Akarana v Counties Manukau ... Falcons v Stingrays. When the
dust settles on Rotorua's Puketawhero Park tomorrow, the "Got A
Trade?" NZRL National Youth Tournament titles will not have left
the Auckland region.
The two national rugby league juggernauts emerged largely
unscathed from their semi-finals in both 15s and 17s age groups
today, and will again do battle for the major prizes.
Pool play had thoroughly tested the favoured teams at times,
hinting that the other zones might spring a surprise in the
But reality kicked home when it counted.
The closest thing to an upset came in the older division, where
Wellington led Akarana 18-12 at halftime, but had no answer to
Falcons fullback Dean Kouka-Smith, who grabbed four tries in a
Defending champions Counties were far more convincing in their
42-0 rout of Auckland Invitation, with Tele Nanae and Lawrence
Leaupepe running in two tries apiece.
Perhaps the greatest drama of the day came in the 15s semis,
where Akarana were well in control (24-6) over Central Vipers, when
their match was abandoned through serious neck injury to a Falcons
The result stands and the titleholders will face Counties
Manukau, 42-12 winners over Wellington. Steven Marsters and Dakota
Edmonds-Taimani had tryscoring doubles for the Stingrays.
In the day's other exciting finish, South Island Scorpions 17s
scored their first win of the week, 26-14 over Central Vipers.
The lower North Island team were ahead 14-12 at the break, but
could not hold off the strong-finishing southerners, lead by Jordan
Pinnock's two tries.
Tomorrow, the NZ 18s will face Taurahere Kiwis in the second of
their two "tests", hoping to reverse their 20-18 loss on
The home team raced out to an 18-4 first-half advantage, but
could not sustain their effort against athletes already playing in
the New South Wales club programme.
"GOT A TRADE?" NZRL NATIONAL YOUTH
Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Thursday, October 2
Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 22 (Preston Collins, RKelly
Paekau, Sheldon Rogers & Waratana Hartley tries; Sheldon Rogers
2 & Hopa Haika goals) South Island Scorpions
16 (Dallas Onosai, Joseph Taipari & Curtis Williams
tries; Taipari 2 goals); HT: 16-4
Auckland Invitation 20 (Kenshi Tsutsui, Bailey
Poto, Sione Lepa Tola & Miller Leilua tries; Poto 2 goals)
Northern Swords 6 (Bradley Lanigan try; Nikau
Graham goal): HT: 12-6
Player of the match - Lepa Tola
Akarana Falcons 24 (Mikey Williams 2, Cameron
Iopu, Elijah Sufia & Lewis Sio tries; Dylan Tavita 2 goals)
Central Vipers 6 (Jaylon Governor try & goal);
HT: 18-6 MATCH ABANDONNED
Player of the match - Williams
Counties Manukau 42 (Steven Marsters 2, Dakota
Edmonds-Taimani 2, Etenee Nanai-Seturo, Semisi Kioa, Kiani Marshall
& Kayleb Milne tries: Nanai-Seturo 5 goals) Wellington
Orcas 12 (Desmond Matofai & Gerard Akavi-Ahnau tries;
Kienan de la Rembwe 2 goals); HT: 22-6
Player of the match - Joshua Uta (CM)
Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 46 (Wally Tipene 3, Shadzz
Hapi-Wise 2, Morgan Harper, Ezkiel Cooper-Tetevano 2, Reuben Taylor
& Donavan Briggs tries; Taylor 3, Harper & Caleb McLean
goals) Northern Swords 4 (Steele Kake try); HT:
Man of the match - Taylor
South Island Scorpions 26 (Jordan Pinnock 2,
Ben Alexander & Marvin Curry tries; Alexander 4 & Logan
Woodham goals) Central Vipers 14 (Feterika fFidow
& Al Momoesea tries; Te Organa Hina 3 goals): HT: 12-14
Man of the match - Enele Fidow (Central)
Counties Manukau 42 (Tele Nanae 2, Lawrence
Leaupepe 2, Henry Pei, Tamati Ioane-Niko tries; Pei 3 &
Leaupepe goals) Auckland Invitation 0; HT:
Player of the match - Ezra Tuli (CM)
Akarana Falcons 42 (Dean Kouka-Smith 4, Junior
Ugapo 2, Zaylin Inu & Amoni Tufui tries; Don Bourghton 5 goals)
Wellington Orcas 18 (Tarquinn Alatipi, Tristan
Davis & Enoch Tautolo triesl Luke Cummings 3 goals); HT:
Player of the match - Kouka-Smith
Friday, October 3
Wai-Coa-Bay Colts v Auckland Invitation, Field 5 (5th/6th)
South Island Scorpions v Northern Swords, Field 4 (7th/8th)
Central Vipers v Wellington Orcas, Field 4 (3rd/4th)
Akarana Falcons v Counties Manukau Stingrays, Field 1 (Final)
Wai-Coa-Bay Colts v South Island Scorpions, Field 2 (5th/6th)
Northern Swords v Central Vipers, Field 3 (7th/8th)
Auckland Invitation v Wellington, Field 3 (3rd/4th)
Counties Manukau Stingrays v Akarana Falcons, Field 1 (Final)
TEST MATCH - NZ18s v TAURAHERE 18s, FIELD 1
Central Vipers and Wellington Orcas hold the hopes of a nation,
as they challenge an Auckland domination at the "Got A Trade?" NZRL
National Youth Tournament in Rotorua.
After the third and final day of pool play at Puketawhero Park,
Akarana Falcons and Counties Manukau Stingrays have progressed
unbeaten to semi-finals in both the 15s and 17s divisions of the
The champion Falcons 15s and Stingrays 17s both scored big wins
over South Island Scorpions on Day Three. Akarana enjoyed a 34-10
victory over their winless rivals in the younger age group, while
Tamai Ioane-Niko crossed four times, as Counties overran the
southerners 54-16 in the older competition.
In the 17s, injury-plagued Akarana trailed 20-8 just after
halftime against Auckland Invitation, but rattled on three tries to
emerge 22-20 winners. Both sides moved on to the semis
For most, though, the real interest lay in which other zones
would emerge from the wild scramble for semi-final spots.
Wellington also progressed to both sets of semifinals, but
needed to pull out all stops for a nailbiting 28-26 over home
Wai-Coa-Bay in the older grade.
The Colts jumped out to an early 14-0 advantage and still lead
26-12 midway through the second half, but could not hold off a
furious Orcas comeback that produced three unanswered tries down
the stretch, including a winner after the final hooter.
In the 15s, Wellington cruising past Northern Swords 38-18 in
pool play and will now face Counties Manukau in the crossover.
Vipers locked down the fourth 15s vacancy against Akarana with a
come-from-behind 19-12 result over Wai-Coa-Bay.
Like their elders, the winless Colts seemed in control at the
break, running in four unconverted tries for a 12-6 advantage, but
they could not withstand the Vipers' second-half response - two
converted tries and a field goal from five-eighth Joey Raukawa.
Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Wednesday, October 1
Wellington Orcas 38 (Brian Smith 2, Rikeli
Grey, Navada Koro, Montelle Leafa, Denzel Leota & Gerard
Akavi-Ahnau tries; Kienan Delarembwe 4 & Leafa goals)
Northern Swords 18 (Nikau Graham 2, Hoani
Rogers-Brown & Rewi Windelborn-Clark tries; Graham goal): HT:
Player of the match - Leafa
Akarana Falcons 34 (Dakota Fa'alelea, Liews
Lio, Soane Hufanga, Daymon Abbey, Hayes Okesene & Jolam
Tagilima tries; Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerard 3, Cameron Iopu &
Fa'alelea goals) South Island Scorpions 10 (Joseph
Taipari & Sua Aiiloilo tries; Taipari goal); HT: 12-6
Player of the match - Taipari
Counties Manukau Stingrays 22 (Etene
Nanai-Seturo 2, Ray Taumalolo & Alfred Smalley tries;
Nanai-Seturo, Regan Wilde & Dakota Edmonds-Taimani goals)
Auckland Invitation 0: HT: 6-0
Player of the match - Nanai-Seturo
Central Vipers 19 (Corey Lee Robertson, Hitaua
Butler & Joey Lose tries; Maddy Fisher 2 & Jahlon Governor
goals; Joe Raukawa field goal) Wai-Coa-Bay Colts
12 (Hopa Haika 2, Hayze Perham & Ken Charle
Tuimaualuga tries): HT: 6-12
Player of the match - Hitaua Butler (Central)
Wellington Orcas 28 (Obeda Silva, Lance Petaia,
Enoch Tautolo, Emani Vaovasa & Jordan Siamani tries; Luke
Cummings 3 & Vaovasa goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Colts
26 (Morgan Harper, Wally Tipene, Donavan Briggs, Waikato
Forbes & Reuben Taylor tries: Taylor 2 & Harper goals): HT:
Man of the match - Tarquinn Alatipi (Wellington)
Counties Manukau 54 (Tamati Ioane-Niko 4,
Kenese Kenese 2, Giovanni Silbery, Ezra Tuli, Ethan Nukanuka &
Vaipouli Anae-Edwards tries; Kirstian Petty 7 goals) South
Island Scorpions 16 (Joshua Aileone, Jayzin Cleghorn &
Rory Ferguson tries; Logan Woodham 2 goals): HT: 38-10
Man of the match - Kenese
Central Vipers 28 (Tre Te Wake 2, Jhai Atkin,
Al Momoesea & Saxton Kennedy tries; Te Oranga Hina 4
goals) Northern Swords 6 (Stele Kake try; Duncan
McIvor goal): HT: 10-6
Player of the match - Hina
Akarana Falcons 22 (Zaylin Inu 2, Austin
Masiutama, Dean Kouka-Smith, Sitili Tupouniua tries; Don Broughton
goal) Auckland Invitation 20 (Falaniko Manu 2,
Lewis Soosemea & Bostyn Hakaraia tries; Hakaraia & Fa'atupu
Lisati goals): HT: 8-14
Player of the match - Soosemea
Game 1 - South Island Scorpions v Wai-Coa-Bay Colts, Field 1
Game 2 - Northern Swords v Auckland Invitation, Field 2
Game 3 - Akarana Falcons v Central Vipers, Field 5
Game 4 - Wellington Orcas v Counties Manukau Stingrays, Field
Game 5 - Wai-Coa-Bay Colts v Northern Swords (5th-8th), Field
Game 6 - South Island Scorpions v Central Vipers (5th-8th), Field
Game 7 - Counties Manukau Stingrays v Auckland Invitation
(semi-final), Field 2
Game 8 - Wellington Orcas v Akarana Falcons (semi-final), Field
NZ Rugby League would like to
acknowledge and thank our official youth development partners - The
Skills Organisation & Competenz ("Got a Trade? Got it Made!")
and the Vodafone Warriors - working together to provide a bright
future for our young talent, on and off the
If you're a NZ Kiwis player, you never want to be #18.
It means, most likely, you won't get to dress for the game.
You'll be watching powerless from the stands, as your brothers
bleed for the cause.
But if you're a Kiwis fan, #18 is about as close as you can get
to the real action.
We want you to be our #18 during the upcoming Four Nations
New Zealand Rugby League's national team campaign allows our
biggest supporters the chance to make themselves heard in some of
the country's top venues - Whangarei (Kiwis v Toa Samoa at Toll
Stadium, November 1), Dunedin (Kiwis v England at Forsyth Barr
Stadium, November 8) and Wellington (Four Nations final at Westpac
Stadium, November 15).
In reality, the Kiwis #18 is one of the hardest roles in the
team. That player is expected to give his all at training, knowing
he may not take the field, but also aware that he must to be ready
to go if one of his team-mates was to fall and need replacing.
And those team-mates love him all the more for that dedication.
They're glad it's not them, but they respect the sacrifice #18
makes for them.
They feel exactly the same about the fans, who never quite get
to feel what they feel out in the middle.
"That almighty roar from the crowd - that's exactly what you
want to hear," reflects Kiwis captain Simon Mannering. "It lets you
know you're doing things right and the fans shouldn't underestimate
how important they are.
"They're the real backbone of our team.
They're all part of our family too. They make the
In the "Be There, Be #18" campaign, Mannering, utility Thomas
Leuluai and coach Stephen Kearney describe their emotions around
representing their country and fans.
"The campaign invites fans to be at the games and be the 18th
'man', but the important point to note is that these accounts are
totally unscripted," says NZRL commercial manager Sarah Lewis. "The
words are totally their own.
"It is a very powerful demonstration of the impact that the fans
can have on player and team performance."
You'll start to see these images around town over the next few
weeks, leading into the Four Nations tournament, which kicks off
with a doubleheader (including NZ v Australia) at Brisbane's
Suncorp Stadium on October 25.
Spots on the official supporters' tour to Brisbane, hosted by
Sir Peter Leitch (The Mad Butcher) are still available through the
Experience Group, while NZRL's media partners Fairfax Newspapers,
and Mai FM and The Rock FM radio stations are offering a variety of
ways fans can get closer to the team.
Look out for opportunities to meet your favourite players at
community events in each test city - the Kiwis want to meet the
people they play for.
Once you're at the games, we'll be doing all we can to enhance
your experience through sponsor-driven giveaways.
And don't miss your chance to wear the Kiwis #18 replica
merchandise - we'll be helping you inspire your team across the
try-line to victory.
Rookie Penrith wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is among the latest
additions to the NZ Kiwis train-on squad for the upcoming Four
Four Panthers and five Sydney Roosters players have been named
to the wider group, after their teams were eliminated from the NRL
playoffs over the weekend.
Watene-Zelezniak (19) is the great grandson of former Kiwis
captain Steve Watene (Kiwi #216) and made his NRL debut against
Canberra Raiders in April, scoring two tries. He finished the
season with seven tries in 10 first-grade appearances.
Born in Ngaruawahia, he moved to Sydney at a young age and
represented New South Wales U18s, but faced with a decision between
Australian Schoolboys and Junior Kiwis last year, he chose the
latter and declared his allegiance to his country of birth.
Watene-Zelezniak joins Penrith team-mates Sam McKendry, Lewis
Brown and Dean Whare in Kiwis contention.
Roosters Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jared
Waerea-Hargreaves, Sam Moa and Isaac Liu bring the squad to 37,
with several more due to line up for South Sydney Rabbitohs or
Canterbury Bulldogs in Sunday's NRL grand final.
The squad, so far, is:
Gerard Beale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Adam Blair (Wests
Tigers), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Kenny Bromwich
(Melbourne Storm), Fa'amanu Brown (Cronulla Sharks), Lewis Brown
(Penrith Panthers), Sosaia Feki (Cronulla Sharks), Kieran Foran
(Manly Sea Eagles) David Fusitu'a (Vodafone Warriors), Alex Glenn
(Brisbane Broncos), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), Siliva Havili
(Vodafone Warriors), Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), Josh Hoffman
(Brisbane Broncos), Shaun Johnson (Vodafone Warriors), Shaun
Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), Ngani Laumape (Vodafone Warriors),
Thomas Leuluai (Vodafone Warriors), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters),
Simon Mannering (Vodafone Warriors), Suaia Matagi (Vodafone
Warriors), Ben Matulino (Vodafone Warriors), Matt McIlwrick
(Canberra Raiders), Sam McKendry (Penrith Panthers), Sam Moa
(Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons),
Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm), Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers), Brad
Takairangi (Gold Coast Titans), Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland
Cowboys), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers), Bodene Thompson (Wests
Tigers), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei
(Vodafone Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters),
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers), Dean Whare (Penrith
The Kiwis open their Four Nations campaign against Australia in
Brisbane on October 25, followed by fixtures against Toa Samoa
(Whangarei, November 1) and England (Dunedin, November 8). The
tournament final is scheduled for Wellington on November 15.
Meanwhile, five more players have been named to the Junior Kiwis
train-on squad to prepare for their clash with the Junior Kangaroos
at Mt Smart Stadium on October 18.
Fabien Goodall, Zach Docker-Clay and Josh Ailoai of the
Parramatta Eels, join Addin Fonua-Blake (St George Illawarra
Dragons) and Richie Kennar (Easts Tigers/Storm) in the group, which
Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm), Manaia Cherrington
(Wests Tigers), Herman Ese'ese (Canterbury Bulldogs), Dallas Graham
(Wests Tigers), Watson Heleta (Wests Tigers), Delouise Hoeter
(Wests Tigers), Jahrome Hughes (Gold Coast Titans), Sione Katoa
(Penrith Panthers), Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights), Lamar Liolevave
(Wests Tigers), Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters), Sam Manuleleua
(South Sydney Roosters), Te Maire Martin (Wests Tigers), Taan Milne
(Sydney Roosters), Una Mohi (Melbourne Storm), Chance Peni
(Newcastle Knights), Pride Pettersen- Robati (Newcastle Knights),
Niua Puaka (Melbourne Storm), Tulsa Saumamao (South Sydney
Rabbitohs), Joseph Tapine (Newcastle Knights), James Taylor
(Newcastle Knights), Renouf To'omaga (Canterbury Bulldogs), Braden
Uele (Sydney Roosters)
Both squads will be named next week, after the NRL and NYC
Holden Cup finals.
Counties Manukau needed a try in the dying moments to keep alive
their hopes of defending the 17s crown on Day Two of the "Got A
Trade?" NZRL National Youth Tournament in Rotorua.
Locked in a tense battle with the hometown Wai-Coa-Bay Colts,
the Stingrays found themselves 26-20 down with less than 10 minutes
to play, but managed to pull the result out of the fire with a late
try to second row Tamatik Ioane-Niko, converted by centre Henry
The rivals were even 10-10 at halftime and Counties seemed to
have grabbed control after the break, with two converted tries to
fullback Ethan Nukanuka and wing Sam Filimoeatu.
The Colts, who were 40-0 winners over the South Island on
opening day, struck back with three unanswered tries. When Nikora
Rangi grabbed his second of the game 10 minutes from the end,
Wai-Coa-Bay suddenly had their noses ahead and an upset was in the
But they were unable to hold off the determined South
Aucklanders and must now face a stern test from Wellington Orcas,
if they are to progress to the semi-finals.
Ioane-Niko was duly named player of the match for his
Akarana Falcons and Auckland Invitation have separated
themselves from their rivals in the other 17s pool.
The Falcons put 50 points on their Northland opponents, with
Austin Masiutama and Kalani Pewhairangi-Charlie crossing for two
tries each, while Chol Chol had a hat-trick for Auckland in their
30-4 win over Central Vipers.
Akarana are also unbeaten in their 15s title defence, but were
unconvincing for the second day in succession, as they edged
The champions trailed 10-4 at the break and needed a staunch
defensive effort over the second half to escape defeat.
Counties are two-from-two in the other pool, after defeating
Central Vipers 26-16.
In a nailbiting 15s finish, Joseph Taipari's successful attempt
at goal in the final minute steered South Island Scorpions home
12-10 over Northern Swords in a contest that was locked 6-6 at
Tuesday, September 30
Auckland Invitation 30 (Chol Chol 3, Fa'atapu
Lisati, Delaney Chaney-Puata & Bailey Payne tries; Lisati 2
& Bostyn Hakaraia goals) Mid Central Vipers 4
(Robbie McFarlane try): HT: 10-4
Player of the match - Hardi Pomate (Auckland)
Akarana Falcons 50 (Austin Masiutama 2, Kalani
Pewhairangi-Charlie 2, Dean Kouka-Smith, Zaylin Inu, Kahil Johnson,
Sitiu Tupounuia & Don Broughton tries; Johnson 7 goals)
Northern Swords 4 (Tamati Leach try): HT:
Player of the match - Luke Tipene (Akarana)
Counties Manukau Stingrays 28 (Kristian Petty
2, Ethan Nukanuka, Sam Fiilimoetau & Tamati Ioane-Niko tries;
Henry Pei 4 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 26 (Wally
Tipene 2, Nikora Rangi 2 & Shadzz Hapi-Wise tries; Norgan
Harper 2 & Reuben Taylor goals); HT: 10-10
Player of the match - Ioane-Niko
Wellington Orcas 40 (Enoch Tautolo 2, Tyrone
Tihore, Tarquinn Alatipi, Tristan Davis, Solon Patelesio &
Logan Saumolia tries; Luke Cummings 6 goals) South Island
Scorpions 6 (Rory Ferguson try; Logan Woodham goal); HT:
Player of the match - Saumolia
Auckland Invitation 22 (Kenshin Tsutsui, Blade
Kamuwhemu, Antonio Nelu & James Courtnay tries; Bailey Poto 3
goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Colts 14 (Tautau Kapea, John
Friis & Taelem McGregor tries; Hopa Haika goal); HT: 18-6
Player of the match - Starford Toa (Auckland)
Counties Manukau Stingrays 26 (Steven Marsters,
Semisi Kioa, Dakota Edmonds-Taimani, Joshua Uta & Jayden
Thompson tries; Etene Nanai-Seturo 2 & Kiani Marshall goals)
Central Vipers 16 (Wipere Takitimu, Corey
Robertson & Joey Lose tries; Jahlon Governor 2 goals); HT:
Player of the match - Marsters
Akarana Falcons 18 (Mikey Williams, Daymon
Abbey & Hayes Okesene tries; Chanel Harris-Tavita 3 goals)
Wellington Orcas 10 (Te Aorere Wanoa & Gerard
Akavi-Ahnau tries; Dante Laulu goal); HT: 4-10
Player of the match - Williams
South Island Scorpions 12 (Dallas Onosai &
Seth Tauamiiti tries; Joseph Taipari 2 goals) Northland
Swords 10 (Te Kahi Nathan & Bradley Laniganh tries;
Nikau Graham goal): HT: 6-6
Player of the match - Leicester Faingaanuku (South Island)