Merry Christmas from NZRL

20 December 2014

It's been a huge year for rugby league in New Zealand!

While the NZ Kiwis' success at the Four Nations tournament was an undoubted highlight, there have been so many more quietly spectacular achievements, on and off the field.

The Kiwi Ferns women and Junior Kiwis also tasted victory over their highly rated Australian rivals, while NZRL took the international game to some of the country's farthest outposts.

We're especially proud of our developing relationship with government agencies, who recognise our ability to reach parts of the community they can't.

We're also  working hard to make sure our young talent is well prepared for professional and international careers on the field, but also ready for life after their football careers are over.

Thanks for joining us on this ride, enjoy your Christmas and New Year safely, and we'll see you back on deck for 2015.

The NZRL office is closed from Friday, December 19 until Monday, January 19.

Johnson takes Golden Boot honours

20 December 2014

New Zealand scrumhalf Shaun Johnson has capped a memorable year by winning the 2014 Rugby League World Golden Boot.

The Kiwis playmaker was man of the the match in the final, as his side defeated Australia to lift the Four Nations title - a performance that impressed the 13-man Golden Boot voting panel.

For the second successive year, South Sydney's English forward Sam Burgess came second in the voting. But whereas last year, Burgess was within seven points of Johnathan Thurston, this time Johnson was a decisive winner, collecting almost twice as many points as his nearest rival.

Johnson becomes only the fourth New Zealander to win the prestigious award, following countrymen Hugh McGahan, Stacey Jones and Benji Marshall.

"Being a rugby league fan growing up, I always knew about the Golden Boot award," says Johnson. "I was pretty aware of the players who'd won it before, because they were players that I grew up watching like Stacey Jones and Andrew Johns.

"Then there were the current players that I admire, like Thurston. To receive it is pretty unreal, to be honest.

"I felt I finished the year really well and was able to take that into the Four Nations, and was really happy with how I played for the Kiwis.

"It was just made easy by the culture that we have there now and the group of players that we have around us. There's no way I could have received this award without those boys playing their part and I'll accept it on their behalf."

The judging panel included representatives from Australia, England, France and New Zealand. Among them were former Golden Boot winner Garry Schofield, ex-Great Britain coach Brian Noble, and past Kiwi internationals Robbie Hunter-Paul and Daryl Halligan.

Each judge was asked to hand their leading contender five points, their second three and their third one, from a six-man shortlist. Johnson finished with 44 points and Burgess 23, with James Graham third on 18 and Greg Inglis fourth with 17.

Double winner Thurston, who missed the Four Nations through injury, polled 13 points and Kiwi prop Jesse Bromwich two.

"As is always the case with the Rugby League World Golden Boot, we asked the judges to consider the performances on the international stage first and foremost, and it's undeniable than Shaun Johnson had the biggest impact at that level in 2014," says RLW editor Gareth Walker.

"Throughout the entire tournament, he provided a devastating mix of organising the New Zealand side and producing moments of individual brilliance himself.

"When the Kiwis needed it most in the final against Australia in Wellington, Johnson came up with the play of the competition, scything through the Kangaroos defence and racing past Golden Boot winner Greg Inglis - a feat very few achieve.

"It was a moment that summed up everything good about Shaun Johnson and this current New Zealand side, which is enjoying a golden era itself, having now won four major tournaments in the last decade."

The Kiwis' success is further illustrated by the fact that Johnson is one of six New Zealanders in the World XIII - the first time in its history they have had that many, having had five in 1983, 1984 and 2010.

Threequarters Dean Whare and Manu Vatuvei, prop Bromwich, and second rowers Kevin Procter and Simon Mannering are all named alongside Johnson, with Australia having just four inclusions this year - Inglis, Michael Jennings, Thurston and Cameron Smith - and England three, Burgess, Graham and Ryan Hall.

An interview with Johnson and the full World XIII voting details appear in the January edition of Rugby League World, available from Friday, December 19.

Download the digital version of that issue to your smartphone, tablet or computer - wherever you are in the world.


2014 WORLD XIII 2014

1 Greg Inglis

2 Ryan Hall

3 Michael Jennings

4 Dean Whare

5 Manu Vatuvei

6 Johnathan Thurston

7 Shaun Johnson

8 James Graham

9 Cameron Smith

10 Jesse Bromwich

11 Kevin Proctor

12 Simon Mannering

13 Sam Burgess



1984 Wally Lewis

1985 Brett Kenny

1986 Garry Jack

1987 Hugh McGahan & Peter Sterling

1988 Ellery Hanley

1989 Mal Meninga

1990 Garry Schofield

1999: Andrew Johns

2000 Brad Fittler

2001 Andrew Johns

2002 Stacey Jones

2003 Darren Lockyer

2004 Andrew Farrell

2005 Anthony Minichiello

2006 Darren Lockyer

2007 Cameron Smith

2008 Billy Slater

2009 Greg Inglis

2010 Benji Marshall

2011 Johnathan Thurston

2012 Kevin Sinfield

2013 Johnathan Thurston

Conlon earns NZRL role

20 December 2014

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the appointment of former Kiwi Ferns captain Nadene Conlon to the newly created position of national operations manager.

The role will oversee all NZRL tournaments and competitions, including the national premiership, while other duties include management of the Kiwi Ferns programme and NZ Kiwis team.

Conlon, who led the NZ women to victory at the 2000 World Cup, joined NZRL earlier this year as national game development manager, replacing John Ackland, who had left to become Auckland Rugby League chief executive. She was a driving force behind the Kiwis' successful 2014 Four Nations campaign.

Her new role is part of a restructuring of NZRL operations to better align with specific programmes.

This change also sees the dissolution of the competitions and operations manager job, previously held by Ron Pereira, who leaves the organisation.

NZRL Awards function set

19 December 2014

Lock in Wednesday, January 28 for the 2014 NZRL Awards function at Auckland Floating Pavilion.

The invitation-only event will bring together the best of the best of NZ rugby league over the past 12 months.

Nominations across 11 categories are open until January 9, so download the attached form here and send completed to Philippa Ivory, NZRL, PO Box 12 712, Penrose Auckland or email



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Floating Pavilion, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

Drinks 5.30pm, awards commence 6.15pm


The award categories are:

Grassroots Club of the Year
Must have made a difference to their local community and shown a commitment to NZRL values.
2013 winners - Otara Scorpions (Counties Manukau)

Volunteer Recognition Award (Female)
Must have shown a commitment to their club, the game and NZRL values.
2013 winner - Tasha Tasmania (Akarana)

Volunteer Recognition Award (Male)
Must have shown a commitment to their club, the game and NZRL values.
2013 winner - Teaukura Moetaua (Southern)

Match Official of the Year
Must have performed consistently at the highest level, nationally and internationally.
2013 winner - Shane Rehm (Akarana)

Women's Player of the Year
Must have played consistently for their team in any competition this year and been selected for the Kiwi Ferns in 2014, while having a significant impact, both on and off the field.
2013 winner - Sarina Fiso (Counties Manukau)

Pirtek Domestic Players of the Year (16s, 18s & Premiers)
Must have played in the NZRL national competitions and been selected for the NZ16s, NZ18s or NZ Residents, while having a significant impact on their team, both on and off the field.
2013 winners - Mathew Faitotoa (Akarana), Paul Ulberg (Wellington) & Saimon Lomalona (Wellington)

Junior Player of the Year
Must be aged under 20, played in either the NYC, NRL or NZRL national competitions, shown commitment to New Zealand Rugby League and been involved in community work, while having a significant impact on their team, both on and off the field.
2013 winner - Tuimola Lolohea (Vodafone Warriors)

Kiwis Rookie of the Year
Must have made their debut in first grade in the NRL/Super League or the Kiwis in 2014, shown commitment to the Kiwis and New Zealand Rugby League, and be involved in community work, while having a significant impact on their team, both on and off the field.
2013 winner - Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)

Kiwi Player of the Year
Must have played first grade for their club and, unless prevented by injury, for the Kiwis in 2014, demonstrated leadership/leadership potential with their club, shown commitment to the Kiwis and New Zealand Rugby League, and been involved in community work, while having a significant impact on their team, both on and off the field.
2013 winner - Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles)


Nominations close January 9, 2015.

Register now for HP conference

19 December 2014


No matter what your role in game-day administration, the 2015 New Zealand Rugby League High Performance Conference (January 27-30) offers a chance to progress down an elite pathway.

Run in the build-up to the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines, it's a great chance to combine education with pleasure.

The conference offers courses for coaches (high performance & senior club), trainers (international), referees (Level 2) and match managers, all based around the Millennium Institute of Sport & Health on Auckland's North Shore.

For more information on all courses, contact NZRL national talent manager Dean Watkins at or 021 284 6975.

Applications for all courses close on December 19, 2014.



January 27-30, 2015

Open to current senior club coaches, but limited spots and applicants ranked on merit

Cost ($1670) includes five nights' accommodation, meals & tickets to Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines. Please note, only breakfast supplied on Saturday and Sunday.

High Performance Coaching Registration Form



January 28-30, 2015

Open to coaches with club coach accreditation for minimum of two years

Cost ($945) includes accommodation, meals & tickets to NRL Nines.

NZRL Senior Club Coach Registration Form



January 28-30, 2015

Open to NZRL national trainers, or experienced international rules-grade coaches or trainers. Can be cross-credited to Australian standard.

Cost ($1105) includes accommodation, meals & tickets to NRL Nines.

NZRL International Trainer Registration From



January 29/30, 2015

Open to Level 1 Referees with minumum of two years' experience

Cost TBC



January 30, 2015

Required by anyone wishing to manager rugby league matches at senior level

Cost TBC

Match Managers Certificate Registration Form