1994 New Zealand rugby league season

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The 1994 New Zealand rugby league season was the 87th season of rugby league that had been played in New Zealand. The main feature of the year was the inaugural season of the Lion Red Cup competition that was run by the New Zealand Rugby League. The North Harbour Sea Eagles won the Cup by defeating the Counties Manukau Heroes 24-16 in the Grand Final.

International competitions[edit]

The New Zealand Kiwis did not play at home in 1994, instead embarking on a two test tour of Papua New Guinea. The Kiwis won all five matches, including a match against the Port Moresby Vipers. New Zealand included; Gary Freeman, Daryl Halligan, Terry Hermansson, Sean Hoppe, Stephen Kearney, John Lomax, Duane Mann, Jarrod McCracken, Gene Ngamu, Tawera Nikau, Hitro Okesene, Matthew Ridge, Tony Tatupu, Brendon Tuuta, Aaron Whittaker, Ruben Wiki and Jason Williams.

The New Zealand Residents toured Australia, winning all four games, before defeating Western Samoa 64-2 at Carlaw Park in Auckland. The team was Peter Edwards, Mike Dorreen, Tevita Vaikona, Maea David, Aaron Whittaker, Whetu Taewa, Solomon Kiri, Brett Roger, Henry Paul, David Bailey, Aaron Tucker, Faausu Afoa, Duane Mann (captain), Tony Tatupu, Jason Temu, Des Maea, Hitro Okesene, Simon Angell, Gavin Hill, Martin Moana, Aaron Lester and Logan Edwards. Kiwis coach Frank Endacott was also the Residents coach.[1]

The New Zealand Māori side competed at the 1994 Pacific Cup in Fiji. The side was coached by John Solomon and included Blair Harding, Alex Chan, Tane Manihera, Leroy Joe, Mark Woods and Darren Rameka.[2] The team failed to make the semi finals for the first time, finishing third in a five team pool after losing to Tonga and the Australian Aborigines.

New Zealand sent a national team to the World Sevens for the first time. The team defeated France and the USA before losing to Fiji in the quarter finals. The team included Earl Va'a, Jorgen Rogers, Richard Stewart and Jason Mackie and was coached by Paul Sixtus. The Wainuiomata Lions won the New Zealand Sevens competition held before the World Sevens.[3][4]

The Junior Kiwis went on a five match tour of Australia, winning four matches, including defeating the Australian Schoolboys in Australia for the first time ever.[5] Coached by Gary Kemble the squad was: Spiro Tuilaepa, Gus Malietoa-Brown, Robbie Paul, Danny Lima, Nigel and Joe Vagana, Stacey Jones (captain), Justin Ngamoto, Ben Lythe, Stuart Lester, John Mann, Billy Weepu, Arti Mamoe, Takofe Kalauta, John Couling, Brad Williams, Clive Arona, Luke Johnstone, Dean Johnsen, Zane Clark, Chris Faifua and Regan Avery.

Duane Mann was the New Zealand Rugby League player of the year after leading the New Zealand Kiwis and New Zealand Residents sides and captaining the North Harbour Sea Eagles to the Lion Red Cup.[6] The other finalists were Darryl Halligan, John Lomax, Whetu Taewa and Aaron Whittaker.

Western Samoa tour[edit]

Western Samoa conducted a three match tour of New Zealand, its first ever. They defeated Wellington 22-14 and Manawatu XIII 36-22 before losing to the New Zealand Residents 64-2.[7]

The team was Raymond Tusa, Ola Loau, Earl Va'a, Lokeni Savelio, Paki Tuimavave, Tony Tuimavave, Vinnie Winterstein, Mark Faumuina, Mike Setefano, Matthew Tuisamoa, Don Stewart, Henry Suluvale, Gafa Tuiloma, Ron Siami, Willie Poching, Mualia Fuiava, Wayne Schuster, Tafunai Alaelua, Toka Tofaeano, Muse Galuvao and Veli Patu. The coach was Steve Kaiser. Tony Tuimavave was the captain while Willie Poching led the team against Manawatu. Tea Ropati was originally named in the squad but withdrew due to injury. Maika Felise was later added to the squad.[7]

National competitions[edit]

Rugby League Cup[edit]

Auckland and Wellington both unsuccessfully challenged Canterbury for the Rugby League Cup during the season.

First, Wellington were thrashed 72-14 by Cup holders Canterbury on Anzac Day. The Wellington side was weakened the day before the match when the four Hutt Valley Firehawks players selected withdrew after a Lion Red Cup match. Wellington included Paul Howell while Canterbury included Tevita Vaikona, Phil Bancroft, Aaron Whittaker, Marty Crequer, Henry Suluvale and Shane Endacott.[8]

Then Auckland, coached by Dominic Clark, lost 20-28 to Canterbury on Queen's Birthday. The Auckland team included Solomon Kiri, Whetu Taewa, Bryan Laumatia, Brian McClennan, Fa'ausu Afoa, Jason Palmada, Stacey Jones, Duane Mann, Tony Tatupu, Doc Murray and Hitro Okesene.[9] Canterbury included Mark Nixon, Logan Edwards, Marty Crequer, Tevita Vaikona and Shane Endacott.[10]

Lion Red Cup[edit]

Buoyed by the acceptance of an Auckland team into the 1995 Australian Rugby League competition, the New Zealand Rugby League launched a twelve-team national club competition in 1994. Known as the Lion Red Cup for sponsorship reasons, this competition proved to be hugely expensive and lost a million dollars in 1994.[5]

The Teams[edit]

Challenge Cup[edit]

Before the season began a pre-season "Pepsi Max Challenge Cup" was held. This involved all twelve teams and was held on a knock out basis. Auckland City won the tournament, defeating Waitakere City 22-18 in the final on March 13.[20] North Harbour and Taranaki were the two defeated semi-finalists.

Season Standings[edit]

The Counties Manukau Heroes finished the season as minor premiers.[21]

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
Counties Manukau Heroes 22 16 2 4 563 334 219 34
Waikato Cougars 22 16 1 5 589 405 184 33
North Harbour Sea Eagles 22 16 0 6 524 299 225 32
Canterbury Country Cardinals 22 15 2 5 615 410 205 32
Auckland City Vulcans 22 14 1 7 517 363 154 29
Taranaki Rockets 22 10 1 11 481 536 -55 21
Waitakere City Raiders 22 9 1 12 530 487 43 19
Hutt Valley Firehawks 22 9 0 13 474 499 -25 18
Wellington City Dukes 22 8 0 14 470 508 -38 16
Hawkes Bay Unicorns 22 7 0 15 377 485 -108 14
Christchurch City Shiners 22 6 0 16 358 634 -276 12
Bay of Plenty Stags 22 2 0 20 262 800 -538 4

The Playoffs[edit]

  Qualifying Finals Semi Finals Preliminary Final Grand Final
                                     
1  Counties Manukau 22  
     North Harbour 25          North Harbour 24
2  Waikato 10      Counties Manukau 34    Counties Manukau 16
3  North Harbour 24        Canterbury Country 16  
 Waikato 6
4  Canterbury Country 30    Canterbury Country 32  
5  Auckland City 22
Match Winner Loser
Elimination Play-off Canterbury Cardinals 30 Auckland City Vulcans 22
Preliminary Semifinal North Harbour Sea Eagles 24 Waikato Cougars 10
Elimination Semifinal Canterbury Cardinals 32 Waikato Cougars 6
Qualification Semifinal North Harbour Sea Eagles 25 Counties Manukau Heroes 22
Preliminary Final Counties Manukau Heroes 34 Canterbury Cardinals 16
Grand Final[edit]
North Harbour Position Counties Manukau
Quinten Dane FB Wilson Marsh
Steve Johnston WG Bryan Laumatia
Tony Tatupu CE Gus Malietoa-Brown
Jason Kaulima CE Whetu Taewa
Richard Stewart WG Solomon Kiri
Ken McIntosh FE Matthew Tuisamoa
Latham Tawhai HB Vinnie Clark
Faausu Afoa PR Kerry Pomare
Duane Mann (C) HK Hitro Okesene (C)
Lafaele Filipo PR Jason Temu
Joe Vagana SR Paul Okesene
Don Stewart SR Matthew Sturm
Glen Palmer LK Esau Mann
Jeff Thurston Bench Willy Wolfgramm
Jason Palmada Bench Fred Morunga
Michael Patterson Bench Des Maea
Patrick Hellesoe Bench Steve Ekepai
Graeme Norton Coach Stan Martin

Counties Manukau started the match as favourites, however by halftime the North Harbour Sea Eagles had opened up a 20-6 lead and held on to win 24-16.[22]

Team Halftime Total
North Harbour Sea Eagles 20 24
Counties Manukau Heroes 6 16
Tries (North Harbour) 2: J.Kaulima
1: F.Afoa, L.Filipo, J.Palmada
Tries (Counties Manukau) 1: G.Malietoa-Brown, E.Manu, S.Ekepati
Goals (North Harbour) 1: Q.Dane, L.Tawhai
Goals (Counties Manukau) 2: W.Marsh
Date 25 September
Referee Phil Houston
Venue Carlaw Park
Broadcast TVNZ

Awards[edit]

Team of the Year

Top Try Scorers[23]

Top Point Scorers[23]

  • 223 Wilson Marsh (Counties Manukau)
  • 160 Paul Howell (Wellington)
  • 152 Gavin Hill (Waikato)
  • 136 Aaron Whittaker (Canterbury Country)
  • 118 Jason Gilbert (Hutt Valley)
  • 101 Dave Mackintosh (North Harbour)
  • 85 Earl Va'a (Wellington City)
  • 84 David Bailey (Waitakere City)
  • 84 David Murray (Auckland City)
  • 81 Blair Nickson (Taranaki)
  • 80 Wayne Trainor (Auckland City)

National Provincial Championship[edit]

With the advent of the Lion Red Cup, the National Provincial Championship was run as a second division for provincial sides who did not have a team in the Cup. Six teams participated with the West Coast winning the Championship after an undefeated season. The Gisborne-East Coast Lions won their first game since May 1991.[24]

Team Pld W D L PF PA Pts
West Coast 5 5 0 0 242 65 10
Northland 5 3 1 1 117 113 7
Manawatu 5 3 0 2 170 136 6
Gisborne-East Coast Lions 5 1 1 3 106 172 3
Southland 5 1 0 4 103 199 2
Otago 5 1 0 4 80 159 2

National Secondary Schools Cup[edit]

St. Paul's College won the National Secondary Schools Cup after they defeated Wainuiomata College 33-10 in the final.[5] 23 Schools took part in the inaugural national competition with Huntly College and Aranui High School also making the semi finals. The final was played as a curtain raiser to the Lion Red Cup grand final. St. Paul's included Stacey Jones in their side and also won the Auckland Rugby League title.

Club competitions[edit]

Auckland[edit]

The Northcote Tigers won the Fox Memorial in 1994 for the fourth consecutive year defeating the Otahuhu Leopards 32-12. Otahuhu won the Rukutai Shield (minor premiership) and also won the Stormont Shield and preseason Roope Rooster tournament. Northcote included Paul Rauhihi and Ken McIntosh while Otahuhu included Leroy Joe, Danny Lima, Brian Henare and Meti Noovao.[10]

Hibiscus Coast were the main surprise, finishing second in the minor premiership with Brian McClennan as the player-coach.

Leroy Joe from Otahuhu won the Lipscombe Cup as the Premier One sportsman of the year.

Wellington[edit]

Marist-Northern, coached by Ken Laban, won the Grand Final 37-26 over the Upper Hutt Tigers. The Wainuiomata Lions were the minor premiers but lost twice in the playoffs to be quickly eliminated.[8]

Maika Felise from Wainuiomata won the Colin O'Neil Trophy as the best and fairest in the competition.

Canterbury[edit]

The Papanui Tigers won the Pat Smith Challenge Trophy by defeating last years champions, the Haswell Hawks, 14-4 in the Canterbury Rugby League grand final. Papanui, who featured Shane Endacott and Blair Harding, also won the minor premiership.

Aaron Whittaker was named the Canterbury Rugby League's player of the year.

Other Competitions[edit]

The Moerewa Tigers won the Northland Super Six Series by defeating the Takahiwai Warriors 34-28. The Portland Panthers also defeated the Warriors 30-20 in the Whangarei final. The Kaikohe Lions won the Bay of Islands title, defeating the Moerewa Tigers while the Te Paatu Warriors won the Far North title when they defeated the Whangatauatia Mountain Men.[25]

Minor premiers Turangawaewae defeated the Hamilton City Tigers 30-23 to win the Waikato Rugby League final. Taniwharau, led by Tama Hohaia, won the Pre-season tournament while Hamilton Boys' High School won the High School Shield.[26]

Piako dominated the Bay of Plenty Rugby League season, winning the early season Ces Mountford Trophy round before finishing with the minor premiership and winning the grand final 22-10 over Turangi.[26]

The Western Suburbs Tigers defeated the Waitara Bears 22-20 in the Taranaki Rugby League grand final to end the Bears dominance of the region. The Kia Ora Warriors, coached by Peter Sixtus, won the Manawatu Rugby League grand final 20-16 over Linton.

The Taradale Eagles upset Tamatea 38-22 in the Hawke's Bay final to deny them their third consecutive premiership in front of 1500 fans.[26] Minor premiers, the Repongaere Eels, defeated the Turanga Panthers 36-24 to win the Gisborne-East Coast grand final.[24]

The Golden Bay Boars defeated the Motueka Tigers 22-19 in the Nelson competition before defeating the Blenheim Knights 42-4 to win the Top of the South competition. Blenheim were the Marlborough champions.

Waro-Rakau smashed Papanui to 40-4 to win the Thacker Shield and bring it to the West Coast for the first time since 1982. Former Kiwi Blair Harding scored the only try for Papanui. The Waro-Rakau Hornets had earlier won the West Coast competition for the second consecutive year when they defeated Runanga 42-8 in the grand final. The Hornets were also the competitions minor premiers and scored 862 points throughout the season while only conceding 146.[27]

He Tauaa defeated the South Pacific Raiders 29-26 to win the Otago-Southland Swains Trophy. However He Tauaa lost the Southland grand final to the Coalshop Leopards. The South Pacific Raiders were undefeated in Otago and won the grand final 18-8 against Kiatoa.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.34
  2. ^ John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908-2008. Huia Publishers. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2. 
  3. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.61
  4. ^ World Sevens The Vault
  5. ^ a b c Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.154
  6. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.4
  7. ^ a b Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.50
  8. ^ a b Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.p.187-193
  9. ^ Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909-2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4.
  10. ^ a b Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.164
  11. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.102
  12. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.121
  13. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.115
  14. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.106
  15. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.114
  16. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.118
  17. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.132
  18. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.133
  19. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.110
  20. ^ New Zealand National Premiership 1994 The Vault
  21. ^ New Zealand Competitions 1994 The Vault
  22. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.94
  23. ^ a b c Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.98
  24. ^ a b Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.176-178
  25. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.172
  26. ^ a b c Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.p.174-175
  27. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.204