Internationals List of Kiwi Eligible Players in the NRL NYC 2016



Warriors Orange Peeler
Chanel is definitely flying under the radar a bit. I think the club has massive hopes for him. He had a hugely impressive U20 season, but it didn't get much attention because of how poorly the side did. Just 17 years old and already doing preseason training with first grade. I don't think it will be too long before we're putting Chanel in the same conversation as Ata Hingano in terms of potential.
Yeah Chanel was awesome this year. Debuted a couple days after his birthday when he was eligible. Watched him play age group for the Howick Hornets and he was definitely a cut above. Will be keeping a close eye on him this year. I expect him to play some ISP this season...
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Ben Mataia from Ipswich State High School has signed with Sydney Roosters till the end of 2018. Is originally from Auckland


Kaeo Weekes has signed with Manly Sea Eagles until the end of 2019. Kaeo Weekes was born in Sydney Australia, He is of Maori ancestry and will play for Manly's Harold Matthews side in 2017.


League: Northland mum hoping talented son lights pathway at Manly Sea Eagles


Fifteen-year-old Armani Biddle is entering his second year of a four-year contract with NRL club Manly Sea Eagles, and his Northland-born mum is incredibly proud.

Lydia Pirini, who now resides in Sydney, is watching her son grow into a talented young rugby league player across the ditch.

She said the family was ecstatic for him but they were not getting ahead of themselves.

"We're very proud but we are taking things as they come," she said.

"He's played reps since he was 12 for Parramatta and since then he hasn't really had a holiday.

"He played for Parramatta Under 12s and 14s before being scouted by Manly. We kept our options open but eventually he went to Manly and is now playing in the Harold Matthews Under-16 competition."

The next steps for Biddle is S.G. Ball which is at under-18 level.

Biddle plays centre in the only sport he has given a real crack at.

Pirini, who attended Broadwood School in her youth, said they were quite tough on him but only to help him succeed.

"It's not easy for him. He doesn't get to go out as often as his schoolmates but we make sure he is training hard," she said.

"He trains five days a week and gets out for runs at 5am."He really deserves his spot since he works so hard for it. Heaps of people are gunning for his position so he keeps working."He only played league. He just loves the game and carved up when he started playing, which came out of nowhere."

Pirini said she hoped this showed parents in Northland that there was a pathway for talented youngsters once you put them first.

"I posted my son and his achievement up on our whanau page cause I believe in my heart that there are so many talented whanau back home, with so many young tamariki who can make it like there cousin," she said.

"I see the passion when there's a huge Pawarenga Broncos game and how our tamariki watch in awe."My kids were brought up around violence, drugs and alcohol when they were babies, as parents we were selfish I can say now, but we realised things had to change and we moved to Sydney."

"It was the best choice we made now we live for our kids!"

Note to this story, Armani Biddle is currently playing for Manly Sea Eagles Harold Matthews team as a centre.

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How the Canberra rugby league team raids New Zealand's rugby union youngsters


He once lured All Blacks star Nehe Milner-Skudder to the Canterbury Bulldogs and now Canberra Raiders recruitment director Peter Mulholland is raiding the next batch of New Zealand rugby union young guns.

Under-20s players Paul Roache and Mikaele Ravalawa have moved to Canberra after coming through the New Zealand schoolboy rugby system and Mulholland said it was just another cog in the Green Machine's overall recruitment strategy.

It's not something new for Mulholland, who also lured Milner-Skudder into the Bulldogs' under-20s system before he went on to become one of the best wingers in world rugby.

He also went after Roache's Mount Albert Grammar teammate Niven Longopoa, an exciting fullback, but said he'd missed out on him to Super Rugby's Waikato Chiefs - although he vowed he'd "keep working on him, don't worry"

The Raiders recruitment boss used Milner-Skudder as a selling point to bring Roache and Ravalawa across the ditch, but also the success and culture Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has established.

Unfortunately, Roache suffered a similar injury to Raiders captain Jarrod Croker at training and will miss six months after needing surgery on the knee he dislocated at training.

"I did it with Milner-Skudder, the All Black, I took him over to Canterbury and he had two seasons in the NYC and when I left Canterbury he went back to rugby union and became an All Black," Mulholland said.

"Kids in New Zealand can also see our development programme as a pathway, not just into the NRL but also to go back and play club level rugby union.

"He's been a great example of that for us and that was a good selling point. What Ricky's done in Canberra has also sold it to a couple of these young players, which has been tremendous."

Mulholland said New Zealand's production line of rugby stars meant it was an obvious recruitment target, given the Kiwis have "dominated a particular code of rugby for the last 30 or 40 years".

Roache was the New Zealand schoolboys first five-eighth, while Fijian Ravalawa went to school at Burnside College in Christchurch.

As an added bonus, any recruit that's under 21 and been brought across from rugby union doesn't count towards the salary cap for their first year at an NRL club.

"You're talking about a country that's dominated a particular code of rugby for the last 30 or 40 years and their first-choice athletes are very, very good," Mulholland said.

"Plus the school system there basically educates them in every facet of it - values, education, the whole works.

"They've been through wonderful programmes and they're usually the first choice athletes in New Zealand.

"Paul Roache ... was a New Zealand schoolboys five-eight and he's very, very good. He's been through a great school, been through a great programme so they're the reasons you look at them."

With the go-home factor a potential problem, the Raiders sent welfare manager David Thom over with Mulholland to talk to the potential targets to ensure they had the best chance of successfully relocating.

Mulholland said Canberra was an easy sell to a lot of young Kiwis, especially those in the country, because it wasn't a massive city like Sydney.

He said the club's success last season, plus the proposed new training complex at Braddon, were also lures.

While talk of Milner-Skudder sets the bar high, Mulholland said they weren't setting any unrealistic goals.

"No expectations. I think it's about how they settle in and what they're doing. Their ability is no problem, it's about adapting to the game and adapting to the lifestyle here and it's pretty easy," he said.

"We took our welfare manager to New Zealand when we met with these kids and their families. There's some kids that we interviewed that we just wouldn't bring back.

"They were great players, they just weren't suited to relocation. Whereas these boys were absolutely perfectly placed for it."

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