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Grassroots Club Rugby League On Maori Television!

FRIDAY MAY 22 2009

Grassroots Club Rugby League On Maori Television!

Die-hard supporters, crunching hits, and fierce team rivalries that go back decades. Auckland club rugby league is grassroots sport at its best – and for the first time the region’s premier grade competition will be beamed into New Zealand homes.

Maori Television, in association with Auckland Rugby League, will screen FOX MEMORIAL SHIELD, from Sunday June 7 at 2.00 PM. A second game from the competition will screen the following Saturday, June 13 at 2.00 PM, with two games being broadcast every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the competition, which concludes in September.

The battle for the Shield, now in its centennial year, is a contest with a proud history. It has featured most of the true stars of Auckland, and indeed New Zealand rugby league, including Mark Graham, Tawera Nikau, Stacey Jones and Ruben Wiki.

“We’re very excited to be able to bring this premier club competition to a ‘league hungry’ television audience,” says executive producer Eruera Morgan.

Each weekend, two games will be recorded for delayed broadcast on Maori Television. They will be broadcast in English, with host Te Arahi Maipi (Waikato), and commentary from Dale Husband (Ngati Maru, Tainui) and Tony Kemp (Taranaki).

The preliminary series of the contest is already underway, and now eight Auckland clubs remain to battle it out, with another 14 weeks to run.

The qualifying clubs are: East Coast Bays Barracudas; Manurewa Marlins, Marist Saints, Mt Albert Lions, Northcote Tigers, Otahuhu Leopards, Papakura Sea Eagles and Te Atatu Roosters.

Some interesting facts to note about these teams: the Sea Eagles are defending champions, while the Marlins won the shield in 2007. Sonny Bill Williams used to play for Saints, Gary Freeman played for Tigers, and the Roosters last won the shield in 1988.

All games will screen at 2.00PM and the broadcast schedule for June is as follows:
June 7 Te Atatu v Otahuhu
June 13 Northcote v Papakura
June 14 Mt Albert v Otahuhu
June 20 EC Bays v Te Atatu
June 21 EC Bays v Otahuhu
June 27 Northcote v Mt Albert
June 28 Northcote v Otahuhu
July 4 Manurewa v Mt Albert

More dates will be made available as they come to hand. The competition will conclude on grand final day, in September, when teams will compete for the Sharman Cup Final and the Fox Memorial Shield, which will be broadcast live.

Maori Television’s other channel, Te Reo, will also screen the games with full Maori commentary, on Saturdays and Thursdays, starting from June 6 at 8.30 PM.


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