Blair pushes Kiwis claims with Tigers

23 April 2014

Veteran forward Adam Blair continued to stake his claim for a return to the NZ Kiwis with another strong performance in the NRL over the weekend.

Blair (Kiwis #732) turned in another barnstorming display for the Wests Tigers in their 21-18 victory, running for 145 metres and making 30 tackles.

Having already caught the eye of coach Stephen Kearney with his form this season - his third with the Tigers - Blair (28) is again knocking on the door of national selection.

Since switching from Melbourne Storm that year, he has struggled to meet the expectations of Wests fans, but has now become a key element in the club's surprise 5-2 start to the season.

"He was again outstanding and it's no co-incidence that the senior guys in that team, like Blairy, have been playing great," says Kearney.

"I think it always takes a while to get used to a new environment and the timing of him arriving at Wests wasn't good either.

"He's had to deal with a change of coaching and different styles, but things have become more settled for him now. He's part of a young, hungry team and he's able to focus on the things he does well."

Another to continue his great form was five-eighth Kieran Foran, who now faces an anxious battle for fitness leading into next week's Anzac Test in Sydney.

Foran (Kiwi #757) was arguably the star of Manly's 26-21 win over North Queensland Cowboys, scoring a try and running for 115 metres, but tweaked a knee in the process and has been ruled out for his club this weekend.

Early signs are that Foren may be out for as long as four weeks, but Kearney is taking a "wait-and-see" attitude to his on-field general and intends giving him every chance to make the playing line-up for May 2.

"Mr Consistency" Jason Nightingale (Kiwi # 747) was another to catch the coach's eye, scoring an acrobatic try and running 167 metres for St George-Illawarra in their 20-10 result over the NZ Warriors.

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Directors sought for NZRL

22 April 2014

The NZRL board comprises seven directors, with four independent appointed director positions and three rugby league-knowledgeable elected director positions. An independent appointments panel manages the director recruitment process for both.

The appointments panel is currently seeking applications for two appointed directors and one elected director. All board positions are for a term of three years.

The NZRL appointments panel is charged with ensuring the NZRL board has collective skills and experience in commerce, finance, marketing and knowledge of and experience in the sport of rugby league.

Board members also need effective decision-making skills, well-developed relationship management skills and sound judgment.

The NZRL board is responsible for ensuring sound governance practices and processes, setting clear goals and measurable targets within the sport of rugby league in New Zealand.

Application forms can be downloaded from our careers page here. All applications will be treated in strict confidence and must include a CV, covering letter and a completed and signed application form.

Applications should be received no later than 5pm, Monday, May 12, 2014.

Join Kiwis legends for lunch

16 April 2014

Here's a chance to rub shoulders with some some of the biggest legends of the game when a host of rugby league personalities gather to raise money for a great cause.

The Mad Butcher and Suburban Newspapers Community Trust is hosting a fundraising luncheon for the League 4 Life foundation at the Ellerslie Events Centre on May 9.

There will be a mystery guest speaker and the MC is Knight of the Realm, Sir Peter Leitch. A number of past Kiwis players will be in attendance including Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki, Roger Bailey, Graeme West, Hugh McGahan, Dane O'Hara, Gary Clarke, Monty Betham, Gary Prohm, Jerry Seuseu, Duane Mann and Dean Bell.

Ex Kiwis coaches Bob Bailey, Graham Lowe, Brian McClennan will also be there.

A charity auction will take place and items going under the hammer include the boots worn by Benji Marshall in his last ever game for the Kiwis.

Whoever successfully bids for a signed Vodafone Warriors jersey will also get the chance to meet his or her favourite player.

Where: Guineas Room, Level 3,  Ellerslie Events Centre
When: May 9, 2014
From: 12pm
Tickets: $100pp

Buy a table (for ten) and receive two tickets to the Warriors v Raiders match at Eden Park on May 10, 2014.

Call 5713863 or (021) 532 483 to book  or email Phillippa Ivory at info@nzrl.co.nz

Click here for all the details of this fantastic event

Wellington to host Four Nations final

15 April 2014

Whangarei, Dunedin and Wellington have early opportunities to show they're ready for 2017 Rugby League World Cup fixtures, when they host games in this year's Four Nations tournament.

New Zealand Rugby League will stage three clashes in the international showpiece, including the final at Westpac Trust Stadium on November 15.

The NZ Kiwis face a Pacific Island team - either Fiji or Samoa - at Whangarei's Toll Stadium on November 1 and England at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on November 8.

They will kick off their campaign against archrivals Australia in Brisbane on October 25, as a curtainraiser to England taking on the Pacific champions.

"Bearing in mind we will be co-hosting the World Cup with Australia in four years, this is a great opportunity for us to show our capability," says NZRL chief executive Phil Holden. "But it's also a huge challenge, both on and off the field.

"On one front, we may be up against the other three semifinalists from last year's World Cup, with England, in particular, itching to avenge their semifinal loss to us at Wembley.

"And then we're looking for Wellingtonians to show their passion for rugby league and support what promises to be a memorable final.

"Auckland has already shown it's ready for major World Cup fixtures, after successfully hosting the NRL Nines. Wellington prides itself as a sporting Mecca and we're confident local fans can also support an international spectacle of this calibre."

Tickets will go on sale next month. Sign up to the NZRL database here to register for pre-sale information.

The full Four Nations schedule is:

October 25

Australia v New Zealand, Brisbane

England v Fiji/Samoa, Brisbane

November 1

New Zealand v Fiji/Samoa. Whangarei

November 2

Australia v England, Melbourne

November 8

New Zealand v England, Dunedin

November 9

Australia v Fiji/Samoa, Wollongong

November 15

Final, Wellington

Foran stands out in weekend's round

15 April 2014

With only three weeks until the Anzac Test in Sydney, NZ Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney is encouraged by the performances of players in contention for team spots.

"For me, there were a few that stood out," he reflects on Round Six of the NRL.

Incumbent Kiwis five-eighth Kieran Foran (Kiwi #757) showed he's is rounding into form at just the right time to take on the Kangaroos, running for 117 metres in Manly's 24-4 romp over Cronulla Sharks.

"A couple of weeks ago, he had a game where he had been injured and came back to run for 150 metres, and was really good," says Kearney.

"He played really well again on the weekend, which is really positive from a New Zealand point of view."

Another making a strong bid for inclusion is veteran forward Adam Blair (Kiwi #732), who made 26 tackles in West Tigers' 16-4 upset of North Queensland Cowboys.

"With the way the Tigers are going at the moment, I've seen Adam playing football that first earned him a Kiwis jersey a few years ago," says Kearney.

And St George centre Gerard Beale was also impressive, clocking up 154 metres in the Dragons' heartbreaking 24-28 loss to Melbourne Storm after the final siren last night.

"Some of his defensive plays were really good," marvels Kearney.

But one player who seems unlikely to line up for the Kiwis on May 2 is Frank Pritchard (Kiwi #718), who missed last year's World Cup final through injury and tore a pectoral muscle (chest) in the Canterbury Bulldogs' 21-20 nailbiter over the NZ Warriors.

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