Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Odds stacked against Falcons

Pirtek National Premiership - Odds stacked against Falcons

Given the obstacles facing the Akarana Falcons each year, their record in the Pirtek National Premiership is nothing short of impressive.

And in their quest to continue their string of titles since the revamped competition began in 2010, Steve Buckingham's squad are already on the back foot.

Akarana open their 2014 campaign at home against Wai-Coa-Bay without many of their top players, still involved in the Auckland Fox Memorial club competition.

“With the bulk of our squad still involved in local footy, we have really formed a squad yet,” says the Falcons coach, who is also balancing his commitments with the Mt Albert Lions.

“We’ll be just naming a team to get us through the first game and going from there. I don’t expect players to play a semifinal one day and turn around again the next day for the Falcons.

“Luckily, the club final is the week after, when we have our bye, so that’s handy.”

So, already, the Falcons seem well down the path towards matching last year’s dubious achievement of drawing upon nearly 40 players over their seven-game schedule.

“We did have a big squad last year, purely through injuries,” reflects Buckingham. “Against Wellington, we lost about six guys for the rest of the competition and had pull guys into the squad after that.”

Buckingham admits he also found it difficult to motivate players for representative football, after the highs and lows of their intense club season.

“We struggled to get players to training and basically won the competition on one training a week. Some weeks, we were scrambling to make up a team.

“From a coaching point of view, we have plenty of talent, it’s just a matter of getting them out on the park and committed. When we can do that, we’re fine.

“I hope there are some young guys who take their opportunities this year and we’ll be trying hard to put pride back into the Auckland jersey, after struggling for commitment last year.”

Buckingham pinpoints his forward pack as the key to ongoing success.

“We’ve got some big quality boys who should be unmatched in terms of forward power.”

Wai-Coa-Bay tuned up for their season opener with a 30-30 trial result against Central Vipers last weekend and will need to take full advantage of their ill-prepared opponents if they hope to challenge for this year’s title.

The Vipers host Canterbury Bulls in New Plymouth, searching for their first competition victory in almost two years and conscious that their women – runners-up at their national tournament this year – now hold bragging rights in the area.

Meanwhile, Wellington Orcas face Northern Swords at home, hoping to continue their run of success against their rivals. Orcas won the corresponding fixtures 38-14 in Whangarei last year.

Pirtek NZRL National Premiership Guide (Round One)

2014 Pirtek National Premiership
Round One (August 23/24)

Saturday, August 23
1.30pm Wellington Orcas v Northern Swords
Petone Recreation Ground, Wellington
1-Anthony Utanga, 2-Bernard Gregorius, 3-Jon-Marc Stowers, 4-Raymond Lesoa, 5-David Saumolia, 6-Shaw Playford, 7-Petera Rikiriki-Williams, 8-Paul Lemana, 9-Michael O'Brien, 10-Robbie McKenzie, 11-Jon Masaga, 12-Nicholas Phillips, 13-Michael Nathan, 14-Grayson Putu, 15-Denzil Hokianga, 16-Ben Tuia, 17-Chance Tauri
Swords: 1-Israel Tahere, 2-Sharif Mangu, 3-Wiremu Snowden Te Iringa, 4-Ross McFarlane, 5-Rikki Tarau, 6-Daniel Fulop (capt), 7-Samuel Henry, 8-Christopher Apoua, 9-Joel Freeman, 10 tbc, 11-Te Tuhi Tipene, 12-Patrick Tane, 13-Kelson Harding, 14-Jordan Hool, 15-Chris Mellar-Reynolds, 16-Andre Lennox, 17-Alex Salase
Referee – Tony Arnel Touch – Eric Kneepkens & TBC

2.30pm Central Vipers v Canterbury Bulls
Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
1-Aaron Whitikia, 2-Jo Ratu, 3-Che Barlow, 4-Vailoa Kereti, 5-Tyson Young, 6-Cruz Rauner, 7-Colin Hokianga, 8-Kele Kose, 9-Travl Ngatoko, 10-Gorden Karaitiana, 11-Jarrod Morfett, 12-Wiremu McSeveny, 13-Richard Gillies, 14-Dylin Hall, 15-Sione Sifa, 16-Josh Kerr, 17-Ale Feaunati
1–Ken Tofilau, 2–Danny Latu, 3–Erwin Sauni, 4–Vinnie Paul, 5–Cyrus Timo-Latu, 6–Izic Placid, 7–Darren Tonihi, 8–Paradise Mann, 9–Manu Weepu, 10–Chris Bamford (capt), 11–JJ Smith, 12–Corey Lawrie, 13–Dan Moevao, 14–Toi Sepuloni, 15–Agaese Fiso, 16–John Tafua, 17–Vincent Tusa
Referee – Tane Kaiwai Touch – Dave Robati & Marissa Edmonds

Sunday, August 24
2.30pm Akarana Falcons v Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions
Birkenhead War Memorial, Auckland
1-Mao Uta, 2-Tee Mahe, 3-Tangi Ropati, 4-Willie Peace, 5-Simon Luafalealo, 6-Simon Ieremia, 7-Levi Norton, 8-Kaleni Fraser, 9-Semisi Mau, 10-Trent Schaumkel, 11-Taylor Daniels, 12-Karl Semeti, 13-Brandon Motion, 14-Sam Cook, 15-Junior Fotu, 16-Matt Tafutu, 17-Siliga Kepoa
Stallions: 1-Caleb Heke, 2-Isaac Robinson, 3-Mounga Molisi, 4-John Koko, 5-Ryan Gordon, 6-Johnson Peri, 7-Hayden Karena (capt), 8-Tarquin Court, 9-Raureti Grace, 10-John Love-Henry, 11-Cody King, 12-Terry Kopua, 13-Jason Whareaitu, 14-Hamiora Mihaka, 15-Callin Tereu, 16-Mosese Mafi, 17-Mac Carson
Referee – Steve Kilgallon Touch – Rochelle Tamarua & TBC

Counties Manukau Stingrays bye

A season media guide will be available before the first round of games this weekend.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news