Northland Rugby



  • @Steven-Harris club rugby has to be factured in to the contracts, these players are meant to be elite and should lead the way in all areas of club rugby, with the results over the last 6 years the best idea i have heared is the players are paid after each game. The contract that they sign is performance based and if they perform on the big stage they get more money. This gets opened up to the b team as well so you have a squad of 30 or so players on minamim wage getting bonuses for the effort they are giving, as soon as you make the top team your pay goes up, if you get dropped your pay goes down, miss training - less pay, people will.say that no player of significance will play for northland with a set up like this but when you do look at the win % over the last few years it would still be the same, you would soon have people playing for the jumper again and a b team full of players wanting to get a chance at making more money, i bet our injuries would dramatically reduce.



  • @Nath-Jac we should be able to replicate the energy and accuracy we see from the BOP and Hawke’s Bay squads. They are so good at contesting everything. Our squad doesn’t seem to have gelled. The structure we are using when we have the ball just hasn’t worked and the set piece play of the backs is terrible. That said there are still individuals who are hitting hard and taking the ball up.



  • @Nath-Jac It might work the other way too with players not prepared to chuck in decent paying full time jobs to work on a low pay rate with the possible (be it slim or high) chance of earning a decent wage.



  • to be honest I am not sure the contracting is the issue.

    as @kev alludes to above, we have a good talent pool currently, I personally look at our squad and think fuck yeah we are in with a shot this year, but shit just aint happening.

    Injuries are a big problem this season, but for me, it is more around how our guys are playing, no cohesion, seemingly not learning when shit aint working and making the same basic errors, although when your confidence is down, it will flow through to everything.

    I cant see how a different contracting model would resolve our issues, if we didnt have such a long injury list, I thnk we would still be looking how we are playing, or maybe with the first string team, they would be able to implement whatever game plan the coaches are expecting?

    @Nath-Jac on Nock, I have been critical of him, and I think our forwards have provided him a better platform than many Northland packs for years, my issue with him is his hesitancy when he gets to a ruck/maul or whatever.

    He looks up, he takes a moment or so to assess his options, and this moment is detracting from the flow. Good 9s have better instincts than that, they arrive knowing what they are doing, not hesitating.

    More so that more often than not, he passes it, so it isnt like his hesitation is putting oppositin in 2 minds about if he is to run/pass/kick, most of the time he passes.

    I want him to be more assertive, back himself more, he has gas, a great pass, a great box kick, yet his hesitation negates his rapid pass, he doesnt use his running game enough and I guess our chase will determine how good his kicks are.

    We have the cattle, whereas years before, we havent and have punched above with our flair.

    I think they need to have a look at the HP systems, as I do believe our boys are unfit, often starting well and fading, so what is the HP system doing here, are they monitoring fitness, maybe targets need to be better, closer monitoriing?

    I know they are working in a limited budget annd players are often juggling jobs with this too, but other provinces are finding ways to make it work, why cant we?

    I'd hate to go back to where were were 7+ years back where we were contracting players who turn up, play for us, and leave, fans showed what they thought of that.

    Sure have players form elsewhere now, but these guys are playing club footy (unless Super rugby players) and I think despite our on field performances, crowd numbers look decent, imagine what they'd be like if we won some games!



  • @taniwharugby dean kenny suggested an idea about 5 years ago in regards to a development program, where you utalise toll stadium and get 20 or so 18-20 year olds, educate them and train them, find them jobs and get them ready for npc rugby, after a few years youll have a pool of players ready and coming thru, the goal tho has to be getting these kids into super rugby and beyond as they will always return to their roots when finishing up their time to help the next generation. I remember dean being asked where would you get the money to start and dean said you have 40,000 tied up in 2 props who cant make the team, maybe you could start ther. When it comes to development hes the man you want, bit rough around the edges but 100% loyal to all rugby, to any player that is around him, i can think of 5 players that would not of had the success in northland if they had not been under dean for the 2 seasons and another half dozen that shd of been given a chance to play northland, i am inexperianced in rugby and life for that matter but with the way npc is now a person like kenny or someone from the laurie mains/lahore breeding grounds where rugby was amatuer and played with short turn arounds, ie late 80s early 90s would really benifit northland, i really dont think money would be an issue with these kind of coaches and any talent at our door step would be soaked up into the system, ill always remember a prop that played for otamatea, he was actually steve harris nephew Hoane, quiet kid who had natural talent, his brother also played at 2nd 5, both had emence talent and presence on and off the field, if there was a system back then that gave these players a path they would have had a couple of great years for northland before moving to higher honors, but for what ever reason no one else identifys these players and the system fails, cole cambell was another one, his i.q on the footy field is 2nd to none along with his skills he would of been a great captain, because of his leadership skills and values he set otas made the semis a year after he left to go over seas, but for some reason this kind of story is to frequent, i was at toll stadium for a ngai tahu get together a few weeks ago and got talking to someone who was very passionate about the team like all the followers of tjis site are and he said that the word going around was northland shd would be better off in heartland rugby, now if this kind of talk is happening then its time that the place has a big shake up as Northland are better than that, i felt sorry for this feller as it looked like he believed what he was saying, the passion and drive is visable in northland, we just need to divert it into the right areas and for the people of have the powers to do it walk the talk.



  • @Nath-Jac said in Northland vs BOP:

    said that the word going around was northland shd would be better off in heartland rugby, now if this kind of talk is happening then its time that the place has a big shake up as Northland are better than that

    sadly, there have been some with that view for many years, even @J77 old mate with the Northland age, he has been banging that drum for over a decade. (does he even still write, or did he get sacked?)

    Dropping down would make it even worse, club footy already has issues, with the disparity in quality form the top to bottom, if we dropped, the top quality would drop, and with that, overall level does too.

    We need to work on the junior grades too, keep kids here, or ensure there is a pathway back...I know of a few talented Year 9 kids heading to top Auckland schools next year, chances are, they wont be back,plus the ones who started high school in auckland year 9...I only know of the ones in this grade as its the one I coach in, so I expect there will be some year 8s off to Auckland schools, year 10s getting nabbed too.

    While WBHS has improved in being part of the North Harbour comp, and I understand they are getting majority of thier boys back, the 1st 15 comp in Northland otherwise, is all but non-existent, this to me is worrying.



  • @taniwharugby said in Northland vs BOP:

    @Nath-Jac said in Northland vs BOP:

    said that the word going around was northland shd would be better off in heartland rugby, now if this kind of talk is happening then its time that the place has a big shake up as Northland are better than that

    sadly, there have been some with that view for many years, even @J77 old mate with the Northland age, he has been banging that drum for over a decade. (does he even still write, or did he get sacked?)

    Dropping down would make it even worse, club footy already has issues, with the disparity in quality form the top to bottom, if we dropped, the top quality would drop, and with that, overall level does too.

    We need to work on the junior grades too, keep kids here, or ensure there is a pathway back...I know of a few talented Year 9 kids heading to top Auckland schools next year, chances are, they wont be back,plus the ones who started high school in auckland year 9...I only know of the ones in this grade as its the one I coach in, so I expect there will be some year 8s off to Auckland schools, year 10s getting nabbed too.

    While WBHS has improved in being part of the North Harbour comp, and I understand they are getting majority of thier boys back, the 1st 15 comp in Northland otherwise, is all but non-existent, this to me is worrying.

    He still writes, and he’s still a prized knob.

    Heartland is definitely not the place for us. Can’t believe people are still suggesting that.

    Like others have said here, I just think we need better leadership off the paddock (coaches, trainers, board, sponsors). We have the stock, but it’s almost as if our system is stuck in a time warp.

    As @muddyriver suggested the years of 2017 and 2018 were underachieved. We had the team to have a decent crack at the final at least, but just limped into the semis only to get thumped.

    The team we’re playing this week, BOP is a good example of we could be achieving. Well coached, good systems in place and the desire to go all the way.

    I hope we pull one out of the bag this week, as we usually do well against BOP, but it’ll take a massive effort to do so. Fingers crossed.



  • @J77 starting another union in the far North won’t hide the fact that even though there are many talented players they will still rock up with skill issues ,wether it be simple draw and pass or playing to a game plan and with intensity required to go to another level ..
    I have heard some club games in the far North tend to mirror a game of league with forwards continuously smashing into contact ,not looking to pass..so you have got to question some of the coaching ,now I could be totally off the mark here, but you do wonder..
    I have known and seen many talented players , but sometimes it’s the little things that require Zero talent sets the ones that go further
    Here’s 10 of them ..Zero talent required..

    1.Being on time
    2.Work ethic
    3.Effort
    4.Body Language
    5.Energy
    6.Attitude
    7.Passion
    8.Being coachable
    9.Doing Extras
    10.Being Prepared



  • @Steven-Harris said in Northland vs BOP:

    @J77 starting another union in the far North won’t hide the fact that even though there are many talented players they will still rock up with skill issues ,wether it be simple draw and pass or playing to a game plan and with intensity required to go to another level ..

    Going on evidence of Far North club rugby, a Heartland side based there would get drilled even in that competition. You would be relying on the likes of Kerikeri and Moerewa to provide most players.

    Don’t even like imagining that scenario anyway, Northland is one province from south to north and will always remain that way.



  • @muddyriver you make some good points, I can’t help feel that we suffer with the quality of our club rugby, sure you might get the odd game where you have intensity for 80 minutes, but it would be fair to say there’s some average stuff out there..
    I have always noticed ,some of the boys over the years that have played in the Auckland club comp always seem to bring an extra bit of intensity to the Taniwha ..
    The Pryor boys,even though Kara was frustrating with the amount of penalties he gave away..Tom Robinson and Matt Matich ..just seem to play with an intensity which they gained playing in the Auckland comp..be interested to get your thoughts..
    I like your point about Ranger, he adds so much attacking knowledge to a team and I think Debreczini looks to or 3 steps ahead of the rest of the backs with the way he views the game..



  • Hmmm...yeah...a Heartland side in the far north...nah. Maybe if the Northland side was going gangbusters you might think about it, and then say nah! The only heartland expansion I can see, and a bit surprised it hasn't all ready, is a Canterbury Country team. North Canterbury that is. They would be very competitive from kick off.

    Northland should look south. I'd love to see the Mahurangi club prised away from North Harbour union. Kaipara Flats, Warkworth and Omaha were part of the North Auckland union for decades. Might be wrong, but I dont think they have ever won a North Harbour title. They would be a power house in the Northland comp, give the local club scene a boost.

    As for schools. Well. I went to school in Tasman, so I always compare what goes on there with here. Tasman; 2 boys (& 2 girls) schools, 5 high schools, 4 area schools. Similar to Northland. Nelson College has become a perennial contender for the Crusaders and South Island titles, and feeds a steady stream of players into the Mako and Super rugby. Schools rugby has definitely kicked on in Tasman, but seems to have regressed in the North. The Moascar Cup actually bounced around in the north (and far north) for a decade. So the situation has been different. Whangarei BHS to North Harbour is a good move. Tasman also have a combined schools team in the Crusaders comp, maybe Northland could do something similar. Combine the rest of the Whangarei schools, or the Bay of Islands schools and send them into the North Harbour comp as well.

    Now for the Taniwha. Apart from 12 and 13 the raw material actually looks ok. While not dominant, the forwards look allright, set piece ok, go forward ok. But back play is dire. And fitness questionable. These are coaching and development issues to me. Witcombe and Konia cant be happy. So the real problems are off field. I think about everyone agrees on that. They need to get some humility at Northland HQ and go and have a very close look at what similar provinces are doing. The likes of Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty. Northland rank about 9th in the NPC demographics table. This suggests that Championship play-offs every season is not an unreasonable expectation.

    Finally. I noticed the game broadcast on the weekend used Te Tai Tokerau name as well as Northland. Not wanting to upset anyone, but the Northland name has never had much mana for me. What do we think about an official name change? I'm pakeha, if you were wondering



  • @mohikamo said in Northland vs BOP:

    Whangarei BHS to North Harbour is a good move.

    I pretty much agree with what you have said, except probably this part, while I am not against it as it is good for WBHS, I also feel this has affected the 1st 15 comp in Whangarei and Northland.

    I know it is years ago now, but when I played 1st 15, there were guys from all over Northland that went on to play professional rugby and league, some right to the highest level, but Northland wide, the comp was strong, even if we still got dusted up by bigger (physically) Auckland schools more often than not, not alot changed there.

    My understanding is NRU had been looking at trying to push kids back into schools for thier rugby and away from clubs (there is part of me that agrees, part that disagrees with this) however the only way this works is if they in turn force WBHS to come back and play locally, which in itself would create an issue, particularly the furst few years until other schools got thier programs back and improved.

    That said, how many parents of kids at WBHS would then send thier kids to an Auckland school for that bigger exposure?

    Plenty of Northland kids end up in the Auckland school system, some go in year 9, some year 10 and others later, and you know some will thrive in the environment playing a higher level week in week out.

    Are a few names I will be watching in the future though, if they stick with it, they will play provincial rugby for sure and maybe higher again.



  • @taniwharugby Dead against the move of WBHS into North Harbour competition. We don’t want to encourage boys playing in Auckland rather than at Home, or boys playing for WBHS rather than their local school. The long term game is a better Northland competition. Anything that detracts from that is an issue.



  • @kev northland have tried to get the 18s going and south of whangarei there is enough players to make this happen, the issue tho are some clubs wont support it as they need these kids to make up the reserves team which ends up pushing the kids that cant match the phisical aspects of prem rugby out of the game. The reserves comp i feel is the comp that needs to be targeted for improvment, the 4 clubs each year that make the playoffs in prem rugby are always big in numbers, reserve team is usually competative, as everything flows back into trainings etc, the clubs that struggle have no numbers and rely on our young kids to make up the numbers. By end of season only the brave are left trying to hold the fort.



  • @Nath-Jac Its a great point -those ages between school and being physically mature enough for Prems is where players are lost to rugby. As TR mentioned, pushing boys back to school rugby teams is having a big impact on survival of Club rugby. At the very least there should be a school / club affiliation. Maybe some type of joint register of interested players with a Northland development programme (online tools supported by local coaches) provided based on assessments of where the individual is at - and aimed at everyone rather than just elite. Not sure what we do now?



  • @kev they had an U14 development day a few weeks back, where all boys born after 01/01/2005 were invited.

    It included a trial of sorts for the Northland U14 team, that I believe has a 'warm up' game against a central NI team, before thier 'proper' U14 game against an Auckland team I think.

    Many boys who are no where near 'elite' were able to attend, but what I do like in that case, particularly when I think of my son...they get a different coach teaching them.

    Sure the basic fundamentals might be the same, but often delivered differently or just a different voice can have an affect on how the boys receive the coaching.

    I guess the other issue Northland has is the number of kids, with no U15 or U17 team, which fills that gap before they are able to go to Seniors, although I think they are only allowed 2 players eligible for U18 on the field for Seniors?

    I hate the Prem/Reserves both must field a team otherwise both default crap...that does not help.

    Sure the basic premise is more clubs, more teams, but if a team cant field 2 senior sides, then they are at risk of fines.

    I dont have any ideas on fixing the problems, I just know there are many, that I assume are faced by Provinces all over NZ.



  • @taniwharugby i think fielding 2 teams has to be done to preserve the comp but a simple switch of playing the prem game first could imptove the issue, it would mean we get a prem team with full reserves then a reserve team that is backed up by prem players, it could also sort out the front row issues for the struggling clubs, then at times a club could travel with limited numbers and compete in both games.



  • @Nath-Jac yeah I understand why they do it, but it puts undue pressure on the clubs when they are struggling for numbers anyway.

    YOur idea makes sense, but with everything geared toward the Prem side, I doubt it'd get off the ground as they wouldnt have prems playing at 12.30 or reserves k/o at 4pm.



  • @taniwharugby said in Northland vs BOP:

    @mohikamo said in Northland vs BOP:

    Whangarei BHS to North Harbour is a good move.

    I pretty much agree with what you have said, except probably this part, while I am not against it as it is good for WBHS, I also feel this has affected the 1st 15 comp in Whangarei and Northland.

    I know it is years ago now, but when I played 1st 15, there were guys from all over Northland that went on to play professional rugby and league, some right to the highest level, but Northland wide, the comp was strong, even if we still got dusted up by bigger (physically) Auckland schools more often than not, not alot changed there.

    My understanding is NRU had been looking at trying to push kids back into schools for thier rugby and away from clubs (there is part of me that agrees, part that disagrees with this) however the only way this works is if they in turn force WBHS to come back and play locally, which in itself would create an issue, particularly the furst few years until other schools got thier programs back and improved.

    That said, how many parents of kids at WBHS would then send thier kids to an Auckland school for that bigger exposure?

    Plenty of Northland kids end up in the Auckland school system, some go in year 9, some year 10 and others later, and you know some will thrive in the environment playing a higher level week in week out.

    Are a few names I will be watching in the future though, if they stick with it, they will play provincial rugby for sure and maybe higher again.

    The problem with the WBHS 1stXV in a Northland Comp was competition. I was in the Sports Dept when this was going through, and all that NRU could organise was 5 Wednesday afternoon games, the other schools were struggling to get a 1st XV, and WBHS wouldn't have any 2nd XV games (no comp). Now Our 2nd XV plays vs the other schools, with top ups from the 1sts, and is competitive. The major problem with all this was other schools struggling for players.

    But best thing for the individual is go to a big AKL school, but WBHS in NH is perfect for the school. The competition level is right, and we get our 2nds playing as well.



  • @Machpants yeah appreciate all that, but as I said, from what I gather NRU is trying to push the rugby side of things back on schools, but without WBHS I dont think that can ever happen successfully...and I cant see WBHS wanting to come back into the local comp.

    I mean Kamo High is a good example, they have an ex Northland dev team Coach, a current Northland Dev team player and an ex-Northland/Waikato player on thier staff and they dont have a 1st 15 program (well nothing significant that I am aware of anyway)



  • @Donsteppa leave us alone to wallow, we sense your overwhelming and well founded confidence.

    ..



  • @taniwharugby that was a cool initiative with the 14 year old teams. Like to see that sort of thing with a bit more structure for the boys from 14 - 18, not too young.

    The question I have about school boy rugby in Northland is what are the NRU doing? When I played in Waikato ( after being brought up playing club rugby in Northland ) I got the sense of tradition and how important school rugby was. Long time ago now but is sounds like nothing has changed back home. It we can’t create the tradition, maybe they create a sub union level competition?



  • @kev as I said above, they were sounding clubs out about pushing things back to school, but not sure how that would look.

    I mean this season there were 8 U14 teams, MId Northern, Marist, Kamo, City, Tikpunga, Northern Wairoa, Otamatea and Hora Hora...

    so thats 6 teams in Whangarei, how do they push that many back into Boys HIgh and Kamo, without going down the 'elite' type scenario they are trying to avoid these days?

    PLus, if kids leave clubs (as the odd ones are forced to do depending on age/weights) it detracts from fostering strong ties to clubs.

    As above, there is no U15 grade for the kids to move into next year, straight to U16, Marist already fell apart in U14 this year, no idea what has happened to those boys.

    I know Kamo will probably struggle to field an U16 team due to half thier team being small enough to play U14 again next year, and some parents already indicated that they would keep thier boys down.

    City were pretty well resourced, although I think they have had a couple of thier better players head to Auckland schools, Mid NOrthern will be lucky in that half thier team this year were the older kids under the weight limit to stay down this year, so they should all move through to U16 easily enough.

    Apparently there were 4 teams in the NOrth Zone, Kaitaia, Aupori, Te Rarawa and KeriKeri so played one another 4 times.

    Apparently one option next year is to open it up NOrthland wide for U16, where there will be 10 teams at best, probably 9 as I reckon Tikipunga will drop out too.

    For me, U14 and U16 are hugely important, these are the ages kids are dropping out and the one NZR and all these sports administrators are saying we need to do more to keep involved, but I dont know how, and neither do anyone else I dont think.

    TR JNr has said if he doesnt grow much over summer (and is too big to stay in U14) he wont be playing U16....so he might not be leaving for the reasons of elitism and so on we keep hearing, but it is still a reason why other kids leave...although I think he will be fine and end up playing



  • @taniwharugby to be honest I prefer the Club rugby setup. More inclusive and less elite.

    But those drop offs in numbers are huge. Do the boys play touch during summer? Keep them with the club and in the system. That’s the way we need to think. Keep them in contact with the club ( sports club rather just rugby club ) building skills and fitness for life. A broad base will give the best results.

    I always played weight restricted rugby at club level, didn’t play in 6th form, then first fifteen, didn’t play at varsity, then played under 77kgs in Auckland rugby which is now under 85kg. Our team played touch during summer and then morphed into cricket when we got older. But that grade kept me in rugby, sport etc.



  • @mohikamo like the idea of combining some school teams.



  • @Machpants At the end of the day sport should be fun. All the kids should want to participate just because of that. What is sports participation like now in schools? I know devices have changed all our habits, and work pushing into weekends and nights for parents means less time for structured community activities like clubs.



  • I'm not too worried about this season. We've had absolutely rotten luck with injuries since pre season. A smaller province like us is always going to struggle with such a big injury list. The long term upside to so many injuries is that more guys get a crack so potentially better depth for the future. Guys like Stokes, Caird, Mayavanua, Atkins, McNamara, Byrnes etc have all played way bigger roles than probably expected of them and Matiu has had a breakout season.

    I still think despite all the injuries this season if we had a functioning midfield we would have performed so much better. Hohaia tries hard but is probably better suited to the B team. Johnson will hopefully never play another game for Northland again. You could handle all his basic errors, missed tackles, handling errors etc if he was putting in 100%. Hard to believe he even got close to a S15 gig let alone had a season at the Blues. When he gets beaten in defence (as often happens) he makes absolutely no effort to get back and help in support or try and make up for it. The Manawatu game was telling - gaping holes in midfield defence and instead of chasing back he would just stroll back yet guys like Atkins and McNamara are chasing back basically on his behalf.

    I think if we had stopped persisting with Gregory at 15 and put him at 12 we would have had a much better season. He would have offered a much bigger threat in midfield with ball in hand, would've created more time and space for J Deb and would've strengthened the defence. If he gets left to settle at 12 he will become one of the best in NZ. He's best suited to that position - can probably cover the outside backs if needed but doesn't have the pace to dominate as an outside back.

    The backs (midfield) have really let the forward pack down this season. The forwards have battled bloody hard all season.


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