11 September 2022

Christchurch’s Nga Puna Wai hosted the season openers for both the Canterbury Bulls and Waikato Mana.

Both teams got into the wrestle early before a Waikato error led to an attacking scrum for the Bulls. Off the scrum veteran halfback Daniel Hartley was able to slice through to take the lead.

Waikato hit back through hooker Mahinga Rangi as he beat multiple defenders to score and level up the game. Moments later Rangi made it a double as Canterbury left no dummy-half at the play the ball and the Waikato hooker scooped it up and took it 40 metres to take the lead.

With five to go in the first half, Canterbury were able to crack the Waikato defense once again as Hartley put Reuben Te Amo through a gaping hole to score untouched. Both teams going into the break at 12 points a piece.

In a tight fixture, the Bulls were the first to score in the second forty as utility Devaun Thompson burrowed his way over from dummy half to open the second half account. Joshua Afamasaga doubled the South Island’s sides advantage as he bulldozed his way under the post making it 24-12. With under ten minutes remaining, the Canterbury side went on a tear with Hornby Panther Eti Collins, Samuelu-Latu and Daniel Hartley all scoring as they ran away 42-12 winners.


Tries – Hartley x2, Te Amo, Thompson, Afamasaga, Collins, Samuelu-Latu

Conversions – Hartley 7/7


Tries – Mahinga Rangi x2

Conversions – McLean 2/2


8th November 2021

as seen on stuff.co.nz

Former Kiwis international Te Maire Martin will return to rugby league just two years after retiring because of bleeding in his brain.

The Daily Telegraph reports Martin has signed a development contract with Brisbane Broncos, subject to final medical clearance.

The report says Brisbane coach Kevin Walters sees Martin as a replacement for Anthony Milford to play outside star recruit Adam Reynolds.

Playing for North Queensland Cowboys, the 26-year-old Kiwi took suffered a bad concussion against Melbourne Storm in 2019, with brain scans revealing a bleed after Martin had complained about severe headaches.

Martin’s agent Andrew Purcell is confident the final medical clearance will be granted.

“When he retired there was a headline ‘if I play again I could die’ and that wasn’t factually correct,” Purcell told The Telegraph.

“No brain expert ever said that. Te Maire was coming off contract and was advised to have a spell. 

“Then he retired for two years and started playing a bit of footy with his brothers in New Zealand.

“He felt OK and started playing country footy then rang me up and said he was keen again. He’s had multiple tests and all the scans came back with the green light.

“He feels like he can start fresh and he’s grateful the Broncos have opened the door.”

Martin will train with Brisbane’s NRL squad, but will begin the season playing for Wynnum Manly in the Queensland Cup.

Martin is still in New Zealand, waiting for clearance to travel to Australia.

Starting his career with the Panthers, Martin graduated to the first-grade side after starring in their development sides.

The Waikato native played 14 games in two seasons at Penrith, before a big-money move to North Queensland Cowboys as a long-term replacement for Johnathan Thurston.

Martin made 42 appearances for the club in two and a half seasons before retiring.

17 October 2020

Akarana secure a spot in the final with a decisive victory over Canterbury in what was a must-win for the home team. 

A knock-on from the kick-off by Canterbury wasn’t the start they were looking for in their final round robin match-up.

Akarana found themselves with a chance to score in the first few minutes and came up successful with Apii Nicholls slicing through the gap to put the first points on the board for the home team, 4-0.

Canterbury look determined to clap back with some great demonstrations of physicality, most notably a tackle by their winger, Olive Tapu dubbed the best tackle of the competition so far.

Woodham-Enosa loses the ball moments before Akarana’s second try looked imminent with Sui Tauasa-Pauaraisa making a try-saving tackle.

Although unsuccessful minutes earlier, Woodham-Enosa pins her ears back and steams down the left wing in a 70-metre try for Akarana’s second try – her team no doubt happy to have her back on the field after she missed their Counties Manukau encounter the previous week (10-0).

Leading 10-0 with two tries on the scoreboard, Akarana looked to have found their shape pushing the ball out wide on several occasions to test Canterbury’s defense.

The home team’s momentum was halted by a break from nippy fullback Michelle Wong but instead of passing to her winger, was wrapped up by Kiwi Fern international Apii Nicholls. 

A try from Clementine Varea followed by another from Sharleze White off the back of Fotu-Moala’s fantastic run and a quick play-the-ball, sees Akarana posting a 22-0 lead. And it wasn’t long before the Richmond’s Rowena Meleisea joined the list of try-scorers taking the pass from Nicholls to score on the wing.

Racking up the points at almost a point a minute, Akarana’s Sharleze White scores her second of the match taking the inside line and backing herself to crash through a tiring Canterbury defense.

Not many will argue with the ‘best try of the match’ going to Clementine Varea. She continued her dominant form bumping off four Canterbury players from the restart to score the final try of the first half, converted by Hansen just before the halftime whistle. Akarana run into the sheds leading 36-0. 

In the early minutes of the second half, Laishon Albert Jones was hot on attack crashing over the line for the first try of the second half – a try that was closely followed by all-class, Apii Nicholls whose footwork eluded Canterbury’s defense once again.

Despite moments of individual brilliance from the home side, the next four-pointer was a team effort with Woodham-Enosa putting the ball down, Akarana’s combinations proving too strong for the Cantabrians – 50-0.

Minutes later, Hansen was given the chance to convert her own try to push the score out to 56-0.

After Akarana posted their 12th try, Canterbury’s moment of the match came at the hands of Tauasa-Pauaraisa as she planted a well-deserved try putting the South Islanders on the board in the final five minutes of the game. 

The Akarana Falcons will play Counties Manukau’s Stingrays in the Women’s Premiership final. 

Nga-Puna-Wai Sports Hub hosted the first round of the NZRL Men’s Premiership for 2020 between the 2019 runners up, Canterbury Bulls and the Counties Manukau Stingrays.

Bulls’ winger Nicholas Evans opened the game with a try in the corner for Canterbury off a clever grubber from halfback Zach Riley; a successful conversion attempt made it 6 – 0 with six minutes gone.

Counties were quick to answer back with an overlap on the left edge as winger Semisi Sikei opened the scoring for the Stingrays, an unsuccessful conversion kept the Bulls ahead by two.

Counties fullback and veteran William Stowers showed his skill and pace stepping around the defensive line to gift the Stingrays their second try, back to back tries for Counties and a successful conversion put Counties in the lead 10 – 6.

Counties remained on the front foot with good metres through the middle until momentum shifted when they failed to find touch. The Bulls capitalised on attack as centre Vincent Paul jumped on a loose ball crossing over for Canterbury’s second. A successful conversion put the Bulls back in front by two.

An impressive run down the edge from Bulls’ winger Penitito Ilalio put Canterbury in great attacking position, however, the Bulls were unable to capitalise. The Stingrays quickly hit back and a misread in defence gifted an easy try to Counties five-eighth, Samuel Nati.  

Drew Radich added the two extending Counties lead to four making it 16 – 12 heading into the sheds.

Former Warriors NSW cup player Emeliano Mikaele opened the second half for Counties barging over for the Stingray’s fourth. Radich provided the extra two extending Counties lead to 10.

Samuel Nati then showed his individual brilliance with an impressive run off a mid-field scrum going over for Counties’ fifth and his second for the day. Back to back tries and another conversion from Radich made it 28 – 12 at the 50-minute mark.

Three penalties in a row and Ill-discipline from Counties put the Bulls back in good attacking position; halfback Zach Riley impressively caught his own kick gifting Canterbury a much needed four points and bringing it back to a 10-point game.

Handling errors from the Bulls saw opportunities go astray and the Stingrays wasted no time in answering back.

Counties winger Dredin McGee scored in the right edge corner for the Stingrays making it 32 – 18 with ten to go. The Stingrays’ speed in attack proved too much for the Bulls as Richard Holani and Wesley Tauti scored back to back four pointers sealing the win for the Counties Manukau Stingrays, 42 -18.

Counties will face reigning champions Akarana next Saturday at Pulman Park while the Bulls take on Waikato at Nga-Puna-Wai. All games are televised live on Sky Sport 4.

The Canterbury Bulls’ caused an upset win over reigning premiers, Akarana Falcons, coming away with a 28 – 18 victory, showing they’re one to watch in this year’s competition.

Co-captain Tevin Arona scored a hat-trick and scrumhalf Brad Campbell and loose forward Michael Butson also had standout games. Canterbury’s 17-year-old second rower, Caius Fa’atili, impressed on the day with pace and a dominant defensive performance.

Eiden Ackland opened the scoring for Akarana early in the game which was soon followed by an impressive long-range intercept try as Akarana’s, Simon Luafaleao ran almost 80 metres to score.

The Bulls rebounded from a 12-0 deficit to score 26 unanswered points against Akarana, despite being without two of their team leaders, captain James Baxendale and Rulon Nutira.

The Bulls unleashed four tries in the second half, after some impressive approach play by Fa’atili, Ilalio and Danny Latu.

Game one saw the Counties Manukau Stingrays score 11 tries to beat Waikato 62-16. Counties were dominant across the park with Prop Connor Taurua-Purcell grabbing a hat-trick for the Stingrays with second-rower Nicholas Halalilo and wing Geronimo Doyle both scoring twice.

At a glance:

Canterbury Bulls 28 (Tevin Arona 3, Ben Ilalio, Justin Lynch, Regan Stanton tries; Caius Fa’atalii 2 goals) Akarana Falcons 18 (Eiden Ackland, Simon Luafaleao, Sam Fa’apito tries; Francis Leger 3 goals).

Counties Manukau Stingrays 62 (Connor Purcell 3, Nicholas Halalilo 2, Geronimo Doyle 2, Erin-Wayne Clark, Junior Tukinga, James Dowie, Richard Holani tries; Drew Radich 9 goals) Waikato 16 (Pawhare Brown, Duane Sykes, Caleb McLean tries; Hayden Karena 2 goals).

Played Win Lost Draw Scored Against Points Pts  diff %
AKARANA FALCONS 1 0 1 0 16 28 0 -12 57%
CANTERBURY BULLS 1 1 0 0 28 16 2 12 175%
COUNTIES MANUKAU STINGRAYS 1 1 0 0 62 16 2 46 388%
WAIKATO 1 0 1 0 16 62 0 -46 26%


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 2 NZRL National Premiership – Sunday 22nd September 

Waikato v Canterbury Bulls – 1pm, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Akarana Falcons v Counties Manukau Stingrays – 3pm, Pulman Park Auckland

All NZRL Premiership matches will be televised on SKY Sport 4.

Former NZRL National Premiership player, Morgan Harper, made his professional NRL debut in the centres for the Bulldogs on Saturday and played a key role in the Bulldog’s 30 – 14 upset win against the Broncos.

Originally from Ngaruawahia, the last two years have been nothing short of eventful for the young father of two. Morgan came to the forefront in the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership Grand Final, where he scored the winning try for the Bulldogs in the final ten minutes of the game. The 21-year-old has been contracted to the Bulldogs for five years after coming through the club’s high-performance youth program here in New Zealand. Morgan was originally named as one of the club’s development players, but following an exciting pre-season, was elevated to the teams Top 30 at the beginning of the 2019 season.

Before making the move over to Australia, Morgan came through NZRL’s pathways. At the young age of 16, Morgan had gone through a very unique circumstance, becoming a father to twins – which has come to drive his desire to make it in the NRL. Successfully balancing his personal and professional life, Morgan represented the New Zealand 16s, 18s and the Junior Kiwis.

Morgan always put his hand up to represent his district – Assisting Waikato when coming through the Regional and Championship pool, which earned him the right to play in the Promotion/Regulation match just a few weeks prior to turning 18, which he went on to win.

Other players from the NZRL National Premiership who have achieved great things include, Tevita Satae from the 2016 competition and Setu Tu from the 2018 competition.

Tevita made his NRL debut in 2017 for the Vodafone Warriors, where he made 15 appearances before heading to the UK to play for Hull FC in the English Super League. With 20-year-old Setu currently the leading try-scorer in the Canterbury Cup NSW Competition scoring 15 tries in 15 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors.

Keep up with all the action from NZRL’s competitions below:

2019 National Premiership draw

2019 National Premiership results 

2019 North Island Championship draw 

2019 North Island Championship results 

2019 South Island Championship draw

2019 South Island Championship results 

The Winner of the South Island Championship will play the winner of the North Island Championship in a curtain-raiser match ahead of the 2019 NZRL Provincial Premiership Final on Saturday October 5th at Pulman Park, Auckland.

Disclaimer – results are not always loaded in real-time.