v North Harbour



  • Kitto with 2 runs in 30 seconds and he’s in for a try.
    He’s really added something since coming on.

    Edit, with a man in the bin too!



  • How are we this close given we have had no ball or field position



  • @steven-harris it’s a bloody miracle.
    Was actually starting to think this might open up with us a man down and the sheer amount of defending we’ve had to do starting to take its toll.

    Looks like the card has done the opposite though, as we often see and lit a fire under our boys arses!!



  • How dumb was that from Hohaia, he just lay in the way after making that tackle, didn’t even look like he wanted to get out of the way. Dumb, not needed.

    Harbour back in front



  • Gee he called that maul very very quickly, I’ve seen plenty of tackles go twice as long as that and not get called a maul.



  • Disappointing.

    Didn’t deserve to be in it at all after that shocking first half. But we were and with a bit more composure we could have won it.

    Great defence considering how much ball Harbour had.

    We were dangerous when we got it out wide, especially Ranger. What a player he has been for us over the years!

    It’s good having a 10 who can kick the hell out of it too.

    Robinson was good and Matiu tried hard in the first 40 without much support.
    Most of the guys off the bench added something when they came on too, Rinakama stabled the scrum, Matich was into everything and Kitto brought good energy.



  • We have to sort out that first half performance:

    • no kicking from base of rucks
    • predictable exit plays that were closed down
    • turned ball over too much
    • too many penalties
    • defensive work on high kicks needs work

    But stayed in game, played with physicality, and in the end should have won a game we had no righ+t to.

    Liking this squad, great heart and some really good talent. With a few tweaks we should have a good season.



  • Bugger,one that we probably should’nt have won,could have won,but at the end of the day we will be kicking ourselves.

    Start with the not so good,far too much time giving away field position and territory.

    The positives that we do show,that despite the lack of ball and territory,we stayed in the fight,which means fitness is not an issue with the squad.
    Also I thought the defence in the first 20 minutes was brutal,hitting very hard on the advantage line.

    In the forwards,Tom Robinson despite getting a yellow card was a beast,great to see Tom back on the field after a spate of injuries of the last couple of seasons.

    Also thought Kara Pryor was great value,and played a lot more tighter,was great to see.
    A special mention also for Matt Matich,added some much needed energy when he came on
    In the backs Ranger provided plenty of physicality especially when carrying,and his ability to set up Robinson for the first Try was all class.
    Matt Wright at fullback got through a ton of work,and put in a great effort to nail Sean Stephenson in the corner which forced poor inside pass.
    Really liked the look of Debreczeni at first five,his general play was very good in the main,and his big boot is a real plus.

    Jono Kitto looks an awesome signing,bought a ton of energy and organisation when he came on..looked all class..!

    Not much else to be said,but with a 10 x day break,the signs are promising.



  • looks like I had the wrong half to be able to follow...sounds like we simply didnt take the right options to get out of our red zone.

    Am sure that will give us plenty to work on, but I guess at the end of the day, NH was a top 4 side last year, so we 'should' lose to them.

    Our scrum sounded a bit scratchy?



  • @taniwharugby scrum went much better with Rinakama rather than Straker.



  • Pleasing to see how brutal our defence was. We seemed to have good patterns working there.

    The discipline was a bit scratchy, hopefully that improves before next week.

    Having said that the officials made a few howlers. That head high during a maul late in the match should have been picked up. Had we got a penalty we probably would have won it.

    Changes next week for me would be Rinakama for Straker, Kitto for Nock and Matich for Matiu.

    Kitto was outstanding, loved his energy and the way he works the forwards. Nock played ok too, but Kitto had that something extra.

    I’d like to see Matiu as an impact guy off the bench, he will be devastating on tiring opponents late in a match.

    Straker looked to be lacking match fitness. Rinakama solidified the scrum when he came on.

    Line outs were a mixed bag. Need to be more decisive getting the ball in. Too much mucking around gives opposition time to work shit out.



  • @gunner saw in the stats he came back on in the final quarter, did things change again or was the scrum disrupted enough already?

    Just Straker is rated given he came up here with a Blues WTG or Dev squad contract as well as signing with us, he has been injured most of the club season so maybe that had an impact?



  • @taniwharugby to be fair to Straker,he’s hasn’t played a lot of rugby this year,was out for a good part of the club season,
    Hopefully any scrum issues will be sorted out by the scrum coach
    Francisco Deformes,not sure if he is from Argentina,Uruguay or Chillie
    I am wondering if Isileli Tu'ungafasi was a good signing as opposed to Taniela Dan Koroi who played for Waipu and then signed for Auckland..do Auckland know something we don’t given they were not going to sign Isi..?

    Heading off to watch the Dev squad play Auckland tomorrow,
    Heard some awesome things about Alex Dale at tighead from last weeks preason game against Harbour where he demolished 2 loosehead props..

    Rinakama was hobbling around last night after the game,hope it’s not to serious..

    And speaking of Northland players turning out for other unions a Tim Bond has been named in the Waikato Mitre 10 Cup squad..

    It’s a bit of new phenomenon for Northland supporters,Taniwha rejects getting picked up by other unions,I think that now takes the list 6.



  • Missed the first half but watched the second. Was a decent contest and without knowing how you guys played in the 1st, I thought with a bit more composure, probably should’ve won.

    Pretty evenly matched sides and for a first season game, both looked to combine better than expected.

    Harbour are a gritty side and seem to play a lot of close games.



  • @act-crusader can’t disagree with what you say,I do believe there’s some real improvement in both teams,Harbour last year started in a similar way I recall,but improved as the season rolled on.



  • @steven-harris Francisco is Chilean.
    Was a pretty handy prop in his playing days, played a season for Mid Western in about 2008 or 9, I believe was offered a contract by Northland but he went with another opportunity.
    He came back to coach Mid Western last season, and we all know how that went, which doesnt reflect his ability as a coach at all. He’s actually a pretty good coach IMO, a straight shooter. Despite MW being rubbish last year, he got the best out of the players he had and still had one of the best packs going around, so he deserves credit for that.
    He also had the Northland scrum humming last year, and I believe had an interview for the Blues set piece/scrum coach job but lost out to Afeaki.



  • @steven-harris I know not many Aucklanders rated Isi, so werent bothered with him leaving, am hoping we might be able to get the best out of him thoguh...

    We'd have had Bond back if he wanted though woudlnt we?...that said, Tom Robinson stamping his mark already, great to see!! I know the Blues liked what they saw of him in the time he was with them last year in the Dev side (set the record for the Blues 'bronco' test)



  • @taniwharugby said in v North Harbour:

    I know not many Aucklanders rated Isi, so werent bothered with him leaving, am hoping we might be able to get the best out of him thoguh...

    He's young so it's possible. It was strange how he kept getting selected for Auckland after spending most of the club season on the bench. I assume he signed a 3 year deal on potential and in the last couple of years did not earn selection



  • Ropate Rinakama rolled his ankle last night,but it was fine today,so should be good to go next Sunday..



  • Forgot how much I love watching Northland play. Can’t wait for the rest of the season.

    Those that talk negatively about NZ provincial rugby ( and individual teams ) don’t understand how great this competition continues to be for NZ rugby - the jewel in the crown. The talent on display is amazing.

    But a bit tired of reading articles from hack journalists and listening to ex rugby players acting as commentators who don’t know the players from the opposition team and have no passion for the game they are watching. The comments about Northland before, and after the game on the radio and in print lack any insight into our team.

    I guess that’s why this forum is great 😀.



  • @kev great post, totally agree.
    Love the NPC!!!!



  • That was a good first up performance, think both teams were a bit rusty and will get better as the season goes on.

    Once again proves how good a coach Derren Witcombe is at this level - marked improvement on the rubbish we had under Harris and McLeod despite losing 4 of our best players since last season. Also good to see a coach have the balls to make the tighthead prop change - so often see coaches scared to make such an early change but that was one that needed making.

    As usual under Witcombe the forwards worked bloody hard and really lead the defence with good speed and physicality. Pryor and Robinson were probably the most noticeable but I thought Moulds, Wright, Goodhue, Douglas and Matiu all made good contirbutions too.

    I thought both Sam Nock and Jono Kitto were good - Nock is a lot more confident away from the Blues set up. Debreczeni made a big difference, big guy who can tackle with a long punt with a good pass. Seems so casual at times!

    Hohaia and Tua were ok as a combo, both had some good moments but don't think they're going to worry too many defences - definitely not to anywhere near the extent Ranger and Goodhue did last year. I wonder if we might be better off defending Tua on the wing and Ranger in the midfield - Tua grabbed at jerseys a few times during the game and would also give Ranger more opportunities to get over the ball at the breakdown.

    Probably the biggest worry from the game is that it seems like a big drop off from Rinakama and Wright to Straker and Tu'ungafasi especially at scrum time. Hopefully those guys were just a bit off the pace because it was the first game. I also wonder if we would be better off swapping Robinson and Douglas around. Minor adjustment but I think Robinson would just be a bit more dynamic at 6. Also Matich is probably the better starting option at 8 for me

    One thing I thought was interesting during warm up was that Scott Gregory was also practicing goalkicking - seemed pretty good too.



  • @chiefy07 let’s aknkwledge that Whitcombe has at least got some cattle to work with...thought we had moved on from putting the boot into the previous coaches who in my opinion were handed a hospital pass.



  • @steven-harris I wouldn't call that a hospital pass mate. It's not like those guys didn't have the cattle to work with, they inherited a squad that was largely in tact from the year before when we made the semis and had 5-6 months to whip them into shape but didn't. Anyway I was more wanting to acknowledge Witcombes good work than stick the boot in. Both his stints as coach we have had a mostly solid scrum, aggressive defence and a typical Northland throw the ball around attack. The team looks well drilled and work their butts off - if you compared the NH team on paper to Northland last Thursday, NH would've been red hot favourites. The good structures and hard working attitudes were what almost got us the win.



  • @chiefy07 fair call,I’m probably guilty of being a bit to close Richie and Dale,and to be fair to Derrin I can see incremental improvements,actually had a chat to him after the Harbour game and seemed quite relaxed,while a tad disappointed with the final result.



  • @steven-harris Steve, Good articles on the B’s and the U19s game. Well done. And great to see Northland is building depth.


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