Making waves in rugby league
STEPH RANGI A local rugby league team has shown others what they are made of after winning the development grade at its first tournament.
One of the team’s players was named the top player.
Over Queens Birthday weekend, the Tu¯ wharetoa Under-17 Ma¯ ori Rugby League team competed in the New Zealand Ma¯ ori Rugby League Rangatahi tournament in Rotorua.
It is the first time the team has played in the development grade and they not only managed to win all four pool games but the final as well. Their games and scores were; Te Tai Tokerau 34-16, Dannevirke 44-6, Te Tai Rawhiti 34-10, and Taranaki 18-6.
The final was played against Taranaki.
Team manager, Stephanie Ngamotu-Tahana said the game was nail biting but the Tu¯ wharetoa boys held on to their winning streak, with an 18-14 win.
Entering a local team into the Ma¯ ori Rugby League Rangatahi tournament had always been on Ngamotu-Tahana’s ‘to-do’ list. As the Taupo¯/Turangi area falls into the Bay of Plenty district with rugby league, the boys would usually play for them.
‘‘I thought we have enough talent through Tu¯ wharetoa, why not make our own team,’’ Ngamotu-Tahana said.
So she put a post up on a Facebook page detailing an open muster for people of Tu¯ wharetoa decent who might be interested in playing rugby league.
If winning the development grade wasn’t enough for the Tuwharetoa team, three of their players – Te Oranga Haika (16), Tewano Ngamotu-Tahana (14) and Temple Beauchamp (16) also made the New Zealand Ma¯ori Rugby League tournament team.
Temple Beauchamp was named the most important player of the tournament. Ngamotu-Tahana said plans were already in place for next year’s tournament but hopes they will be entering more teams.