By Tasman Rugby League


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Welcome to the wrap up of the Tasman Rugby League Club season.  The Grand-Final was held on Saturday on a beautiful sunny day at Champion Green, which was a stark contrast to last week’s semi0-final which saw Victory Phoenix take the final spot to face Wairau Taniwha.

Wairau Taniwha had already wrapped up the minor premiership trophy by finishing the round robin competition top of the table and they were hoping that they could make it a double by winning the Grand-Final.  Both teams arrived at the ground excited and nervous.  This was the game that mattered – the one that would decide who the 2018 champion would be.

In a tense opening to the game. Victory opened the scoring with a try to left winger Hamish Matthews after a cross field kick was regathered by Tainui Parata who managed to offload to Matthews to score.  Victory extended the lead in the 15th minute with a try to Caleb Tauwhare after the Taniwha were penalised for being offside. From the ensuing set of six Tauwhare scored out wide on the left edge.

Victory continued to maintain pressure on the Taniwha. Their dominaance was further rewarded with a try to Tainui Parata who scored out wide after an error from the Taniwha gave Victory a fresh set of six.

The Victory goal kickers were having an unhappy day with the boot failing to add any of the conversions, thus making the score 12-0. Taniwha managed to make head way against the strong Victory defence. Their efforts were rewarded in the 31st minute when Phil Roberts went looking for work, scoring close to the ruck.  Simon Duncan converted to make the score 12-6 which was the half time score.

Early in the second half both teams were hit by injury with Victory loose forward Isaiah Edmonds and Taniwha interchange player Taine Turnbull leaving the field meaning that both teams were working off a three man bench.   On the 46th minute Jonny Delore made a break and although tackled, Victory took advantage of the disorganized Taniwha defence with Nate Boyd scoring.  Jeff MacDonald added the conversion to reinstate the 12 point lead.

The lead was extended to 16 points when Jeff MacDonald crashed over from dummy half.   The Taniwha worked hard to regain control, trying to chase the game throwing passes that they wouldn’t have normally passed and taking risks. Unfortunately this led to the Victory sixth try when their fullback Fabyan Noonan scored a 20 metre try when he beat four defenders.

As in previous games the Taniwha never gave up and a break by Jason Garlick led to a try to Ryan Craig right on the stroke of fulltime to make the final score 26-12 to Victory and a new name will be engraved on the TRL Cup.

It was a team effort from Victory with no individual player standing out. In the last 2 weeks.  Victory have been playing controlled football which was fantastic to see.  Full credit to the coaching team on bringing it all together in both the Semi Final and Grand Final.  The win would be made more rewarding for the seven players who transferred from Wanderers Wolves after they were unable to field a team this season, including Rikki Swain who played in his seventh Tasman Grand Final for his second victory and Jason Kaisia, Nate Boyd and Fabyan Noonan who all took to the field in the Grand Final this year for Victory.

Wairau Taniwha also deserve praise for a fantastic season, which included the most travel of any of our teams.  This year has seen them recruit a new group of young players who have helped boost their numbers and we look forward to seeing them back in 2019.



By Tasman Rugby League

It wasn’t the best of days weather wise for the Semi-Final between Victory Phoenix and Motueka Tigers but the crowd were entertained by some great league from two very determined teams.  Both teams were vying for that final spot in the Grand-Final next week against Wairau Taniwha.  Coming into this game, Victory had won twice, Motueka once and they had a draw so it was anyone’s game, and that was how it was for the first 15 minutes or so.

Both teams see-sawed backwards and forwards and came close, but neither team could quite get across the line, until Jeff MacDonald slid across for Victory.  He then picked up his second, followed by Hamish Matthews whose hard work on the wing was rewarded.  Jeff converted all three tries to give a half time score of 18-0 to Victory.    The second half saw Motueka Tigers speedster Mitchell Duncan-Jonas take an aerial pass, sprint for the line and touch down.  Was this going to be the turning point in the game?

Unfortunately Motueka suffered a few injuries with one of their talented youngsters Denym Antonievic leaving the field early in the first half injured, and a few short on the reserves bench, made it a hard ask for the Mot boys.  But they never gave up, they kept going, but Victory then got on a bit of a roll with Johnny Delore (2x), Caleb Tauwhare, Tainui Parata and Troy Wilson all crossing for Victory.

Final score: 42-6 to Victory Phoenix who now move into the Grand-Final.

Both teams worked hard, with Motueka Tigers Michael Walsh making 43 tackles, while Sam Hedges was brilliant with his speed and skill, along with Jason Rangihuna who was strong in his running.  Ben Kelly had a brilliant game and the whole Motueka Tigers team should be congratulated on a brilliant season back in the the TRL league competition after a few years away.

For Victory, Freedom Walker, Jeff MacDonald, Rikki Swain and Steve Ephia all had strong games along with Jason Kaisia.  Their forward pack worked hard, their defence was strong and they should be congratulated on the win.

It was a great game and thanks to Jack, Eric and Tony as match officials and Josh for doing match manager.  Also thanks to Angela Hellewell who took some brilliant photos which we have uploaded to the Facebook page.

Next week is the Grand-Final:

Wairau Taniwha vs Victory Phoenix

Champion Green, Richmond

Kick-Off: 2.30pm

Who is going to get the trophy?  All will be revealed on Saturday.

The last round robin game of the Tasman Rugby League competition was played on Saturday with Motueka Tigers hosting Wairau Taniwha at Cooks Reserve, Riwaka.

Jason Garlick opened the scoring for the Taniwha.  Tana Pouniu and Phil Roberts stretched the lead for the Taniwha to 16-0.  Arikihana Corbett-Burrows got Motueka back into the game with a long range try.    This was followed by Taki Laulu for the Tigers on the stroke of halftime which was converted by Sam Hedges to make the halftime score 16-10 to the Taniwha.  

Taniwha regained their ascendancy early in the second half with tries to Ray Roebuck & Siemena Konelio. Both tries were converted by Simon Duncan to make the score 28-10.  Like the first half, Motueka mounted a comeback with tries to Jone Selestino & Ben Kelly.   Esau Faamanatu got the first conversion but unfortunately the second conversion hit the post and was flagged away. This meant that the score was 28-20 which required the Tigers to score twice in the last seven minutes to win the game.

However Simon Duncan had other ideas and finished the scoring in the game for the Taniwha with a field goal in an effort to run down the clock. This made the final score 29-20 to Wairau Taniwha.

Although this game had no bearing on the final points table, it was a pretty willing game with the players not holding back.  It was a bit untidy in parts as players went away from their structure in search of the big play but overall the crowd was entertained by some great rugby league.

The points table after the round robin games is as follows:

Wairau Taniwha 21 points

Victory Phoenix 16 points

Motueka Tigers 11 points

Congratulations to Wairau Taniwha on taking out the Minor Premiership for 2018 for the 2nd year running.

Next Saturday in our Semi Final, Victory Phoenix host Motueka Tigers at Lower Ngawhatu.  Kick off is at 2:30pm.  Wairau Taniwha get direct entry to the Grand Final on the 14th July out at Champion Green with the winner of our Semi Final aiming to meet Wairau Taniwha in the Grand Final.

If you can’t wait that long for local rugby league action, don’t worry we have our Intermediate Schools Tournament on Tuesday the 3rd July at Champion Green, Richmond. First game is scheduled to start at 10:20am and the final game is scheduled to kick off at 2pm.  Get along and show your support of our Intermediate teams.

Friday night football made a return to the Tasman rugby calendar for the first time since 2016 and thankfully unlike 2016 there weren’t any serious injuries.  It was a crisp clear night at Riwaka with some great footy on display for the very supportive crowd.


The Motueka Tigers opened the scoring from their first opportunity with the ball when Esau Togitele made a breakaway from a Victory kick downfield. Elia Miatiakibau ensured that the Tigers were keeping up with the clock to give the Tigers a 12-0 lead after 10 minutes.  In a dominant first half to the Tigers they added further tries by Esau Faamanatu, Letaulau Talatonu and Denym Antonievic with the last two tries coming from their left side attack. Mitchell Duncan-Jonas added one conversion to make the half time score 26-0 to the Tigers.


The second half started evenly posed as Victory started to get themselves back into the game. After a long period of attack on the Tigers line Victory front rower Taru Kingi crashed over from short range to get them off the mark.  Deseanare Lakakatu got Victory’s second try when he ran into a gap created from his halves to bring the score to 26-10.  


Jason Kaisia scored from close range and Jeff McDonald slotted the conversion for Victory to make the score 26-16, and if it wasn’t already, it was officially game on.  Hayden Smith for the Tigers scored what would be the only points scored from the orchard end when successfully got a penalty goal from close range for Victory being inside the 10.


Taru Kingi for Victory added a second try which after the conversion narrowed the game back down to 6 points which made for a tense and exciting finish. Jeff McDonald got a try of his own to tie the game up.  On the last play of the game Victory had a chance to win the game with a penalty goal which was unsuccessful.   Motueka tried to go the length of the field to win the game, but only got as far as their 20 metre line.


So there you have it, both sides share the chocolates and in the three games played between these two sides during the season, it has finished as one win each and a draw.  


Finally thank you to all the volunteers who make the game possible  namely the match officials, the match manager and the people who setup the field and pack it down and clean the changing rooms after the game.  There is a lot that happens off the field and we thank all our volunteers who support all our teams.


Next week Victory Phoenix travel over to Blenheim to play Wairau Taniwha at Oliver Park, Blenheim. Kick off at 2:30pm   

On a beautiful sunny day at Lower Ngawhatu, Victory Phoenix hosted Wairau Taniwha in local rugby league action on Saturday.

With both teams tied on 9 competition points going into the game, the winner will take a big step in finishing the regular season in top spot and gaining automatic qualification to the grand final on the 14th July.

In a tight first half, Simon Duncan opened the scoring for the Taniwha, which he duly converted. With time also up in the first half, the Taniwha extended the lead to 10-0 with a sweeping movement that started from inside their own 20 metre line which was finished off by Fetu Ieremia.

The second half started with an error by the Taniwha from the kick off. From the first set of 6 following the goal line drop out, Victory scored down the left hand side to narrow the gap to one converted try.

The Taniwha dominated the next stage of play but knew that 10 points weren’t going to be enough to win the game. Tana Pouniu crashed over from dummy half against a tiring defence. The 12 point margin was short lived as Fabyan Noonan scored off a set play which created the space for him to out sprint the defence and score under the posts for Victory to bring the margin back to 6 points.

Simon Duncan maintained the 2 score lead by potting a field goal. With around 5 minutes to go Victory were on attack, however a loose pass was intercepted by Taniwha winger Phil Roberts who raced over 70 metres to score a converted try and clinch the game for the Taniwha.

Simon Duncan got his second dropped goal of the half to make the final score 24-10 to the Taniwha.

Thanks to everyone who came along and supported both teams and special thanks to Victory Phoenix for putting on a sausage sizzle. Just what was needed while watching the action on the field. Big thanks to the Jack, Tony & Ben who were our match officials for the game.

Next Saturday the Wairau Taniwha host the Motueka Tigers out at Oliver park, Blenheim. Kick off is at 2:30pm.

By Tasman Rugby League

Week 6 of the Tasman Rugby League competition saw Motueka Tigers host Victory Phoenix at Cooks Reserve in Riwaka.

Isaiah Edmonds opened the scoring for Victory where he ran off a short ball from Freedom Walker on the left edge. In damp conditions the game turned into a closely fought tussle with play mainly confined to outside the 20 metre areas.

This changed all of a sudden, when the Motueka Tigers scored two long range tries in the space of two sets of six. The first one was a solo effort from Sam Hedges. The second one was a team effort which was finished off rather professionally by Soul Emery. Both tries were converted by Mitchell Duncan-Jonas to give the Motueka Tigers the half time lead of 12-4.

Motueka kicked the ball for the commencement of the second half which just went over the required 10 metres, and was regathered by the Tigers who from the ensuring set of six Jone Selesitino scored to extend the lead to 16-4.

The Victory Phoenix mounted a comeback with tries to Troy Wilson who crashed over dummy-half & Hoani Tauwhare who scored after a long period of attack by the Phoenix. Freedom Walker added one conversion to bring the score to 16-14 and a grand stand finish.

Motueka Tigers sealed the game in the last minute with a try from an intercept where the Phoenix managed to chase down the Motueka player but with the disorganised defensive line, Selesitino scored his second try of the half to make the final score 20-14 to the Motueka Tigers.

The game was uncompromising and the sideline looked more like a casualty ward than sports field. Victory Phoenix will be rueing their missed chances throughout the game but we still have a few more games left in the competition to turn this around.

Again thank you to the volunteers who make the game possible some of whom have a four hour return car ride to make it possible. We are very lucky and really appreciate having so many wonderful dedicated people associated with our game.

Next weeks game see Victory Phoenix host Wairau Taniwha at Lower Ngawahutu on Saturday 19th May. Kick off is at 2:30pm. See you there.

From Tasman Rugby League

On a cloudy day on Saturday Wairau Taniwha hosted the Victory Phoenix at Oliver park in Blenheim. Will the Taniwha be able to reverse their 36-12 defeat on opening day back in April, the difference being this time they have home ground advantage.

For the first half the Taniwha were playing with the advantage of a noticeable tail wind. Hoani Tauwhare opened the scoring for Victory with a sweeping move down the right side attack following a Taniwha dropped ball from a 20m restart. Tana Pounui scored a try for the Taniwha with Dalton Mckinney kicking the first of his three goals. The Taniwha lead 6-4.

The teams again traded tries in what was to be the pattern for the rest of the game. Fabyan Noonan scoring for Victory and Isiah Mischeski scoring for the Taniwha to make the score 10-all. Ray Roebeck scored for the Taniwha to give them a 6 point lead at half time of 16-10.

Michael Bates scored from close range to give the Taniwha a 12 point lead early in the second half. Julian Kereopa scored for Victory to narrow the margin down to six points. The lead for the Taniwha was restored to 12 points when their second rower Ryan Craig went on a 60 metre solo run to score by the posts.

Victory levelled the game with tries firstly to Tainui Parata and secondly to Laman Fa’auli who ran 20 metres through the Taniwha defence straight from a penalty tap with about seven minutes to go. With the scores tied up the hunt began for the elusive drop goal to take the lead. Victory had one unsuccessful attempt. With time almost up on the clock Victory were penalised for obstruction. From the ensuing set of six Taniwha worked their way to the Victory tryline where they too were penalised for obstruction.

So in the end, time beat both teams and the game finished up at 28-all. Julian Kereopa was player of the day for Victory and Tanie Turnball was player of the day for the Taniwha. What a great game.

Thanks to all the volunteers who make the game possible namely the match manager and officials and the people who set up the field and pack it down after the game.

Next week’s game sees Motueka Tigers host Victory Phoenix at Cooks Reserve in Riwaka. Kick off 2.30pm. Hope to see you all there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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