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


Wins Come Off Field for Swords

Wins Come Off Field for Swords

First-year Northern Swords coach Jon Renes refutes the “young guns” description being thrust upon his NZRL National Premiership side.

Without a win in the competition since 2013, they’re not exactly “guns” yet and “young” doesn’t quite fit comfortably either.

But after their heart-breaking 30-28 loss at the death to Wellington Orcas last week, Renes is confident his charges are ticking off most of the boxes they set for themselves entering the season.

Previously the Swords trainer, Renes has a unique perspective on the culture of the team, both past and present.

“I think this is my fifth year and I can’t recall one with as many 17-18-year-olds on the squad,” he admits. “But I wouldn’t go as far as to call them young guns.

“We’ve got a good mix of players that have been in the Swords since its inception, as well as those first-year players.”

But, to some extent, the youngsters have lead an upswing in team performance on the field, as well as providing a breath of fresh air off it.

Rookies like centres Caleb Aekins and Tamati Leach, hooker Stevie-Ray Haenga Albert and prop Kawana Marsden are simply following the representative pathway through the Swords ranks, bringing little of the baggage that has plagued the premier programme previously.

“For me, the biggest issue we’ve faced is probably similar to other regions at various times, and that is one of attitude and effort,” says Rene. “There seemed to be little mana attached to the Swords jersey and that’s really what we have tried to focus on.

“Part of that is actually bringing players through the 17s and club system, enjoying some of that youth and enthusiasm, and creating an environment that is stimulating.

“One of the great things about the young guys is that they probably haven’t taken much notice of the Swords prems over the years, because they have gone so poorly.”

Renes can now see some light at the end of the tunnel, which was evident, even as the Swords dropped their season opener to Central Vipers by 34 points. They were 34-0 down at the break, but held their rivals even over the final 40 minutes.

Last week, the northerners held the upper hand for most of the contest, but conceded a try under the posts on full-time, converted under pressure by Wellington five-eighth Bronson Marino.

“We feel at some point, this will fall into place,” says Renes. “That was a big turning point for us last week.

“It’s a tough competition, everyone knows that, and whatever happens on the scoreboard happens.

“The scores probably don’t reflect our performance this season. In terms of the benchmarks we have set, we couldn’t be happier with how we’re tracking.”

The Swords will have to find another level to their game if they are to salvage a win from the rest of this season, though. This weekend, they take on an in-form Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions outfit, with four-time champions Akarana and titleholders Canterbury lying in wait down the stretch.

Right now, the final looms as a rematch of the controversial 2014 climax, with the Stallions (3-1) now facing a favourable Swords-Vipers-bye closing run.

Unbeaten Canterbury visit the Orcas in a possible banana-skin game, while the Falcons v Counties Manukau showdown has the potential to put both Auckland powerhouses out of contention.

Download NZRL Premiership "Between The Lines" Round Five newsletter here.

Saturday, September 26

Wellington Orcas v Rockcote Canterbury Bulls
Porirua Park, Wellington
Referee - Chris McMillan
Touch - Noel Woods & Antz Akavai

Counties Manukau Stingrays v Akarana Falcons
Massey Park, Papakura
Referee - Shane Rehm
Touch - Simon Taylor & Kena Waikai

Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions v Northern Swords
Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Referee - Aaron Donald
Touch - Henare Chadwick & TBC


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland