Northland 2020 Contracted players
Ross Wright (Wellsford)
Jack Straker (Kamo)
Paddy Atkins (Wellsford)
Jordan Olsen (Mid Northern)
Josh Goodhue (Blues/United Kawakawa/Moerewa)
Sam Caird (OBM)
Temo Mayanavanua (Waipu)
Rob Rush (tbc)
Tom Robinson (Blues/Kerikeri)
Sam McNamara (Waipu)
Kane Jacobson (Kamo)
Saimoni Uluinakauvadra (Waipu)
Aorangi Stokes (OBM)
Sam Nock (Blues/Kerikeri)
Harrison Levien (OBM)
Blake Hohaia (OBM)
Jack Goodhue (Crusaders/United Kawakawa/Moerewa)
Tamati Tua (Kamo)
Rene Ranger (Wellsford)
Jordan Hyland (Blues/Wellsford)
Scott Gregory (Highlanders/Hikurangj
There will be 10-15 contracts available through club rugby.
Just on a couple of players that have not signed,
Isi Tuangafasi has signed with Canterbury and the Crusaders
Corey Te Whata Colley is reportedly heading to France
Unlikely to see Jonty Rae back in Cambridge Blue, but I stand to be corrected .
I would imagine Pisi Leilua and Renata Roberts TeNana will have to come back through club form
Jonty Rae was a standout this season and Roberts Te Nana would have started every game. We need Jonty's speed and aggression in the contact. It is puzzling to have some many players contracted.
James Cherrington would at be the top of my list of contracted along with Derek Carpenter, they would form a hard and uncompromising midfield that has the ability to set the back three free young enough to bring years of stability in the midfield and mentor the next generation. What we need is a first five and halfback that clears the ball fast so our backline has time and control and direct the forwards.
We need to go back to the sub unions and build academy programs around key positions. Looking for playmakers in touch is a good idea, we have programs in this space but they are nothing more than lip service. We have let gems like Noel Edmonds slip through our hands over the years. Men who bleed blue and would have been superstars anywhere else. Northland selectors often need binoculars to see outside Whangarei urban teams of drafties from outside the region.
@SmokeyT I think Jonty was carrying an injury most of the season, when he did get out on the field one leg was always heavily strapped.
Would be nice to get some consistency in our mid-field, chopped and changed week to week this year...
Both he and Leilua looked the goods at club, but Leilua just looked out of his depth, and Jonty just didnt get enough time.
Roberts-Te Nana should be there, has the talent, just needs to back himself...possibly an issue stemmed form the team being low on confidence this year too.
Think it was v Canterbury, Te Nana had the opportunity to take someone on the outside which had he beat him, would have been a foot race to the tryline; with space and his gas, yet opted to go inside to take the contact.
Have to hope they are working through a contract with Matiu, easily our best player this year.
Rob Rush snapped up pretty quick though, heard there are a few other age group players in the crosshairs too.
Our internal talent development, retention hasn't been good. We start losing players at school boy rugby level and with the possibility of professional careers we have to position ourselves as a successful team to encourage home grown talent to stay or return.
Spot on kev. The young player development pathway is poor. I dont like to say it, but right now, if I was a young player showing a bit of potential, I'd try and get into another system. If you compare us to a province like Taranaki, we would have more raw material than them in the long term. But they seem to get the utmost out of their locals, and because they have a good recent record, they can bring in class players from the outside to top up the squad. This situation absolutely has to be changed. It hamstrings the NPC squad right from the kickoff.
Taniwha, what are you saying! The midfield was extremely consistent this year! Consistently SHITE! Leilua is a perfect example of what we are talking about. Our outsides were actually quite good this year, but they got absolutely no service from inside. If Leilua had been put into any sort of space by the midfield, I think he would have had a dynamic season. And probably got some sort of Super deal. That's what should have happened. Instead, I'm concerned that players like Leilua will try their luck somewhere else. As for Witcombe. I dont know him, but think if I did, I'd like him. But to be the Taniwha coach right now, you need to be very strong mentally and I dont think he's up to it. The Witcombe/Konia dynamic, alternating head/assistant coach roles, is a bit weird too.
Now that the coaches are in place and a good number of players are signed I thought it would be a great opportunity to look at some positions that need the biggest attention ..
Tight head prop and First Five are the 2 real major areas ..
In fact all up we are probably looking for 2 players for each position...
In terms of the props, i am reasonably confident with former Fijian prop Graham Dewes stepping in as the forwards coach he will have a handle on some decent props out in the market place not to mention having coached the development team for the last couple of seasons ,he will know what’s coming through..
In terms of locals , Alex Gale from Kamo and if he returns from Queensland Hamish Richardson who played for the Western Sharks might be well worth a look at..
As for the first fives, who knows..I know the union is looking at potentially a young Northland boy plying his trade in Auckland which is not a bad thing, but I personally would love to have an experienced head as well
On the local scene, having seen Tom Smith from Kerikeri , just not sure if Mitre 10 is his ceiling at this stage of his career..and maybe Nikau Graham who is only young are other potential options.
I have heard D’Angelo Leuila who played for Auckland this year might looking to move as he snookered in behind Harry Plummer..Leuila was quite superb when he played for Auckland against Northland ..
Looking around at the Heartland provinces , the only player that I have seen that looks like he could step up potentially is James Lash who turns out for Buller,.once again though there is a bit of risk and reward involved.
A couple of other positions personally I would like to see pursued are Number 8 and openside flanker..
Just on the number 7 jersey..whilst Kara Pryor could frustrate the hell out of me, I really do think he’s a classy player and maybe now that Whitcombe has moved on , might work with a different coaching staff onboard ..I see that he has signed for major league Rugby , but should be free after that , worth going after in my book.
And finally with Jacob Matiu playing in the USA and not knowing what’s happening moving forward, I would love to see the union go after a big number 8 who can get some go forward ..
We have not had a player with size in the 8 jersey for a very long time...we have a.ways had smaller sized players in that position..
Thomas Anderson impressed me during the 7s campaign with his strength especially..stands around 6’2 .100kgs plus..looks to have great potential..
There’s a couple of other young Northland boys running around in Auckland in Terrell Peita and John Latu who have both got great potential, but the kid I would go after is Pauliasi Manu’s younger brother Isileli Manu..has played Blues Dev and Auckland under 19s ..the kid is a beast, 6’4 118 Kgs .he would give you some go forward no question and from what I believe has a great workrate for such a big man..
Leuila was quite superb when he played for Auckland against Northland ..
His general play was terrible in the other matches he played though. Great goal kicker. He’ll be behind Sullivan as well next year, so very poachable
I assume Wiseguy has fallen away? A shame because he has plenty of talent
@Duluth Wiseguy is back in Auckland, staying with his parents at the minute, the good thing is he is working which can only be a good thing..he’s actually a classy footballer, just probably all happened a too early for him..hope he comes back in the future , he’s too talented not to...
Had it confirmed to me that Ponsonby and Auckland Dev First Five Johnny Cooper , son of former Northland winger Percy Cooper has been signed by the Taniwha for the 2020 season, however he will play through with Ponsonby until June until he completes his study ..