Looking forward to 2019...



  • So with the 2018 season done and dusted, Jack Goodhue off with the ABs, Ross Wright & Sam Nock with the NZ Maori, Tom Robinson picking up his first full super rugby contract we need to build on 2018 which was yet another year of what could have beens...

    Super rugby we have: Moulds, Robinson, Debreczeni, Goodhue x 2, Nock, Ranger (assuming he comes back) Douglas (although unsure if he'll be back too)

    Expect Gregory to feature in the 7s or the age group side, Tua has the talent, and will have alot of next seaosn to think about how he gets himself back into the super rugby fold, given the huge opportunity he had to get starts this year in super rugby if not for the unfortunate injury he suffered...

    Whitcombe is NZ U20 Assistant coach.

    Looking back at games like the ones v NH, Otago and HB, are all 3 we could have, and should have won, Auckland were a much better side than we realised at the time, and Waikato basically had our number, twice.

    We can only imagine the kind of crowd we might have gotten along to Okara if we had managed to finish 1st or 2nd to host a semi final given the numbers that turned up for the game of touch v Waikato.

    So going forward, my understanding is NRU are trying to secure signatures early on, with almost 20 contracts signed already, although the rumour mill tells me we are yet to secure Alaimalo or Ranger, although with the latter, surely he is at that point in his career where he knows he is at his best for Northland, and surely isnt looking anywhere else in NZ?

    Wishlist:
    Speed - we need some pace, if we get him, Alaimalo will give us 1 peice of the puzzle, if we can get Macilai fit, he will be the other peice. Roberts-Te Nana looks to have something about him, but needs a decent run and time on the park.
    We lacked any decent pace this year, Hyland would be better complimented if we had someone with pace on the other flank, although as I have said all season, I felt he was massively under used, particularly with his power and ability to beat the first up tackle.
    Openside - unlikely we will see Kara back here next seaosn, so we need a 7. Can Stokes reinvent himself as a 7? Will the concussion issues hinder Jacobsen next year? Expect a few 7s in club rugby will need to put thier hands up, assuming we cant entice a quality 7 up here next season.
    Prop, could probably do with another 1 or 2 to come through, assuming Rinakama, Isi & Wright are all back, we need some back ups...Atkins looked good in 1 match but not so in another, possibly a fitness issue...

    To be honest, I dont think we were far off this season, well, except Waikato, but I also think a bit more pace and smarts and we would close that gap considerably.

    Off the park, what I would like to see...

    Get out to the schools, give away free kids tickets (when with a paying adult) a kid with a ticket asking mum and dad to take them along is a much better marketing tool than just saying kids are free!

    Big Screen! We gotta get one!! The one they use for the odd big game we have here, maybe NRU & Northland Cricket need to talk, granted NRU will use it more, but would be of benefit to both to have one up here, make it happen!!

    Think we also need to look at investing in the Blues, I htnk we have about 3-5% presently, but NZR recently re-acquired back off the private entitiy, only caveat being get rid of that idiot Redman.



  • @taniwharugby .
    Here’s a few updates in terms of signings for next year.
    From what I understand there’s has been some good gains in terms of players that have been re signed for the 2019 season.

    Unfortunately Murray Douglas is not returning to Northland after his stint with the Brumbies in 2019, apparently he is looking for a short term overseas contract.
    Definitely gonna be hard one to replace, so I guess there will be a good chance we will be heading to the market.

    A couple of other key signings that are also still up in the air, both Rene Ranger & Matt Matich are still yet to recommit.
    However I am reasonably confident Ranger will return to Northland,he seems to play his best rugby in the Cambridge Blue jersey ,and is currently sitting around the 87 game mark.
    These however are my own thoughts,maybe more hope than anything else.

    Not terribly confident that Matich will be re signing given he has not managed to pick up a super rugby contract ,from what I am led to believe the union has worked hard get this across the line,but at this stage I guess they can’t hold the olive branch too long given they will have to start planing for next year.
    Matich has been offered a short term injury contract with the Blues,but is also yet to commit which may a pointer to where his mind is at the minute.

    Jone Macilai has also been signed,been a frustrating ride at super level for Jone often returning to Northland either injured or in terrible shape, and with no Super contract on the table,I think it’s time for him to get back on the horse at Mitre level,still offers plenty of X factor.
    Would love to see him go through the sevens program to get back to the level we know he’s capable of.

    Kara Pryor is also an interesting one, with no super contract either,there was a train of thought he was going to head offshore,but I am hearing there could be a chance he might be around for the 2019 season.
    But however I would imagine there would be some real work ons given he has flattered to deceive in the last couple of years.

    The other main piece of news is in and around Solomon Alaimalo who only had a one year deal with Tasman
    Northland has offered him a deal which I understand is very solid,however Waikato could possibly be in the running given he has ties to that area
    One underlying thing that could get Northland across the line is when he was part of the Northland system he was left to play in his preferred position of fullback and he did lead much of the stats in terms of Metres gained,offloads and defenders beaten..
    It would be a massive for the Taniwha if they can get this across the line.

    The plan is get at least 20-25 players signed before Xmas,that would bet a first for the union,and make planning for 2019 a tad easier
    There probably some guys that will have to work a bit harder to secure full contracts,but there will be others like Aorangi Stokes who maybe looking at a full contract.



  • @steven-harris said in Looking forward to 2019...:

    Matich has been offered a short term injury contract with the Blues,but is also yet to commit which may a pointer to where his mind is at the minute.

    Cover for Gibson's injury?



  • @tim yeah could be me thinks,but if he doesn’t take it,might reopen the door for Pryor,but I would be very tempted to go for Choat..showing my club bias..!



  • Good to hear Macilai has re-signed. If he can get fit and stay fit he will be a massive weapon for us next year. With him and Roberts-TeNana there I don't think we need to recruit from outside the province for outside backs. Ravouvou was talked about but he doesn't seem like the sort of player I want to see us chase.

    Feel really sorry for Matich. Has been very consistent for years now and hasn't looked out of place in his few chances at SR yet keeps missing out to unproven youngsters like Sotutu.

    I wonder if Ranger does re-sign whether it might be worth looking at putting him on the wing. As much as he was our most dangerous back this year, I also wonder if he was a big part of Hyland not seeing much ball at all. Perhaps if we played a distributor like Gregory at 12 it won't be so bad but if we're stuck with Hohaia playing like this year at 12 we might be better with someone else at 13.



  • @steven-harris said in Looking forward to 2019...:

    @tim yeah could be me thinks,but if he doesn’t take it,might reopen the door for Pryor,but I would be very tempted to go for Choat..showing my club bias..!

    I was hoping to see Niko Jones turn out for your Waitemata club next year following in the footsteps of his father but it looks like he's heading to the dirty Crusaders haha.



  • Crossover matches look tough, be doing well to win 2/4 of those ones!

    Northland v Canterbury
    Northland v Auckland
    Tasman v Northland
    Wellington v Northland



  • Being doing well to win one! That’s the top four premiership teams..



  • @j77 Cantabs chose us, we chose AUckland, Tasman chose us, then we chose Wellington

    I just meant cos we won 2/4 this year...



  • @chiefy07 agree re Matich. These young guys get signed on u20s rugby then a very good % don’t play any rugby because they are not ready. I think they are signed to stop others picking them up in future year more than for the current years squad. Which is wrong.

    I love Ranger at 13 at the moment and think Gregory is his best partner. Don’t know why Hyland wasn’t used on the inside more eg. Vs Counties. Maybe because we were not consistent enough from set piece to provide the platform or it didn’t get called, but it should have been used more.

    Depth at prop and lock would be key acquisitions for me.
    Macalai will be good but they need to get his fitness up to make the most of his ability.



  • @taniwharugby said in Looking forward to 2019...:

    @j77 Cantabs chose us, we chose AUckland, Tasman chose us, then we chose Wellington

    I just meant cos we won 2/4 this year...

    Important bit is the order in which you get to pick. I can understand picking a matchup with Auckland on gate taking.
    The Canterbury selection looks to be on the basis that the Prem teams selected opposition based on 'easiest'. Your high placing meant that Cant and Auck only had yourselves and Naki to choose from. (BTW love how Waikato must have been chomping at the bit to select Otago for a Shield game).
    Tasman obviously ranked you guys lower than BOP, which I thought was odd.



  • @crucial BOP beat us and we were hot or cold, so I can see why they did.

    This season was the first time we have had Auckland up here in about 10 years, so is a good call getting them again.

    But those 4 will be tough, especially as we had 3 of our crossover matches very early, if we get that again it certainly puts you behind the 8 ball early.

    Great news that Scott Gregory has been selected for NZ 7s.





  • Great to see 22 players already locked in with contracts for the 2019 season.
    It’s a massive advantage to be able to get players on the required programs so early in the piece.

    Notable omissions are Rene Ranger & Jack Goodhue, but I suspect we will see them back in a Cambridge Blue jersey in 2019 although Goodhue’s playing time will extremely limited if not at all.

    Murray Douglas will be loss but that has been offset with the signing of 2017 NZ under lock Sam Caird from Waikato he will add some much needed height at 2.02 metres and with a 116Kg frame there is an opportunity to add on another few Kgs.

    Matt Matich and Kara Pryor are looking for opportunities off shore, we wish them well in their endeavours
    It has left a hole in the loose forward stocks,but I am pleased the coaches have shown loyalty to the local guys Matiu,Jacobson,McNamara and Aorangi Stokes especially.
    The most notable omission is Matt Wright,according to the Northern Advocate he has a few boxes to tick before he can come back into the frame.

    Some interesting pieces to the puzzle to ponder over will be
    Wiseguy Faiane as a possible back up to Jack Debreczeni that’s if he stays in the union and Renata Roberts TeNana as an outside back,had limited opportunities but looked sharp.
    Hoping to see a much fitter and lighter Jone Macilai return in 2019,

    Props

    Ross Wright (Wellsford)
    Ropate Rinakama (Waipu)
    Jack Straker (Kamo)
    Isileli Tu'ungafasi (Mid Northern)
    Boyd Wiggins (OBM)

    Hookers
    Matt Moulds (Otamatea)
    Jordan Olsen (Mid Northern)

    Locks
    Josh Goodhue (Kamo)
    Tom Robinson (Kerikeri)
    Temo Mayanavanua (Waipu)
    Sam Caird

    Loose Forward
    Kano Jacobson (Kamo)
    Jaycob Matiu (Hora Hora)
    Sam McNamara (Waipu)
    Aorangi Stokes (OBM)

    Halfback
    Sam Nock (Kerikeri)
    Jono Kitto (Hikurangi)

    First Five
    Jack Debreczeni

    Midfield
    Tamati Tua (Kamo)
    Scott Gregory (Hikurangi)
    Blake Hohaia (Kamo)

    Outside Backs

    Jone Macilai (Awanui)
    Jordan Hyland (Wellsford)



  • @steven-harris Wouldn't there be a good chance that Ranger - now that he's signed with the Sunwolves - will also sign with a Japanese club for the Top League?



  • @steven-harris gutted about Matich & Douglas, both the types of players every team needs, huge engines and accurate.

    Yeah Roberts-Te Nana should be someone they need to invest in.

    No reason for Jack not to sign for Northland, as it doesnt matter who he signs for, he wont play anyway.



  • @taniwharugby agree with your coms regarding Douglas and Matich ,it was always going to be tough holding Douglas if he did not pick up an NZ contract besides I have been told he is looking for a path closer to home and my have aspirations to play for Scotland.
    Matich very much in the same boat although the Union went over and beyond to keep him..pushing 3 x contracts under his nose.
    There was an offer made to NZ under 20 and Auckland no7 Adrian Choat but I am guessing it cam down to loyalty.



  • @steven-harris said in Looking forward to 2019...:

    Murray Douglas will be loss but that has been offset with the signing of 2017 NZ under lock Sam Caird from Waikato he will add some much needed height at 2.02 metres and with a 116Kg frame there is an opportunity to add on another few Kgs.

    Caird was only the 4th choice lock for Waikato this year and was overtaken by a younger McWhannell.

    He has plenty of promise and just needs more opportunity. And as you say, a bit more bulk wouldn't hurt.



  • @bovidae he was so keen to look at the opportunity,he even drove up to Whangarei for the interview with the coaches.
    We will gladly take him given it’s an area where Northland are a bit thin on the ground.



  • @steven-harris obviously Tom Robinson can be a loosie too.

    Be interesting to see if he bulks up a bit with the Blues.



  • @steven-harris Has Choat finished his engineering degree? He may want to stay closer to Auckland Uni if not.



  • @tim I think your not too far off the mark





  • @taniwharugby awesome news.



  • Also from that article:

    In other signing news, local player Aorangi Stokes received a full contract after being on a development contract for the last two years. Northland prop Ropate Rinakama has not signed on with the team and will compete in the Global Rapid Rugby competition which involved multiple teams across Australia and Asia.



  • @Tim Stoked for Stokes 🙂

    He's a pretty decent sized fella, not sure if he will continue going at 6 or try to change to the vacant 7 spot.

    TBH I didnt expect Ropate back last year, so while a shame he is off, not surprised.



  • heard Alaimalo will not be joining Northland this year.

    No word on where he is going, but assume Waikato, as my understanding is he wants to play 15, which he cant if he stays at Tasman which is why he's leaving.

    Since these negotiations have apparently been going on since soon after the conclusion of last years M10 Cup, I hope we havent been pinning our hopes on getting him and not been looking at other options for 15?

    As great of a servant Matt Wright has been for us, I think 2019 will be a step too far for him.

    Also heard that Ranger was looking at getting into that Rapid Rugby thing rather than play M10, which would be a shame, as playing for Northland seems to be what gets him going, as when he is not playing M10/ITM Cup for Northland, he just doesnt seem to have his spark and energy at other levels either.

    Not to mention, he is getting close to picking up 100 caps.



  • @taniwharugby said in Looking forward to 2019...:

    Also heard that Ranger was looking at getting into that Rapid Rugby thing rather than play M10

    Why? I think RR finishes before the NPC?





  • Maybe Rinakama might head back for another season then...



  • @Tim See my most recent post in the Rapid Rugby thread; there will still be a "showcase" series of games. It doesn't say how many games, but the last game in 2018 was played on 17 August, so the first weekend of the Mitre 10 Cup. If this year's series will be played in the same period, it shouldn't interfere with Mitre 10 Cup too much.



  • @Stargazer thanks for the info!



  • @taniwharugby that’s gonna be very interesting regarding Rinakama, you do wonder what sort of advice these guys get from their agents, no question the man can scrum..just his defending close in let’s him down..if he rectifies that part of his game along with fitness ,he’s probably looking at a super contract ..
    I also see Isi Tuangafasi was on the team list for the Saders in their pre season game against the Canes..



  • @Steven-Harris yeah I think he was in some pre-season pics with them before Xmas?

    What I hadnt realised was Ross Wright at the Chiefs, could be a shortcut to the ABs after last year with Tu'unukuafe and Ta'avao 😉



  • @taniwharugby rapt for Ross.should have been at this level several years ago.



  • @Steven-Harris Did you make it to the pre-season game?



  • @Tim down in the Hawkes Bay on holiday ,would have loved to have made it up to Kaikohe, very close to where I was bought up..good hit out for the boys..!



  • Some Northland news hot off the press..
    Gonna start with the not so good.

    Rene Ranger picked up a serious a ACL injury in his first hit out for the Sunwolves on Weekend he has retuned to NZ for an operation and is likely to be out for 9 months.
    Which means any involvement in the Mitre 10 Cup will be touch and go.

    Northland have also released halfback Jono Kitto who has picked up a contract with Worcester Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership.
    The money was too good for Kitto to turn down so he leaves with Northlands blessings.

    Tighthead prop Ropate Rinakama has also been released,having left Northland Rinakama was heading to rapid rugby ,but unfortunately with that competition having fallen over..His agent did reapproach Northland but given he may part of the Fijian squad later this year at the World Cup ,signing Ropate would have been a risk.

    Johnny Macilai has decided to take a break away from rugby and get his body back in shape.

    Matt Matich has still not re signed ,originally he was looking for opportunities overseas ,but got called into the Blues as injury cover so we may have to see how this plays out.
    There has been an expression of interest from another Mitre 10 Cup province which will no doubt amp up the stakes..

    Also Matt Wright has withdrawn from the HP squad to focus on work ,he will still have an opportunity to wear the Taniwha jersey if he displays club form

    Northland made a play for both Solomon Alaimalo and his brother Charles but unfortunately the offer was declined,smart money tells us he’s off to Waikato.

    There is some good news

    Powerful English tighthead prop Alex Gale has returned to Northland and is part of the Northland HP squad and apparently has shed some Kgs and is training the house down.

    Also congratulations to Isi Tuangafasi who joined the crusaders as injury cover and it’s looking likely with Tim Perry having brocken his arm his stint could be extended.

    Northland are negotiating with a midfield back and a fullback/winger but at this stage but I will be keeping this info under my hat until I find the info is more solid.



  • @Steven-Harris there are 2 players in the Blues dev side saying they are Northland players (Caird and cant recall the other, but from NH) they must be recent too



  • @taniwharugby Sam Caird signed with Northland before Xmas


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