park, Takanini, and will be live-streamed on the NZRL YouTube channel: youtube.com/playlist

 

Aotearoa Whaanui 16s Girls v Auckland Invitational 16s Girls

Monday 23 October Bruce Pulman Park 10:05 am

2023 NZRL AOTEAROA WHAANUI 16S GIRLS SQUAD

  • Manaia Blake-Thompson – Mid Central Vipers
  • Olive Connolly – South Island Scorpions
  • Lahnayah Daniel – Waikato
  • Bailey-Rae Edwards – Bay of Plenty
  • Mihikorama Kerr – Waikato
  • Charley Lahmert – Mid Central Vipers
  • Dormay Laufiso – South Island Scorpions
  • Riana Le’afa-Paki – Wellington Orcas
  • Hera Maihi – Wellington Orcas
  • Te Waikaukau Mathieson-Julian – Mid Central Vipers
  • Ava-Lea Maxwell-Ogilvy – South Island Scorpions
  • Sophie Parker-Cornelius – Mid Central Vipers
  • Prayer Playle – Mid Central Vipers
  • Kayshana Rapana-Phillips – South Island Scorpions
  • Te Ngaroahiahi Rimoni (Fanua) – Wellington Orcas
  • Celine Russell – South Island Scorpions
  • Lei Sipaia – Wellington Orcas
  • Te Maia Sweetman – Mid Central Vipers
  • Courtney Tyrell – Wellington Orcas

 

Aotearoa Whaanui 16s Boys v Auckland Invitational 16s Boys

Monday 23 October Bruce Pulman Park 11:35 am

2023 NZRL AOTEAROA WHAANUI 16S BOYS SQUAD

  • Huritetaha Barlow – Waikato
  • Kairus Booth – South Island Scorpions
  • Kaea Cribb – Waikato
  • Fine Fale – Waikato
  • Ezekiel Hammond-Siolo – South Island Scorpions
  • Rico Lemalie – South Island Scorpions
  • Torino Jackson – South Island Scorpions
  • Bishop Neal – South Island Scorpions
  • PJ Palamo – South Island Scorpions
  • Turama Paranihi – Waikato
  • Tavita Pomale – Bay of Plenty
  • Azaniah Roebeck – South Island Scorpions
  • Isaiah Savea – South Island Scorpions
  • Lorenz-Markel Strickland Rere – Wellington Orcas
  • Micah Sula – South Island Scorpions
  • Shae TeKauri Taitua – Wellington Orcas
  • Delahoia Te Pakeke-Kakoi – South Island Scorpions
  • Timau Utiaro – Waikato
  • Romana Brent Whitiora – Waikato

 

 NZRL National Secondary Schools Boys v NZRL New Zealand Resident Clubs Boys

Monday 23 October Bruce Pulman Park 1:05 pm

2023 NZRL NATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS BOYS SQUAD

  • Malakai Cama – Rotorua Boys’ High School
  • Zeke Faga-Ieti – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Quiann Feterika-Mafoe – St. Paul’s College
  • Jeriko Filipi-Talisau – St. Paul’s College
  • Malachi Filipo – St. Paul’s College
  • Noah Harmer-Campbell – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Chelden Hayward – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Mikaele Ilaiu – Rotorua Boys’ High School
  • Maretino Kaloudau – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Sosaia Latu – Otahuhu College
  • Tepatasi Laumalili – De La Salle College
  • Meihana Pauling – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Elijah Paea – De La Salle College
  • Ezekiel Paulo – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Kalani Peyroux-Donaldson – De La Salle College
  • Jason Salalilo – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Junior Sikuvea – De La Salle College
  • Jackson Stewart – St. Thomas of Canterbury College
  • Lennox Tuiloma – St. Thomas of Canterbury College

2023 NZRL NEW ZEALAND RESIDENT CLUBS BOYS SQUAD

  • Te Kaio Cranwell – South Island Scorpions
  • Carlos Davis – Akarana Falcons
  • Atelea Filo – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Joshua Grewe – South Island Scorpions
  • Jaydyn Hoeta – South Island Scorpions
  • Hirini Holmes – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Psalms Iosua – Akarana Falcons
  • Dakota Kakoi – South Island Scorpions
  • Matiasi Lolesio – Auckland Vulcans
  • Xavier Lynch – South Island Scorpions
  • Allan Malama-Talataina – Auckland Vulcans
  • Lyrakai-Layke Posimani – Akarana Falcons
  • Raphael Sio – Akarana Falcons
  • Eteuati Jeremiah Tatupu – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Jamie Junior Te Whata
  • Francis Tuimauga – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Rodney Vea – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Maui Winitana-Patelesio – Wellington Orcas
  • Caleb Wright – Waikato

 

 NZRL National Secondary Schools Girls v NZRL New Zealand Resident Clubs Girls

Monday 23 October Bruce Pulman Park 2:45 pm

2023 NZRL NATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS GIRLS SQUAD

  • Danii-Nicole Gray – Auckland Girls Grammar School
  • Riley Fruean-Otineru – McAuley High School
  • Ivana Lauitiiti – McAuley High School
  • Te Raukura Leafe – St. Mary’s College
  • Shafenior Lui – Southern Cross Campus
  • Shanthie Lui – Southern Cross Campus
  • Latesha Mitchener – Auckland Girls Grammar School
  • Luca-Bella Ngatuere-Ongley – St. Mary’s College
  • Seriah Palepale – Auckland Girls Grammar School
  • Evelyn Roberts – McAuley High School
  • Indiana Russell-Lia – St. Mary’s College
  • Giovanna Suani – Auckland Girls Grammar School
  • Josinah Filisi Tauliiili – Southern Cross Campus
  • Faith Tavita – Auckland Girls Grammar School
  • Alianna Tonu’u – McAuley High School
  • Jemma Tonu’u – McAuley High School
  • Tonga Toutai – Southern Cross Campus
  • Billie Va’a – St. Mary’s College
  • Paea Uilou – Auckland Girls Grammar School

2023 NZRL NEW ZEALAND RESIDENT CLUBS GIRLS SQUAD

  • Dorothy Brunt – Akarana Falcons
  • Maia Davis – Wellington Orcas
  • Gillian Fa’aumu – Auckland Vulcans
  • Tiaane Tavita Fesolai – Akarana Falcons
  • Dallas Flasza-Taupau – Wellington Orcas
  • Elenoa Havea – Auckland Vulcans
  • Milahn Ieremia – Akarana Falcons
  • Mele Kaufusi – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Tyler Limmer – South Island Scorpions
  • Leaony Macdonald-Tuimauga – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Danii Mafoe – Akarana Falcons
  • Tayla-Benét Masoe – Counties Manukau Stingrays
  • Ashlee Matapo – Akarana Falcons
  • Lialanie Muamua – South Island Scorpions
  • Jessica Patea – Wellington Orcas
  • Amiria Ranapia – Wellington Orcas
  • Marewakiterangi Samson – Akarana Falcons
  • Braxton Sorensen-McGee – Auckland Vulcans
  • Pasikalia Tuiatua – Wellington Orcas

September 27 2023

Tanaia-Aroha Herniman and Maia Crutcher featured in the inaugural U19 Ahi Kā Aotearoa team, who competed in the Harvey Norman Women’s Championship in the Gold Coast earlier this year. Now, the girls are preparing to move to Sydney together in the coming months, having signed on with the Manly Sea Eagles for their 2024 U19 Tarsha Gale Cup squad.

The Ahi Kā Aotearoa representative team Tanaia and Maia were part of comprised U19 players who participated in the ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme, delivered in partnership with the NRL. The programme aims to better prepare young players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRLW, targeting female players aged 17-19.

With the Ahi Kā team, Tanaia and Maia faced the First Nation’s Gems, QLD Ruby’s, NSW Country Women, and South Australia in the Championship. The Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship is an elite pathways tournament allowing players across Australia and now New Zealand to showcase their skills in the representative arena. “There’s a lot more opportunities for us as girls to get out there”, shared Tanaia.

Tanaia hails from Whangaparaoa, while Maia proudly comes from Whakapara, north of Whāngarei. Maia was part of the Northern Swords Wāhine Squad for the 2022 National Women’s North Island Championship. The 18-year-old has come up through the grades for the last three seasons at the Hibiscus Coast Raiders, and previously participated in NZ Māori Rugby League kōtiro tournaments. “The game has definitely grown ever since I first started playing, it’s good to see”, she reflected. Having previously played rugby union for Whangaparaoa College, Tanaia made the code switch to league and although only in her second year of playing she has already made a name for herself to earn sought-after recognition and opportunities.

As newcomers competing in their first National Girls Youth Tournament, Maia and Tanaia featured in the squad of 2022 champions and 2023 finalists, the Akarana Falcons. The girls earned selection for the Falcons after stellar seasons for the Hibiscus Coast Raiders in the Auckland Rugby League 18s competition this year. The pair shared much anticipation for the next step in their rugby league journey, which takes them to join the Manly Sea Eagles for the 2024 NSWRL U19 Tarsha Gale Cup season. As she now prepares to make the move to Sydney with her teammate and friend, Tanaia shared, “We’re super excited to be able to have this opportunity.”

“It’s a massive opportunity; we’re super humble and truly grateful,” said Maia.

 

18 May 2023

 

In game one of the Harvey Norman Women’s Championship, Ahi kā Aotearoa suffered their first defeat to the First Nation Gems 14-8.

The game started with a cultural salute as the First Nation Gems welcomed Ahi Kā onto the field with an indigenous welcome for their inaugural year.

The game started in a classic arm wrestle match as both teams battled in the first half for possession and territory of the field. The First Nation Gems capitalised off their first opportunity as they forced an error in Ahi Kā’s half, using this to get the first try of the game.

First Nation Gems quickly followed up with another try as they utilised the quick ruck speed they generated to catch the Ahi Kā Aotearoa team off guard to go right through the middle.

Ahi Kā found their groove as they strung together solid runs to gain excellent field position right before halftime. A lovely cut-out ball to Marewa Samson, who delivered some beautiful quick hands to put Kyla Lynch-Brown in for a try, leaving the halftime score 10-4.

Ahi Kā started the second half off firing as they managed to regather the kick restart. Great scrambling defence from the First Nation Gems robbed the NZ side of a try to even the score. Quick play of the balls and fast ruck speed would be the catalyst for the next First Nation Gems try, as the score would be 18-4 with five minutes to go.

Vice-captain Monica Samita would scoot out at dummy half to crash over the line to give Ahi Kā a fighting chance in the game with three minutes to go. With the one minute left and NZ desperately trying to create opportunities, a shift on the final tackle put Marewa Samson in space, who would offload to Kyla Lynch-Brown, who managed to run 30 metres before she got run down by some great scrambling defence from the First Nation Gems to close the game out 14-8.

18 May 2023

 

The Harvey Norman Women’s Championship in the Gold Coast kicks off today as Ahi Kā Aoteroa takes on the First Nation Gems at Pizzey Park at 2.30 pm (NZT).

Coach Frank Fuimaono has named a strong team to kick-start the competition announcing 2022 NZ Clubs representative Summer Van Gelder as captain for the 2023 campaign.

Along with the Ahi Kā Aotearoa squad, several NZ girls are also competing today, as Alexis Tauaenai and Tatiana Finau, who were both a part of the 2022 NZ Clubs team, are playing for the NSW City squad. Keep an eye out for them throughout this week’s tournament.

 

Today’s game is streamed live on NRL.com

 

Ahi Kā Aotearoa vs First Nation Gems

 

Pizzey Park, Gold Coast

2.30 pm  

 

1 Summer VAN GELDER (c)
2 Kyla LYNCH-BROWN
3 Manea WAAKA
4 Amarnee SHEPHERD
5 Marewa SAMSON
6 Ronise MATINI
7 Tamara RUAPORO
8 Genesis SMITH-HURIWAI
9 Monica SAMITA (vc)
10 Nina FAAMAUSILI
11 Ilaisaane TAUFA
12 Monika FAKAOSILEA
13 Sade SCHAUMKEL
14 Sina TUITUPOU
15 Tanaia-Aroha MERTIN-HERNIMAN
16 Charlie-Kaige KAMUTEMU
17 Destinee MEXTED
18 Maia CRUTCHER
19 Ana ALLEN
20 Henilietta LOKOTUI

 

11 May 2023

 

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce that the following players have been selected to represent the inaugural Ahi Kā Aotearoa in the Harvey Norman Women’s Championship in the Gold Coast from 18 May – 21 May.

The Ahi Kā Aotearoa squad comprises players selected from last year’s inaugural National Girls’ Youth Tournament, who participated in the ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme delivered in partnership with the NRL earlier in the year.

An experienced management team accompanies the players to the Gold Coast, with former Kiwi Fern players Ake Pereira and Kath Keremete on board as an Assistant Coach and Trainer. Head Trainer Shannon Maclachlan was involved in the most recent Kiwi Ferns’ World Cup campaign, and team manager Mel Tukapua has previously managed NZ16s and NZ18s teams.

 

NZRL congratulates the following players:

 

Amarnee SHEPHERD Waikato
Ana ALLEN Northland
Charlie-Kaige KAMUHEMU Auckland
Destinee MEXTED Northland
Genesis SMITH-HURIWAI Bay of Plenty
Henilietta LOKOTUI Auckland
Ilaisaane TAUFA Auckland
Kyla LYNCH-BROWN Canterbury
Maia CRUTCHER Northland
Manea WAAKA Canterbury
Marewa SAMSON Waikato
Monica SAMITI Auckland
Monika FAKAOSILEA Auckland
Nina FAAMAUSILI Auckland
Ronise MATINI Auckland
Sade SCHAUMKEL Auckland
Sina TUITUPOU Auckland
Summer VAN GELDER Auckland
Tamara RUAPORO NGATUAKANA Wellington
Tanaia-Aroha MERTIN-HERNIMAN Northland
Head Coach Frank FUIMAONO Auckland
Assistant Coach Ake PEREIRA Wellington
Manager Mel TUKAPUA Canterbury
Head Trainer Shannon MACLACHLAN
Assistant Trainer Kath KEREMETE Northland
Physio Melissa FALANI

 

Ahi Kā Aotearoa schedule

 

Ahi Kā Aotearoa vs First Nation’s Gems – 2.30pm NZT

Ahi Kā Aotearoa vs Qld Ruby’s – 1.30pm NZT

Ahi Kā Aotearoa vs NSW Country Women – 2.30pm NZT

 

Follow NZRL’s social channels to keep up with their journey throughout the competition.

27 April 2023

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is proud to announce that its inaugural Ahi kā Aotearoa under-19s girls team will compete in the Australian Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship in May.

NZRL will select 20 players to represent Ahi kā Aotearoa off the back of the successful ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme delivered in partnership with the NRL earlier in the year. The RISE programme better prepares young players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRLW, targeting female players aged 17-19.

The formation of Ahi kā Aotearoa follows a successful year of female participation in the rangatahi age group here in NZ, which saw the introduction of the first National 16 & 18 Girls 9s Tournament, National Secondary Schools Girls Tournament, National Youth Tournament and the first National Representative fixtures for 16s & 18s Girls age groups.

The Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship is an elite pathways tournament allowing players across Australia and now New Zealand to showcase their skills in the representative arena.

The tournament consists of 12 teams split into three pools across a four-day draw held in Pizzey Park, Burleigh, from May 18. Ahi kā Aotearoa will be one of three teams alongside NSW and Queensland that feature under-19s talent only, with the remaining nine sides set to be a mix of 19s and open players.

GM of High-Performance and Football at NZRL Motu Tony says, “This is a really exciting opportunity for our young NZ wāhine to showcase their skills across the Tasman, which will hopefully lead to the NRLW and the Kiwi Ferns.

“Thank you to the NRL for extending this invitation, this is an important aspect in the development of female rugby league in New Zealand. I look forward to seeing our game (female) maintain its tremendous growth.”

A tournament draw and squad lists will be released in early May. Entry to the event is free across all four days.

15 March 2023

The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is proud to announce the ‘RISE’ Talent Development Programme, in partnership with the NRL, will now be delivered in New Zealand to young aspiring wāhine players.

The NRL’s RISE programme, which has been highly successful across Australia, aims to better prepare young players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRLW, targeting female players aged 17-19 years of age.

The programme enhances skills, teaches the fundamentals of strength & conditioning, and emphasises the importance of player wellbeing.

The NRL extended the invitation following a successful year of female participation in the rangatahi age group here in New Zealand.

2022 saw the introduction of the first National 16 & 18 Girls 9s Tournament, National Secondary Schools Girls Tournament, National Youth Tournament and the first National Representative fixtures for 16s & 18s Girls age groups.

With the NRLW growing from six to 10 teams in 2023, female players have more opportunities to be recognised and establish themselves as elite athletes.

The RISE programme is the next step for young aspiring Kiwi players to become NRLW players and future Kiwi Ferns.

GM of High-Performance for NZRL Motu Tony says, “Thank you to the NRL for inviting our New Zealand players to participate in such a successful programme.

“It’s exciting that our young wāhine will get to experience the benefits of RISE, which will aid their growth and development into future elite athletes.

“Our women’s game has experienced incredible momentum over the past couple of years, and we look forward to seeing this continue as more development opportunities are made available to our rangatahi across Aotearoa.”

October 14 2022

The 2022 Boys representative fixtures boast an extreme amount of top talent from across the motu. New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce the return of the Clubs vs Schools match-up and the inaugural 16s Boys Auckland Invitational vs Aotearoa Whaanui. This 16s clash puts the top talent from around Aotearoa up against the melting pot that is Tāmaki Makaurau, whilst the 18s Clubs vs Schools fixture is a combination of the best players in both the NZRL Secondary Schools (SS) and Youth (YT) Tournaments.

The 16s Auckland Invitation is headlined by Akarana Falcon and Youth Tournament MVP Kaawyn Patterson. A team that possesses strike across the park, centre Taipari Wikitera and winger Ezekiel Tavita were electric for their sides in the Youth Tournament. The Aotearoa Whaanui outfit is one dominated by the South Island Scorpions. Exciting young talent Ezekiel Faga’ieti leads the Southern side, whilst Wellington Orca Maui Winitana-Patelesio directs them around the park.

Auckland Rugby League’s Thaine Ashford said, “The quality of rugby league across the Secondary Schools and Youth Tournaments has been exceptional.

Plenty of players outside the Auckland Invitational 18 were unlucky to miss out, but that shows the quality of talent in the ARL competitions and pathways.”

The Clubs vs Schools fixture is littered with outstanding talent across both teams. NZRL SS MVP Waisake Salabiau returns to the rugby league field alongside teammate Malakai Cama; they are joined by St Paul’s Sio Kali and South Island half Oliver Lawry. Not to be outdone, the School’s pack includes Malachi Tony, Elijah Salesa Leaumoana and YT Final MVP Rodney Tuipulotu-Vea. After a strong Youth Tournament, Counties contingent Kayliss Fatialofa, Phranklyn Mano-Le-Mamea, Jarome Falemoe and Ben Peni lead a versatile Clubs side. Scorpion Makaia Taufa slots in at dummy-half, and Team of the Tournament half Afaese Fa’avae leads the squad around the park.

NZRL General Manager of Football & High-Performance Motu Tony stated, “The return of the National Secondary Schools and NZRL National Youth Tournaments, after a Covid-19 enforced hiatus, gave our rangatahi and rugby league community a fantastic opportunity to come together.

“The tournaments showcased the enormous talent we have playing and participating in rugby league, and our inaugural female National Youth Tournament showed that the future of the Kiwi Ferns is bright and exciting.

“The efforts of those who performed exceptionally well in our tournaments have been recognised. They will get another opportunity to connect and compete with the rugby league talent throughout the motu.

I am excited about the talent we have that will compete in these fixtures and also proud that we can offer our young female players a representative opportunity for the first time.”

All games are free to attend and live on Sky Sport!

 

Auckland Invitational Boys 16s versus Aotearoa Whaanui Boys 16s; Monday 24 October, 2 pm. North Harbour Stadium

SQUADS

16s AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL VS AOTEAROA WHAANUI

AOTEAROA WHAANUI 16 BOYS

  1. Meihana Pauling (South Island Scorpions)
  2. Xavier Lynch (South Island Scorpions)
  3. Chelden Hayward (South Island Scorpions)
  4. Jackson Stewart (South Island Scorpions)
  5. Genesis Sherlock (South Island Scorpions)
  6. Eli Bijl-Kakoi (South Island Scorpions)
  7. Maui Winitana-Patelesio (Wellington Orcas)
  8. Ezekiel Faga’ieti (South Island Scorpions)
  9. Mangaroa Mark (Upper Central Stallions)
  10. Jake Rabarts (Upper Central Stallions)
  11. Ezekiel Paulo (South Island Scorpions)
  12. Sosaia Alatini (South Island Scorpions)
  13. Marley Igasan (Upper Central Stallions)
  14. Kyan Rosie (South Island Scorpions)
  15. Reihana Timms (Upper Central Stallions)
  16. Toby Gibson (South Island Scorpions)
  17. Adam Lawrence (Upper Central Stallions)
  18. Ryder Crosswell (Mid Central Vipers)

 

AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL 16 BOYS

  1. Ernie Mahu-Delamere [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  2. Vitaliano-Roache [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  3. Taipari Wikitera [Akarana Falcons]
  4. Sosaia Antony Fatani Latu [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  5. Ezekiel Tavita [Auckland Vulcans]
  6. Tyrone Hurt-Pickering [Akarana Falcons]
  7. Haami Loza [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  8. Noah Hetutu-Davis [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  9. Kaawyn Patterson [Akarana Falcons]
  10. Joshua Totara Kopua [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  11. Te Paeroa Wi-Neera [Akarana Falcons]
  12. Dezman Laban [Akarana Falcons]
  13. Augustino Filipo [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  14. Austyn Ah Toon-Hotene [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  15. Joey Upoko [Akarana Falcons]
  16. Kanaan Talia Magele [Akarana Falcons]
  17. Eteuate Leilua [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  18. Compton Purcell [Akarana Falcons]

 

18S CLUBS V SCHOOLS

New Zealand Schools Boys versus New Zealand Clubs Boys; Monday 24 October, 4 pm. North Harbour Stadium

 

18 BOYS NZ CLUBS SQUAD:

  1. Kyan Alo [Akarana Falcons]
  2. Raphael Sio [Akarana Falcons]
  3. Leka Halasima [Auckland Vulcans]
  4. Kayliss – Jess Fatialofa [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  5. Jarome Falemoe [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  6. Phranklyn Mano-Le-Mamea [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  7. Afaese Fa’avae [Wellington Orcas]
  8. Ben Peni [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  9. Makaia Tafua [South Island Scorpions]
  10. Jordan Chapman [Wellington Orcas]
  11. Devante Mihinui [Auckland Vulcans]
  12. Te Kaio Cranwell [South Island Scorpions]
  13. Tanner Stowers Smith [South Island Scorpions]
  14. Khalan Clyde [Akarana Falcons]
  15. Bob Iosefo [Auckland Vulcans]
  16. Francis Tuimauga [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  17. Samuela Vakadula [Mid Central Vipers]
  18. Alvin Chong Nee [Counties Manukau Stingrays]
  19. Sitana Loamanu [Auckland Vulcans]

 

18 BOYS NZ SCHOOLS SQUAD:

  1. Ngaheke Nepata (St Thomas of Canterbury)
  2. Malakai Cama (Rotorua Boys High School)
  3. Sio Kali (St Pauls College)
  4. Keisaia Su’a (St Pauls College)
  5. Waisake Salabiau (Rotorua Boys High School)
  6. William Piliu (St Pauls College)
  7. Oliver Lawry (St Thomas of Canterbury)
  8. Lamonye Matu (Southern Cross Campus)
  9. Malachi Tony (De La Salle College)
  10. Sione Tupou (Rotorua Boys High School)
  11. Alekolasimi Jones (St Pauls College)
  12. Jason Salalilo (St Thomas of Canterbury)
  13. Rodney Tuipolotu – Vea (De La Salle College)
  14. Allan Talataina-Malama (De La Salle College)
  15. Elijah Salesa Leaumoana (Southern Cross Campus)
  16. Zachariah Stephenson (St Pauls College)
  17. Noah Harmer – Campbell (St Thomas of Canterbury)
  18. Cooper Te Hau (St Thomas of Canterbury)
  19. Maraki Aumua (Rotorua Boys High School)

NZRL would like to acknowledge the selection of Leti Jeff Samuela (De La Salle College) who, after an awesome Secondary Schools tournament was named in the NZ Schools team but has unfortunately been to withdraw due to injury.

August 11, 2022

In collaboration with Auckland Rugby League (ARL), New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) will present representative games for boys and girls in the 16s and 18s age groups.

The 16s age group will feature an inaugural ‘Auckland’ versus ‘Rest of New Zealand’ contest whilst the ‘Clubs vs Schools’ match-up returns for their 18s counterparts. These games will be played in Auckland over labour weekend, the 23rd and 24th of October and will consist of the best young talent across the motu.

The 16s Auckland teams will consist of players from the ARL competition, Region of Origin development programme and representative teams that include; Akarana, Counties-Manukau and Auckland. The ‘Rest of New Zealand’ squads will be selected from Zonal teams that consist of Northland, Upper Central, Mid Central, Wellington and South Island.

ARL’s Football Development and Programmes Manager Viggo Rasmussen had this to say, “Auckland Rugby League is extremely excited to test ourselves against the best rangatahi talent in our county. The 16s age grade is a significant area for us, as we focus on building pathways and attractive development pathways for our juniors.”

The 18’s representative clash sees the ‘Clubs vs Schools’ return after a year hiatus and will include the debut of a girl’s match. NZRL will select the Schools team from their performances at the NZRL National Secondary Schools Tournament, which runs from the 30th of August to the 3nd of September. Clubs squads will be selected from the 16s and 18s NZRL National Youth Tournaments that will take place from the 4th to the 12th of October.

NZRL General Manager of Football and High Performance Motu Tony added, “NZRL has focused on developing the female game, and presenting a girls 18’s Clubs vs. Schools match is another step towards enhancing the wāhine space. This event offers our young women an opportunity not seen before, creating more pathways for females to develop their game.”

“As for the boys, the Clubs vs Schools match-up was a huge success in 2020, and we are looking to build off that this year. A plethora of young talent have found homes in NRL clubs from the previous contest, showing a genuine pathway rangtahi can take towards the professional game.”

 

Fixtures:  

 

Auckland U16 Boys vs. Rest of New Zealand U16 Boys

Auckland U16 Girls vs. Rest of New Zealand U16 Girls

New Zealand Schools Girls vs. New Zealand Clubs Girls

New Zealand Schools Boys vs. New Zealand Clubs Boys

21 October 2021

Auckland Rugby League and the New Zealand Warriors with the support of NZRL are excited to announce the launch of our newest venture for the U16|U18 boys grades with the hope of introducing girls in the future.

In 2022 there will be a newly developed preseason programme/competition U16 Shaun Johnson Shield and U18 Dean Bell Cup.

Players will be invited to register to participate in 3 development camps as well as a trial to represent 1 of 4 teams in the Auckland region. Tamaki ki te Raki – Auckland North, Tamaki ki te Rawhiti – Auckland East, Tamaki ki te Tonga – Auckland South, Tamaki ki te Uru – Auckland West. Players can register here;

for U16s – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8X2QGP2

for U18s – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8NTL2QT

These development camps will be based at the New Zealand Warriors facility at Mt Smart Stadium.

U16s Johnson Shield: 27th November | 11th December | 15th January U18s Dean Bell Cup: 28th November | 12th December | 16th January

If you are interested in being considered for a coach | manager | trainer position please apply here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/L25BNKW

The competitions will be a mini pre-season competition to be run over four weeks:

12th March | 19th March | 26th March | 2nd April.

Post competition, a Warriors U18 Development Team will be selected as well as an Auckland U16 Team to tour Australia during the April School Holidays.

If you have any questions please feel free to send them to Rugby League Development Officer TJ Ashford – thaine.a@aucklandleague.co.nz

01 June 2021

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is pleased to confirm a busy NZ16s and NZ18s representative schedule for the year in liaison with New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) and Auckland Rugby League (ARL).

NZRL recently announced the selection of an NZ18s Girls Schools team off the back of the inaugural NZRL Secondary Schools Girl’s Competition in August. The NZ18s Girls will take on the Auckland 18s Girls on Sunday, 3 October.

The Auckland 18s side will be selected off the back of the Auckland Rugby League (ARL) Region of Origin. The ARL Region of Origin provides a pathway for players unavailable to participate in the NZRL Secondary Schools or NZMRL Rangatahi Tournaments to represent Auckland in a trial game against New Zealand Secondary School Girls.

ARL CEO Greg Whaiapu says: “It’s really exciting to be able to offer up these opportunities for our local Auckland players and we’re looking forward to being part of the NZRL’s annual competitions.”

“The girls-specific grades are the fastest growing area of our game right now and it’s an important next step that we continue to offer more opportunities for our players and coaches in those grades to earn honours at a higher level.

“We also want to encourage and help the other districts around New Zealand to keep growing the female game.” 

New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) will select a squad to participate in the Pasifika Aotearoa Collective Tournament (15th – 17th October) off the back of their NZMRL Rangatahi Tournament over Queen’s Birthday weekend in June.

John Devonshire, NZMRL Chairman, says, “This is an outstanding opportunity for our seven foundation member nations to come together in an inaugural Pasifika Aotearoa Collective (PAC) rangatahi side.”

“For so long we have competed against each other at many levels, the opportunity for our Cook Island, Fijian, Niuean, NZ Māori, Samoan, Tongan and Tokelauns to play together side by side is incredible. We are grateful to Motu Tony and the NZRL for this opportunity to create our own PAC history.”

From there, NZMRL will then finalise their 18s Kotiro team to take on the NZ18s Girls at the NZMRL Tuakana Tournament in Rotorua on October 23rd.

John Devonshire, adds, “For our Māori Kotiro 18’s side to participate in this historical match is right. NZ Māori, along with the ARL have been the key drivers in the kotiro space. The match is a reflection of the momentum that kotiro rugby league is having in NZ. Well done Lui and the NZRL; this has been a long time in the making, it is here now – bring it on!”

The NZMRL Tuakana Tournament will also play host to a clash between the NZ Resident 16s and the Pasifika Aotearoa Collective 17s (Boys).

The NZ Resident 16s team will comprise of the best players from the NZRL National Youth Tournament held in early October, while the Pasifika Aotearoa Collective 17s will be the merit team selected from the Pasifika Aotearoa Collective Tournament.

Luisa Avaiki, Head of Women’s Rugby League at NZRL, says the new representative clashes are huge milestones for the game.

“It’s so exciting to provide these playing opportunities which reflect the hard mahi going into growing and developing our women’s space across the country.”

“Thank you to ARL and NZMRL, who have pioneered the girls game for many years now. It’s exciting to come together and provide opportunities for girls to play rugby league at a representative level. It adds a layer of incentive and fosters further pathways that encourage participation growth and player development.

“I can’t wait to see what the girls produce come the end of the year.”

NZ18s Schools v Clubs also returns for its second year, which will see the best 18s players from the NZRL Secondary School Competition and NZRL Youth Tournament face off in October. NZRL will release further detail on the clash in due course.

29 January 2021

New Zealand Rugby League will kick off its inaugural National 20s Competition on Saturday 27 February 2021. The round-robin competition will play over five consecutive weeks with the two top placed teams set to face off in the final the weekend of April 2.

The NZRL National 20s Competition involves six teams from across New Zealand with Zones and appropriate Districts represented.

Auckland hosts two teams as Auckland Rugby League, Akarana and Counties Manukau join forces to create an Auckland Blue and Auckland White team. Other teams represented include Northland; Wai-Coa Bay, with the inclusion of Waikato, Hauraki, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Coastline Districts; Central Districts, including Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington; and South Island, including Tasman, Canterbury, West Coast, Aoraki, Southland and Otago Districts.

The NZRL National 20s Competition will showcase future Kiwis from across the country as this inaugural comp looks to shine a spotlight on New Zealand’s development talent as they pave their way for elite professional contracts.

All games will be televised live on Sky Sport, Sky Sport Now and for Australian viewers, Kayo and FOXSPORTS Linear.

December 16, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2020 NZRL Community Award Winners

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

To watch the NZRL Community Awards, please click here.

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

December 9, 2020

New Zealand Rugby League will kick off its inaugural National 20s Competition on Saturday 27 February 2021. The round-robin competition will play over five consecutive weeks with the two top placed teams set to face off in the final the weekend of April 2.

The NZRL National 20s Competition will involve six teams from across New Zealand with Zones and appropriate Districts represented.

Auckland will host two teams as Auckland Rugby League, Akarana and Counties Manukau join forces to create an Auckland Blue and Auckland White team. Other teams represented include Northland; Wai-Coa Bay, with the inclusion of Waikato, Hauraki, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Coastline Districts; Central Districts, including Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington; and South Island, including Tasman, Canterbury, West Coast, Aoraki, Southland and Otago Districts.

This year the NZRL National Youth Tournament will move to a 16s and 18s age group format as opposed to its previous 15s and 17s structure to coincide with both Sport NZ’s ‘Balance is Better’ philosophy, as well as the NSW and QLD age group competitions.

With this shift in age categories, NZRL will provide an additional three years of growth and development opportunities for players here in New Zealand with 16s, 18s and now 20s pathways. NZRL will take this a step further come 2022 by entering an NZRL U19 team into the NSW SG Ball competition.

The NZRL National 20s Competition will not only showcase New Zealand’s domestic game but it will provide Clubs and Districts with the opportunity to recruit and retain rangatahi talent, an age group notorious for significant drop-offs in sporting activity according to Sport NZ.

NZRL GM of High Performance and Football, Motu Tony says: “We have been working hard to improve the pathways we provide for our young rugby league players in New Zealand.”

“Our rangatahi are vital to the domestic and professional success of the code, the average age of an NRL debutant is now 21, so it’s crucial we are developing and strengthening this age group as much as we can at home. This competition also allows coaches, managers, trainers and match officials to gain further development and experience.

“The 20s Competition allows us to foster budding rugby league talent from up and down the country and the potential NZRL 2022 SG Ball team adds another layer of incentive for our young players.”

Fixture list and venue confirmation will be finalised in the coming weeks.

8 November 2020

The inaugural U18s New Zealand Club vs Schools kicked off at Mt Smart Stadium in what was an inspired and hotly contested matchup.

Coming out of the gates strongly, initial pressure from the clubs’ side saw captain Sam McIntyre break the deadlock. Clubs were unable to convert to leave the score at 4-0 after six minutes.

A mistake off the kick-off allowed a set on the Clubs’ line and the Schools team did not fail to level. Tome Poona executing a pin point cross field kick for Matua Robinson to leap and score. Poona converted to give the Schools a two point lead.

The Clubs team regained the lead in the 17th minute, this time taking advantage of a Schools’ mistake, number four Daeon Amituanai crashed over the line to make it 8-6. Half Sebastyan Jack again unable to add the extras.

Two minutes later, the Clubs left edge centre bulldozed his way over the line. Salesi Ataata capping off a great set of brilliance by the Clubs side. Jack again unable to convert as the score stayed at 12 points to six.

A barnstorming effort from Elam Payne set up Daeon Amituanai for his second, as the Clubs team further their advantage 18-6.

Schools hit back after receiving two penalties, a right side shift saw Eric Vaafusuaga grab his first of the afternoon to close the gap. Poona kicked wide to leave the score at 18-10 with 10 remaining in the half.

A sneaky  kick in behind from hooker Jarney Proctor-Harwood was enough to gift his captain a second try of the half, McIntyre latching on to make it 22-10 for the Clubs outfit.

On the stroke of half time Austin Anderson grabbed his first try from dummy-half, Poona was unable  add the conversion as Clubs took a 24-14 lead into the sheds.

Eric Vaafusuaga scored his second try of the afternoon to kick off the second forty, crashing over after a sharp set move by the Schools. Poona was unable to convert as the Clubs lead was reduced back to six,

Daeon Amituanai completed his hat trick, as he crashed over from dummy-half in the 54th minute. Sebstyan Jack converted from the right touchline to take the Clubs to a 30-18 buffer.

A grubber rebounded back into the clutches of Austin Anderson saw the Schools keep the pressure on the Clubs side, with Poona unable to convert as the score remained 30-22 with a quarter left to play.

Trading scores, the Club side hit back when five eight Josiah Karapani crashed over after a brilliant show of footwork. TJ Devery took over the kicking duties for the injured Sebastyan Jack but was unable to convert his first attempt. Clubs go up 34-22 with just over 15 minutes to play.

Clubs held on a late flurry from the Schools side to capture victory in the first-ever U18s Clubs vs Schools clash. Final Score Clubs 34 – Schools 22.

October 16, 2020

New Zealand Rugby League wishes to congratulate the following players selected in the NZRL Schools and NZRL Clubs teams who are set to face each other in the inaugural NZRL Schools v Clubs match on November 8th at Mt Smart Stadium.

The NZRL Schools v Clubs game will kick-off at 2 pm followed by the NZ Residents v NZ Māori Residents match at 4 pm. It’s a gold coin entry into Mt Smart on the day and thanks to Sky Sport both games will be televised live.

The NZRL Schools v Clubs match is the first of its kind and will act as a key development pathway for New Zealand 18 players.

For 2020, the New Zealand Schools team comprises of identified players from the Auckland Rugby League Secondary Schools competition as well as those registered in full-time study.

The New Zealand Clubs team consists of identified players who have competed in regional tournaments or a meaningful club competition in 2020.

Going forward, this inaugural fixture is set to stick as an annual event in which the New Zealand Schools team will comprise of players actively playing in the NZRL National Secondary school competition, and the New Zealand Clubs team will be selected from District, Zone and National Youth programmes.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the National Secondary School Competition and NZRL Youth tournament were cancelled for 2020; however, players identified in the New Zealand Resident 18s wider squad back in February make up the majority of the selections for this year.

NZRL GM of Football and High Performance, Motu Tony says; “This Schools v Clubs match is an important pathway going forward for our young and aspiring Kiwi talent. Although COVID has altered our selection process a bit for this year, it’s exciting to see this fixture come to light despite the pandemic setbacks.

“We have an impressive list of talented 18 players from up and down the country representing both the Schools and Clubs sides. This game presents our 18s with a great opportunity to showcase their skill and position themselves favourably for opportunities that may arise in 2021.”

NZRL congratulates the following players:

New Zealand 18s Clubs 
NameAmateur Club
1Brown Seeti KuresaMarist Saints
2Caleb ThompsonNorthcote Tigers
3Chase WilliamsTaupo Phoenix
4Daeon AmituanaiWhiti Te Ra
5Elam PayneMarist Saints
6Jarney Proctor-HarwoodManurewa Marlins
7Manaia Ngataki-MatthewsTurangawaewae
8Rawiri MatthewTauranga Whalers
9Sam McintyreNorthcote Tigers
10Sebastyan JackMarist Saints
11Sione MoalaRichmond Rovers
12Tamehana Paru RuManurewa Marlins
13Tamiro ArmstrongPikiao Warriors
14Te Ohomauri RapanaTaniwharau
15Tea-Rani Woodman-TuhoroTakahiwai Warriors
16TJ DeveryTe Atutu Roosters
17Tray LolesioOtara Scorpions
18Tumatauenga Te KoiTurangawaewae
New Zealand 18s Schools 
NameSchool
1Ali LeiatauaKings College
2Arama KiteManukura
3Austin AndersonHamilton Boys High School
4Cassius CowleyMt. Albert Grammar
5Eric VaafusuagaKings College
6Esom IokaKelston Boys High School
7Ethan FaitauaShirley Boys High School
8Filipo Whitehouse-OpetaiaOtago Boys High School
9Jeremiah AsiSt. Peters College
10Maea Tema-SchmidtScots College
11Matua RobinsonNew Plymouth Boys High
12Montel LisalaSt. Thomas of Canterbury
13Sheldon Tairea-RapanaManukura
14Tony TafaKelston Boys High School
15Tyson ChaseHato Paora College
16Uriah TuliShirley Boys High School
17Vaka SikaheleSt. Pauls College
18Zyon Maiu’uKelston Boys High School

September 17, 2020

Mt Smart Stadium is set to host a jam-packed weekend of rugby league action as the inaugural NZRL Schools v Clubs (18s) match followed by an NZ Residents v NZ Māori Residents game have been scheduled for Sunday, November 8, following the Kiwi Ferns v Fetū Samoa Test the day prior.

The inaugural NZRL Schools v Clubs game (18s) will kick-off at 2 pm at Mt Smart followed by the NZ Residents v NZ Māori Residents match at 4 pm. Thanks to Sky Sport both games will be televised live.

The NZ Residents squad will consist of the best players from the NZRL National Men’s competition kicking off on October 3.

The last time the two met was in 2017 where the NZ Māori Residents came away with a 22 – 16 victory over the NZ Residents squad.

NZRL CEO Greg Peters says; “To see our NZ Residents and NZ Māori Residents face each other once again is an exciting milestone, it will be a tough clash with plenty of passion and a great way to finish off a specular weekend of rugby league action at Mt Smart.

“The Residents selection is an important accolade and increases the standard of competition for our National Competition.  This match will showcase New Zealand’s best grassroots talent from up and down the country, and it’s great to work with NZ Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) again to produce a quality rugby league event.”

NZMRL Chairman, John Devonshire, is delighted that a Māori Residents side will be taking on the NZ Residents in November.

“It is a win-win scenario for both organisations, and it’s great to see the two sides come up against each other. The NZRL premiership competition will take on extra meaning for the players and the ability for our tuakana tournament side to have a live match is awesome.

“The sides have played previously with a break last year due to the touring English side, a game where NZ Māori dominated with a solid victory. I always look forward to these games and more importantly, the opportunity for our players that support our tuakana tournament to put on the Māori jersey.”

The NZRL Schools v Clubs match set for a 2pm kick off prior to the Residents game, is the first of its kind and will act as a key development pathway for New Zealand 18 players.

This inaugural fixture is set to stick as an annual event in which the NZRL Schools team will comprise of players actively playing in the NZRL National Secondary school competition and the NZRL Clubs team selected from District, Zone and National Youth programmes.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the National Secondary School Competition and NZRL Youth tournament were cancelled for 2020; however, players identified in the NZRL wider squad for the New Zealand Resident 18s back in February will make up the majority of the selections for this year.

The New Zealand Schools team will be comprised of identified players from the Auckland Rugby League Secondary Schools competition as well as those registered in full-time study.

The New Zealand Clubs team will consist of identified players who have competed in a meaningful club competition in 2020.

Unfortunately, initial NZ 18s fixtures against England Academies and Fiji Schoolboys had to be called off due to COVID-19 border restrictions.

NZRL GM of Football and High Performance, Motu Tony says; “This Schools v Clubs match will act as an important pathway going forward for our young and aspiring Kiwi talent, so it’s great to see this fixture come to light even despite the COVID setbacks.

“We were disappointed the NZ18s fixtures had to be called off, but our talented 18 players are still able to get a run in what will hopefully develop into a staple calendar event for NZRL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A passionate rendition of Te Iwi Kiwi from the NZ18s set the bar for what would be a tough battle between two high-quality sides. France U19s were full of confidence fresh off two wins against Waikato and Canterbury, and the NZ 18s were eager to kick off their 2019 campaign with a win – this game was set to be a good one.

Nine minutes into the match, Canterbury prop Caius Faatili, rolled over for New Zealand’s first try, impressively the Canterbury Bulls star is also set to take the field at the NZRL Premiership final on Saturday against Akarana.

Eighteen minutes in France scored their first points as Thomas Soler showed good pace to run away with an intercept try. NZ hit back shortly after as Jonah Palota-Kopa dived on a grubber from Coleman to make it 10 – 4. NZ continued its dominance throughout the rest of the half with Caius rolling over for his second in the 27th minute soon followed by back to back tries to Jordan Coleman, Taniela Otukolo and Semisi Tapa. NZ’s attack proving too much for France with six tries to one during the first forty, half time score: 32 – 4.

New Zealand continued to dominate on attack as Feao Tongia opened the second half scoring soon followed by a try to Caleb Pese to make it 44 – 4. However, any thoughts of it being a one-sided match were quickly put to bed as France mounted an impressive comeback. The French starved NZ of possession for most of the second half, although at times made easy by the NZ’s own handling errors, France showed pace and attacking smarts to score 22 unanswered points in the second forty, with tries to Thomas Lacans, Jason Goffin, Matthew Cozza and Valentin Zafra.

44 – 26 marked the full-time score as NZ18s came away with the win in what was an entertaining but tough battle between the two sides.  Both teams head to Auckland’s Pulman Park on Sunday as the French set to take on Auckland U19s while the NZ 18s prepare for their clash against TOA Samoa.

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

After a highly successful 2020 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 2020

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 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A passionate New Zealand Resident 18s haka and Toa Samoa U18s Siva Tau set the tone for what was a hefty battle up front and it was the New Zealand Resident 18s who capitalized off the first set, Paul Turner crossing the line for the first try.

Only minutes later in front of a packed out crowd at Pulman Park, 2017 New Zealand 16s Player of the Year Christian Tuipulotu put his two cents in putting four more points on the board for the NZ Resident 18s, score 8-0.

When looking at the scoreboard, it may have seemed one sided after the first 15 minutes but the Samoans certainly brought the mongrel pushing the Kiwis back to their own line on several occasions but the black and white defence was too strong.

To add salt to the wound, an intercept from Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard saw the Samoans hard work unravel as they were once again forced back to their own 10 metre mark.

Then Kakoi Togoiu came off the bench and his impact was certainly made known. Much like his teammates in the Toa Samoa U18s forward pack, facing his tackles was not too dissimilar to coming up against a brick wall – bone tingling.

As the minutes ticked by, Samoa forced more and more mistakes from the home side, their defence getting stronger as halftime loomed.

In the black and white jersey, Paul Turner had extra incentive to impress with Junior Kiwis Coach, Ezra Howe watching on. After today’s match where he played for the NZ Resident 18s, Turner will play for the Junior Kiwis in their clash against the Junior Kangaroos next Saturday, the first game of the Trans-Tasman Triple-Header at 3.05pm at Mt Smart.

Both teams were kept scoreless in the final 20 minutes of the first half hitting the sheds with the score at 8-0.

A very composed Toa Samoa U18s side looked promising to score the first four points of the second half but a classy NZ defence took him into touch five metres out from the line. But, the Samoans fought their way back to the same spot, their mounting pressure forcing an uncharacteristic dropped ball from NZ fullback Kayal Iro.

On the back of the hard yards done by the Samoans forward pack, the boys in blue put their first points on the board with Devontai Seumanutafa crashing through the NZ Resident 18s defence, score 8-4 following an unsuccessful conversion.

A second try only minutes later looked imminent but a double movement called for a line drop out instead.

On the back of a few mistakes, NZ came up with the ball in hand, Temple Kalepo seeing space to score under the posts. 12-4 turned into 14-4 when converted by Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard. Paul Turner then joined in on the fun scoring his second try of the day, once again converted by Tuimavave-Gerrard taking the score to 20-4.

Errors plagued both sides in the final 15 minutes bringing countless turnovers.

Then, just what the Toa Samoa U18s were hoping for, a cross field kick sent fullback Jonaiah Lualua across the chalk, the score remaining 20-8 following an unsuccessful conversion.

However, their last minute efforts weren’t enough to overtake the NZ Resident 18s who put another four points on the board just before the final whistle, the NZ Resident 18s triumphant with the final score reading 24-8.

MVP – Paul Turner

NZ Resident 18s 24 (Christian Tuipulotu, Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard, Paul Turner 2, Temple Kalepo tries; Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard 2 goals) Toa Samoa U18s 8 (Jonaiah Lualua & Devontai Seumanutafa tries)

Following trials on the weekend, the New Zealand Resident 18s have been named to take on the TOA Samoa U18s on 6 October at Pulman Park.

The 18-strong team includes two players from last year’s New Zealand 18s team who took on the Australian Schoolboys, Tyler Slade and Paul Turner, who have also been named in the 2018 Junior Kiwis wider squad for the Trans-Tasman Triple-Header on 13 October. Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard and Kayal Iro are also eligible again having played in the NZ Select 18s side which took on the Australian Schoolboys too.

Many of the players have progressed through the New Zealand Rugby League age-group pathways with Christian Tuipulotu having captained the New Zealand 16s team to victory against the New Zealand Maori 17s last year, alongside his vice-captain Temple Kalepo and teammate Caleb Pese.

Brooklyn Herewini’s naming in the 2018 New Zealand Resident 18s side serves as a reward for his fantastic National Talent Development Programme campaign being named as MVP in March this year.  He also represented Manukura School earlier this month staging outstanding performances at the National Secondary Schools Tournament.

New Zealand Resident 18s v TOA Samoa U18s 

Saturday 6 October, 12pm kick off

Pulman Park, Auckland

Number 1 field

Live streamed through NZRL Facebook page

Name Amateur Club* Zone*
Aiden Aue Mt. Albert Akarana
Antonio Aufai Otahuhu Counties
Antonio Poua Otahuhu Counties
Brooklyn Herewini Whanganui Boxon Mid Central
Caleb Pese Richmond Akarana
Christian Tuipulotu Otahuhu Counties
Deighton Ieriko Richmond Akarana
Emmanuel Tuimavave Gerrard Mt. Albert Akarana
Junior Pua Howick Hornets Counties
Kayal Iro Mt. Albert Akarana
Patrick Elia Pt. Chev South Island
Paul Turner Mt. Albert Northland
Potusa Fuilala Otahuhu Counties
Semisi Tapa Otahuhu Counties
Temple Kalepo Richmond Bulldogs Akarana
Tevita Mikaele Otahuhu Counties
Tukimihia Simpkins Pikiao Upper Central
Tyler Slade Ellerslie Akarana

*Recorded as last represented Club / Zone

Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele
Assistant Coaches: Cody Walker
  Daniel McEwan
Manager: Tania Harris
Lead Trainer: Jasen McCarthy
Assistant Trainer: Lee Paru
Physio: Allan Horn

The New Zealand Rugby League are pleased to announce the New Zealand Resident 18s will face-off against the Toa U18s Selection on Saturday 6 October at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.

This game will be the prequel to the Men’s National Premiership promotion/relegation game and Grand-Final in what will be a blockbuster triple-header.

David McMeeken, NZRL Talent Manager says the fixture will highlight some of the best 18s age-group talent in our own backyard.

“The occasion provides a great opportunity for these aspiring Kiwis to represent not only themselves and their families, but also their country.

“In successive years New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) has provided fixtures for both the 16s and 18s age groups, providing a viable and meaningful pathway for our very best players at these age groups and beyond, whilst also adding some prestige for those that want to represent New Zealand,” he said.

While New Zealand Rugby League CEO, Greg Peters has spent only several weeks in the role, he is proud that the NZRL is consistently looking for new fixture opportunities with teams around the world including the Pacific Nations.

“We are excited to be able to provide competitive fixtures against Pacific Island teams and to grow our relationship with those countries.

“Players at 18s level are always eager to pull on the New Zealand jersey for the first time and this fixture will present an opportunity for these youngsters to put their best foot forward on the international stage,” he said.

As for Samoa, Rugby League Samoa President, Tagaloa Fa’afouina Sua said: “As proud Samoans we are always looking to challenge ourselves on the world stage and this 18s International fixture gives our young Toa Warriors a chance to challenge the best New Zealand has to offer.”

“We are grateful that the NZRL continues to support Rugby League Samoa and other Pacific nations and we all look forward to a great day showcasing our best young talent and future stars,” he added.

New Zealand Resident 18s v New Zealand Samoa 18s

Saturday, 6 October

Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

New Zealand 18s appointments below:

Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele
Assistant Coaches: Cody Walker
  Daniel McEwan
Manager: Tania Harris
Lead Trainer: Jasen McCarthy
Assistant Trainer: Lee Paru
Physio: Alan Horn

NZRL are now open to receiving applications of interest for the roles of Assistant Coach for the New Zealand Resident 18s.

Applications close on Sunday 29 July 2018.

If you wish to apply you must be available for the following dates:

Saturday 15 September 2018 (Auckland based training)

Wednesday 3 – Saturday 6 October (Campaign, Auckland based)

Successful shortlisted applicants must be available to interview on Thursday 2 August 2018

To view job description for this role, click here.

If you are interested in this role please send your covering letter and coaching CV (stating your last three (3) years of coaching experience and most recent coaching qualifications) to: admin@nzrl.co.nz before the allocated time and date.

If you have any questions of queries please contact Gary Peacham: 021 274 6975 or email: gary.p@nzrl.co.nz