General 2015 NZRL National Premiership

kiwi's 13-6

Starting this thread early because NZRL has a lot of work to do improving the planing, organisation & promotion to make the 2015 National Premiership better than last year which quite frankly was a bit embarrassing for the NZRL. Another poor effort will not be good enough this year eligibility criteria need to be sorted before the comp kicks off, TV coverage organised, promotion campaign run to lift awareness of the comp, nz residents game needs to be organised.

If the NZRL can do all that well this year i will be the 1st to say job well done and the sport in this country will benefit as a result.
Counties 9's today - finals, at Massey Park in Papakura if anyone out that side of town wants to watch some local league today.
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NZRL have released a press release & draw for the 2015 Premiership on there new look website, comp starts off with triple header in Auckland on 30th of August, seven rounds then 1st vs 2nd in the final on the 17th of October venue yet to be confirmed, final will be televised.

Would it be to much to ask for local rugby league to have its own sub forum on this site separate from ESL & other competitions? We are the worlds #1 ranked nation & this is our nationwide elite competition so get out there and support your city, province or region!
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Would it be to much to ask for local rugby league to have its own sub forum on this site separate from ESL & other competitions? We are the worlds #1 ranked nation & this is our nationwide elite competition so get out there and support your city, province or region!
That sub forum would only have 5 threads in it.

Sadly, outside of the Warriors and the NRL no one really cares about National footy or even grassroots footy. You can tell by the amount of people who reply to the threads or show any interest in the last Pirtek thread. Even with the Akarana and Counties drama that should have blown up big time no one but a handful of people cared.

And people wonder why the game is far behind in NZ...
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Wonder what promotion NZRL has lined up for premiership? mentions on Crowd goes wild, Code, Sky tv nz based league shows, Radio sport,, NZ Herald, Social Media campaign... or the usual article on there website the week before the opening game!

Speaking of Crowd goes wild ive never seen any local league on smashed'em bro pretty sure local league scene originally invented the saying... despite fox & NZ premiership being televised... yet ive seen them use high school/amateur local union highlights in that segment... ummm funny that
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Auckland sides to battle Canterbury Bulls for national rugby league crown
Last updated 05:00, August 29 2015


The Swords were the undisputed whipping boys of the 2014 premiership – annihilated 106-14 by the champion Canterbury Bulls among a succession of savage beatings. Developing players and creating a positive culture are their coach's main objectives.

Coach: Jon Renes. Captain: TBC.

Home grounds: Lindvart Park Kaikohe; Toll Stadium, Whangarei.

2014 record: Seventh – played 6, lost 6; points for 64, points against 394.

Young gun: Exciting five-eighth/centre Caleb Aekins has been signed by Penrith Panthers Under-20s.

Key players: Wiry, third-season fullback Jaydenn Bentley-Hape, winger Israel Tahere, Swords original, centre Anaru Thompson, veteran forward Peter Prime, who boasts NSW Cup experience, and assistant coach Jack Walker.

2015 prospects: More heavy defeats likely with focus on overall improvement and long-term development.


Still smarting from their disqualification from the final after finishing second in 2014, the Auckland-based Falcons, coached by former Warriors half Steve Buckingham, are hell-bent on reclaiming the title they won in 2013-14. They were found guilty of fielding ineligible players from the Warriors' NSW Cup side who were registered with the NSWRL rather than the Auckland Rugby League. Akarana will be the overwhelming favourites, but the Fox Memorial club finals series is currently in full swing, which has stymied the Falcons' premiership preparations.

Coach: Steve Buckingham. Captain: TBC.

Home ground: TBC.

2014 record: Played 6, won 5, lost 1; points for 288, points against 104. *Disqualified from final for fielding ineligible player.

Young gun: Backrower Michael Ki, 21, has had stints with the Parramatta Eels and Warriors NYC sides.

Key players: Mt Albert halfback Cody Walker, fellow 2014 New Zealand Residents reps Jeremiah Faaumuumu, Eddie Purcell, Soape Kavaliku and Semisi Mau, big mobile and skilful forwards Paki Afu and Pat Sipley, 2008 Warrior Malo Solomona and forward Herman Retzlaff, who spent time in both the Wests Tigers' and Warriors' systems.

2015 prospects: After negotiating this weekend's round one clash against the Orcas with a makeshift line-up, Akarana's bye coincides with next Saturday's Fox Memorial grand final, before the Falcons embark on a daunting road trip to play Canterbury. If the Falcons can live up to their title favourites billing they will have truly earned it after a disjointed start to the campaign.


Counties Manukau finished top of the table in 2014 and the only team to defeat Canterbury, but the Stingrays were controversially ruled out of the premiership final after also fielding ineligible Warriors NSW Cup-registered players. The Stingrays face a tricky start to their 2015 campaign, with their 10-strong Papakura Sea Eagles contingent unavailable for the opening game on Saturday and potentially round two if the club advances to next weekend's Fox Memorial grand final.

Coach: Rod Ratu. Captain: TBC.

Home grounds: Massey Park, Papakura.

2014 record: Played 6, won 5, lost 1; points for 310, points against 64. *Disqualified from final for fielding ineligible player.

Young guns: Front-rower Ezra Tuli and outside back Rory Marshall-Barton. Winger Alan Niulevu scored three tries for Auckland Vulcans Development against Canterbury Selection.

Key players: Papakura winger George Edwards is the only one of Counties Manukau's seven 2014 New Zealand Residents representatives backing up for the Stingrays. Former Junior Kiwi forward Upu Poching played one NRL game for the Warriors in 2010 and was the Auckland Vulcans' Player of the Year in the 2011 NSW Cup grand final season.

2015 prospects: The absence of the Papakura players presents a huge challenge for the season-opener against Wai-Coa-Bay on Sunday, but those combinations and the high calibre of the Sea Eagles players also shapes as Counties Manukau's trump card for the season ahead. If the Stingrays can negotiate the unsettled first couple of weeks effectively, they will be a strong chance of atoning for 2014 and reaching the final.


Fourth-placed Waicoa Bay were sensationally pitched into the 2014 final at the 11th hour after Akarana and Counties Manukau were disqualified. The Stallions went down 40-8 to Canterbury in the decider, but produced a spirited performance after a farcically short build-up. The upper central zone side takes its players from the Bay of Plenty, Coastline, Gisborne and Waikato districts, which makes it difficult to assemble a team initially, but the Stallions will be confident of challenging the heavyweights.

Coach: Tony Lajpold. Captains: Hayden Karena, Terry Kopua and Jeremy Siulepa.

Home grounds: Tauranga Domain, Tauranga; Resthills Park, Hamilton; Memorial Park, Tokoroa; TBC, Rotorua.

2014 record: Runners-up – Played 6, won 3, lost 3; points for 144, points against 212.

Young gun: Prop/second-rower Keanu Dawson has returned home after representing Queensland Under-18s this year during a stint with Gold Coast Titans' NYC side.

Key players: Crucially, the Stallions have retained their 2014 halves Hayden Karena and Johnson Peri, along with hooker Raureti Grace.

2015 prospects: Work commitments dictate WaiCoa Bay may not always be able to field the best team from its widespread squad every week, but the foundations laid in 2014 and the framework the coaching staff put in place suggest they can't be taken lightly this season.


Drawing players from Wanganui, Manawatu, Hawke's Bay and Taranaki, the Vipers can empathise with the Stallions' logistical challenges. The mid central zone outfit performed creditably in 2014, going down narrowly to the Bulls and accounting for the Orcas and Swords to offload the wooden spoon they collected a year earlier, but they also suffered heavy defeats to both Auckland sides.

Coach: Dion Te Ahu. Captain: Colin Hokianga.

Home grounds: Springvale Park, Wanganui; TBC, New Plymouth.

2014 record: Played 6, won 2, lost 4; points for 148, points against 210.

Young guns: Elusive winger Matthew Murtha, one of 11 Hawke's Bay players, is in just his second year of league and still plays club rugby union, but the versatile 21-year-old is an electric attacking player.

Key players: Captain Colin Hokianga, another dual-code player, is a dangerous ball-runner and playmaker from dummy-half. Goalkicking centre Vai Kereti is also a damaging proposition on both sides of the ball.

2015 prospects: Despite a staggered build-up due to the extensive travel involved for training sessions – along with a pre-season trial thrashing at the hands of the Orcas – the Vipers' solid core of Hawke's Bay players holds them in good stead to rise up the table in 2015.


After a disappointing 2014 campaign that netted just one win – a 38-14 result against the struggling Swords in round one – the Orcas are searching for vast improvement under new coach Darryl Marino, a successful mentor on the Wellington club scene who replaces former Kiwi Mike Kuiti. Marino will have ex-test hooker Barry Harvey as his assistant.

Coach: Darryl Marino. Captain: TBC.

Home ground: Porirua Park.

2014 record: Played 6, won 1, lost 5; points for 148, points against 244.

Young guns: Marino said the rise of Warriors prop Charlie Gubb and Newcastle Knights duo Danny Levi and Joseph Tapine – all Wellington juniors – to NRL status has provided a boost for local juniors.

Key players: Barnstorming Randwick forward Paul Lemana an Orcas' standout in 2014, combines a strong work ethic in attack and defence with deft offloading skills and a nose for the try-line.

2015 prospects: The Orcas showed what they are capable of with a 50-12 demolition of the Vipers in a pre-season trial two weeks ago. A spot in the final may seem unrealistic, but the Orcas should challenge most rivals.


Canterbury's 2014 premiership triumph, after thumping Wai-Coa-Bay 40-8 in the final, was tarnished somewhat by the fallout surrounding Akarana's and Counties Manakau's disqualification, but Darrell Coad's side is determined to prove the long-awaited triumph was no fluke.

The Bulls lost just one game last season – a 36-22 defeat to the Stingrays in the penultimate round – and inflicted the Falcons' only loss to finish equal at the top of the table with the Auckland sides, but third on for-and-against.The southern zone representatives have had the smoothest preparation of any team, with an opening-round bye providing the Bulls with a four-week lead-in from the club grand final to the first match of their title defence. Canterbury's return to the code's spiritual home in the region, Rugby League Park (AMI Stadium), for its three home games will be a feature of the Bulls' 2015 campaign. Fourteen players are backing up from the title winning team.

Coach: Darrell Coad. Captain: Chris Bamford.

Home ground: AMI Stadium, Christchurch.

2014 record: Premiers – Played 6, won 5, lost 1; points for 256, points against 130.

Young guns: Boom halves Tevin Arona, who returned to Hornby this season from the Canberra Raiders' Under-20s side, and Riccarton Knights playmaker Gus Anderson, giant Linwood prop Jiordan Fidow-Kele,19, another ex-Raiders junior.

Key players: Inspirational skipper Chris Bamford should set the tone with his rampaging runs and bruising defence up front. The towering 32-year-old prop and vice-captain Aga Fiso, are aiming to retain their places in the New Zealand Residents side. The Keas' Sauni brothers – Matt, Erwin and Paul — James Baxendale and Kyle Leka provide quality and experience.

2015 prospects: The Canterbury Bulls have everything going for them as they attempt to go back-to-back: a strong squad with an excellent blend of experience and talented youngsters, a composed and lengthy build-up (particularly in comparison to some of their rivals), and home games against Akarana and Counties Manukau. But every team in the premiership will be determined to knock off the champs.

Round One fixtures:

Akarana Falcons v Wellington Orcas at Massey Park, Papakura – 11.30am, Saturday, August 30. Central Vipers v Northern Swords at Massey Park, Papakura – 1.15pm, Saturday, August 30. Counties Manukau Stingrays v Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions – 3pm, Saturday, August 30.

Canterbury Bulls' first game (Round Two): v WaiCoa Bay Stallions – 2pm, Saturday, September 5.
WaiCoa Bay Stallions set high targets for National Premiership
Last updated 14:13, August 28 2015

Exceptional circumstances might have got them there last time, but the WaiCoa Bay Stallions believe they can make the national premiership final again this season.

After finishing in fourth spot last year, the Stallions bizarrely got through to the decider against the third-placed Canterbury Bulls after both the Akarana Falcons and Counties Manukau Stingrays were found to have used ineligible players during the season.

In the end the Stallions were thumped 40-8 in the final, not too unexpected considering they hadn't played for three weeks and were given just one day's notice about being in the decider.

But despite their free passage through last time, and the fact the Stallions have been a middling team in the five years since the competition was re-introduced, coach Tony Lajpold is of the opinion his team can match it with the big guns in 2015.

"Realistically, we've set a goal of making the final," he said.

It's Lajpold's second year at the helm, and his cause for optimism stems from the fact the players will be spending more time training together this time. With the Upper Central Zone covering such a vast region, congregating has been an issue. Last year the Stallions trained once a week as a team, with separate satellite trainings in Ngaruawahia and Rotorua one other night, but this year they are holding full team trainings twice a week in Matamata.

Lajpold and assistant coaches Moehewa Armstrong and Paniora Daniels will also be boosted by access to new video technology - which will allow them to track players' stats and provide relevant feedback - thanks to Armstrong's high performance connections (he is the New Zealand under-16 coach).

The Stallions have traditionally been hamstrung by the unavailability of players, who can't commit for various reasons, and up against zones with far greater depth, that can play a big part in their undoing.

About two thirds of this year's squad is different to last year's, and there are some exciting additions. Eighteen-year-old second rower/front rower Keanu Dawson has returned from the Gold Coast, where he was with the Titans club and went on to make the Queensland Under-18 State of Origin team, while second rower Jeremy Siulepa will play for the Stallions again after family reasons brought him back from Newcastle, where he was with the Knights and played in the New South Wales Cup.

With the Stallions having been together for just a couple of weeks, since the club finals, Lajpold is honest in his assessment of where they're at.

"I actually think we're a week to two weeks off where we should be," he said.

In a pre-season hitout against the traditionally hapless Northern Swords in Ngaruawahia last Saturday, the Stallions recorded a 50-0 win in a game of four 15-minute quarters, which Lajpold was able to take a few positives from.

"I was happy with the commitment shown by the 21 players who played," he said. "The new players didn't look too much out of place, but still have a fair way to go in relation to playing at that next level."

It will be a tough ask first up for the Stallions, taking on Counties Manukau in the final game of a tripleheader at Papakura's Massey Park, with the Stingrays having hammered them 68-0 last year.

"Every game's a big test," Lajpold said. "I think we've got to be wary. They've got the luxury of probably a strong competition to pick from, in relation to the Fox Memorial and the Sharman Cup, so they play top football week in, week out.

"We're focusing on making sure we get our stuff right.

"We don't want them making yardage through our middle. We've got talent out wide, but the talent doesn't come into play until we actually control the ruck area.

"We had a meeting at the beginning of the year, understanding we haven't got any big players to belt teams around or push through sides. If you have a look at our squad, they may be young, but they're also fairly fit, and we want to play the game at speed. So speed and execution's important to us."


National Premiership, Rd 1

Counties Manukau Stingrays v WaiCoa Bay Stallions

Massey Park, Papakura

Sunday, 3pm
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Auckland sides minus players in Fox finals series both got upset at home! Wtgn Orcas drew with Akarana 32 all, Waicoa beat Counties 18 - 8 and Central beat prennial cellar dwellers Northland! It's going to be tough for the Auckland sides this year to overcome poor start! personally like to see wtgn vs canterbury final
Auckland sides minus players in Fox finals series both got upset at home! Wtgn Orcas drew with Akarana 32 all, Waicoa beat Counties 18 - 8 and Central beat prennial cellar dwellers Northland! It's going to be tough for the Auckland sides this year to overcome poor start! personally like to see wtgn vs canterbury final
Auckland teams will need to be on point to get through. One off day after the finals and theyre out. At least it evens out the playing field and makes it more fun...
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hearing that Wtgn drew with Auckland made my day after another warriors dismal performance! Thinking outside the box id like to see 8 team comp in 2016 maybe Southland/Otago or West coast/Tasman could enter combined sides, either side would give northland a run for there money! & have comp with semi finals & a final. While the ideas are flowing how about NZ residents side plays NSW Cup Warriors side next year in a pre season game! Also NZ residents 9's side play PNG or Fiji residents in a 3 game exhibition series at the Auckland 9's? NZ gotta start creating exposure and opportunities for local based players!
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I can see Akarana in the finals again - the list I seen after the finals they are super stacked; mates from wellington talking it up , but Akarana only had 15 players and out of those a couple were from shaman - Eko Malu kept Akarana in it lol Counties took a gamble on fringe young guns who attended the NZ Residents camp this year for U 18's and IMO back fired against Wai Coa Bay, to many kiddie errors and a few players just not up to that calibre of footy - suprised at a few of the selections; I do give Waicoa this they had good body shapes in the forward pack who all knew how to run hard just not enough finishers IMO they were a senior looking side compared to the kids counties put out there TBH. At least the Warriors rule has been sorted out from what I heard yesterday counties have lost 3 - 5 players and akarana just 1.
Good start for The Stallions with an upset over Counties Manukau Stingrays.

Erwin Sauni scores for Canterbury Bulls (Photosport)
Bulls title defence safely under way

Rockcote Canterbury Bulls have begun their new NZRL Premiership season the way they ended the last, with a victory over Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions.

But their 2015 campaign opener proved a far tougher test for the South Island representatives in Tauranga, as the Stallions had the better of their visitors over the second half.

The two rivals were surprise contenders in last year’s premiership final, after Counties Manukau and Akarana were both relegated from the top of the table for fielding ineligible players. Canterbury duly prevailed 40-8 over the under-prepared Stallions.

Today, A hat-trick of tries to centre Erwin Sauni quickly put the Bulls in the driving seat over the opening stanza, with James Baxendale honed in on the posts for four goals.

Ahead 24-10 at the break, they were only able to add another try to second rower Nathan Saumalu over the closing 40 minutes, as their opponents galloped home the stronger.

Fullback Malcom Noda added his second try of the game and Josh Tupou also crossed for Wai-Coa-Bay, but Canterbury survived to begin their title defence in the best possible way.

Further north, Counties Manukau Stingrays bounced back from their shock loss to WCB in the opening round and pounded Northern Swords 77-6 in Kaikohe.

Winger Johnny Henry also had a hat-trick of tries, while Rory Marshall Barton, Arthur Crichton and Uila Aiolupo recorded doubles in a contest that proved one-way traffic.

The Stingrays were 41-0 clear at half-time, but their hosts were able to avoid the whitewash, with Te Tuhi Tipene crossing for a try.

Tomorrow, Central Vipers will host Wellington Orcas at Wanganui’s Springvale Park, with both sides hoping to build in their encouraging results from Round One.

NZRL National Premiership
Saturday, September 5

Tauranga Doman
Rockcote Canterbury Bulls 28 (Erwin Sauni 3, James Baxendale & Nathan Saumalu tries; Baxendale 4 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 20 (Malcom Noda 2, Josh Tupou & Jeremy Siulepa tries; Hayden Karena 2 goals)

Lindvart Park, Kaikohe
Counties Manukau Stingrays 77 (Johnny Henry 3, Rory Marshall Barton 2, Arthur Crichton 2, Uila Aiolupo 2, Jacob Aki, Faaee Afoa, Kruz Tupou & Graham Vite tries; Mikaere Beattie 12 goals; Vite dropped goal) Northern Swords 6 (Te Tuhi Tipene try; Daniel Fulop goal)
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Would it be to much to ask for local rugby league to have its own sub forum on this site separate from ESL & other competitions? We are the worlds #1 ranked nation & this is our nationwide elite competition so get out there and support your city, province or region!

Bro I kept looking in the international and representative forum for a thread like this- should've posted it there- it is representative.......
Actually I was bummed out that no one cared about it this year so was about to start my own thread then I stumbled across this.
Does it not show up on the main page?
Really enjoyed this thread last year even tho the competition was a total shambles.
Shaping up as a good one this year tho.
Canterbury rugby league have been pushing it hard on Facebook.
Big game this week- Canterbury v Auckland.
Canterbury rugby league have been pushing it hard on Facebook.
Big game this week- Canterbury v Auckland.
Its only because of CRL that I knew it was on. Hats off to whoever runs their social media. Especially the articles on former players.

Anyone know how the CRL finances are? Just judging by how they run their social media their affairs are probably tidier than Aucklands...
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Good time for the Bulls to roll the Falcons. Not sure if the Pt Chev and Mt Albert Lion boys will have joined camp after the Final on Sunday and the obligatory Mad Monday celebrations. Added bonus of having the game at home. Their clash with the Stingrays is also in Christchurch...
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Cheers to Mt wtgn and Defence for moving the thread half the reason people dont like local league is many kiwi league fans have been down on the local game for years there are positives there and its best weve got and at least a kiwi side guaranteed to win the comp! Canterbury doing good work and they get best crowds and usually there at finals time so get results of there work, they also the one area in country whose style of league has always resembled the Aussie style of league they can win arm wrestles and win ugly if need be that going back thru this premiership to batercard cup even to the mid 80's provincial days of wanye wallace, ross taylor, mark broadhurst, adrian shelford, esene faimalo, quentin pongia days.
hopefully this year wellington can replicate there most succesfull era of late 80's early 90's howie tamati coached when they had lomax brothers, morvin edwards, mike kuiti, robert piva, steve kearney. Im going to watch orcas game on saturday show some support for the draw with auckland and thrashing of central.

Think other part of reason profile is down due to some provinces and nzrl not putting in the organisational and promotional work required but one step at a time... been doing my bit promoting local rep footy here & on were they have threads about league comps in france, jamaica, usa, canada, serbia thought why not they deserve to know about our comp as well
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Its only because of CRL that I knew it was on. Hats off to whoever runs their social media. Especially the articles on former players.

Anyone know how the CRL finances are? Just judging by how they run their social media their affairs are probably tidier than Aucklands...

Not good from what I hear.
The crusaders have been paying them $30,000 a year to use the show grounds but then we have to pay them $5000 every time we use them.
So with 3 home games that's half that revenue gone haha.
Rugby just walks all over the leaguies in chch unfortunately. Although I think the person who signed off on that deal is gone now and the crfl are fighting to not pay- they need every cent they can get.
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Remember when Wainuiomata dominated domestic league.
They also had Ken Laban, Jason Gilbert and a young Tana Umaga in there midst as well.
Wish NZRL would bring back the Tusk cup.
Huntly South were the only Waikato club to get to the third stage.
Most of our champions got eliminated in round one.

But its all about the Stallions for me.
One win and a close loss to Canterbury so far.

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kiwi's 13-6
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