Northland v Otago



  • @kev having Gregory at 13 helped Hohaia too



  • Great win for northland, a good free flowing couple of tries gave them the confidence they have been missing, that style of play tho still only pays off 10% of the time hence the season score board, i have always believed the squad is ther but its higher up that needs to be looked at, alot of money is being spent with the coaching staff and the 100 assistance they have for very little payback. Good way to end the season tho over a top 4 team.



  • Was kinda expecting that, but maybe it was just hope...

    Right from the outset I thought our defensive line had more intensity, having Gregory alongside Hohaia makes a big difference on attack and d.

    Those first 10 mins Gregory made about 3 or 4 tackles...in other games this season they are missed and we are down after 2 mins.

    Having Gregory outside Hohaia on attack gives him that moment more time and space with opposition needing to keep an eye on Gregory rather than knowing our 12/13 didnt pose a threat.

    Think the rookies acquitted themselves well, Mayanavanua throws himself about, Byrne too, but could do with a couple more kgs on his frame, Funaki was busy too.

    Simoni Uluinakauvadra didnt get alot of time but a couple of nice touches, lines and workrate you can see he has something about him.

    Good way for Debreczeni to bow out for us too.

    As I said at the start of the season I thought we had a good squad, today showed we have some good young players, but it is usually only injury that sees them get the chance, and I expect plenty got way more minutes than planned.

    Have heard a 10 who has played Super rugby in SA is heading here to live and will play 7s for us, so hopefully he plans out at 10.

    Need to find a 13, although I guess Ranger will likely be back, so keep developing Cherrington.

    Unsure who comes off contract but I'd be looking at getting some of these fellas signed for next season (Matiu, Caird, Mayanavanua, Levien, Uluinakauvadra, Byrne, Rae)

    Pretty poor season all told, but book ended with wins at the start and end.



  • @Stargazer said in Northland v Otago:

    @taniwharugby said in Northland v Otago:

    @Machpants apparently has been 'working' with other teams too... not sure where he's from.

    I liked the bit with Roberts-Te Nana

    I've seen him in clips with Southland, the Steamers and Manawatu. Maybe more.

    He's from Feilding.

    His names William Wairua. G rated funny ish guy on social media. Pretty good doesn't try to be hardcore to be funny lots of kids like him too.

    Funny thing is I'm pretty sure every team he worked with won that weekend. He was with south and before they broke their streak. Manawatu before they smashed cant. And the steamers before they upset the hawks.

    He is like the soccer world cup octopus.





  • Wow, where was that performance all year? Bloody stoked to finish on a good note.

    The one glaring thing for me was that game just showed why we should have had Gregory at 13 all season. His work on D really impressed me the most. Otago tried their hardest to gas the outside channels, but Gregory plugged it up with his pace. Gutted we wasted so much time with Johnson there.

    The forwards were all on the same sheet today, was particularly impressed with Olsen, Temo and Byrne. I like the look of the new Fijian flanker too, hopefully we sign him up for next year.

    Hopefully that was a little glimpse of what our whole season might be like for our centenary year next year.

    Fingers crossed everyone is fit and healthy for 2020 so we can have a better campaign with our best available players!



  • @taniwharugby have to agree. The young talent that we have that doesn’t get a chance until injury. We want to develop our players more. Improvements have been made but we just need to trust them and play the long term game.

    Despite the results this year the forwards have largely done well.

    You have to ask why we persevered with back combinations that didn’t work when we had other options. In that regard I think the coaches let the team down.

    Man we had a lot of injuries this year. A lot before the season started. Don’t know if there was a reason.



  • @J77 Centenary next year. Wow!



  • @kev yeah I think the Coaching team, including conditioning coaches have a lot to answer for this season, along with our HP programme.

    I dont like singling him out as he has been an great player for us and one of my favorite players over the past few years, but how does Ross Wright turn up to play for us in the shape he is in? This guy has played NZ Maori, he had more minutes for the Blues last year in a handful of games than MOulds got in 3 seasons.

    HOw does a guy of his calibre and experience turn up looking so out of shape? I know these guys are not fulltime professionals, but they know what is required of them, assume they are monitored, what happens when they dont meet the requirements?

    Conditioning (over training is an issue too) also impacts injuries, so maybe that was a factor (aside from Ranger & Robinson)

    As to your comment re back combinations, well, we saw our best performance of the year today, and I still reckon pushing Hyland in there as well would have made our mid-field pretty dynamic and dangerous!

    OH well, we won today and weren't last 🙂



  • Well that was unexpected.

    Where the hell has that game and accuracy been all season?

    Really impressed with the attitude on defence today. A number of times we defended our line for multiple phases and managed to get ourselves out of trouble, where as every other game the only times we get off our own line are when we’re heading to halfway for a re-start.

    Can’t think of anyone who didn’t step up today, but standouts for me were Temo, McNamara, J-Deb and Gregory.

    And what a relief to get off the bottom of the ladder.



  • Amazing the difference one positional change made. Gregory being at centre changed a lot - not surprising having a physical presence in defence that doesn't just wave people through makes a big difference. Also being a threat with ball in hand and being able to set up the outsides - basics for a centre - made a huge difference.

    I don't think we should be so quick to put the boot into Witcombe - we've had a couple of good seasons since he came back and his first 2 were good too. Konia probably deserves a few questions his way. Even when we've been playing well the last few years we've tended to rely on the ad lib Northland off the cuff style (much like yesterday) and showed very little in the way of backline structure and plans. I think Northlands forward set piece still performing despite the injury toll points to the work Witcombe does with the pack. He does need to take ownership for Matt Johnson getting so many minutes this season though.

    Is overall fitness an issue or just a handful of players? I thought overall we looked quite fit, just seemed to be a bit of a drop off once we got into the ring ins and a handful of others (Wright, Te Whata-Colley etc) Someone like Atkins looked much sharper this year than last. I wonder if at times it is an intent thing rather than fitness. When the opposition get a breakaway some of the guys basically stroll back and then others like McNamara, Olsen, Atkins etc will put a lot of effort into chasing back. Look at the effort Olsen put in yesterday when Otago scored first. He was never going to catch a winger but he put the hard yards in to be first on the scene if someone else caught him.

    Definitely some bright spots from the season. Matiu stepped up and really started to dominate - quite telling he's still in the top 10 for carries in the comp and has missed basically the last 3 games and game one. Caird and Mayavanua stepped up at lock when not much was expected. Despite using 4 halfbacks, Levien and Grant looked like they could handle it. Gregory is starting to show he will be a dominant player at this level (especially if played in best position). I think with a bit more luck with injuries we would have been top 2 or 3 this season.



  • @Chiefy07 as Head Coach that is where Witcombe needs to take some responsibility.

    When they were warming up yesterday, he Atkins and Olsen were all throwing to the lineout, and Witcombe hit his target every time haha.



  • @taniwharugby I agree as far as selections go - surely he would have the over riding say, but as far as systems and plans etc, surely the bulk of that would fall on Konia as basically the backs coach?

    On another note, I know some people suggest that we need to move away from the locals only policy - I think seasons like this is why it is important we have the locals only policy. If we had that many injuries with a bunch of imports we would have hoisted the white flag near the start of the season and the ring ins wouldn't be near the same quality. As it stands we've managed to blood a whole bunch of local players so that we potentially have better depth going forward.



  • @Chiefy07 yeah I dont want a return of the bad days where we just sign guys from anywhere based on a CV or a youtube clip...those days under Ferris were dire.

    I am happy with the current stance of not automatically signing players unless they are current super players, national age group reps or established NPC players from elsewhere.

    We must have these guys playing in our club comp, until the standard here is improved we will continue to plod away propping up the bottom of the ladder with other teams when they have a lull.

    As to the Witcombe/Konia thing, I wonder how that dynamic works, given in thier first stint, Witcombe was head coach, when they went to Japan, Konia was head coach and now back, Witcombe again.

    Witcombe surely has final say, but agree, you wonder WTF Konia is doing with our backs given the persistent selections around 12/13 and the out and out poor standard of play in our backs.

    Hard to comment massively on the outside backs as the ball had, had to get past 12/13 often to get to them so you cut them some slack because the quality of it was sh!te.

    I think the lack of precision, punch, cohesion of the 12/13 axis was telling for Debreczeni too, early on he was running a bit more, wanting cuts, inside balls etc, but that got shelved for several weeks and only started showing his skills again last couple of weeks - coaching directive or confidence thing?



  • A number of players looked good in the forwards - to pick up on Chiefy's comment, Paddy Jo Atkins had a great season and has a real future at hooker. Plus so many other new players - Byrne looked good, Mayanavanua is a beast, Caird etc.



  • Yep, definitely agree on having guys playing in our comps. I don’t give a rats ass where in the country or world they’re from as long as they play club footy in Northland and commit to our cause. In terms of true blue local guys, I think it’d be great if we actually had enough of quality ones to make a “Northland Only” team, but the reality is we don’t and need to supplement from elsewhere from time to time.

    On the coaches, I reckon the major thing they got wrong was the selections rather than the tactics. I think they are good coaches (DW more specifically) and deserve another crack. They just need to focus on selecting the right guys from week to week. Given it was hard with all our injury disruptions, but that midfield fiasco should never be repeated!



  • @J77 I doubt any team has only home grown players, and probably naive to expect it...I mean the ABs have 3 who weren't born in NZ, it is what it is.

    Key is trying to get these talented kids from here but in Auckland on scholarships wanting to come back.

    But by the same token we need to be enticing others up here, like now I'd be looking for a 12/centre, a wing/FB, and in an ideal world the Blues would be proactive here too assisting with keeping/attracting players to Northland/NH and Auckland.

    Stronger club footy makes stronger provincial team which gives the Blues better competition for spots.



  • Ben Herring



  • @taniwharugby said in Northland v Otago:

    Key is trying to get these talented kids from here but in Auckland on scholarships wanting to come back.

    This is a huge point in my opinion. I think our point of attack needs to start at U19 level here. I saw the Auckland team had four or five Northland boys in there. I get that there’s a choice for these lads, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could have them playing for Northland from that age group upwards. Our U19s are way behind the 8-ball and need a boost. A lot of other unions are using the 19’s as a key development tool and it’s working. I noticed Hawkes Bay U19 had 3 or 4 of Wellington based (presumably uni students) players in their set up this year. We need to do the same and entice our Auckland/elsewhere based Northland lads back into our system. The NRU need someone to proactively scope this option out.



  • Wow what a game I just saw the highlights well done Northland.


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