DEBUTING AT THE 2017 SECONDARY SCHOOLS RUGBY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT, NAENAE COLLEGE!
Naenae College made their debut in the development division at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rugby League Tournament held during winter tournament week at the beginning of September. We were the only school from the Wellington region, competing against some of the best of the up and coming schools from Christchurch, Hamilton, New Plymouth and Auckland.
Our pool consisted of Tai Wananga (Hamilton and New Plymouth), Marcellin College (Auckland), and Trident High School (Whakatane). We played Papakura High School (Auckland and tournament host school) in our semis, then Francis Douglas Memorial College (New Plymouth) in our final game.
The tournament itself was an eye-opener for not only the boys but the coaching and managing staff as well. To play at tournament level, especially along the nation’s best, required much more than skill and ability alone: integrity, respect, leadership, courage, passion, and resilience were core expectations of the tournament on and off the field. These expectations really did challenge our boys during their game play, testing not only their knowledge of the game but understanding the values the sport teaches. It took some of our boys a little longer to get the hang of not only playing different positions on the field but how to think and work strategically together to execute plays they learned before and during tournament.
Highlights of the week included:
· The boys’ haka before each game - they soon learned that a haka isn't that effective if you're trying to smile the opposition to death. They improved at each match.
· Team captain Fred Leaupepe-Tema (SHH) and Liufau Halafihi (13ADN) were awarded ‘Man of the Match’ and match balls for their outstanding play, field leadership, and impressive tackles.
· Jamie Muiaa’s (13MSH) try against Papakura in the last five minutes of the second half – he dragged three huge islanders with him for a few good metres.
· Josh Muiava’s (12TFN) debut at the tournament against Francis Douglas where he ran it straight and made some mean tackles.
Our journey to the tournament would not have been possible without the support of our whanau, aiga, school and wider community. Some special mentions:
· John and Yvonne Manuel for your experience, teaching, and provisions of equipment to make yummy hangi for our fundraising efforts
· Pelorus Trust awarding us a grant that helped with transport and accommodation in Auckland.
· Phil Roach (Wellington Rugby League Development Manager) for
· Our boys’ whanau and aiga in Auckland for being our support team away from home. We are indebted to your hospitality and energizing snacks at all our matches.
· Rod Ratu (Rugby League coach) and his team from Southern Cross Campus College for taking us through drills and plays before the tournament.
· Mike Kravcenko for being an awesome driver, camp dad, chef, and chief hype-man during our entire stay in Auckland.
· Mr Russell for flying up to Auckland to support our boys and to help drive our boys back to Wellington safely.
We would like to thank our departing senior boys for your contributions to rugby league at Naenae College this year. Your talents and leadership will be missed: Ben Cusin, Caleb Poihipi, Mark Savelio (13RU), Liufau Halafihi (13ADN), Terra Fuifui, Jamie Muiaa (13MSH), Kimi Ngu (13TSN), and Chedan Anae (SHH).
We are hopeful that Rugby League will continue to thrive at Naenae College and we anticipate on improving on our success in the new year.
Kia ihi, kia maru