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Another sport that does not get the coverage like it should in NZ. There is huge talent in Auckland, but lets not forget the future Kiwis that are grafting away outside of Auckland. Here are our top 4 for 2015...
The industrious and skilful second-rower has been compared to Warriors Captain Simon Mannering. The Otago Under-17 and Scorpions player out of John McGlashan College in Dunedin was selected for the New Zealand Under-18 team that toured Australia this year. He was the first Junior Kiwi to come out of Otago, following Sam Williamson in 1954.
He was also a member of the First XV that won the Otago First XV competition. They won 14 out of 15 games and Ferguson was the highest try scorer with 11.
Otahuhu College won their second National Rugby League title in September, dramatically beating St. Paul's College in the final. St Paul's looked assured of their 16th national title at halftime when they led 13-0. However Otahuhu rallied achieved an 18-17 triumph.
Otahuhu won three games by fewer than five points and the performance of hooker Hunt was vital. He won the Player of the Tournament award and later earned selection for the New Zealand Under-18 side.
The Year 11 student from Manurewa High School was named the College Rugby League Player of the Year in Auckland. The lock/loose forward is a Manurewa Marlins junior who has ended up in the Mangere East Hawks Under-16 squad by way of the Otahuhu Leopards.
The Manurewa First XIII achieved a top five ranking in Nationals and had more boys selected for the New Zealand Under-18 team than any other school.
Was offered six NRL contracts and eventually resolved to join the South Sydney Rabbitohs in December. Alatipi was the only Wellington based player selected in the New Zealand Under-18 league team. He was a member of the St Pat’s Silverstream First XIII that won the Wellington title and completed a second year unbeaten. He also coached the Under-15 side.
Alatipi was a member of the Silverstream First XV rugby team and a member of the Silverstream W6 crew who won the under-19 250m sprint at the National Waka Ama Secondary Schools Championships. The Silverstream dragon boating team went 60-0 in five years of competition.
New Zealand Rugby League has named a NZ 16s "paper" side to celebrate and reward the hard work of players that attended the 2015 national trial and "Got A Trade? Got It Made!" National Youth Tournament.
After a selection process, head coach Moehewa Armstrong has named 20 players from across the country.
“The selectors were extremely impressed with skills and attitude in an environment that was designed to test and challenge the players, both on and off the field”.
Unfortunately, the team doesn’t assemble for a fixture, but each of the players has been given personal profiles outlining their strengths and weakness.
As part of the high performance pathway, players will be monitored via zone camps and national academies to ensure they’re continuing to meet national expectations and continue the production line of talent playing for the black-and-white jersey.
NZRL national talent manager Dean Watkins' desire is to see the players fulfill their dreams and aspire to play in the Kiwis jumper, but has a clear message that the players must drive themselves to new levels.
“For every player in the NR, there are hundreds that miss out," he says.
"The challenge for these players is to ensure they stay focused on their dream and continue to set goals to progress on the pathway."
The 2015 NZ 16s squad is:
Daymon Abbey - Akarana
Hitaua Butler - Mid Central
Soane Hufanga - Akarana
Keanu Laumatia-Paki - Counties Manukau
Joseph Los'e - Mid Central
Lumafale Lualua - Wellington
Etene Nanai-Seturo - Counties Manukau
Te Kahu Nathan - Northern
Hayze Perham - Upper Central
Javvier Pitovao - Akarana
Jordan Riki - Southern
Sheldon Rogers - Upper Central
Alfred Smalley - Counties Manukau
Elijah Sufia - Counties Manukau
Chanel Tavita-Harris - Akarana
Jonty Timoti - Akarana
Caleb Uele - Akarana
Joshua Uta - Counties Manukau
Wesley Veikoso - Mid Central
Mikey Williams -Akarana