The Tuurangawaewae Sports and Cultural club Pat Bennett Memorial 9s Tournament will take place Saturday 2 March 2024 from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm, at Paterson Park in Ngaaruawaahia.


The objectives of the tournament are to promote Rugby League, to provide all invited teams with a great day of football to start the season, to promote Turangawaewae Rugby League Club to new members, to provide our schoolboys and junior netball teams with a fundraising opportunity and to host and welcome all supporters and spectators to our tournament and our club.

The Tournament will comprise a day of Hard and Fast 9’s Men’s and Women’s Rugby league and a Netball tournament. There will also be a club sprint race, so pick your fastest sprinter and we’ll see which club will take out the bragging rights for 2024. Join us for a fun filled, action packed day of whaanau day of Rugby League and Netball.


The tournament venue is Paterson Park River Road, Ngaaruawaahia. Parking is available at the Ngaamiro Health clinic carpark and around the venue.


All you have to do is complete your online player registration form. once completed you will receive a registration confirmation.

All teams will be affiliated to a District Body recognized by NZRL.

You can have up to 20 players per team (see tournament rules below).

If your club is out of the Waikato District, you must apply to your local league district seeking approval to participate in an “out of zone” tournament.

Entry fee is $200 per League team and $100 per Netball team . There are 2 payment options;

  1. Internet banking
  2. credit Card
  3. You can pay $200 cash on the day at the admin


Just so you know, all registration monies go towards the prize money. No profit is made from this event.



Depending on the number of teams entered will determine the number of games that will be played. The draw will be issued to each registered club by Wednesday 28 February 2024.


Click here for the full tournament information pack

As seen on

Ngā Puna Wai was a hotbed of rugby league education and development for five consecutive days last week as the most significant event of Canterbury Rugby League’s partnership with NRL club Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to date unfolded.

Led by Craig Wilson (Pathways and Development), Fifita Hala (Recruitment) and Adam Hartigan (General Manager – Pathways), the Bulldogs delivered three coach upskilling sessions and two days of skill development for junior players.

“The feedback’s been really good – it’s only in its infancy, but the first steps have been really positive, the coaches are great and we want to give them access to as much information, video, skills and drills, and support,” Wilson said.

“We’re very lucky in that we’ve got a good league club behind us and a couple of guys who are very passionate about the development of rugby league in Phil Gould and Adam Hartigan.

“We’ve been discussing it for 12 or 18 months how we can benefit this area, but it’s an area rich in rugby league talent, going back to the Brent Todds, and [more recently] Jordan Riki, Slade Griffin, Griffin Neame.

“We’re just hoping that if we can assist and develop the game here, there will be more to come.

“We’re committed for the next two years and hopefully that will form a catalyst for more guys to come through the system and play in the NRL, not just at the Bulldogs but at other clubs.”

Wednesday’s initial seminar was held for national level and pathways coaches, Thursday’s session was for youth club and 13s/14s representative coaches, and on Friday, senior club coaches and 15s grade coaches and older got their opportunity.

On Saturday afternoon, around 100 juniors from the 13s and 14s grades experienced a skill development training day at Ngā Puna Wai. The following day roughly the same number of 15s-18s boys and 15s-23s girls had the same invaluable chance.

“They focused on rugby league’s fundamentals and the Bulldogs’ big thing was effort, so we just wanted everyone listening and putting their best foot forward,” Canterbury Rugby League Director of Football Jamie Lester enthused.

“There were lots of smiling faces and prizes given out by the Bulldogs to players who really showed that effort they were looking for.

“Sunday’s session saw the players split into backs and forwards, so the training was a bit more position specific. Our coaches had been learning the Bulldogs during the week, too, so they were instilling some of the stuff they had learned.

“Both days were mixed gender – that is part of the Bulldogs’ values, that everyone is treated as equals.”

Wilson provided some further insight into the ethos behind the Bulldogs’ methods.

“It’s not so much about the sporting element – because they can learn the skill anywhere – it’s about the little things: the attention to detail, how you approach your training, the preparation you need to do,” Wilson explains.

“Eighty percent of going to that next level is learning and knowing how to train, and perseverance. If they can do that, they get into the mindset of being able to train well … and when you have to perform those skills under pressure and at speed, they become competent and that builds confidence, which builds their game and allows them to grow and develop.

“The first thing that fails under pressure or fatigue [in a game] will be their skill level, so it’s a fine line. Teaching these kids to listen and that discipline doing drills, once they pick that habit up, that’s something they have for the rest of their lives – in footy and in general.”

Lester praised the Bulldogs’ dedication to the club’s burgeoning development and pathways relationship with CRL, formally announced in July.

“The big thing for Canterbury Rugby League was being able to showcase that partnership,” Lester said.

“To be able to have the Bulldogs here for five days just shows the commitment they’re willing to put in. It’s not their first visit either – this is the third time they’ve been over this year. They’re really putting the time and energy into bringing our youth through.

“It was a great opportunity for our community, from a coach and player perspective, to get involved and learn and grow.”

As CRL CEO Malcolm highlights, the Bulldogs’ activities on this trip have not been limited to the Canterbury region.

“We are excited and grateful for the Bulldogs investing their time in being in Christchurch for five days,” Humm said.

“Our intent is to support our coaches with their developmental learning and impart this on female and male players, whether this be through the club system or representative programs.

“We also have a greater purpose through the relationship, and this is to support the wider South Island. Examples of this include CRL and the Bulldogs spending time at St Thomas of Canterbury College – the recent NZRL Secondary Schools Tournament champions – and the Bulldogs travelling to Greymouth to deliver a coaching and player development clinic after their Christchurch visit.

“We aim to spread these opportunities wider for future visits.”

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As seen on

Papanui Tigers and Greymouth Greyhounds have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the clubs share players during the 2024-25 seasons, with the Greyhounds competing in the Canterbury Rugby League Men’s Premiership and the Tigers lining up in the Canterbury Cup Premier Reserves.

The MoU, executed on November 20, comes on the back of a motion carried by CRL affiliated clubs to change the senior men’s competition structure. All clubs fielding a Premier grade team will also be required to have a team in the Premier Reserves grade.

Greymouth enjoyed a strong campaign in the 2023 Canterbury Cup – finishing atop the ladder at the end of the regular season before losing its semi-final – while Papanui won the Division One title after making the difficult decision to withdraw from the Premiership. The MoU allows both clubs to fulfil their obligations under the new competition structure.

Under the terms of the MoU, the Greyhounds will be able to call upon players registered with the Tigers and vice versa, while the eventual goal of the arrangement is for both clubs to field standalone teams in both grades.

“It is exciting to have Greymouth Greyhounds included in the Canterbury Men’s Premiership,” Canterbury Rugby League CEO Malcolm Humm enthused.

“Their results in 2023 demonstrated they are on a strong performance trajectory and, combined with Papanui Tigers, the increase in senior men’s numbers provides a real pathway opportunity for both of these clubs and their players.

“Additionally, we believe this will provide a significant boost to rugby league on the West Coast. Canterbury Rugby League views this as our opportunity to support Southern Zone and the West Coast in growing the sport in a traditional rugby league heartland.”

The historic addition of the Greyhounds to the CRL Premiership – a first for a West Coast club – creates seven-team Massetti Cup and Canterbury Cup competitions for 2024.

Teams will play 12 regular season matches (two full rounds) ahead of the four-team finals series format, while discussions are underway to stage a pre-season knockout competition.

The Greyhounds’ six home games will consist of three each at Wingham Park in Greymouth and Papanui Domain.

“It’s really exciting for us – it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s a challenge we’re going to take with open arms and give it our best shot,” West Coast Rugby League chairman Brad Tacons said.

“In 2017 we lost the senior (West Coast) comp, the Greyhounds were established in 2019 to keep the local guys playing footy – and we only had 17 players, so we’ve hung in there till this point and this is by far our most significant step and most exciting one.

“It will be really good for the game on the Coast to be able to play in a meaningful competition.”

Tacons also expressed West Coast Rugby League’s eagerness to simultaneously aid Papanui’s quest to eventually feature at Massetti Cup level again.

“We’re right behind supporting Papanui,” he affirmed.

“We know the struggles that clubs go through, we know when it seems like there’s no coming back – it seems like the world’s ended. But you rally round, you get good people around you and you make it happen.

“They want to get back into Premier football and we’re there to provide support to them, and likewise from their side, they’re there to help us grow the game on the Coast.”

The clubs are far from strangers – they had an MoU in 2022, whereby the Greyhounds effectively served as a Canterbury Cup affiliate for the Tigers, who were then still competing in the top flight.

“We’re really excited to team up with the Greyhounds, who have been playing really well to be at this level and deserve their opportunity as well,” Papanui Tigers president Grant Bond praised.

“The Greyhounds have already had a relationship with us from our previous MoU, so they knew what we were about and what we stood for.

“We were keen to get together and it’s all quite positive.”

As the Tigers’ rebuild continues, the chance to stage Massetti Cup matches at Papanui Domain and for the club’s top players to feature in the Premiership are immediate advantages of the agreement with the Greyhounds.

Forecasting further, the partnership shapes as a vital stepping stone to Papanui’s return to Premier grade status under its own steam.

“Playing premier football back at Papanui will be great, but it’s more about our players and teams competing at the highest level we can, and obviously to get back to a premier grade in our own right,” Bond adds.

“If we do it the right way it will give us more of a sustainable process rather than a ‘hanging on by the skin of our teeth’ type scenario.”

Greymouth’s elevation also means the Thacker Shield will be competed for between Premier clubs in 2024.

Reinvigorated as a challenge trophy this season, the Greyhounds ironically defeated the Tigers in a Canterbury Cup clash to take possession of the Thacker Shield, which they successfully defended in their remaining home games.

The Greyhounds will be required to put up the Thacker Shield at their home games next year, whether at Wingham Park or Papanui Domain.


July 12, 2023

Canterbury Rugby League’s newly established partnership with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs is set to provide players and coaches from the region with unprecedented development opportunities and pathways to progress to Australia’s elite age-group and senior men’s and women’s competitions.

Rubberstamped in recent weeks, the agreement between the two organisations promises to be an invaluable and mutually beneficial initiative.

CRL’s ongoing responsibility to player and coach development, combined with the Bulldogs’ commitment to provide support for local coaches – which in turn helps players’ ability to improve – and training camp opportunities for promising players, will potentially lead to positions with the Sydney-based club.

“This is a substantial development for Canterbury Rugby League,” CRL CEO Malcolm Humm says.

“As part of our 2023-26 Strategic Plan, a key goal is that ‘pathway opportunities are fostered through strategic partnerships’. We believe this agreement with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs is going to have a significant impact on the development of players and coaches in Canterbury, as well as the wider South Island region.

“To have access to the knowledge and experience of such a quality and successful club such as the Bulldogs is both exciting and one hell of a privilege.”

Ultimately, Canterbury Rugby League’s aim is to support players that have been identified by Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to transition to an Australian competition, whether it be their Harold Matthews Cup (under-17s), SG Ball Cup (under-19s), Jersey Flegg (under-21s) and Tarsha Gale Cup (women’s under-18s) teams, or their Harvey Norman Women’s, NSW Cup, NRL and future NRLW premiership squads.

As well as winning eight premierships since joining the competition in 1935, Canterbury-Bankstown has an impressive reputation as a development club. The Bulldogs have won six NSW Cup titles since 1998 and were grand finalists in 2022, boast a record nine Jersey Flegg Cup titles, won the 2023 Harold Matthews Cup, reached the 2023 Tarsha Gale Cup and Harvey Norman Women’s grand finals and have their sights set on entering an NRLW team for the first time in 2025.

“Although some of the detail is still to be worked through, we have agreed that Canterbury-based coaches and players will be recipients of coaching clinics led by Bulldogs coaching personnel, whilst both entities want to ensure that identified players and coaches from the Canterbury region have the opportunity to be immersed within the club’s environment in camp scenarios,” Humm explains.

“There are numerous ways in which we can benefit each other, and we are just excited to get to this point and commence the operational plan.”

Canterbury Rugby League harbours strong links with the Bulldogs stretching back more than half a century. Linwood, Canterbury and New Zealand Test prop Bill Noonan famously became the first major signing made by legendary Canterbury-Bankstown secretary Peter ‘Bullfrog’ Moore in 1970.

Noonan was the first Kiwi (along with teammate Henry Tatana) to feature in a NSWRL premiership grand final – Canterbury-Bankstown’s loss to Eastern Suburbs in the 1974 decider – and played 161 games in the blue-and-white jersey before linking with Newtown in 1979.

Hornby Kiwi Marty Crequer turned out for the Bulldogs in 1991, while elusive winger Jason Williams played in the 1994-95 grand finals – winning a premiership medal in the latter year – during a 73-game tenure with the club. More recently, former Hornby junior Fa’amanu Brown is currently enjoying his second NRL stint with the Bulldogs (he was also part of their NSW Cup-winning side in 2018), Halswell product Montel Lisala has played for their Jersey Flegg and Ron Massey Cup sides in 2023, and Northern’s Bronson Reuben and Hornby’s Sosaia Alatini starred in the Bulldogs’ recent Harold Matthews Cup title success in a team that was coached by former Halswell stalwart Shannon Rushworth.

“The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs has long been known as a development club,” said Bulldogs General Manager of Pathways, Adam Hartigan.

“We are committed to investing time into coach and player development through our growing satellite Academy programs – and partnerships such as this new venture with Canterbury Rugby League can only further benefit the game. We are extremely proud to be able to offer our support to the region.

“CRL has a strong track record of development and by partnering together, we feel we can provide even more young talent with the skills and resources they need to unlock their potential, and flourish both on and off the field.”

Linwood’s Chelden Hayward, a member of the Canterbury 18s team that competed in the recent South Island Boys Youth Tournament, is already benefiting from the Bulldogs’ pathways program while being able to remain in the region.

“Importantly, kids can be afforded the opportunity to develop their talent without needing to be relocated at an early age, and away from their home, schooling life and families,” Hartigan explains.

“Rather, this partnership will support coach development so that Canterbury junior league players can access premier coaching and programs at home, whilst still being afforded a clear and visible pathway to the NRL or NRLW.

“Chelden Hayward is a great example of how this pathway model works. With the upskilling of CRL coaches Chelden can stay at home, complete his schooling, and mature before the need to move Australia.”


June 15 2023

As seen on

Canterbury’s and South Island’s most promising youth players will get a rare opportunity to test themselves against top-quality Australian opposition next month, courtesy of a short tour by Canberra Raiders’ under-18s team.

The Raiders’ squad – essentially the best talent coming through the club’s academy, including fringe SG Ball (under-19s) players from this year’s campaign and the players who will make up next season’s SG Ball line-up – will play two matches in four days in Christchurch.

First up, the Raiders will face the Canterbury 19s team on Thursday, July 13, followed by a clash with South Island Scorpions 18s on Sunday, July 16.

“There will be some very talented players in the Canberra team – many I’m sure who will go and eventually play in the NRL – so it’s very exciting,” Southern Zone Rugby League General Manager Liam Turner says.

“Dean Souter, who runs the Junior Raiders High Performance Program, got in touch to see if we were interested in organising a game and it went from there.”

The Scorpions 18s squad will be selected from the South Island youth tournament, which is being held the previous weekend in Oamaru.

“It’s a short turnaround and puts a bit of pressure on us, but it’s too good an opportunity to turn down and we’re excited by it,” Turner explains.

“It provides a great pathway for any 18s boys playing in our tournament to be selected in this team and is another great example that the pathway to the NRL is right at the doorstep of South Island-based players.”

Having any junior team affiliated with an NRL club playing matches in Canterbury is an obvious coup, but Canberra has a massive reputation as a breeding ground of elite rugby league talent.

All-time greats such as Bradley Clyde, Glenn Lazarus and Ricky Stuart came through the ACT junior system during the 1980s, while fellow icon Laurie Daley was developed by the Raiders after arriving from nearby Junee as a 17-year-old. The local products helped form the nucleus of the famed ‘Green Machine’ that won premierships in 1989-90 and ’94.

More recent NRL stars such as Jarrod Croker, Josh Dugan, Josh Papalii, Anthony Milford, Jack Wighton and Hudson Young debuted for the Raiders after emerging through the club’s junior pathways and NYC (under-20s) team. Canberra’s SG Ball team was one game away from the SG Ball grand final in the 2023 competition, which wrapped up in April.

Meanwhile, these upcoming fixtures in Christchurch provide another key chance for players to impress and potentially follow in the footsteps of the increasing number of South Island juniors who are progressing to the elite level.

“There’s so many players who have gone through our system and our pathways that have gone on to a higher level – right at the top in the NRL with the likes of Jordan Riki and Griffin Neame, but also recent examples like Callum Donaldson from the West Coast going from the Scorpions earlier this year to a Melbourne Storm feeder club,” Turner enthuses.

“It highlights that even though we are seemingly a bit isolated down here, the opportunities for our boys and girls at the moment are right there for them and it’s really exciting.

“The Warriors have an under-17s (Harrold Matthews Cup) and under-21s (Jersey Flegg) entering the NSW competitions in 2024, to go with their recently reintroduced under-19s (SG Ball) team, so that’s also a big opportunity for our youth.”

Team line-ups in the 2023 Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Jersey Flegg competitions this season have peppered with tyros who have come directly from Halswell Hornets, Hornby Panthers, Linwood Keas and Northern Bulldogs, as well as Scorpions age-group teams.

Turner praises the dedication and hard work of coaches, volunteers and administrators – such as Canterbury’s and Eastern Eagles’ Archie Jacobs – for helping create the progressively clear pathway from junior club football, to South Island representative teams and eventually into the systems of NRL clubs.

“Southern Zone may have limited resources compared to other regions, but it’s definitely a big focus for us.

“People like Archie Jacobs, who has been a big part of the Scorpions system – nearly all of those players who have gone on to Australian clubs or the Warriors have been coached by him – so a lot of credit to him, along with many others.

“It’s a small wee team that works hard to make sure these players get these opportunities.”

With the only three weeks until the South Island youth tournament, Turner is encouraging players to put themselves in the frame for Scorpions selection in Oamaru.

Canterbury’s youth teams for the trip south will be named later this week, but other teams are still looking to fill out their squads.

“Our smaller districts looking for extra numbers, hopefully that’s a push for some of those players to put their hand up – come and play in this tournament and give yourself a chance to have a crack at the Raiders,” Turner says.

01 June 2o23

Reon Edwards’ involvement in the game stretches back 43 years, but his new role as Canterbury Rugby League President – which was announced at CRL’s AGM on Wednesday night – marks a return to the organisation in a formal role for the first time since 2015.

Edwards’ vast administrative experience includes serving on the Southern Zone Board from 2009-13 and the CRL Board from 2012-15 – the latter during a vital and transformative period for rugby league in our region – before accepting a position on the New Zealand Rugby League Board in 2015.

Edwards has had stints as Chair of CRL and NZRL, while he retains a place as a director on the International Rugby League Board, which he has held since 2018.

“To secure Reon as President is significant,” CRL CEO Malcolm Humm says.

“Although a non-operational role, to have someone with such a depth of knowledge regarding the local, national and international game is immense, and we certainly will be leveraging off this.”

Edwards first pulled on a pair of boots for Marist-Western Suburbs as a five-year-old, later played for Eastern Suburbs, won a CRL premiership with Halswell in 2003 and represented Canterbury Māori.

His enormous contribution to the game at all levels since saw him awarded NZRL Life Membership last year. But he’s excited about contributing in an official capacity again in his home province.

“Of course it’s an honour to be asked to step into the President role,” Edwards says.

“I’ve been involved in the game since my younger days, running around in paddocks, so it’s great to be able to come back to district level – I’m looking forward to supporting the Board with this new role.

“I’ve been involved with some local clubs since retiring from the New Zealand Rugby League Chair role and I’m still engaged with those clubs, it’s been good for me to reconnect.

“I think the game here in Canterbury is progressing and under some really good leadership, with Wally (Wilson) chairing the Board but also with Mal (Humm), he’s 12 months in the role now as CEO and we’ve seen some really good progress made. It’s great to see.”

Edwards outlined some of his chief priorities looking ahead to his term as CRL President, building on the invaluable assistance he has provided to Canterbury’s clubs more recently – in conjunction with the people who continue to be the lifeblood of those clubs.

“My first-hand experience with some of the clubs I’ve been involved with in the last couple of  years is that we’ve got a great bunch of volunteers in the game and really committed people within our clubs,” Edwards enthuses.

“Guiding them and providing some support around best practices is where I can lend a good hand. If we can strengthen the governance aspect of our clubs and the strength of our committees and processes, the rest of it will continue in terms of our player participation and increasing our junior numbers.”

CRL Chairperson Wally Wilson reiterated Humm’s sentiments about the prospect of rugby league in the region further benefitting from Edwards’ experience and selfless input.

“To secure a President with such mana and leadership capability is a real privilege for Canterbury Rugby League and I look forward to working with Reon in the future,” Wilson says.



23 MAY – As seen on

In any physical sport like Rugby League, strength and physicality is always a key focus, but there has been a growing realisation that mental health is just as crucial for peak performance and overall wellbeing. Earlier this year, New Zealand Rugby League initiated a wellbeing kaupapa ‘Find your Front’ which aims to support Rugby League players, coaches, managers, volunteers and supporters who often face challenges and expectations when it comes to their wellbeing.

The term ‘find your front’ in Rugby League refers to the intent of landing on your front when making contact with the opposition to get the best advantage when playing the ball. New Zealand Rugby League have re-framed finding your front as a way to build resilience and promote open kōrero and striving to break the silence surrounding mental wellbeing in the Rugby League community.

Wellington Rugby League have been partnering with local health providers over the last few seasons to connect and engage on the importance of health and wellbeing of all players at representative levels, seniors, rangatahi and wider whānau in the community.

Some initiatives that have rolled out this year include:

  • Hauora rounds – the first round for all grades was a hauora round – several local health providers were in attendance with handy resources help the community with hauora and healthy living.

  • Find Your Front Workshops – in March, the 9-aside Wellington Orcas 16’s and 18’s youth male and female teams and the Randwick Kingfisher senior players participated in a Find Your Front workshop delivered by the NZRL wellbeing team which included Rugby League legends and former NZ Warriors, Ali Lauiti’iti, Shontayne Hape, Jerry Seuseu and Charlie Gubb along with Cliff Thompson (NZRL Wellbeing Manager) and Wesley Smith (Sport Chaplaincy).

  • Find Your Front Club Champions – Te Aroha Eels and Randwick Kingfisher senior teams are championing Find Your Front throughout the local rugby league community. Healthy Families Hutt Valley have supported this initiative by working alongside these clubs as they champion Find Your Front.

Randwick Kingfishers and Te Aroha Eels Premier teams wearing the newly launched Find Your Front training tops to raise the awareness of mental wellbeing across the rugby league community.

8 weeks into the premier men’s grade – Andre Whittaker, Wellington Rugby League Chief Executive has already seen a positive impact on players’ wellbeing.

“Lots of players feel a greater sense of support and a lot more confidence to speak up if they’re facing any challenges – big or small. We’re proud to create an environment that acknowledges and addresses mental health and overall wellbeing, and the Find Your Front kaupapa is redefining the Rugby League scene and ensuring that players can thrive both on and off the field” says Andre.

Check out the video below of some amazing rugby league players sharing how the game has made a positive impact on their wellbeing.

click on the image to watch

Wellington Rugby League’s commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of players and the wider rugby league community highlights the opportunity and role that sport can play to support and enable our communities to live healthier and fulfilling lives.


New Zealand Rugby League and One NZ Warriors launched the Find Your Front podcast where former and current players share their whakapapa, journeys to playing at an elite level, achievements and challenging times while touching on mental health.

 Their stories aim to inspire and encourage listeners to break the stigma around mental health and encouraging players to find strength and confidence to speak up and seek support.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify

As seen on


By Kayla Hodge

Two former Kiwis will impart their wisdom to the next generation of Otago rugby league players this weekend.

Jeff Lima and Shontayne Hape, and Otago Rugby League coaches, are hosting a development day at Logan Park on Sunday.

Lima played 127 NRL games, 97 Super League games and seven tests for the Kiwis, while Hape played 28 games for the Warriors and made 125 Super League appearances and 14 tests for the Kiwis, before switching to rugby union, where he played internationally for England.

The development day morning is designed for primary and intermediate aged players, while the afternoon is designed for players from the grades under-14 to under-18.

Southern zone club capability and event manager Louis Carmine said players would run through various skills, drills, games and wellbeing sessions.

Hape, who now works for New Zealand Rugby League, and Lima would also discuss NRL pathways for young athletes.

Carmine said the development day, similar to one held in Invercargill recently, was a good opportunity for young athletes to learn from the best.

“It’s cool to see sort of those pathways and realise that even for here in Otago there’s definitely still those opportunities for them,” Carmine said.

Players can register on the Otago Rugby League website.

March 10 2022


The premier 20’s competition, The Ruben Wiki Cup is back this year, kicking off on Saturday the 12th of March, with Waikato hosting Upper Central. 


The National 20’s Ruben Wiki Cup brought a level of competition not seen before in Aotearoa, culminating in plenty of grassroots talent taking the next step in their careers, signing with professional NRL clubs.

 The cup consists of five teams across the motu competing against each other in a five-week round-robin concept ending with a final being played by the first and second-placed teams. Auckland Blue and Auckland White have been replaced by Akarana and Counties Manukau this year.



Due to Covid protocols, protective layers have been set to create the safest possible competition for everyone involved. Players will be required to provide a negative Rapid Antigen Test, 48 hours prior to their scheduled games, and at this moment in time, there will be no spectators to ensure the 100 limit is kept. 


In the event of a Covid framework change, spectators will be required to provide vaccination passports. 


All games will be televised on Sky Sport.


Week 1 draw:


Saturday 12th March


Waikato v Upper Central – 2:00 pm – Davies Park, Huntly.


Sunday 13th March


South Island v Akarana – 2:00 pm – Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch


BYE – Counties Manukau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19: All Auckland rugby league activity remains postponed as Alert Level 3 is extended

August 14, 2020

In light of this evening’s Covid-19 announcement, Auckland is remaining at Level 3 for an extended 12 days; therefore all rugby league activity (playing, contact and non-contact training) remains postponed until August 26th subject to ongoing Government updates.

Aucklanders are instructed to stay home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement. The area covered by Alert Level 3 is the Auckland Super City – from Wellsford in the north to Pukekohe in the south.

The remainder of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2 (excluding Auckland); therefore rugby league activity (training and playing) is permitted, ONLY if clubs and facilities can abide by strict health requirements below, until further notice.

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

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

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

NZRL is in close dialogue with Government and Sport NZ and will provide further guidance regarding return to rugby league activity for Auckland when possible (subject to Government updates).

Thank you for your co-operation and understanding during this time.

August 14-16 round cancelled for all grades

August 13, 2020 

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place across the Auckland region, all Auckland Rugby League games scheduled to be played during the August 14-16 round have been cancelled and will be treated as a ‘Washout Round’.

The ‘Washout Round’ means impacted games will not be rescheduled, with no competition points awarded for the round.

As it stands the Government has placed Auckland under Level 3 restrictions until at least midnight on Friday, August 14, and even if the alert level is lowered ARL CEO Greg Whaiapu said games will not take place this weekend. 

“Given the strict COVID-19 protocols that need to be followed, there wouldn’t be enough time for clubs to ensure they have appropriate measures in place even if the alert level was lowered,” Whaiapu said. 

“With that in mind we are making the call now because we feel it is in the best interests of everyone involved, regarding their health and safety.”

Updates on future rounds for all grades will be provided at a later date, pending further Government rulings and advice. 

In the meantime, all rugby league activity in Auckland, including trainings and gatherings, is suspended.

NZRL is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to update you with the latest information.

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

Position:          Director, Wellington Rugby League Zone of NZRL

Location:         Wellington Region.

Kō wai mātou |About us

Wellington Rugby League Zone (WRL) is an Incorporated Society responsible for the sport in the Wellington to Ōtaki area. It is responsible for club competitions, representative teams and ensuring coaches, managers, trainers, refs and volunteers are supported. Wellington has local and representative competition, masters, premier and junior teams and nine clubs. WRL also works with colleges in the region delivering ‘Leadership through League’ and the ‘Backyard League Programme’ in primary and intermediate schools.

Due to Covid 19 the region will have challenges in the short term but remains solvent with grants from a range of generous sponsors, NZRL and Sport NZ.

WRL are seeking to appoint three directors due to rotation and retirements, which will see the board at seven members. The board are seeking two directors with independence and one with rugby league passion and knowledge. A succession plan for the Chair is also in play.

WRL has in place an experienced team including a general manager and administrator based in Lower Hutt.

Hei whakahere | What we offer

Appointment term: the term is four years with the possibility of reappointment, subject to effective performance and rotation, up to a maximum of two terms.

Location: to ensure regional connection it is desirable for the director to live in the area or have a meaningful connection.

Commitment: Board meetings are held first Monday of each month except January, start at 5.30 and end by 7pm. Virtual meetings, AGM and events supporting the development of the sport in the Greater Wellington region are expected.

The role is voluntary but could be a stepping-stone to the national board or a host of other governance opportunities.

It is important the successful candidate has the time available to undertake the role effectively, taking note of the director’s duty to act with due care, diligence and skill in the best interests of WRL.

He korero mōu | About you

We are looking for:

  1. Proven track record in governance, sport administration or comparable experience
  2. Financial acumen within a modest budget
  3. A commitment to the kaupapa and community connections
  4. Desire to build the sport in the region
  5. Gender diversity and inclusion are a focus

The last three years have seen our women’s game grow exponentially with numbers doubling to now represent 12% of the rugby league playing population. We envisage this momentum continuing in the years to come.

Any member of the Wellington district league or a club can send their CV for consideration.

WRL would be shortlisting for interview end of July 2020 with a full induction and governance training programme for the preferred candidates.

To apply please send your CV to:

Applications close 24 July 2020.

Director Positions

Upper Central Zone Rugby League is seeking applicants for two Independent Directors and two Rugby League Knowledgeable Director (knowledge of and experience in the sport of Rugby League).

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

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

The Appointments Panel will be assessing candidates against a range of criteria, including but not limited to:

  • A strong connection to the game of rugby league either through playing, administration, management, coaching or other roles within the sport.
  • Clear understanding of governance functions and principles
  • Occupational skills that add value to the Board business
  • A strong network across the business and /or league community

Time commitment and term

As a guide, we expect an average time commitment of 1 to 1.5 days each month per director.

We anticipate the roles starting immediately from 13 July 2020

Terms are four years, and directors are eligible for re-appointment for one further term.

To Apply

To apply for this role please click here

The closing date for applications is 26 June 2020.

Wellington Rugby League is seeking applicants for two Independent Directors and one Rugby League Knowledgeable Director (knowledge of and experience in the sport of Rugby League).

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

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

The Appointments Panel will be assessing candidates against a range of criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Recent experience in governance as a director or board member.
  • A strong connection to the game of rugby league either through playing, administration, management, coaching or other roles within the sport.
  • Experience with business leadership in the private sector.
  • Commercial skills that add value to the Board’s business.
  • A strong network with demonstrated communications skills across the business and /or league community.

Time commitment and term

As a guide, we expect an average time commitment of 1.5–2 days each month per director.

We anticipate the roles starting on appointment.

Terms are four years, and directors are eligible for re-appointment for one further term.

To Apply

To apply for this role please click here –

The closing date for applications is 19 June 2020.

Thanks to Innoway, NZRL are providing 1200 free hygiene packs to clubs nationwide as our rugby league communities prepare for a safe return to play come June 20th.

NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says, “We recognise the pressure our communities have been under to ensure their facilities adhere to all strict COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

“We thank our Zones, Districts and Clubs for the hard work that has already been undertaken and these packs hopefully provide a small bit of relief as well as a tick off the requirement list to ensure a safe return to the field as soon as possible.

“I’d like to thank Innoway for their generosity as well as all those in our rugby league community for their resilience and patience during this time and we look forward to the much-anticipated return of rugby league come the end of June.”




We are hitting the road and bringing grassroots livestreams to your backyard showcasing a variety of New Zealand’s regional rugby league talents.

Stay tuned on the New Zealand Rugby League Facebook page each weekend to catch finals actions. First up we will be in New Plymouth for the Paddock to Plate Butchery Taranaki Rugby League Premiership Grand Final.

Keep an eye out for the team from Pirtek who will also be at each game giving away lots of freebies.

  • Otago Premier Men’s Final – July 7 University Oval 5 Livestream from 2pm
  • Northland Premier Men & Womens Final – July 28/29
  • Wellington Premier Men’s Final – August 4
  • Waikato Premier Men’s Final – August 11
  • Bay of Plenty v Northland Premiership Qualified – August 18
  • Canterbury Premier Men & Womens Final – August 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nominate someone you feel deserves some recognition here –

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

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.

New Zealand Rugby Leagues Upper Central Zone chairperson, Megan Cleverley, is pleased to announce the signing of Midland Scaffolding & Rigging as a major sponsor for the Zone effective from April 1, 2020, through to March 31, 2021, with full rights to renew for a further one year term.


Midland Scaffolding is a Waikato Bay of Plenty based company headed by their Managing Director, Leonard “Chippy” Hunter.


“Having the opportunity to support the game of Rugby League in my local community has been an easy decision. The majority of my staff all support Rugby League so this also allows them to give a little bit back to the game,” said Hunter.


“After meeting with the Upper Central Zones Operations Manager, Hamana Amoamo, and hearing their vision to create opportunities for all our kids to wear a representative jersey, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board.”


Another huge positive for the Zone, Chippy is the father of well know local, national and international sporting identity, Honey Hireme Smiler.


Honey has agreed to become the Rugby League Ambassador for the Upper Central Zone which will add further benefits by providing guidance and advice to rugby league players, especially for the girls and young women, within the region who aspire to achieve at the level that Honey has.


“I have played a lot of sport within the Waikato Bay of Plenty area so to be able to join with my dad in supporting the aims of the Upper Central Zone in providing pathways for our youth, is a huge honor and a privilege for me. I look forward to working with everyone involved to make a difference in our communities”


Zone Chair Megan Cleverley is ecstatic that Midland Scaffolding & Rigging have decided to support the game.


“With Chippy and his company on board, this will enable us to offer children who would not normally get the chance to represent their whanau and region to take part in national tournaments.

And to have Honey agree to become our Ambassador is just the icing on the cake, we are very grateful to both Chippy and Honey”


“This partnership will remove part of the burden for families having to fund the travel and associated costs. We are extremely grateful to Chippy and look forward to working with him to benefit the community as a whole,” Cleverly concluded.




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Roadshows

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

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

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

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


The next Roadshow locations to be confirmed in due course.

As seen on the Otago Daily Times

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 NZRL Community Award Winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

15s Grade

15s Champions: Akarana Falcons

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

15s Final MVP: Nathaniel Tangimataiti (Akarana)

Fair play 15s Team of the Tournament: Wellington Orcas

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

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

Coach of the Tournament: Henry Nicholas (Akarana)

15s Tournament Team

Nathaniel TANGIMATAITI, Akarana

Keano KINI, Akarana

Jayden SMITH, Akarana

Benaiah IOELU, Akarana

Caylis LATU, Akarana

Taniela MAPUSUA-LOTAKI, Counties

Francis MANULELEUA, Counties

Ben PENI, Counties

Salesi FOKETI, Counties

Siamani LEULUAI, Northland

Dalls HURRELL-JONES, South Island

Felix FA’ATILI, South Island

Rico TAEPA KIHI, Auckland Vulcans

Jonte RIKIRIKI, Wai-Coa-Bay

Joseph O’LEARY, Wai-Coa-Bay

Jordan CHAPMAN, Wellington

Jacob LABAN, Wellington


17s Grade

17s Champions: Counties Manukau Stingrays

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

17s Final MVP: Ethan Faitaua (South Island)

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

Manager of the Tournament: Marty Brown (Akarana)

Trainer of the Tournament: Sean Witanga (Counties)

Coach of the Tournament: Archie Jacobs (South Island)

Referee of the Tournament: Justyne Mantagi-Lui

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

17s Tournament Team

Wiremu KAIRE, Akarana


Jarney PROCTOR-HARWOOD, Counties

Peesi Valingi KEPU, Counties

Otukinekina KEPU, Counties

Jeremiah MARGRAFF, Counties

Sheldon RAPANA, Central

Tyson CHASE, Central

Jacob LOWE, South Island

Ethan FAITAUA, South Island

Thomas CAMPBELL, South Island

Riley PASCOE, South Island

Tamati CHRISTIE, South Island

Callum DONALDSON, South Island

Jaedon WELLINGTON, South Island

Dayna BIDOIS, Wai-Coa-Bay

Bailey UMAKI, Wai-Coa-Bay

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.

#TheKiwiWay #MoreThanAGame

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday 27 September 2019 – Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch

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


Monday 30 September 2019 – Ngaruawahia, Waikato

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


Thursday 3 October 2019 – International Stadium, Rotorua

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


Sunday 6 October 2019 – Pulman Park, Auckland

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

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

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



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

To keep up with the draw and results please click here 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At a glance:

Counties Manukau Stingrays 18  Akarana Falcons 30

Canterbury Bulls 46  Waikato 6

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

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


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

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

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

All NZRL Premiership matches will be televised on SKY Sport.

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

Job tasks and responsibilities

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

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

Skills and experience

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

For a copy of the Job Description please email

To apply for this job please click here

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

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

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

We invite applications from those who have:

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

Additional skills and experience sought are:

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

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

Please send applications along with a copy of your CV to or



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



By Adam Pearse – Northern Advocate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Position Available: Taranaki Rugby League Appointed Board Director

Taranaki Rugby Football League Inc is the regional organisation charged with leading, developing, promoting and fostering Rugby League in their local area.  They are a member of the Mid Central Zone of NZ Rugby League.

The Taranaki Rugby League Board comprises of eight (8) members of which a minimum of four (4) directors are appointed and three (3) elected.  The independent Appointments Panel is seeking applications for a minimum of four (4) Independent Directors.

The Appointments Panel will be assessing candidates against a range of criteria including:

∙             Clear understanding of governance functions and principles

∙             Knowledge of and interest in the development of  rugby league

∙             Knowledge of how community based programmes are run

∙             Occupational skills that add value to the Board business

∙             A strong network across the business and /or league community

If you would like to make a difference to rugby league in our community and have the necessary attributes, please download an application form from and send with a full CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for the role to by 09th November 2018.


Canterbury emerged from the Southern Zone Rugby League 19s tournament undefeated, but West Coast and Otago returned home from two action-packed days in Christchurch with their heads held high after some encouraging results.


The teams played four games each across a gruelling Saturday and Sunday schedule at Knights Stream Park.


Canterbury and West Coast kicked off the tournament on a chilly Saturday morning, with the host province powering away to a 28-12 win after leading just 10-6 at halftime.


West Coast backed up to play Otago in the second game and led 18-8 at the break, before running out of steam and being held to a 22-all draw by the resurgent southerners. Rockcote Canterbury Bulls halfback Brad Campbell scored a hat-trick and booted three goals for the Coast.


It was then Otago’s turn to feel the fatigue of back-to-back assignments, blitzed 34-6 in the first half by Canterbury in the final game of day one. But Otago showed plenty of character to win the second half in an eventual 40-14 loss.


West Coast stormed out of the blocks on day two, racking up a 50-10 win over Otago with Campbell tallying 18 points for the second straight game and David Lowe and Levi Pascoe notching try-doubles.


But Otago finished their campaign in stirring fashion. They trailed Canterbury by just two points at halftime of Sunday’s second encounter, before going down 24-12 in a gallant effort.


Canterbury centre Fabricius Su’a produced arguably the standout individual display of the tournament by running in five tries in a 42-18 win over West Coast in the day two closer.


Canterbury second-rower Zion Kamana was named the tournament MVP, while Su’a claimed the Back of the Tournament award and West Coast’s Griffin Neame – who starred in Southern Zone 17s National Youth Tournament campaign only a week earlier – won Forward of the Tournament honours.


West Coast’s Brad Tacon was named Referee of the Tournament, Canterbury pair Jason Martin and Adam Kelson were named Coach and Trainer of the Tournament respectively, and West Coast’s Deb Campbell carried off the Manager of the Tournament award.


Lock Chanel Feala and Domanyc Fidow-Kele led Canterbury superbly all weekend and were joined in the Tournament Team alongside six teammates. Campbell and Neame headlined a four-strong West Coast contingent in the Tournament Team, while four Otago players won selection.


The players and management from all three teams were a credit to their provinces, as well as Southern Zone Rugby League. Special thanks also goes to the development officers and referees who helped make an outstanding weekend of footy possible, as well as the Christchurch City Council for making a tremendous venue available in Knights Stream Park.







Canterbury 28 (Reuben Wilson 2, Antonio Lemalu, Domanyc Fidow-Kele, Zion Kamana tries; Jope Gaunavou 3 goals) defeated West Coast 12 (Iraia De Goldi, Levi Pascoe tries; Brad Campbell 2 goals)


West Coast 22 (Brad Campbell 3, Eugene Gillies tries; Campbell 3 goals) drew with Otago 22 (Nehemiah Faamoe-Lone, Teremoana Hamblin, Cam Todd, Nale Ofa, Lemanu Filifilii tries; Jayden Hollander goal)


Canterbury 40 (Reuben Wilson, Nick Evans, Fabricius Su’a, Jope Gaunavao, Josh Rawiri, Simeon Langan, Ketesemane Pauli tries; Gaunavou 6 goals) defeated Otago 14 (Nehemiah Faamoe-Lone, Shade Rowe, Cole Garrett tries; Jayden Hollander goal)





West Coast 50 (David Lowe 2, Jack Coleman 2, Levi Pascoe, Mason Hunt, Brad Campbell, Sincere Harraway, Iraia De Goldi tries; Campbell 7 goals) defeated Otago 10 (Nehemiah Faamoe-Lone, Delaney McKenzie tries; Jayden Hollander goal)


Canterbury 24 (Diploma Muaimalae, Nathan Chai, Jope Gaunavou, Kingston Dempsey, Ben Ferguson tries; Gaunavou 2 goals) defeated Otago 12 (Allan Gillies, Quinn McHardy, Cam Todd tries)


Canterbury 42 (Fabricius Su’a 5, Nick Evans, Antonio Lemalu, Jordan Molioo tries; Jope Gaunavou 4, Jimmy Rangiawha goals) defeated West Coast 18 (Levi Pascoe 2, Brad Campbell tries; Campbell 3 goals)


TOP POINTSCORER: Brad Campbell (West Coast) – 50

TOP TRYSCORER: Fabricius Su’a (Canterbury) – 6

The Auckland Vulcans and South Island Scorpions have caused stunning upsets in the 15s semi-finals to both advance to tomorrow’s final. Hundreds surrounded field two as the Vulcans battled the more-fancied Stingrays, which was scoreless heading into the second half. Counties edged ahead by two thanks to a penalty goal, before a try to the Vulcans stole the lead. In the final minutes of the game, Kavan Thompson-Campbell crossed in the left corner to put the Stingrays up by two. But a never say die attitude saw the Vulcans push right to the hooter, and Vulcans half Michael Angelo Taufa scored a remarkable game winning try to the delight of the crowd.

In the other 15s semi-final, the South Island Scorpions were far too strong for the Akarana Falcons running out 22-12 winners. Midway through the second half the Scorpions lead by 16, thanks to a great platform set by forwards Jaedon Wellington, Uriah Tuli and Felix Fa’atili. They’ll look to replicate today’s form in tomorrow final, when they face the Auckland Vulcans.

In the 17s grade, Counties Manukau Stingrays were far too classy for the South Island Scorpions romping to a 44-8 victory in their semi-final. Captain Paea Fotu had a strong game for Counties, as did fullback Xavier Stevens-Teo who crossed twice for the Stingrays. In the other semi-final, Akarana Falcons outlasted rivals Auckland Vulcans securing a 22-16 win. Konrad Tu’ua put in another strong performance for the Vulcans, as did centre Naufahu Whyte for the Falcons. Akarana will look forward to yet another battle against cross-town rivals Counties Manukau Stingrays in tomorrow’s 17s final.

NZRL will be streaming both the 15s and 17s finals live on the NZRL Facebook – Full results and schedule for finals day below.

15s grade:

Semi-Final: Auckland Vulcans 8 (Michael Angelo Taufa, Filip Whitehouse-Opetaia Tovio) Counties Manukau Stingrays 6 (Kavan Thompson-Campbell; Francis Manuleleua 1 goal)


Semi-Final: South Island Scorpions 22 (Jaedon Wellington, Uriah Tuli, Alesana Mailei, Dean Wisdom; Matthew Logopati 3 goals) Akarana Falcons 12 (Taylor Raj, Louis Dehar-Webster, Tevita Tafea)


Playoff: Northern Swords 18 (Taonui Henry 2, Johnny Reg Boyce, Jevahn Apetera; Te Tairawhiti Heanga-Croft 1 goal) Central Vipers 0


Playoff: Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 42 (Jarvis Hemopo 2, Cassius Cowley 2, Te Awa Daniela, Mahaki Jay Hetet-Wairau, Whareporera Hare-Herbert; Tome Poona 6 goals) Wellington Orcas 4 (Natona Taula)


Day 5 Schedule:

7th & 8th playoff: Central Vipers v Wellington Orcas (10:00am)

5th & 6th playoff: Northern Swords v Wai-Coa-Bay Colts (10:00am)

3rd & 4th playoff: Counties Manukau Stingrays v Akarana Falcons (11:30am)

Final: Auckland Vulcans v South Island Scorpions (12:30pm)


17s grade:

Semi-Final: Counties Manukau Stingrays 44 (Sione Moala 2, Xavier Stevens-Teo 2, Soakai Taufa, Taniela Otukolo, Albert Talakai, Mathew Palu; Tyrone Waipouri 6 goals) South Island Scorpions 8 (Elijah Tuhura, Montel Lisula Peppard-Peopaati)


Semi-Final: Akarana Falcons 22 (Naufahu Whyte 2, Seeti Kuresa, TJ Devery, Asolelei Fretton; Samuel Kamu 1 goal) Auckland Vulcans 16 (Tray Lolesio 2, Konrad Tu’ua; Riaihe Jacobs 2 goals)


Playoff: Wellington Orcas 16 (Josiah Lealamisa 2, Rakkahn Chalmers-Miller; Ebenezer Rota 2 goals)

Central Vipers 14 (Joseph Gavigan, Zamaya Lilo-Maru, Tipene Reweti; Potene Rolls-Paewai 1 goal)


Playoff: Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 28 (Connor Dobbyn 2, Jay Te Kani 2, Navarone Walker, Las Filo, Tumatauenga Te Koi; Ceiza James 2 goals) Northern Swords 20 (Kiarn Reihana, Adam Pomare, Klies Kaiarake, Manny Snooks; Eroni Biukoto 2 goals)


Day 5 Schedule: 

7th & 8th playoff: Central Vipers v Northern Swords (9:30am)

5th & 6th playoff: Wellington Orcas v Wai-Coa-Bay Colts (9:30am)

3rd & 4th playoff: Auckland Vulcans v South Island Scorpions (11:00am)

Final: Counties Manukau Stingrays v Akarana Falcons (2:00pm)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Hawke’s Bay Today reporter – Shane Hurndell

Round two of Regional Pool Play throughout the country saw some runaway wins and serious battles up front.

Northern Region

Northland 24 Bay of Plenty 18

The Northern Swords on the road earned a come-from behind win over the Bay of Plenty Lakers thanks to a late try off the back of a 40/20 in the 71st minute to see them leave Rotorua with the 24-18 victory.

Waikato 44 Taranaki 8

Meanwhile over in Ngaruawahia, the Morgan Kutia coached Waikato team asserted their dominance over the Taranaki Sharks in a friendly game, coming away with a 44-8 victory. Waikato look set for a good campaign in the National Premiership this year while Taranaki set-up to take on Manawatu in their next regional pool play game.

Central Region

Wellington 28 Manawatu 26

The weather held off for an exciting game of momentum with both Wellington and Manawatu putting points on the board every chance they got. Wellington were definitely the bigger and faster team but Manawatu were able to hold on with the score 16 ALL at half time.

Both sides came out strong in the second half with the experienced Manaia Osborne leading his Orcas around the park. But, although the Orcas had a strong forward pack, they were up against Shade Heta who played a dominant 80 minutes in the Number 10 jersey.

The nail-biter finished with a 26-28 win to Wellington Orcas after a thrilling 80 minute arm-wrestle.

Next weekend will see Manawatu Mustangs meet Taranaki Sharks at Corbett Park, Oakura, New Plymouth.

Southern Region

Southland Rams 24 West Coast Chargers 18

The Southland Rams put away the West Coast Chargers in a close contest, winning 24-18 on Saturday at Wingham Park.

A hard-fought opening to the match saw the Southland Rams capitalise on their weight of possession and open the scoring through Ramera Chambers, putting them ahead 4 – 0. A gutsy performance from West Coast had them turning up for each other on defence time and time again, but it was their discipline that ultimately let them down.

Coach of the Southland Rams Te Iwi Wairau was happy with his side’s second half making only eight errors. His stand-out players included Karradine Neilson and Rangi Rogers who had great runs from the back.

Aoraki Eels 42 Tasman Titans 16

The Aoraki Eels got their 2018 campaign underway with a 42-16 win.

The tight exchanges early in the contest made for a relatively uneventful first half scoring wise, but the in-roads were being made in terms of pressure and fatigue.

In the second half, the Eels started to dominate the middles and made good metres, controlling the majority of possession. The Eels backs attacked the space on the edges when the ball came their way, although they missed some opportunities through a lack of patience. The forwards’ strong ball carries allowed the backs plenty of chances to finish with strong running, and Nathan Robinson’s sharp kicking game.

Josh Craig was a stand-out at fullback and kept talking to the defensive line from the back. Carol Ikiua was a powerhouse with his propping partner Jesse Macdonald, both leading from the front making metres and strong defense.

Otago Whalers BYE



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

Duane’s acceptance of the role renews his association with Canterbury Rugby League, having been employed as General Manager from 2004-08. It also extends his long involvement in rugby league – Duane has managed NZ Army, Junior Kiwis and NZ Residents teams, while he was the Whangarei-based General Manager of Rugby League Northland from late-2015 until early-2018.

Returning to the region in March, Duane comes to Canterbury Rugby League after a sixmonth stint as CEO at Touch Canterbury.

Duane has held leadership roles in the not-for-profit and business sectors, both as a volunteer and in a professional capacity, for the past 15 years. Duane brings vast and valuable experience in sports administration into the role, as well as a deep understanding of rugby league at all levels.

Duane will start in the position with CRL in early-September.

“CRL are very fortunate to obtain Duane for the CEO role, where he can bring both rugby league knowledge and business background to the game,” CRL Board Chairman Simon Doig said.

“Duane will be working closely with the clubs and key stakeholders in developing the new strategy forward for Canterbury Rugby League in the first few months.”

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

By Tasman Rugby League


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

By Rotorua Daily Post – David Beck

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

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

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

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

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

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

To replay the Wellington Grand Final which Whiti Te Ra took out 26-20 against the Victoria Hunters, watch the livestream below.

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

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

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

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

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

This includes:

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

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

To complete the 2018 survey, click here

The 2017 full report for NZRL can be found here.


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



He only started his coaching career this year, but already Haze Reweti has made a big impression.

After taking his Whanganui Boxon team to the grand final of the Taranaki Rugby League Paddock To Plate Butchery Premiership, Reweti has been named coach of the Manawatū Mustangs.

Reweti has named a 25 man squad made up of Boxon and Linton Cobra’s players, set to take on Taranaki and Wellington in August.

“Looking at the team, this is a strong side,” Reweti said.

“I’ve chosen a team that is not just talented, but they’re smart footballers. They can adapt to what I’m trying to teach.”

The 22-year-old said that he would approach coaching the Mustangs the same way as he did with Boxon, using the things that worked for his side and tweaking things that didn’t.

“Obviously we don’t have a big player pool to choose from, so the smart option is to run with what a lot of the boys already know and what they’ve used in past years.”

“I encouraged my boys all year to earn an opportunity to play for teams like Mustangs or Maori and I told them if they get that opportunity, to jump on it.

“This is a high level of football, they’ll learn a lot more and come back and be much better players next year.”

Two years ago, Reweti was playing in the halves for Boxon and the Mustangs, but last year a serious injury in Australia put his playing career on hold.

He is currently rehabbing a torn ACL and meniscus with the intention of getting back out on the field next year – but that doesn’t mean that the coaching stops.

“Coaching is something that I really enjoy, especially because I can’t play at the moment, so, hopefully I can continue to do it and get some playing time in as well,” Reweti said.

“It’s hard not being able to play, but coaching helps you, it keeps me involved and things haven’t been so tough.”

Reweti had his first taste of bitter defeat when his Boxon side lost 42-34 to Bell Block Marist Dragons in the TRL grand final, but he has learned a lot in a short space of time.

“I’ve learned to relax and not be so stressed out. At the start of the year, I knew what I wanted from the boys, but I struggled with getting my messages across.

“Now, I wouldn’t say I’m good at it, but I’ve become a lot better.”

Reweti decided that he would like a crack at coaching the Mustangs halfway through the TRL season.

“It was something I knew that I wanted to do, so I put an application in and was lucky enough to get the job.

“It’s a rewarding job, you get to see people grow and I really enjoy that.”

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

This includes:

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

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

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

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

The 2017 full report for NZRL can be found here.

The Otago Rugby League grand final is on this weekend at the University Oval no.5 in Dunedin just across the road from Forsyth Barr Stadium.

After a very competitive season the top two teams who have emerged are the South Pacific Raiders and the Bears. The South Pacific Raiders upset all calculations winning the minor and major semi finals to take their place in the final. The Bears, in their first year in the competition have been very competitive all year and deserving of their place as top qualifiers.

The Southern Zone and NZRL in conjunction with Its Not Ok are going to provide live streaming of the game which can be found on the Southern Zone Facebook page. The live streaming of the game is a new innivation for the Southern Zone and with the success of the live stream on the Southland final two weeks ago is eagerly awaited by rugby league fans.

At the venue, supporters and their families will be able to enjoy the occasion with the provision of a bouncy castle for young children thanks to the Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence and with NZRL partner Pirtek bringing its roadshow to the event with giveaways and game day promotions going on at the ground.

It will be a real festival occasion and is open to all to attend.

We are hitting the road and bringing grassroots livestreams to your backyard showcasing a variety of New Zealand’s regional rugby league talents.

Stay tuned on the New Zealand Rugby League Facebook page each weekend to catch finals actions. First up we will be in New Plymouth for the Paddock to Plate Butchery Taranaki Rugby League Premiership Grand Final.

Keep an eye out for the team from Pirtek who will also be at each game giving away lots of freebies.

  • Otago Premier Men’s Final – July 7 University Oval 5 Livestream from 2pm
  • Northland Premier Men & Womens Final – July 28/29
  • Wellington Premier Men’s Final – August 4
  • Waikato Premier Men’s Final – August 11
  • Bay of Plenty v Northland Premiership Qualified – August 18
  • Canterbury Premier Men & Womens Final – August 26



The Southern Zone Development Camp which is a key component of the Southern Zone Development plan and pathways, was held for 2018 at St Thomas College in Christchurch. This camp saw 75 talented 14, 16 and 18-year-old players from throughout the South Island receiving expert tuition, information and advice across a range of topics that will help them to achieve their potential.

The programme was delivered by key personnel from the Zone supported by the NZRL with David McMeeken, the National Talent Manager and Nigel Vagana, the NZRL WellBeing Manager in attendance. The programme covered the areas of skill development, tactical appreciation, performance analysis, positional roles, nutrition, goal setting and smart training principles. Players were also fitness tested to assess their current level of fitness.

The camp culminated in a game where the players were able to put into practice some of what they had learnt. At the end of the camp they were issued with a comprehensive training diary which contained all the information presented to them.

Whilst the aim was to provide development for the players attending, a secondary and just as important outcome will be those in attendance taking what they have learned back to their club teams to share with their teammates and coaches.

The next focus of the Southern Zone Development programme will be the South Island 15s and 17s Tournament to be held in July in Greymouth. South Island 15s and 17s Scorpions squads will be picked from this tournament to prepare for the National Youth Tournament in October in Rotorua.

Southern Zone is grateful for the many coaches, trainers, a managers and presenters for giving their time to make this camp possible. There is no doubt that the boys who attended will have all learnt a lot.

The Southern Zone Rugby League Board wishes to formally advise that the Southern Zone Rugby League Inc. Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 16 May 2018 in Christchurch starting at 7.30pm following the Canterbury Rugby League AGM at the Canterbury Tennis Rooms, 113 Woodham Rd, Linwood, Christchurch. The Annual General Meeting is called in accordance with the SZRL Constitution section 13.3 – Notice of Annual Meetings.

Please note that the business of the AGM is as follows:

1. Receive and adopt the Annual Report and audited annual statement of accounts for the past year.

2. Appoint a representative to the Appointments Panel.

3. Elect a President.

4. Any other business of which at least twenty (20) Business Days notice has been given in writing.

The Southern Zone is seeking nominations for a club representative to be on the Appointments Panel for the appointment of Directors for the Southern Zone for appointments to be made in 2019.

Nominations from clubs and or districts for the representative must be sent to the General Manager Southern Zone as soon as possible to the address below or by email. This position needs to be approved by members at the upcoming AGM.

The annual accounts, Chairman’s and GM’s reports will be sent out soon with proxy papers for clubs and districts unable to attend the AGM.

Steve Martin
General Manager
Southern Zone RL
PO Box 969
021 271 6975

The New Zealand Rugby League supports the Sports Tribunal in reiterating the high obligation placed on all sports participants and officials not to in any way encourage or facilitate the breaching of a period of ineligibility by allowing a banned player to take part in competitive sport.

This week’s Sports Tribunal decisions come as a timely reminder for rugby league support staff that they too are subject to Sports Anti-Doping Rules.

NZRL works alongside Drug Free Sport New Zealand to ensure our athletes receive education and are pointed to the DFSNZ resources and information outlining their obligations and responsibilities.

This includes seminars for all high performance and age-group national representative teams and staff. See below, two cases involving Mr Parata and Mr Ngatoko from the Sports Tribunal that support the above messaging. The NZRL have offered Mr Parata and Mr Ngatoko Wellbeing support from local and national support services and specialists to assist them through this period.

Rugby League coach suspended for 12 months for playing a banned player

The Sports Tribunal has suspended Taranaki rugby league coach Nohorua Parata for assisting
Travell Ngatoko to play a game of rugby league last year while Mr Ngatoko was serving a ban
for a previous anti-doping violation.

In February 2017 Mr Ngatoko was suspended from all involvement in the sport for six months
effective until 3 May 2017. On 18 March 2017 Mr Ngatoko played a pre-season game for the
Coastal Cobras at Okato in Taranaki. Mr Parata was the coach of the Cobras team and, despite
knowing Mr Ngatoko was still banned, he allowed him to play and entered Mr Ngatoko on the
team card under another name.

Assisting, encouraging or helping a player participate in a sport while they are banned is in breach
of Rule 2.9 under the Sports Anti-Doping Rules (SADR). Mr Parata admitted the violation but
asked to be heard as to the appropriate sanction, which under the SADR 10.3.4 is a period of
ineligibility of between two and four years, subject to the person’s degree of fault.

The mandatory minimum period of two years was adopted as the starting point and then reduced
to 12 months for timely admission. The period of suspension commenced on 28 February 2018.
The Tribunal considered that Mr Parata was also entitled to be credited for the three months’
period of provisional suspension that he had already served. Consequently, he is ineligible to
participate in rugby league or any other sport until 30 November 2018.

The Tribunal noted that while Mr Parata may have only been trying to pull together a side to play
a visiting team in a pre-season game, he was still in breach of the high obligation placed on all
sports participants and officials not to in any way encourage or facilitate the breaching of a period
of ineligibility by allowing a banned player to take part in competitive sport.

Rugby League player suspended for further four months for playing while banned

The Sports Tribunal has suspended rugby league player Travell Ngatoko for a further four months
for playing in a rugby league game last year while serving a ban for a previous anti-doping
violation. In February 2017 Mr Ngatoko was suspended from all involvement in the sport until 3
May 2017. On 18 March 2017 he took part in a pre-season game for the Coastal Cobras at
Okato in Taranaki. Playing while banned is an offence under the Sports Anti-Doping Rules
(SADR) 10.12.1.

Mr Ngatoko admitted the violation but asked to be heard as to the appropriate sanction, which
under the SADR is a further suspension equal in length to the one imposed earlier. This may be
adjusted based on the player’s degree of fault and other circumstances of the case.

Mr Ngatoko said he knew he was banned at the time, but he was encouraged to play the match
by his coach and he was assured by a Taranaki Rugby League Board member on the day that it
would be ok to play. Mr Ngatoko said he had never been advised what he could and could not
do while banned. He stated that had he known he could not play in a pre-season game he would
not have done so.

The Tribunal said that athletes have “personal responsibilities to make themselves aware of their
obligations in relation to the anti-drug regime, particularly where (as in Mr Ngatoko’s case) he
has already been found to have infringed the rules.” The Tribunal said Mr Ngatoko should have
taken steps and requested information to ensure he understood the effect of the ban. After taking
account of the evidence presented at the hearing, the Tribunal decided that the mandatory period
of ineligibility of six months prescribed by Rule 10.12.3 would be reduced to four months,
operative from 28 February 2018. Mr Ngatoko was credited for his early admission of fault and

Further, the Tribunal considered the fact the season comprises of two halves, the second of
which are representative games with selection based on performance in the first half of the
season. The Tribunal concluded it would be “disproportionate and unfair” if because of the timing
of the proceedings Mr Ngatoko missed the opportunity to obtain representative selection.

Mr Ngatoko was given credit for having already served three months’ provisional suspension
from 29 November 2017 to 28 February 2018. The Tribunal concluded that the four months
period of ineligibility would enable Mr Ngatoko to begin playing from the beginning of the season
in April and ensure Mr Ngatoko would have the opportunity to be considered for selection for the
representative matches in the second half of the season. Accordingly, Mr Ngatoko will remain
ineligible from all competitive sport for a further period of one month until 31 March 2018.

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

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

A job description is available on request.

Please apply by sending a covering letter and CV to:

General Manager
Southern Zone Rugby League
PO Box 969


Applications close at 5pm on Friday 23rd March 2018

Established in 2009, Upper Central Zone Rugby League (UCZ) is a non-profit organisation made up of four District Leagues, three Referee Associations and has 44 clubs, over 6,200 registered players and some exceptional volunteers.

As the Zonal body of the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) our purpose is to lead, develop, foster and promote Rugby League in conjunction with the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Coastline and Gisborne Tairawhiti Districts. Our goal is to work collaboratively with a range of partners to create the best platform for Rugby League to grow and excel.

Our philosophy is simple; we believe sport should be a fun and positive experience for everyone involved. We are currently working with the NZRL, Regional Sports Trusts, District Leagues and Clubs, to ensure that our future has a solid platform, and is encouraging success from the grassroots to the top of the game.

About the role

The Upper Central Zone Rugby League is in search of a “smooth operator”. With our annual calendar full of activities and events, we are looking for an enthusiastic professional who will manage the delivery of key Rugby League events and the general operational needs of the organisation.

This role requires someone who can take an idea, develop the plan and execute it with precision.

We invite applications from people who demonstrate:

Leadership in a team environment.
Strong project and event management skills and experience in managing volunteers.
High levels of organisational, administrative, planning and reporting skills.
A meticulous eye for detail.
Outstanding communication and networking competencies.
Confidence in presenting to large groups.
Good customer service skills (listening, communication and mediation skills).
Ability to remain calm and perform under pressure while managing a busy workload.
Ability to work well as part of a team and willing to “get your hands dirty”.
A “get the job done” attitude.

For a Job Description or any enquiries should be directed to Mel Bennett – General Manager,

Click here to apply.

Applications close at 12.00pm, Friday 2nd March. Successful applicants will be interviewed on Wednesday 7th or Thursday 8th of March at Sport Bay of Plenty in Tauranga.

Skills and experience


Strong project management skills and experience in managing volunteers.
High levels of organisational, administrative, planning and reporting skills.
Outstanding communication and networking competencies.
Follows and understands the importance of safe financial management practices.
Good customer service skills (listening, communication and mediation skills).
Able to remain calm and perform under pressure.
Able to work well as part of a team and/or unsupervised.


Tertiary qualification in preferably sport management, event management or relevant experience.
Experience in project and event management.

For the third year, New Zealand Rugby League has taken part in Sport New Zealand’s Voice of the Participants survey that aims to understand what is important to rugby league players and how our clubs are performing.

The purpose of the survey is to provide New Zealand Rugby League and its clubs with an understanding of the experiences received within the clubs. The purpose being to better the experience for all those involved in rugby league in order to retain and grow participation in rugby league through clubs.

Over 1200 people participated in the national survey providing these initial findings:

– Four in five (78%) of rugby league respondents indicated they are likely or very likely to rejoin their current club next season
– 65% of those surveyed indicated that they were very or extremely satisfied with the overall experience of playing rugby league at their club. This was the highest satisfaction rate of all sports who participated in the national survey
– 67% of respondents said they were likely to recommend their club to someone else
– 72% of players felt that their club encourages good sportsmanship and fair play

Feedback also helped to identify some areas for improvement which would enhance club members’ experiences:

– To ensure there are more opportunities to support volunteers (match officials, coaches etc) for further upskill and experience
– To provide a welcoming environment and a place that people want to be a part of (e.g clean and well maintained facilities, introduction flyers, meeting club committee members)

As a result, New Zealand Rugby League have:
– Further invested in the educator programme (coach educators and referee coaches) strengthening the pathways for volunteers
Rolled out the ACC LeagueSmart course that provides online support for volunteers
– With the support of the crown agencies, made a slight adjustment to the ‘Be a Sport’ programme to ‘Be a Good Sport’ to further promote parental understanding around appropriate sideline behaviour, smoke free and alcohol free sidelines (Click here for Good Sports resources)
-Worked with rugby league staff throughout NZ to enable them to support their clubs with junior programmes such as Backyard League, Volunteer Engagement Strategies and planning and budgeting documents.

The feedback received through these surveys proves invaluable for New Zealand Rugby League to continue improving our sport at its grassroots level.

The full report for NZRL can be found here.

Following a massive season with the Melbourne Storm, Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Kiwi #804) burst onto the international rugby league scene with the Kiwis in 2017. His physicality turned heads at the Rugby League World Cup and has earned him a spot as a finalist for both Kiwis Rookie of the Year and Kiwis Player of the Year.

Finalists have been selected in all 12 NZRL Awards categories, with winners to be announced at an Auckland function on February 10.

Kiwis stalwart Simon Mannering (Kiwi #731) joins Asofa-Solomona and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Kiwi #779) as finalists for the top award while Asofa-Solomona will also face-off for the Kiwis Rookie of the Year title.

The Women’s Player of the Year award will be another heavily contested category with hard-hitter Teuila Fotu-Moala, Women’s Rugby League World Cup Player of the Tournament up against Kiwi Ferns hooker Krystal Rota and fullback Apii Nicholls-Pualau. Rota’s 2017 Auckland Player of the Year accolade will see her as a strong contender as well as Nicholls-Pualau’s dominance at the back for the Kiwi Ferns Rugby League World Cup campaign.

A special recognition award will also honour an individual’s service to the women’s game.

The full list of NZRL Awards finalists is:

Pirtek Female Volunteer – Naioma Chase (Dannevirke Rugby League/Mid Central), Sonyia Anania (Glenora Bears/Akarana), Fipe Fa’amoe Ione(He Tauua/Southern), Alana Lockhurst (Cooks Rugby League/Sothern), Sandra Hickey (Physical Disability RL/Akarana), Jasmine Tuli (Linwood Keas/Sothern), Victoria Malone (Marist Saints/Akarana), Karla Matua (Manurewa Marlins/Counties Manukau), Chantez Connor (Otaika Eagles/Northland), Nicole Baker-Havea (Otahuhu Rugby League/Counties Manukau)

Pirtek Male Volunteer – Nathan Robinson (Country Cowboys/Aoraki/Southern), James Waetford (Ellerslie Eagles/Akarana), Will Harris (Wairau Taniwha/Sotuhern), Willy Simon (Hornby Panthers/Southern), Lawrence Erihe (Linton Cobras/Mid Central), Jack Newson (Hornby Panthers/Southern), Riki Shelford (Portland Rugby League/Northland), Jim Doolan (Otara Scorpians/Counties Manukau), Dennis Stewart (Trentham Titans/Wellington)

Grassroots Club – Northcote Tigers (Akarana), Taniwharau (Upper Central), Dannevirke (Mid Central)

Domestic Coach – Rusty Matua (Auckland), Morgan Kutia (Waikato), Rod Ratu (Auckland)

Referee – Jason Wilson (Canterbury), Chris McMillan (Auckland)

Domestic Player 16s –
Christian Tuipulotu (Akarana), Caius Fa’atili (Southern), Sione Moala (Counties Manukau),

Domestic Player 18s
– Steven Marsters (St George Illawara), Tyler Slade (NZ Warriors),
Seth Tauamiti (Southern), Jonathan Aumua Falelua-Malio (Akarana)

Domestic Player Premier
– Aaron Jolley (Waikato/Hamilton City Tigers), Daniel Reuelu-Buchanan (Akarana Falcons/Glenora Bears), Phil Kingi (Akarana Falcons/Glenora Bears)

Junior Player – Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Isaiah Papali’I (NZ Warriors)

Kiwis Rookie – Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm), Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters)

Women’s Player – Teuila Fotu-Moala (Otahuhu Leopards/Counties Manukau), Krystal Rota (Manurewa Marlins/Counties Manukau), Apii Nicholls-Pualau (Manurewa Marlins/Counties Manukau)

Kiwis Player –
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (NZ Warriors), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm)



Rugby league is a sport for all New Zealanders, played from the grassroots level to the international stage. The sport is ‘more than just a game’; it is part of the social fabric of our country and has a critical role in developing young men and women in some of our most at risk communities. Rugby League Zones are regional based organisations formed to lead, develop, promote and foster Rugby League in the regions.

Zones’ primary responsibilities include:

(a) Administration: to administer, promote and develop the game of Rugby League in the Zone’s geographic area;
(b) Competitions: to hold such regular competitions in the Zone’s geographic area as are able to foster Rugby League with a meaningful competition;
(c) Representative Teams: to operate the representative teams in the National Competitions);
(d) Guidance and Leadership: to provide guidance and exercise leadership in relation to Clubs & Districts and their members under its authority;
(e) Support: to provide support to the activities of any Associate within its geographic region;
(f) Fiscal Management and Sporting Practices: to encourage and support good fiscal management and sporting practices by all persons under its authority; and
(g) Pathways: to facilitate representative pathways for players to compete in national competitions at various levels.

For more information on the organisations, please visit

We’re looking for individuals keen to make a difference to Rugby League in our community. Consequently, Appointed Board Member vacancies for 2018 are as follows:

Northland Zone
4 vacancies
Preferred backgrounds include strategic thinking, financial management, broad networks, planning skills and understanding organisational structures & systems.

Akarana Zone
2 vacancies (1 incumbent re-standing)
Preferred backgrounds include digital and marketing skills.

Counties Manukau Zone
1 vacancy (1 incumbent re-standing)
Preferred background includes strong leadership, vision, business acumen, good negotiator and knowledgeable of the community game & needs.

Upper Central Zone
2 vacancies
Preferred backgrounds include governance skills (ideally in sport), fundraising and HR skills. Must be regularly available and committed to the role.

Mid Central Zone
2 vacancies
Preferred backgrounds include sponsorship, revenue generation and marketing. Financial reporting skills would also be valuable as well as board chairing experience.

Wellington Zone
4 vacancies
Preferred backgrounds include change management, commercial business skills (ability to work ‘on’ rather than ‘in’) and ideally some skills in service design / systems thinking.

Southern Zone
2 vacancies (2 incumbents re-standing)
Preferred backgrounds include financial and business planning skills, strategy and relationship management skills.

Person Specification
All board members need to understand confidentiality, be collaborative in nature, possess sound judgment and be able to demonstrate leadership ability.

Other background and skills that make for strong directors include:

• prior governance experience
• knowledge of, and experience in, the sport of Rugby League
• knowledge of community-based programmes and work with central and local government agencies and commercial sponsors
• occupational skills, abilities and experience
• awareness of conflicts of interest
• general skills in commerce, finance, marketing and business

An appointments panel has been convened to assess applicants, undertake interviews and recommend appointments.

To Apply

To apply for these roles please do so online at (brief registration required). For further information on the role please contact the organisation’s adviser, Simon Telfer, via

The closing date for applications for all Appointed Director positions is 5.00pm on 9 February 2018.


The key role of this position is in promoting and supporting the rugby league communities throughout the Mid Central Zone; its districts are Manawatu, Whanganui, Taranaki and Hawkes Bay. The focus is to develop the game, deliver our core strategies and increase participation. In addition to oversee the newly established rugby league academies throughout the zone.

The ideal candidate would be able to maintain and build relationships with all MCZ stakeholders; districts, clubs, the Rugby League communities and in addition have;

 A proven track record developing and maintain positive working relationships with diverse stakeholder groups
 clear knowledge of the game of rugby league
 The ability to think outside the box and create opportunities to build participation
 The drive to work autonomously and be enthusiastic to work within a team
 The ability to work a 40 hour week with some weekends included
 This role requires significant travel and the need to stay overnight on occasions

We will provide: Competitive salary, phone and vehicle. To Apply Send your detailed C.V and a cover letter to Closing Date of Applications:
Monday 18/12/2017; 4pm.

What’s the situation?
The board of Wellington Rugby League has been busy developing its strategic plan aimed at growing Rugby League in the greater Wellington region. We have great relationships with our key stakeholders and are about to renew our MOU with Sport Wellington.
It’s a great time to join us as our new General Manager who will work with the board and staff to move the game forward in leaps and bounds, implementing our new strategy and driving the success train forward.
The strategy is in place, we know what we want to achieve; you’ll be joining us to work out exactly how we achieve it, implement it and smash it!

Are you our GM?
This is a key role promoting and supporting rugby league communities throughout the Wellington region to develop the game, deliver our core strategies and increase participation. Although experience with Rugby League isn’t essential, as a New Zealander, you probably care a great deal about the game and sport in general.

You’ll understand the challenges here in Wellington and the importance of having amazing relationships with all your stakeholders; the clubs, fundraisers and of course Rugby League itself.

It goes without saying that you’ll have a strong work ethic and willingness to ‘roll your sleeves up’ to get the job done with limited resources. You’ll also likely have:
• An appreciation of the strategic issues facing sport and the potential for Rugby League to add value to the communities the game serves.
• A proven track record developing and maintain positive working relationships with diverse stakeholder groups.
• Sound working knowledge of financial reporting and performance management processes in order to provide competent operational management of the Wellington Zone.
• An ability to drive change and positively influence culture.
• The ability to maximise revenue generation opportunities via understanding of the sponsorship and/or funding sectors (marketing experience would be an advantage).
• Experience managing staff, volunteers and contractors with a leadership record.

What’s in it for you?
So you’re keen (as you should be), it sounds like a great opportunity, so you’re wondering “what’s in it for me?” If having the opportunity to really make your mark, surrounded by other like-minded sporting people as you establish your own brand and leadership through Rugby League here in Wellington isn’t enough, how about adding a company car and phone to the mix? You’ll receive a competitive salary along with the satisfaction of doing something you love on a daily basis.

To apply:
Have we just described your dream job? Has your stomach done that little flip of excitement it does when you finally find what you’ve been looking for? Do you have the experience and the drive we need to make this work?
If so, send your detailed C.V and a cover letter to If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us, whether it’s to talk about the role in general or to discuss salary – we want to hear from you!