There are very few things you can absolutely count on in life,
but you can now consider adding Kiwis prop Jesse Bromwich to death
Last weekend, the Melbourne Storm colossus demonstrated yet
again why national coach Stephen Kearney has such a high opinion of
him, as his team crushed Cronulla Sharks 48-6 in the latest NRL
His game-high 207 running metres - Kangaroos star Paul Gallen
logged up 204 for the Sharks - and four tackle busts helped him to
a try in the 28th minute. On defence, Bromwich contributed 21
"His form is continuing, he's having a fantastic year," marvels
Kearney. "With three games to go, I believe he's a real contender
for front rower of the year.
"He's been wonderful."
Five-eighth Kieran Foran was also among the tries, as he helped
Manly Sea Eagles home 15-12 over Gold Coast Titans.
He has also been uppermost in Kearney's mind over the past
month, especially after dismantling the Brisbane Broncos, where
Kearney is assistant coach, earlier this month.
Against the Titans, he also had a try assist and four tackle
breaks for the table-topping Sea Eagles.
"He was again impressive in a tight game and came up with some
really crucial plays."
And Sydney Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall also gave a timely
reminder that he should still be in Kiwis consideration, with a
try, 164 metres and five tackle breaks in his side's 48-4 result
over Wests Tigers. His running stats were only matched by NZ
international Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
"Shaun has been pretty consistent all year and put up another
good performance on the weekend."
Kearney also makes mention of hooker Issac Luke, who helped the
South Sydney Rabbitohs overrun the Broncos. He's returned to top
form after missing the Anzac Test through injury and showed again
he'll be among the first selected for the national side.
Against Brisbane, he ran for 145 metres and made 27 tackles.
"His form over the past four weeks - and again against us - has
been pretty consistent."
But as Kearney approaches the task of selecting a squad for the
upcoming Four Nations, he remains unflustered by the toll taken on
his players by a tough NRL season.
Already second rowers Elijah Taylor and Ben Henry have been
ruled out of contention with knee injuries, with the prospect of
others to follow, as players seek to repair their battered
"I don't worry about that," he insists. "I knew Ben was running
around on a sore knee, so that wasn't a surprise.
"As the Anzac Test showed, that's the game. We'll just see how
everyone pulls up after the season - I'm not worrying myself."
Given the obstacles facing the Akarana Falcons each year, their
record in the Pirtek NZRL National Premiership is nothing short of
And in their quest to continue their string of titles since the
revamped competition began in 2010, Steve Buckingham's squad are
already on the back foot.
Akarana open their 2014 campaign at home against Wai-Coa-Bay
without many of their top players, still involved in the Auckland
Fox Memorial club competition.
"With the bulk of our squad still involved in local footy, we
have really formed a squad yet," says the Falcons coach, who is
also balancing his commitments with the Mt Albert Lions.
"We'll be just naming a team to get us through the first game
and going from there. I don't expect players to play a semifinal
one day and turn around again the next day for the Falcons.
"Luckily, the club final is the week after, when we have our
bye, so that's handy."
So, already, the Falcons seem well down the path towards
matching last year's dubious achievement of drawing upon nearly 40
players over their seven-game schedule.
"We did have a big squad last year, purely through injuries,"
reflects Buckingham. "Against Wellington, we lost about six guys
for the rest of the competition and had pull guys into the squad
Buckingham admits he also found it difficult to motivate players
for representative football, after the highs and lows of their
intense club season.
"We struggled to get players to training and basically won the
competition on one training a week. Some weeks, we were scrambling
to make up a team.
"From a coaching point of view, we have plenty of talent, it's
just a matter of getting them out on the park and committed. When
we can do that, we're fine.
"I hope there are some young guys who take their opportunities
this year and we'll be trying hard to put pride back into the
Auckland jersey, after struggling for commitment last year."
Buckingham pinpoints his forward pack as the key to ongoing
"We've got some big quality boys who should be unmatched in
terms of forward power."
Wai-Coa-Bay tuned up for their season opener with a 30-30 trial
result against Central Vipers last weekend and will need to take
full advantage of their ill-prepared opponents if they hope to
challenge for this year's title.
The Vipers host Canterbury Bulls in New Plymouth, searching for
their first competition victory in almost two years and conscious
that their women - runners-up at their national tournament this
year - now hold bragging rights in the area.
Meanwhile, Wellington Orcas face Northern Swords at home, hoping
to continue their run of success against their rivals. Orcas won
the corresponding fixtures 38-14 in Whangarei last year.
NZRL National Premiership Guide (Round One)
2014 Pirtek National Premiership
Round One (August 23/24)
Saturday, August 23
1.30pm Wellington Orcas v Northern
Petone Recreation Ground, Wellington
Orcas: 1-Anthony Utanga, 2-Bernard
Gregorius, 3-Jon-Marc Stowers, 4-Raymond Lesoa, 5-David Saumolia,
6-Shaw Playford, 7-Petera Rikiriki-Williams, 8-Paul Lemana,
9-Michael O'Brien, 10-Robbie McKenzie, 11-Jon Masaga, 12-Nicholas
Phillips, 13-Michael Nathan, 14-Grayson Putu, 15-Denzil Hokianga,
16-Ben Tuia, 17-Chance Tauri
Swords: 1-Israel Tahere, 2-Sharif Mangu,
3-Wiremu Snowden Te Iringa, 4-Ross McFarlane, 5-Rikki Tarau,
6-Daniel Fulop, 7-Samuel Henry, 8-Christopher Apoua, 9-Joel
Freeman, 10 Poasa Rankin, 11-Te Tuhi Tipene, 12-Patrick Tane,
13-Kelson Harding, 14-Jordan Hool, 15-Chris Mellar-Reynolds,
16-Tuimoana Halkyard, 17-Alex Salase
Referee - Tony Arnel Touch - Eric Kneepkens & TBC
2.30pm Central Vipers v Canterbury
Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Vipers: 1-Aaron Whitikia, 2-Jo Ratu, 3-Che
Barlow, 4-Vailoa Kereti, 5-Tyson Young,
6-Cruz Rauner, 7-Colin Hokianga, 8-Kele Kose, 9-Travl Ngatoko,
10-Gorden Karaitiana, 11-Jarrod Morfett, 12-Wiremu McSeveny,
13-Richard Gillies, 14-Dylin Hall, 15-Sione Sifa, 16-Josh Kerr,
Bulls: 1-Ken Tofilau, 2-Danny Latu, 3-Erwin
Sauni, 4-Vinnie Paul, 5-Cyrus Timo-Latu, 6-Izic Placid, 7-Darren
Tonihi, 8-Paradise Mann, 9-Manu Weepu, 10-Chris Bamford (capt),
11-JJ Smith, 12-Corey Lawrie, 13-Dan Moevao, 14-Toi Sepuloni,
15-Agaese Fiso, 16-John Tafua, 17-Vincent
Referee - Tane Kaiwai Touch - Dave Robati & Marissa
2.30pm Akarana Falcons v Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions
Birkenhead War Memorial,
Falcons: 1-Mao Uta, 2-Tee Mahe, 3-Tangi
Ropati, 4-Willie Peace, 5-Simon Luafalealo, 6-Simon Ieremia, 7-Levi
Norton, 8-Kaleni Fraser, 9-Semisi Mau, 10-Trent Schaumkel,
11-Taylor Daniels, 12-Karl Semeti, 13-Brandon Motion, 14-Sam Cook,
15-Junior Fotu, 16-Matt Tafutu, 17-Siliga Kepoa
1-Caleb Heke, 2-Isaac Robinson, 3-Mounga Molisi, 4-John Koko,
5-Ryan Gordon, 6-Johnson Peri, 7-Hayden Karena (capt), 8-Tarquin
Court, 9-Raureti Grace, 10-John Love-Henry, 11-Cody King, 12-Terry
Kopua, 13-Jason Whareaitu, 14-Hamiora Mihaka, 15-Callin Tereu,
16-Mosese Mafi, 17-Mac Carson
Referee - Steve Kilgallon Touch - Rochelle Tamarua &
Counties Manukau Stingrays bye
NZ Rugby League would like to
acknowledge and thank naming-rights sponsor of the NZRL National
Premiership - Pirtek fluid transfer solutions - who is also major
sponsor of the NZ Kiwis. In addition, Pirtek supports league
through its NRL association with the Brisbane Broncos and
Parramatta's Pirtek Stadium.
The off-field exploits of Kiwis Jason Nightingale, Siliva
Havili, Sam Perrett and Jerome Ropati are among those honoured in
the 2014 NRL-RLPA Academic Team of the Year.
Eleven debutants, including Nightingale (St George), and former
Vodafone Warriors Brent Tate (North Queensland) and Jeremy Latimore
(Penrith), have joined two-time team members Ryan Hoffman
(Melbourne) and Robbie Rochow (Newcastle) as part of this year's
Aaron Rockley (Brisbane) has been named the inaugural NRL
Tradesman of the Year, while Perrett (Canterbury) and Jerome Ropati
(Warriors) are the first players to receive the NRL Pasifika
Academic Excellence Award.
Also announced for the first time was the Holden Cup Academic
Team of the Year to celebrate the achievements of the game's future
players. Warriors and Junior Kiwis five-eighth Mason Lino features
among these recipients.
NRL-RLPA welfare and education committee chair Mark Coyne said
that education and workplace training was important for progression
in the workforce.
"We have a wonderful group of incredibly successful NRL players
here, who have shown that both commitment to the game and study are
achievable," Coyne said.
"Not only are these players a credit to themselves, but are also
an inspiration to all other young players, showing that they too
can balance further studies and a rugby league career."
"I would like to congratulate, not only Holden Cup players who
have achieved a place on the team, but all Holden Cup players who
are part of the game's next generation, committing to both a career
in football and further studies."
Tate said that he could not emphasise the importance of
workplace training and study.
"For me, having a conversation with Wayne Bennett a few years
ago made me realise the importance of getting an education," Tate
"It was not long after that I started to get the wheels in
motion in terms of studying.
"As a result, I am feeling more prepared to enter the workforce
when I approach the back end of my career."
NRL-RLPA Program Highlights
78% (800) of NRL and NYC players are currently engaged in further
education or workplace training. The NRL is committed to
growing that to 84% by 2017.
220 players enrolled in a university degree at the start of the
2014 season, which is an increase from the 68 players that enrolled
in the 2008 season.
24% of indigenous players in the Holden Cup are attending
Currently, 18 academic institutions deliver the NRL's Graduates of
League programme. The completion rate of all players attempting
university courses has increased from 60% to 87% in just two
330 players from junior representative teams, NYC, State Cups and
the NRL undertaking apprenticeship are mentored by current and
former NRL players.
There have been 350 education grants provided to players in the
2014 season from an NRL/RLPA education fund totalling more than
2014 NRL-RLPA ACADEMIC TEAM OF THE YEAR
Todd Lowrie (Brisbane Broncos) - Cert IV in Project Management
& Cert IV in Small Business at Capital Training Institute &
Dale Finucane (Canterbury Bulldogs) - Bachelor of Health and
Movement at Australian College of Physical Education
David Shillington (Canberra Raiders) - Bachelor of Business
& Diploma of Business at University of Canberra
Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys) - Cert IV Frontline
Management & Cert IV Small Business at Skill 360
Tom Symonds (Manly Sea Eagles) - Graduated Bachelor of Health
Exercise Science at University of NSW
Brenton Lawrence (Manly Sea Eagles) - Bachelor of Arts in
International studies (completed) & Certificates III and IV in
Training at Australian Institute of Workforce Development
Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne Storm) - Bachelor of Business at Open
Robbie Rochow (Newcastle Knights) - Degree in Civil Engineering
at University of Newcastle
Jeremy Latimore (Penrith Panthers) - Bachelor of Commerce at
University of Wollongong, Panthers Education Ambassador
Ryan Simpkins (Penrith Panthers) - Diploma in Hydraulics Design,
Qualified Plumber at St Leonard's Tafe
Jason Clark (South Sydney Rabbitohs) - Cert III Fitness &
Cert IV in Small Business at Australian Institute of Fitness &
Elite training company, Qualified Apprentice Carpenter
Jason Nightingale (St George Dragons) - Bachelor of Business
Degree at University of Wollongong, International NRL Player
Siliva Havili (Vodafone Warriors) - Bachelor of Health Science -
Podiatry at Auckland University of Technology
2014 HOLDEN CUP TEAM OF THE YEAR
Adam Elliott (Canterbury Bulldogs) - Bachelor of Applied Science
(Physiotherapy) at Sydney University
Andrew Heffernan (Canberra Raiders) - Bachelor of Sports
Coaching & Exercise Science at University of Canberra
Corey Jensen (North Queensland Cowboys) - Degree in Sport &
Exercise Science at James Cook University
Mitch Sharp (Gold Coast Titans) - Bachelor of Nursing at
Jack Delaney (Manly Sea Eagles) - Bachelor of Business &
Commerce at University of Western University
Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm) - Bachelor Commerce degree at
Lachlan Fitzgibbon (Newcastle Knights) - Bachelor of
Construction Management at University of Newcastle
Joshjua Tangitau (Penrith Panthers) - Degree in Exercise Sports
Science at Australian Catholic University
Ben Chahoud (Cronulla Sharks) - Carpentry Apprenticeship with
Cheyne Whitelaw (South Sydney Rabbitohs) - Bachelor of Exercise
Physiology at University of New South Wales
Adam Clune (St George
) - Degree in Law at University of Wollongong
Mason Lino (Vodafone
) - Bachelor of Business at Auckland University of Technology
Nathan Milone (Wests Tigers) - Bachelor of Business at
University of Technology Sydney
TRADESMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD & APPRENTICE
Aaron Rockley (Brisbane Broncos) - qualified
carpenter at All Trades Queensland, currently employed by Brett
Adam Brideson - state manager KPD, former NRL player with
NRL PASIFIKA ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE AWARD
Jerome Ropati (Vodafone Warriors) - Diploma in Business &
Bachelor of Health at Auckland University of Technology, NZ
University Blues Award winner 2008, Warriors education committee
member & ambassador, Warrior reading programme captain, deacon
youth leader of local church since 2007, husband and father of
three, 2003-2014 - NZ Warriors 145 games
Sam Perrett (Canterbury Bulldogs) - Diploma in Management, Cert
IV Building and Construction, qualified builder, owns and runs
construction company, "Trade- Up with the NRL" apprentice mentor,
NRL education ambassador 2012-14, NRL Pasifika players advisory
group, 11th season as an NRL player, husband and father of four,
has played more than 200 NRL games & 19 test matches for NZ
Jamie Searle, Southland Times
The Southland Rams are off to a flying start in the South Island
inter-district rugby league competition.
They overpowered the Otago Whalers 44-6 and had the upper hand
for most of the game at the Les George Oval, Sandy Pt, on Saturday.
The Rams scored nine tries.
Coach Greg Dawson said it was hard to single out a standout
player because everyone contributed. He was impressed with the
Rams' defence which restricted the Whalers to six points.
A few combinations were tried during the game, to Dawson's
satisfaction. "This is one of the stronger teams we've had. We just
need to keep improving."
Other recent media links:
NZRL, Warriors unite to foster youth (Scoop)
Set of six: Kiwis staff addition (NZ Herald)
Deaths put spotlight on safety in rugby codes (Wanganui
Ben Henry victim of his own versatility (TVNZ)
League: Explosive start to schools nationals (Yahoo)
Sonny Bill Williams open to NRL return after All Blacks
Southland Rams poised for battle with Otago (Southland
The next Roger Tuivasa-Sheck or Konrad Hurrell may be lost to rugby
union if NYC is scrapped (Sydney Morning Herald)
NRL: Rookie draft system being considered (Radio Sport)
NZRL to recognise Rata's long service to rugby (Manawatu
Crocked Henry out of Kiwis reckoning (Sunday News)
NRL: Warriors may legal Eagles (NZ Herald)
Don't drop the NYC (Sunday News)
Tuivasa-Sheck still learning from the master (Sydney Morning
Kemp: I'm biased, but Dally M drought shows racism (Sunday
Ex-Stags stalwart in new league (Southland Times)
Rams impress with nine-try rout of Whalers (Southland
Rugby league: Rams show Whalers no mercy (Otago Daily
This year's Rugby League Four Nations will provide the catalyst
for five New Zealand representative sides - not just the NZ Kiwis -
to showcase their talents on the international stage.
While the national men's side face formidable opposition from
the Kangaroos, England and Toa Samoa on centrestage, others will
also take advantage of their opportunities in curtain-raisers to
the main acts.
The Kiwi Ferns women have a chance to avenge their 2013 World
Cup defeat at the hands of the Australian Jillaroos, when they take
on their trans-Tasman rivals at Wollongong, November 9, in the
build-up to the Australia v Samoa men's match.
But NZ Rugby League has also confirmed three other fixtures that
will see national teams in action.
November 1, NZ 16s take on Samoa 16s as an appetiser to the clash
between their respective senior sides at Whangarei's Toll
November 2, NZ Police cross the Tasman to face their Australian
counterparts, before the Kangaroos v England encounter at
Melbourne's AAMI Stadium.
November 8, NZ Universities clash with a South Island Selection,
warming up the crowd for NZ Kiwis v England at Forsyth Barr
"There are some exciting benefits of hosting a major
international event like this," says NZRL chief executive Phil
"There's a legacy aspect, a chance to energise the grassroots of
our sport and also to provide opportunities for everyone to
progress down their chosen pathways.
"For some of these players and coaches, these games will
represent their first national team experience and their biggest
audience so far.
"They'll be performing in some iconic sporting stadiums and we
hope this will be an unforgettable moment in their careers."
Tickets are now available for all three NZ-hosted
Four Nations games, plus the Kiwis v Australia clash in Brisbane,
October 25. Check out the schedule and ticket outlets here.