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SKY to showcase rising stars


July 25, 2014

SKY to showcase rising stars

NZ Rugby League and SKY Television have confirmed a blockbuster doubleheader that will highlight the game’s best domestic talent, as well as the next wave of future Kiwis.

On Saturday, October 18, Mt Smart Stadium will host the Pirtek National Premiership final, featuring the two best teams after a two-month round robin regular season.

Later that evening, the NZ Junior Kiwis will take on the Australian Junior Kangaroos for what promises to be another keenly contested chapter in thre trans-Tasman rivalry.

Both games will be shown live on SKY.

“The Pirtek National Premiership is an important step in our domestic pathway, giving our NZ-based players something tangible to strive for at the climax of their season,” says NZRL chief executive Phil Holden.

“It is also another chance for these players to catch the eye of NRL clubs and extend their careers into the professional ranks.”

The last player to achieve this was 2014 Kiwis rookie Peta Hiku, who played for Counties Manukau as a teenager in 2011 and then embarked on a journey that passed through the NZ Warriors youth programme on the way to Manly Sea Eagles.

Last year, Akarana Falcons defeated Counties Manukau 22-12 for their fourth straight title.

In recent years, the Junior Kiwis have provided an even greater springboard to bigger things.

Four of the 2012 Junior Kiwis side – Hiku, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Siliva Havili and Tohu Harris – have already graduated to senior honours, while Harris and Havili were part of the 2011 line-up that toppled Australia 28-16 at Newcastle.

Last year, the JKs led 26-10 just after halftime in Sydney, before finally succumbing 38-26.

“There can be no higher honour than representing your country and for many of these young men, this will be a pivotal game in their careers,” says Holden.

“If we are to achieve our World Cup goals over the next decade, these players will be an important part of that, so this is an opportunity to taste early success against the Aussies.”

The double feature, falling one week out from the Four Nations opener in Brisbane, reinforces SKY’s position as the premier source of rugby league coverage in New Zealand.

“It’s always great to broadcast quality domestic sport on SKY," says SKY director of sport Richard Last. "Rugby league fans can look forward to watching future superstars of the game in the national premiership final and the Junior Kiwis match against Australia.”

“These fixtures offer the best of both worlds and the timing is perfect ahead of what should be a thrilling Four Nations tournament.”

Saturday, October 18
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

5pm Pirtek National Premiership final
7pm Junior Kiwis v Junior Kangaroos

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