03 September 2021

The Government’s extension of Alert Level 4 in the Auckland region for another 2 weeks until at least 14 September has now forced the cancellation of the remainder of the season for all Auckland Rugby League grades.

The decision which has been endorsed by the ARL Board of Directors – means all competition grades

from U13 up to the SAS Fox Memorial premiership are now cancelled, with mini/mod (U6-U12) grades having already been cancelled last week.

No winners will be declared for any competition grade.

Auckland Rugby League CEO Greg Whaiapu said as well as running out of time to safely complete the season before the impending New Zealand Rugby League National Competitions and the start of the summer sports season, the ARL has an obligation to prioritise the health and safety of all participants.

“It’s unfortunate news to be delivering and an outcome none of us wanted,” Whaiapu said.

“In making this decision we considered, among other things, the fact that teams have not been able to complete contact training for what is currently several weeks due to the restrictions in place, and therefore would be put at a higher risk of suffering injury if asked to return straight into games”.

“While we pushed the proposed return to play dates out as far as we could, the reality is there is no longer enough weeks left to safely complete our season either.

“At this point I’d like to acknowledge the work of our clubs and the people involved with them, through what has been another challenging year for everyone.”

This cancellation applies to club grades only and at this stage does not impact planned Auckland Rugby League National representative games or Kiwi Tag modules scheduled for later in the year.

15 July 2021

The Auckland Rugby League will work alongside the Vodafone Warriors and New Zealand Rugby League to deliver a two-day coaching programme, utilising the collective knowledge and resources of all three organisations. 

The WNA Coach Development Programme will be hosted at the home of the Vodafone Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday, July 25 and Sunday, August 1.

The programme is open to anyone currently coaching an international grade (U13-U20) side, with spots limited and restricted to those who express their interest and confirm they are available to attend both days. 

Click here to express interest in attending

ARL coaching and development manager Viggo Rasmussen said it’s a unique opportunity for attendees.

“Between the three organisations there is a wealth of coaching experience and knowledge that will be hugely beneficial to local coaches,” Rasmussen said.

“In addition to the other courses and workshops the ARL have in place, this is another initiative which strengthens our coaching pathway in Auckland.

“We are excited to be working alongside the NZRL and Vodafone Warriors on this programme.” 

Vodafone Warriors pathways and development coach Tony Iro said the club was looking forward to working with the New Zealand Rugby League and the Auckland Rugby League on the joint initiative.

“Stacey (Jones) and I will present the football fundamental side of it while Dan and Viggo will do the coach planning, philosophy, coaching styles and so on,” he said.

“The idea is to expand this next year to include more footy knowledge sessions for coaches who are keen and can potentially deliver back to junior coaches at their home clubs.

“We will also be producing a video coaching package for the coaches to use as a resource.”

Dan Keepa, the NZRL national coaching and development manager, added: “The content we have designed for this programme will extend on the coaches growth mindset and rugby league knowledge to complement the up-and-coming talent in the Auckland region,” he said. 

“All three organisations share a very similar coach development philosophy that will help nurture our community coaches to ensure the players have positive experiences in rugby league. The next step will be to take this programme nationally. 

“It is an exciting time to be a rugby league coach.”

30 June 2021

Rugby league has this week lost a precious taonga.

Cathy Friend QSM, the first woman to receive an NZRL Life Membership passed away on Tuesday, June 29

A loved and respected kuia and a stalwart of the game, Cathy’s time in rugby league stretched over seven decades and saw her awarded Life Membership to the Auckland Rugby League, Auckland Māori Rugby League, New Zealand Māori Rugby League and New Zealand Rugby League, becoming the first female inductee of the latter organisation.

A veteran of the Manukau and Otahuhu clubs, Friend started her rugby league career as a teenager working in administration.

She was a driving force behind NZ Maori participation in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup earning the Maori Sports Administrator of the Year.

She has also been awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for her contribution to the game, and in 2017 she became the first-ever kaumātua kuia of the ARL. As of 2019, the award for Auckland’s best female player each year carries her name.  

In more recent years, despite struggles with her health, Cathy remained a valued mentor and sounding board for people across the rugby league landscape and regularly still attended ARL events and club functions.

Much loved wife of the late Ivan Lionel Friend and dearly loved Mother and Mother-in-law of Andrew (Deceased), Carmen and Whetu, Clayton and Joanne, Tony and Gus, Jackie & Neil plus Nana ‘Bubbles’ to many moko.

Bub will be laying in state at Kokako Lodge, 235 Falls Rd, Hunua.

A service for Cathy will be held at the Otahuhu Rugby League Club on Friday 2nd July 2021 at 11am. Then burial at Mangere Lawn Cemetery to follow.”

01 June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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