Stallions climb table with win

21 September 2014

Wai-Coa-Bay piled more misfortune on the hapless Northern Swords, but edged themselves higher up the Pirtek NZRL National Premiership ladder with a 50-4 win in Whangarei.

The Stallions entered the contest with just one win to their credit this season - a dramatic comeback against Wellington Orcas two weeks ago - but were a class above their hosts this time.

With five-eighth Johnson Peri bagging a hat-trick, the visitors crossed for nine tries and led 22-4 at the break.

This was the second consecutive game the Swords had conceded 50 points and their chances of securing a victory this season now look bleak.

Their four defeats so far have been by an average of 42 points, with remaining fixtures against defending champions Akarana Falcons and unbeaten competition leaders Canterbury Bulls leaving little hope of salvation.



Sunday, September 21

Toll Stadium, Whangarei

Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 50 (Johnson Peri 3, Caleb Heke, John Koko, Hohepa Monk, Hone Love-Henry, Terry Kapua & Daley Rata-Makene tries; Hayden Karena 7 goals) Northern Swords 4 (Ross McFarlane try); HT: 22-4

Swords: 1-Israel Tahere, 2-Waipu Stone, 3-C Henare, 4-Ross McFarlane,
5-Tumoana Halkyard, 6-Daniel Fulop, 7-Dean Schreurs, 17-Andre Lennox, 9 Joel Freeman, 10 Michael Salase, 11-Jordan Hool, 12-Adam Donaldson, 18-T Tipene, 14-Chris Apoua, 15-Manu Tuhoro, 16-Sharif Mangu, 19-Patrick Tane

Stallions: 1-Caleb Heke, 2-Isaac Robinson, 3-John Koko, 4- Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano, 19-Hohepa Monk, 6-Johnson Peri, 7-Hayden Karena, 10-Callin Tereu, 9-Raureti Grace, 8-Lionel Skipwith, 13-Terry Kopua, 12-Hone Love-Henry, 11-Cassius Dunn-Reid, 14-Daley Rata-Makene, 15-Mosese Mafi, 16-Riki Collier, 17-T Maniapoto Gary Tupala

Referee - Kiko Puhipi Hibbs           Touch - Chris McMillan & Tane Kaiwai

Falcons topple Rays, Bulls on top

20 September 2014

Defending champions Akarana barely kept their hopes of a fifth straight title alive, with a hard-fought 26-24 home win over archrivals Counties Manukau in the Pirtek NZRL National Premiership.

And at the end of the day, Canterbury Bulls sat atop the competition ladder, as the only team yet to taste defeat this season.

The Falcons entered their contest at Ellerslie Domain with a loss already to their name this season and the prospect of elimination if they fell to the unbeaten Stingrays.

But, bolstered by the return of some front-line performers, the hosts controlled much of the play and held on as their southern neightbours made a run at them in the duing minutes.a

Young fullback Mao Uta starred with a pair of tries to his name, but the decisive scoring act was ultimately Cody Walker's penalty goal midway through the second half, taking his side out beyond two converted tries (26-12).

The Stingrays responded with tries to Terence Phillips and Eko Malu, both converted by William Stowers, but ran out of time to capitalise fully on the momentum shift.

Probably the most influential newcomer for Akarana was scrumhalf Sam Cook, back from his campaign with the Vodafone Warriors reserves. He created the first try, when he took a clever offloard from hooker Marcus Fraser, made good metres down the centre of the park and put Uta away for the line.

Cook's long pass also made space for wing Jeremiah Faaumuumu to cross for the second try, both converted by five-eighth Cody Walker, before Pakisonasi Afu and Raymond Taimale responded for Countries to lock the scores at 12-12 at halftime.

Uta had his second soon after the break and when Semisi Mau scrumbled over from dummy half, the Falcons seemed to have the game well in hand.

The Stingrays were their own worst enemies throughout, showing plenty of enterprise, but let down badly by simple handling errors.

They were lucky to survive what seemed like another try, when Falcons prop Eddy Purcell dotted down under the posts, only to be called back for a forward pass.

But Counties could not clear the ball and minutes later, an infringement in front of those same uprights allowed Walker to slot his telling penalty.

In Christchurch, the Bulls grabbed outright lead in the premiership and maintained their unblemished record with a 46-28 result over Wellington Orcas.

The visitors were still in the hunt at halftime, trailling just 28-24, but with debutant Jack Mundy bagging a hat-trick of tries, Canterbury eased away over the final 40 minutes.

They face Counties Manukau on the road next week, with a chance to eliminate the previous frontrunners from title contention.



Saturday, September 20

Ellerslie Domain, Auckland

Akarana Falcons 26 (Mao Uta 2, Jeremiah Faaumuumu & Semisi Mau tries; Cody Walker 4 & Sam Cook goals) Counties Manukau Stingrays 24 (Tomas Aoake, Terence Phillips, Pakisonasi Afu & Eko Malu tries; William Stowers 4 goals); HT: 12-12

Falcons: 1-Mao Uta, 2-Saula Solomona, 3-Willie Peace, 4-Semisi Fotu, 5-Jeremiah Faaumuumu, 6-Sam Cook, 7-Cody Walker, 8-Eddy Purcell, 9-Marcus Fraser,
10-Soape Kavaliku, 11-Malakai Houma, 12-Taylor Daniels, 13-Tulson Caird, 15-Semisi Mau, 14-Karl Simeti, 16-Lila Vaivai, 17-Siliga Kepaoa

Stingrays: 1-George Edwards, 2-Raymond Taimale, 3-Mapa Tuipulotu, 4-Filipine Jacob Aki, 5-Tomas Aoake, 6- Terence Phillips, 7-William Stowers, 8-Tony Tuia, 9-Jethro Friend, 10-Pakisonasi Afu, 11-Sione Feao, 13-Dion Snell, 12-Vila Aiopolu, 17-Eko Malu, 14-Zebastian Luisi, 15-Joseph Price, 16-Michael Ki

Referee - Aaron Kesha                  Touch - Rochelle Tamarua & Chris McMillan


Denton Park, Christchurch

Canterbury Bulls 46 (Jack Mundy 3, Ken Tofilau, Manu Weepu, Kyle Leka, Alani Kakoi & Paul Sauni tries; Toi Sepoluni 7 goals) Wellington Orcas 28 (Raymond Lesoa, Michael O'Brien, Anthony Utanga, Chance Haua-Tauri & Chozen Rameka tries; Ben Tuia 3 & Bernard Gregorius goals); HT: 26-24

Bulls: 1-Ken Tofilau, 2-Sioeli Otufangavalu, 3-Erwin Sauni, 4-Jack Mundy, 5-Will Tafua, 6-Toi Sepuloni, 7-Izic Placid, 20-JJ Smith, 9-Manu Weepu, 10-Chris Bamford, 11-Kyle Leka, 12-Corey Lawire, 13-Agaese Fiso, 14-Alani Kakoi, 15-Paradise Mann, 16-Paul Sauni, 17-John Tafua

Orcas: 1-Petera Rikiriki-Williams, 2-David Saumolia, 4-Ben Tuia, 3-Raymond Lesoa, 5-Bernard Gregorius, 6-Michael O'Brien, 7-Anthony Utanga, 10-Chance Haua-Tauri, 9-Grayson Putu, 8-Robbie Mckenzie, 12-Phillip Salevao, 11-Nicholas Phillips, 13- Denzil Hokianga, 14-Chozen Rameka, 16-Robin Yates, 15-Joseph Apikotoa, 17-Paul Lemana

Referee - Tony Arnel                    Touch - Jason Wilson & Daryl Maitai

Iro chases NRL coaching dream

20 September 2014

Former Kiwi Tony Iro has resigned from his role as New Zealand Rugby League high performance general manager to return to his previous position as assistant coach at the Vodafone Warriors.

But NZRL chief executive Phil Holden is happy to see Iro following his heart.

"Tony has done an incredible job for us and really taken our high performance programme to another level since arriving almost two years ago," says Holden.

"But while he has proven himself to be a very capable administrator, coaching is his true passion and we completely support him as he pursues his dream.

"Tony is also a great guy and personifies the values that we're trying to establish in our organisation.

"He will be missed terribly by his colleagues and our challenge now is to find someone to continue the great work he has done here."

Iro (Kiwi # 606) arrived at NZRL after his previous stint with the Warriors ended in 2012. He had spent eight years at the club, guiding their NYC team from 2008-09 and then assisting with the premier side from 2010-12, helping them to the 2011 NRL grand final.

When head coach Brian McClennan did not last his first season, Iro took over the post temporarily, but was not retained for the following season.

"I've enjoyed my two years with NZRL, working with the Kiwis and in the high performance area, but I always wanted to coach in the NRL again," says Iro.

"I've got strong ties with the Vodafone Warriors after my time with the club and couldn't be more excited about returning. The club has so much to offer."

His experience and mana are just what current Warriors coach Andrew McFadden needs, as he prepares for his first full season in charge.

"Tony is an ideal choice, just the sort of person I need," says McFadden. "He has the depth of coaching experience I was after, and he has so much knowledge about the club and about the players here, most of whom he has worked with."

Iro is committed to NZRL until the upcoming Four Nations tournament is over and, in the meantime, the national body will begin its search for his replacement.

Busy times for age-group aces

18 September 2014

Several of New Zealand's top teenage rugby league stars will do double international duty over the next two weeks, after being named in the NZ 18s side.

The age-group team will face the New South Wales-based Taurahere Kiwis in a two-test series on September 29 and October 2 in Rotorua, held in conjunction with the "Got A Trade?" NZRL National Youth Tournament.

But six - Nick Lui-Toso (Kelston BHS), Eddie Wulf (Kelston BHS), Erin Clark (Manurewa HS), Rueben Porter (Mt Albert Grammar), Tyler Mohi (Aorere College) and Zion Ioka (Kelston BHS) - will also line up for the NZ Secondary Schools side to take on New South Wales Combined High Schools next Tuesday (September 23) at Westlake Boys High School.

The final group also includes Ofahiki Ogden and Mafoa'aeata Hingano from the Junior Warriors squad. Eight Warriors were named in the extended squad, but most are unavailable due to their continued progress in the NRL Holden Cup competition.

The full NZ 18s squad, to be coached by Tom Ball and assistant Moehewa Armstrong, is:

Joseph Apikotoa (Wellington/Randwick), Erin Clark (Akarana/Pt Chevalier), Mattais Heimuli (Akarana/Glenora), Mafoa'aeata Hingano (Counties Manukau/Pakuranga), Jamel Hunt (Counties Manukau/Otahuhu), Zion Ioka (Akarana/Glenora), Nick Lui-Toso (Akarana/Glenora), Dre Melvin (Wellington/Porirua), Christian Mika (Counties Manukau/Otahuhu), Tyler Mohi (Counties Manukau/Mangere East), Ofahiki Ogden (Counties Manukau/Mangere East), Fabien Paletua-Kiri (Mid Central/Kia Ora), Rueben Porter (Akarana/Te Atatu), Joseph Price (Counties Manukau/Mangere East), Ken Tofilau (South Island/Halswell), Fuaimamao Uta (Akarana/Northcote), Tiaan Wilkins (Counties Manukau/Mangere East), Eddie Wulf (Akarana/Marist), Logan Yates (Akarana/Pakuranga)

Standby: Connor Purcell (Akarana/Otahuhu), Richard Timoti (Akarana/Ellerslie)



Puketawhero Park, Rotorua

First Test - Monday, September 29, 12.45pm

Second Test - Friday, October 3, 12.15pm




GATGIM_LogoNZ 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 field.

Your ticket to the Four Nations

17 September 2014

There are so many ways for you to catch the NZ Kiwis in action during the Four Nations …

The year's international rugby league extravaganza is rapidly approaching and diehard fans have plenty of options for showing their support for the Kiwis, both in New Zealand and across the ditch.

Top of the list would be the revamped official supporters' trip to the doubleheader at Suncorp, hosted by none other than NZRL Patron Sir Peter "The Mad Butcher" Leitch.

Experience Group are taking the official Kiwis supporters tour to Brisbane for the Kiwis v Kangaroos/England v Samoa games on October 25, staying at Brisbane's Mantra Terrace Hotel.

The package includes:

  • Return economy "Works" flights with Air New Zealand, October 23 & 26
  • Return group airport transfersbutcher flyer
  • Three nights accommodation
  • Legends lunch at the Caxton Hotel
  • Pre-test cocktail function
  • Exclusive access to the captain's run
  • Gold reserve tickets at the test

Packages priced from $1825 (plus airline taxes), but be in quickly - numbers are limited. Contact the Experience Group at or phone 09 304 0352.

Mai FM and The Rock FM radio stations are also offering lots of opportunities to win trips and tickets right up until the tournament kicks off. Keep an eye on their websites and an ear on their frequencies.

This week Mai is offering a trip for four to all four Kiwis games, including the double header on the opening weekend. Just register yourself and your mates, if all four answer the phone "Thanks Mai for sending me to the Four Nations", you can start packing your bags.

Check out their offer here.

Next week, The Rock FM, in conjunction with principal Kiwis sponsor Pirtek, will launch a competition for two to attend the Four Nations final in Wellington on November 15. Listen to the Morning Rumble for details.

Meanwhile, six lucky winners have secured trips for two to Brisbane for the opening games, courtesy of Fairfax Newspapers, Tourism and Events Queensland, Air New Zealand, Next Hotel and New Zealand Rugby League.

Those winners are Byron Wagstaff of Auckland, Neil Gordon of Palmerston North, Lew Kahui of Hawera, Juliet Hunter of Amberley, Matthew & Louise Down of Kapiti Coast and Emiel Fong of Wellington.

For more ticketing information, visit the tournament page here.