24 October 2023
The 18s Clubs vs Schools did not disappoint as they put on a stellar afternoon of rugby league.
Clubs were the first to strike as Kayliss Fatialofa created a half chance for Phranklyn Mano-Le-Mamea to finish off.
Schools however hit right back through lock Elijah Leaumoana as he crashed over from dummy half to even the scores. Both teams hung in the wrestle before winger Raphael Sio gave the Clubs side the advantage again, going into the sheds up ten points to six.
Sio carried his scoring form into the second half as he crossed over two minutes into the stanza. The teal outfit then went on a tear, as Mano-Le-Mamea put his edge rower into a hole and backing up to score under the posts.
With Schools under the pumped Rotorua Boys winger Malakai Cama popped up with the ball, beat two defenders and set up centre Kesaia Su’a to reduce the margin to eight. An obstruction by Fatialofa gave the Schools some attacking position and St Paul’s Sio Kali made his way over to put the game within two.
Sensing the moment, a looping pass from MVP Phranklyn Mano-Le-Mamea connected with Kayliss Fatialofa to once again extend the Clubs lead. Although Rodney Tuipulotu-Vea crossed late it wasn’t enough as Clubs ran out 26-22 winners.
23 October 2022
NZ Clubs flawless in their victory over NZ Schools at North Harbour’s QBE Stadium.
Both teams got into the wrestle early but a costly penalty allowed left side centre Paris Pickering to open the games account on the next set.
Clubs winger Kyla Lynch Brown then buffed the advantage as Clubs went up 10-0. Youth Tournament MVP and Counties fullback Tamisha Tulua then found herself in some space as she went under the post, Clubs owning all the ascendency in the first half.
Another set on the School’s line saw Akarana’s Tatiana Finau crash over on the right edge before Paris Pickering finished off a left hand shift to dummy the fullback and put the Clubs side up 28-0 going into the sheds.
Tulua continued where they left off scoring from within a minute of the second half and the Clubs side didn’t look back.
Lynch Brown added to her tally as well as Claudia Finau, Ronise Matini and Kimoana Niupalau as they recorded a famous 50-0 victory.
NZ CLUBS 50
Tries: Pickering, Lynch Brown x2, Tulua x2, T Finau, C Finau, Matini, Niupala
Conversions: T Finau 7/9
NZ SCHOOLS 0
Kiwi Ferns Mya Hill-Moana and Kararaina Wira-Kohu took the opportunity to speak to all three New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) girls’ teams last night ahead of the first-ever national representative matches today at the North Harbour Stadium.
The U16 grade will see Auckland Invitational play against Aotearoa Whaanui at 12.00pm, while the U18 NZRL Clubs and Schools match kicks off at 2.00pm.
Both games are free to attend and LIVE on Sky Sport.
Mya (20), an NRLW Premiership-winner and Māori All Star, started her journey in Huntly at the Taniwharau Rugby League Club before making her way up the ranks in rangatahi (youth) tournaments, Waikato-based competitions and New Zealand Māori Rugby League fixtures.
“It was cool to speak to the girls because it reminded me of where I was at their age and how I started. I felt like I was able to give back to them by talking about my experiences,” Mya said.
“This certain campaign is awesome because it provides our girls with the opportunity to be scouted from everywhere.
“It’s growing the women’s game from a young age and preparing them for what’s to come, they’re already wearing the fern and the kiwi on their uniform this weekend.”
For Kararaina (30), who debuted for the Kiwi Ferns in 2020 v Fetu Samoa, her pathway looked quite different to Mya’s.
“My beginnings were opposite to Mya and I mean that in the most respectful way, where I come from in Northland (Whangarei) it’s union-based,” Kararaina said.
“But it’s nice to see a lot of young girls playing in U14-U18 grades now, making these games a win for women’s rugby league in general. More teams mean more opportunities for girls filtering through these channels.
“This is something we didn’t have when I was playing which is massive for the growth and development of not only players but the staff too.”
NZRL Head of Women’s Rugby League Luisa Avaiki Tavesivesi was a driving force behind the success of these matches, a long-standing dream for the former Kiwi Fern
“It was awesome to hear both Mya and Kat speak not only because they’re playing at the highest level but because they came through their own grassroots routes respectively,” Tavesivesi said.
“The female game is so important to us, with the Kiwi Ferns in mind these pathways have been developed not just for our rangatahi but to improve everyone including coaches, referees and administrators.
“What that means is if our emerging talent, even from the youngest age, get opportunities to develop and be their best in competitive competitions it’s only going to improve our Kiwi Ferns system.
“I’m proud, it’s actually kind of emotional to know our young girls are in a campaign just like we are at the Kiwi Ferns right now.
“There’s also so many obstacles we have had to go through to make these fixtures happen, when you see the product and the players are excited to play it makes all the work worth it.”
The Kiwi Ferns are headed to the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in York, England on Tuesday, October 25.
19 October 2022
This weekend brings us the return of NZRL’s Clubs vs Schools fixture and the introduction of the 16’s Auckland Invitational vs Aotearoa Whaanui representative matchups.
The Labour weekend brings us the first ever 16’s Auckland Invitational vs Aotearoa Whaanui representative game, where the best talent from across the motu face Auckland’s top 17.
Both sides claim considerable talent across their respective squads in a game that sees the young future stars of the game. The Wellington cohort of Billie Va’a, Jayda Maniapoto and Trinity Tauaneai headline an exciting and balanced Aotearoa Whaanui, which has strike all across the park.
Finals MVP Josinah Filisi Tauiliili leads the Auckland Invitational side out after an outstanding performance in the 16’s grand final. She is joined by teammate Danii-Nicole Gray and the exciting Tayla-Benet Masoe, who played at the back for the Auckland Vulcans.
The 16s Auckland Invitational is headlined by Akarana Falcon and Youth Tournament MVP Kaawyn Patterson. A team with strike all over, centre Taipari Wikitera and winger Ezekiel Tavita looked dangerous with every touch. Aotearoa Whaanui is one dominated by a solid Southern Scorpions side. Exciting talent Ezekiel Faga’ieti leads the Aotearoa side, whilst Wellington Orca Maui Winitana-Patelesio directs them around the park.
The 16s Auckland Invitation is headlined by Akarana Falcon and Youth Tournament MVP Kaawyn Patterson. A team that possesses strike across the park, centre Taipari Wikitera and winger Ezekiel Tavita were electric for their sides in the Youth Tournament. The Aotearoa Whaanui outfit is one dominated by the South Island Scorpions. Exciting young talent Ezekiel Fanga’ieti leads the Southern side, whilst Wellington Orca Maui Winitana-Patelesio directs them around the park.
Starting in 2020, the NZRL Clubs vs Schools clash features the best 18s talent Aotearoa offers. Although it was unable to take place in 2021 due to covid-19, it has already seen many of its participants go on to sign with NRL Clubs. Players such as Sam McIntyre (Gold Coast Titans), Daeon Amituanai (Penrith Panthers) and Josiah Karapani (South Sydney Rabbitohs) all found homes in the Telstra Premiership after playing in this match.
The 2022 game will feature an inaugural girl’s clash displaying the depth of the women’s game. NZRL Secondary Schools MVP Sharnyze Pihema headlines the match with Seriah Palepale and Giovanna Suani, also ones to watch for the Schools. The Clubs squad is led by Youth Tournament MVP Tamisha Tulua and Upper Central’s Alexis Tauaneai, who were electric in the girl’s competition.
Secondary Schools and Youth tournament MVPs Wasaike Salabiau and Ben Peni head the boys game that features top talent littered through the sides. South Island’s Oliver Lawry and St Paul’s Sio Kali also show the depth of ability in this matchup.
Squads can be subject to change due to injury*
All games are free to attend and live on Sky Sport!
16s AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL VS AOTEAROA WHAANUI
Auckland Invitational 16 Girls versus Rest of Aotearoa 16 Girls; Sunday 23 October, 12 pm. North Harbour Stadium
AOTEAROA WHAANUI 16 GIRLS
AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL 16 GIRLS
18S CLUBS V SCHOOLS
New Zealand Schools Girls versus New Zealand Clubs Girls; Sunday 23 October, 2 pm. North Harbour Stadium
18 GIRLS NZ CLUBS SQUAD:
18 GIRLS NZ SCHOOLS SQUAD:
Auckland Invitational Boys 16s versus Aotearoa Whaanui Boys 16s; Monday 24 October, 2 pm. North Harbour Stadium
16s AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL VS AOTEAROA WHAANUI
AOTEAROA WHAANUI 16 BOYS
AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL 16 BOYS
New Zealand Schools Boys versus New Zealand Clubs Boys; Monday 24 October, 4 pm. North Harbour Stadium
18 BOYS NZ CLUBS SQUAD:
18 BOYS NZ SCHOOLS SQUAD:
NZRL would like to acknowledge the selection of Leti Jeff Samuela (De La Salle College) who, after an awesome Secondary Schools tournament was named in the NZ Schools team but has unfortunately been to withdraw due to injury.
October 14 2022
The 2022 Boys representative fixtures boast an extreme amount of top talent from across the motu. New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce the return of the Clubs vs Schools match-up and the inaugural 16s Boys Auckland Invitational vs Aotearoa Whaanui. This 16s clash puts the top talent from around Aotearoa up against the melting pot that is Tāmaki Makaurau, whilst the 18s Clubs vs Schools fixture is a combination of the best players in both the NZRL Secondary Schools (SS) and Youth (YT) Tournaments.
The 16s Auckland Invitation is headlined by Akarana Falcon and Youth Tournament MVP Kaawyn Patterson. A team that possesses strike across the park, centre Taipari Wikitera and winger Ezekiel Tavita were electric for their sides in the Youth Tournament. The Aotearoa Whaanui outfit is one dominated by the South Island Scorpions. Exciting young talent Ezekiel Faga’ieti leads the Southern side, whilst Wellington Orca Maui Winitana-Patelesio directs them around the park.
Auckland Rugby League’s Thaine Ashford said, “The quality of rugby league across the Secondary Schools and Youth Tournaments has been exceptional.
Plenty of players outside the Auckland Invitational 18 were unlucky to miss out, but that shows the quality of talent in the ARL competitions and pathways.”
The Clubs vs Schools fixture is littered with outstanding talent across both teams. NZRL SS MVP Waisake Salabiau returns to the rugby league field alongside teammate Malakai Cama; they are joined by St Paul’s Sio Kali and South Island half Oliver Lawry. Not to be outdone, the School’s pack includes Malachi Tony, Elijah Salesa Leaumoana and YT Final MVP Rodney Tuipulotu-Vea. After a strong Youth Tournament, Counties contingent Kayliss Fatialofa, Phranklyn Mano-Le-Mamea, Jarome Falemoe and Ben Peni lead a versatile Clubs side. Scorpion Makaia Taufa slots in at dummy-half, and Team of the Tournament half Afaese Fa’avae leads the squad around the park.
NZRL General Manager of Football & High-Performance Motu Tony stated, “The return of the National Secondary Schools and NZRL National Youth Tournaments, after a Covid-19 enforced hiatus, gave our rangatahi and rugby league community a fantastic opportunity to come together.
“The tournaments showcased the enormous talent we have playing and participating in rugby league, and our inaugural female National Youth Tournament showed that the future of the Kiwi Ferns is bright and exciting.
“The efforts of those who performed exceptionally well in our tournaments have been recognised. They will get another opportunity to connect and compete with the rugby league talent throughout the motu.
I am excited about the talent we have that will compete in these fixtures and also proud that we can offer our young female players a representative opportunity for the first time.”
8 October 2022
After the return of the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) National Secondary Schools Tournament (NSST) and the inaugural NZRL National Girls Youth Tournament, New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce the first-ever 16’s and 18’s Girls representative fixtures. The two-week-long tournaments displayed the growth in the female game, and these fixtures will be another step in the pathway to becoming the next generation of Kiwi Fern talent.
The 16’s age group will see an Auckland Invitational team take on Aotearoa Whaanui, with the match-up displaying the best young talent from across the motu, Whilst in the 18’s, The girls will play out the Clubs vs Schools fixture that began in 2020.
The 16’s game will showcase the talent and depth in the girl’s game. The Wellington cohort of Billie Va’a, Jayda Maniapoto and Trinity Tauaneai headline an exciting and balanced Aotearoa Whaanui, which has strike all across the park.
Finals MVP Josinah Filisi Tauiliili leads her Auckland team out after an outstanding performance in the 16’s grand final. She is joined by teammate Danii-Nicole Gray and the exciting Tayla-Benet Masoe, who played at the back for the Auckland Vulcans.
Auckland Rugby League’s Head of Schools and Female Pathways, Mary Passi, commented on the fixture, “With the increase of numbers in our female game here in Auckland, it’s another great opportunity for our Auckland players to test themselves against the best talent from around Aotearoa. It’s great to see several Auckland players selected across all teams.”
The 18 Clubs vs Schools clash has a plethora of talent littered throughout the fixture. NSST MVP Sharnyze Pihema headlines the School’s squad, which possess many players from both tournaments. School’s fullback Braxton Sorensen-McGee was a standout in both tournaments, as she also led the Counties 16’s to a grand final win. Giovanna Suani and NZRL 16’s Youth Tournament MVP and top try scorer Seriah Palepale also round out a strong Schools squad.
The NZ Clubs outfit can also show off star power throughout their 19. Youth Tournament MVP Tamisha Tulua was outstanding out the back for Counties, and the edge back row of Tatiana and Claudia Finau caused havoc on their way to the 18’s title. Locking up the middle is Upper Central’s Alexis Tauaneai, who was a problem for every team in the competition, using her strength, footwork and distribution ability to be dangerous every time she touched the ball.
Head of Women’s Rugby League, Luisa Avaiki, said, “New Zealand Rugby League intends to enhance female participation and opportunities in our youth grades. It has been such a pleasure to see the success of the inaugural NZRL Girls National Youth Tournament. “
“To have teams from all across the motu attend and represent their zones and districts has been an exciting start to the growth and potential of the youth girls space.”
“The talent on display throughout the week was extraordinary and impressive. It maintains how vital these pathways are for any aspiring young girl who wants to reach higher levels of representation. It is an exciting time for the female game.”
Congratulations to all players and staff selected!
Get down to North Harbour Stadium on October 23, or watch all the action live on Sky Sport!
Auckland Invitational 16 Girls versus Aotearoa Whaanui 16 Girls; Sunday 23 October, 12 pm. North Harbour Stadium
1 October 2022
The Auckland Vulcans have secured promotion into the NZRL Men’s Premiership for next season with a dominant 48-12 win over the Otago Whalers.
Auckland’s account got off in fast fashion, as five-eight Dylan Tavita went over in the early stages. A few minutes later, Tavita turned provider, providing a lovely cross-field kick for Siapo Pasene to score.
Piling on the pressure, Auckland made Otago rue their mistakes as the ball was left for Mose Esera to pick up and put down as the lead grew to 16.
Otago replied through number 10 Cameron Brown, but Auckland hit right back through Esera, who bagged a first-half double.
Final MVP Tevin Arona got the Vulcans going again in the second stanza, supporting through the middle to further the lead.
Otago found a glimmer of hope a few moments later as James Waterson’s fumble in his in-goal saw Samuel Wyber pick up the pieces, but Waterson redeemed himself, finishing off a great left side shift a few sets later.
Tavita scored his second of the match, and two late tries from Pasene and Mike Williams saw the Auckland outfit comfortably make their way into the Men’s Premiership.
AUCKLAND VULCANS 48
Tries: Tavita x2, Pasene x2, Esera x2, Arona, Waterson, Williams
Conversions: Arona 6/9
OTAGO WHALERS 12
Tries: Brown, Wyber
Conversions: Haugh 2/2
The NZRL Men’s Premiership and Championship finals take place this weekend as North Harbour’s QBE Stadium host all four sides.
The Premiership final features a rematch of the round three clash between Akarana and Canterbury, while 2021 National Competition winners Otago face the Auckland Vulcans in a battle for promotion.
After a devasting 50—12 loss, the Canterbury Bulls will need no motivation as they run out onto QBE.
Both teams will be boosted by significant ins, including Daniel Hartley for the Bulls and former Blacktown Workers half Eiden Ackland. The Akarana side is coming into the match-up undefeated and will be looking to repeat their success from 2020 with another NZRL Premiership.
Both teams have talented players to keep an eye on this Saturday. The aforementioned Hartley has been at the forefront of the Canterbury attack, directing and controlling games at will when he has played. Cook Island international Brody Tamarua and former Warriors NSW cup forward Nicholas Halalilo will be looking to continue their form and set a foundation for the Auckland side to take advantage of. Canterbury fullback Etelani Pouli will also be looking to create trouble on the fringes through his strength and speed with the ball.
The Championship final will be hotly contested as Otago secured their spot in the match-up last week against Southland. The 2021 NZRL Men’s Competition winners will look to take that momentum into this match-up against an experienced and talented Vulcans side.
Former Canterbury and Cook Islands standout Tevin Arona will be looking to steer the Auckland side after a standout round-robin. Otago’s Kiardyn Hatch is also one to watch; the young South Island centre knows where the try line is and will be looking to add another to his tally.
Get down to QBE or watch live on Sky Sport!
AUCKLAND VULCANS v OTAGO WHALERS – 11:05 am
AKARANA FALCONS v CANTERBURY BULLS – 01:05 pm
24 September 2022
FMG Stadium hosted the NZRL Women’s Championship final as the Wellington Orcas met the Auckland Orcas.
Wellington started hot out of the gates as Wellington standout Sarahcen Oliver finished off a right-side overlap to open up the Orca’s account.
A game that favoured the tough wrestle, late footwork and strength saw Oliver cross for a double as Wellington pushed the game out to 10-0.
In a half that Wellington took by storm, the Vulcans were the last to score, with Lanulangi Veainu finishing off a right side shift and swinging the momentum into Auckland’s favour. Mollie Tagaloa could not convert as Wellington took a 10-4 lead into the break.
The Vulcans came out of the second half with a point to prove, and within three minutes, former Kiwi Fern Sharliz White scored down the Orca’s left channel once again.
Auckland quickly asserted their dominance in the second half as Talei Kidd went over, finishing a lovely move down the left-hand side. Shortly after, Final MVP Cesca Luafalealo sliced through the Wellington defence putting Auckland in striking distance. On the next play, a great line from Harono Te Iringa saw her stretch the advantage to eight points.
Not going away, a move from inside their own half saw Wainuiomata’s Tyler Bentley cross the chalk after great interplay between her and Kayla Faitele. However, sloppy errors from the restart afforded the Vulcans field position, and the Auckland side punished them. Number 21 Sapphire Abraham went in from close distance, pushing the lead back to eight.
A late surge from the Orca’s side saw veteran Brooke Tauaneai clean up the ball to score, to a grandstand finish. The Vulcans showed determination, absorbing multiple sets on their line to see the game 22-18.
AUCKLAND VULCANS 22
Tries: Veainu, White, Kidd, Luafalealo, Abraham.
Conversion: Tagaloa 0/3, Abraham 1/2
WELLINGTON ORCAS 18
Tries: Oliver x2, Bentley, Tauaneai
Conversions: Ruaporo 1/4
FINAL MVP – CESCA LUAFALEALO
April 3 2022
Counties travelled to Christchurch’s Nga Puna Wai to take on competition leaders South Island.
Early errors from the home side saw immediate points for the Auckland outfit as Timothy Tiatia finished in style crossing over in the corner. Five minutes later South Island struck back as an attacking kick from Oliver Lawry ricocheted into the hands of Jacob Lowe as he went under the posts. Halbert-Pere added the extras to put them up 6-4 early.
Off the ensuing kick off South Island charged down the field and put their stamp on the game scoring through number 14 Taani Fangupo, making the score 10-4. Not done yet, South Island halfway through the first half again found themselves in open space only for Tiatia to save a try for Counties Manukau. Counties scored with five minutes left in the half through Samuel Hansen as the score saw 10-8 going into the halftime break.
Only minutes into the second stanza South Island half Makaia Tafua forced his way over as they extended their advantage to six points. The second half was defined by the stifling defense from South Island who held Counties out on multiple occasions, not budging on their own line. These defensive sets were the foundation for number 11 Tupou Kaufononga and centre Siaki’s second half tries, completing an all-round performance.
With seven minutes remaining, Counties scored a consolation as Hansen grabbed his second, with the fulltime score reading 24-12 to the home side.
SOUTH ISLAND 24
Tries – Jacob Lowe, Taani Fangupo, Makaia Tafua, Tupou Kaufononga, Vaione Siaki
Conversions – Mata Halbert-Pere 2/5
COUNTIES MANUKAU 12
Tries – Timothy Tiatia, Samuel Hansen (x2)
Conversions – Teariki Ford 0/3
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.
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.
26 February 2021
New Zealand Rugby League and Auckland Rugby League have collaborated to design a new approach to junior rugby league, which will see significant changes come into effect from this year.
After working alongside the NZRL to set out the vision for junior league in the country, the ARL will rollout the new Junior Development Framework (JDF) in full for all mini/mod (U6-U12) grades in 2021.
Supported by the NZRL, the ARL has piloted aspects of the framework in various children’s grades in Auckland since 2017, seeking consultation from local coaches, players, managers and club chairs along the way.
While the ARL will implement the new JDF immediately, the NZRL will be adopting a staggered approach with their regions in the rollout of the new framework.
The biggest changes are in the U6 grade where children have their first experience of organised rugby league.
Under the JDF the first eight weeks of the U6 season will be played under League Tag (non-contact) rules, while come the second half of the season teams will have the choice of continuing to play League Tag or to switch to traditional contact rugby league.
For that grade it will be mandatory for coaches to deliver a six-week tackle confidence programme through the opening two months of the season, regardless of which form of the game they choose for the second part of the year.
In relation to skill development and encouraging decision making in the formative years, a crucial aspect is the introduction of first-receiver bibs for the U8-U12 grades, with dummy-half bibs also being used from the U9-U12 grades.
Both bibs allow the player wearing it to run, score and be tackled without two passes being required or a change of possession being triggered (normal mini-mod rules state that two passes must be achieved to retain possession).
ARL game development and participation manager Sam Cawdron said the framework was about evolving the game to suit the attitudes and needs of those involved at junior levels.
“The JDF is heavily geared towards teaching safer tackling and giving kids confidence in contact, along with encouraging skill development, decision making and a learning and play-orientated approach for our youngest players,” Cawdron said. “The move to introduce League Tag for the first half of the season for the U6 grade means teams can be put through a tackle confidence programme and then decide whether they are ready to move to contact or want to continue to play League Tag.
“This is to help build confidence and gives kids a chance to learn and be introduced to tackling.
“Providing kids with the option on when to switch over to contact allows them to be develop at their own pace, keeping in mind that current NRL stars such as Shaun Johnson, Benji Marshall and Ryan Papenhuyzen all come from non-contact backgrounds.
“League Tag is going to help open up rugby league to a larger group of the population who are interested in a non-contact activity.”
NZRL general manager of high performance and football, Motu Tony, said the changes are a positive for the game.
“Extensive research and collaboration have gone into this project to ensure that our participants at the Kiwi League Kids level (formerly mini/mod) have a rugby league programme that is enjoyable, safe and helps develop them on and off the field,” Tony said.
“I would particularly like to thank the ARL for their partnership and fantastic work during the three-year pilot programme, which has resulted in an offering that I am sure will be enjoyed by all our KLK participants.”
For further information and coaching resources click here.
Junior Development Framework features outlined:
17 February 2021
Rugby league activity in Auckland may resume as of February 18 provided the strict Level 2 requirements set in place by the New Zealand Government can be followed.
Under Level 2 restrictions, which Auckland will move to from midnight on February 17, gatherings for sport are permitted if limited to groups of 100 or less and physical distancing of two metres for those not on the field is observed.
The requirements outlined here apply to any form of rugby league activity, including trainings, games and other gatherings.
Both electronic and manual contact tracing must be available and placed prominently at the entry point to any facility (indoor and outdoor). Click here to download and learn more about the NZ Covid Tracer app.
Anybody displaying symptoms of sickness, awaiting COVID-19 test results or linked to locations of interest for recent COVID-19 cases of sickness should not participate (or leave home).
High standards of hygiene must be adhered to at any rugby league activity or training, including regular and thorough washing and drying of hands, with hand sanitiser made readily available and used at regular intervals.
If any club, team or individual is not able to comply with the requirements listed below they must not resume rugby league activity.
Click here for full Ministry of Health guidelines and advice.
NZRL is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to update you with the latest information, subject to ongoing Government updates.
Please refer to your appropriate District and Club for more specific information on upcoming competitions and fixtures.
The Auckland Women’s representative team will face the New Zealand Warriors Women in a pair of warm-up matches ahead of the NRL Women’s Premiership kicking off in September.
On Friday, August 10, the two sides will play as the curtain-raiser to the men’s NRL clash at Mount Smart Stadium, before they meet again two weeks later on August 25, at a venue which will be announced at a later date.
Auckland Rugby League General Manager Greg Whaiapu said the games will showcase the depth of quality currently playing in Auckland’s Farrelly Photos women’s competitions.
“The majority of the Warriors’ squad for the NRL competition will be made up of players from our competitions, and it’s going to be exciting to see so many of our women take the field together when they play against Auckland,” Whaiapu said.
“Earning an Auckland jersey is always an honour, and for the ladies selected it will serve as a reward for their efforts this season.
“It’s also another chance for them to show their talents and push their claims for higher honours next year.”
The matches are the latest addition to the Auckland Rugby League’s female programme, which this year has included opening up the renowned JETS Development Camp to girls, the introduction of a new U13 girls’ grade at club level and the Auckland Vulcans contesting the National Women’s Tournament.Later this season the ARL will also co-host an end-of-season women’s nine-aside tournament for clubs and tertiary institutions, and send Auckland Vulcans Development age-grade girls sides down to the Waikato for representative matches.