Bromwich riding rich vein of form

22 August 2014

There are very few things you can absolutely count on in life, but you can now consider adding Kiwis prop Jesse Bromwich to death and taxes.

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 round.

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 tackles.

"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 bodies.

"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."

Odds stacked against Falcons

21 August 2014

Given the obstacles facing the Akarana Falcons each year, their record in the Pirtek NZRL National Premiership is nothing short of impressive.

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 after that."

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 success.

"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.



Pirtek NZRL National Premiership Guide (Round One)


2014 Pirtek National Premiership
Round One (August 23/24)

Saturday, August 23
1.30pm Wellington Orcas v Northern Swords
Petone Recreation Ground, Wellington
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
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 Bulls
Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
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, 17-Ale Feaunati

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 Tusa

Referee - Tane Kaiwai Touch - Dave Robati & Marissa Edmonds

Sunday, August 24
2.30pm Akarana Falcons v Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions
Birkenhead War Memorial, Auckland

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
Stallions: 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 & TBC

Counties Manukau Stingrays bye

NZRL-Pirtek-National-Premiership-v-4NZ 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.

Kiwis honoured in academic awards

20 August 2014

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 line-up.

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 said.

"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 university.

•             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 years.

•             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 $450,000.



Todd Lowrie (Brisbane Broncos) - Cert IV in Project Management & Cert IV in Small Business at Capital Training Institute & Arouni Tech

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 Universities

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



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 Griffith University

Jack Delaney (Manly Sea Eagles) - Bachelor of Business & Commerce at University of Western University

Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm) - Bachelor Commerce degree at Melbourne University

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 Bronson Construction

Cheyne Whitelaw (South Sydney Rabbitohs) - Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at University of New South Wales

Adam Clune (St George Dragons               ) - Degree in Law at University of Wollongong

Mason Lino (Vodafone Warriors               ) - Bachelor of Business at Auckland University of Technology

Nathan Milone (Wests Tigers) - Bachelor of Business at University of Technology Sydney



Aaron Rockley   (Brisbane Broncos) -  qualified carpenter at All Trades Queensland, currently employed by Brett Walters

Adam Brideson - state manager KPD, former NRL player with Bulldogs



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

In the news - Rams impressive early

19 August 2014

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."

Read more


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 Chronicle)

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 (Michael Carayannis)

Southland Rams poised for battle with Otago (Southland Times)

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 Standard)

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 Herald)

Kemp: I'm biased, but Dally M drought shows racism (Sunday News)

Ex-Stags stalwart in new league (Southland Times)

Rams impress with nine-try rout of Whalers (Southland Times)

Rugby league: Rams show Whalers no mercy (Otago Daily Times)

Four Nations set stage for NZ teams

19 August 2014

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 Stadium.

•             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 Stadium, Dunedin.

"There are some exciting benefits of hosting a major international event like this," says NZRL chief executive Phil Holden.

"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.