2003 New Zealand rugby league season

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The 2003 New Zealand rugby league season was the 96th season of rugby league that had been played in New Zealand. The main feature of the year was the fourth season of the Bartercard Cup competition that was run by the New Zealand Rugby League. The Canterbury Bulls won the Cup by defeating the Marist Richmond Brothers 32-28 in the Grand Final.

International competitions[edit]

The New Zealand Kiwis played Australia home and away, losing in Australia before defeating them 30-16 at North Harbour Stadium. Coached by Daniel Anderson, New Zealand incldued; David Vaealiki, Matt Utai, Nigel Vagana, Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli, Willie Talau, Stacey Jones, Paul Rauhihi, Richard Swain, captain Ruben Wiki, Stephen Kearney, Logan Swann, Awen Guttenbeil, Monty Betham, Jerry Seuseu, Tony Puletua, Joe Galuvao, Vinnie Anderson, Sione Faumuina, Motu Tony, Nathan and Jason Cayless, Thomas Leuluai, Ali Lauiti'iti and Henry Fa'afili.

A New Zealand 'A' side toured Great Britain. The team played in five matches with their best result being a draw. They drew with Cumbria 24-all and lost to National League Two 27-8, Warrington 28-26, National League One 40-28 and the full Great Britain side 52-18.[1] The team was coached by Gerard Stokes and included Shane Beyers, Paul Fisiiahi, Steve Buckingham, Aoterangi Herangi, Tyrone Pau, George Tuakura, Lusi Sione, Jesse Royal, Tame Tupou, Wayne McDade, Epalahame Lauaki and Ben Lythe.[1][2][3]

The New Zealand Māori team toured France. The team included Phillip Shead whose brother, Artie, played against him for France. Former New Zealander Vincent Wulf also played for France.[4] Coached by Bernie Perenara, the Māori side also included Herewini Rangi, Jeremy Smith and Aaron Heremaia, who captained the side.

Ruben Wiki was named the New Zealand Rugby League player of the year.[5] Thomas Leuluai was the Rookie of the Year.

National competitions[edit]

Rugby League Cup[edit]

Bartercard Cup[edit]

The 2003 Bartercard Cup was the fourth season of the Bartercard Cup competition run by the New Zealand Rugby League. There were no major team changes however the North Harbour Tigers replaced the Northcote Tigers as they now represented all of the North Shore clubs. The Canterbury Bulls finished as minor premiers and were the only non-Auckland team to make the finals.

The Teams[edit]

Season Stadings[edit]

Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
Canterbury Bulls 16 13 0 3 648 370 278 26
Mt Albert Lions 16 13 0 3 530 328 202 26
Marist Richmond Brothers 16 12 1 3 627 406 221 25
Hibiscus Coast Raiders 16 12 0 4 573 319 254 24
Eastern Tornadoes 16 11 1 4 675 381 294 23
North Harbour Tigers 16 6 2 8 496 403 93 14
Manurewa Marlins 16 6 1 9 480 544 -64 13
Glenora Bears 16 5 1 10 458 514 -56 11
Otahuhu Leopards 16 5 1 10 432 594 -162 11
Central Falcons 16 4 0 12 374 578 -204 8
Wellington Franchise 16 4 1 11 460 646 -186 6*
Taranaki Wildcats 16 1 0 15 262 932 -670 2

*Wellington were docked three points for registration infringements.

The Playoffs[edit]

  Qualifying Finals Semi Finals Preliminary Final Grand Final
                                     
1  Canterbury Bulls 40  
     Marist Richmond 18          Canterbury Bulls 32
2  Mt Albert Lions 30      Marist Richmond 36    Marist Richmond 28
3  Marist Richmond 33        Mt Albert Lions 26  
 Mt Albert Lions 42
4  Hibiscus Coast 8    Eastern Tornadoes 20  
5  Eastern Tornadoes 10
Match Winner Loser
Elimination Play-off Eastern Tornadoes 10 Hibiscus Coast Raiders 8
Preliminary Semifinal Marist Richmond Brothers 32 Mt Albert Lions 30
Elimination Semifinal Mt Albert Lions 42 Eastern Tornadoes 20
Qualification Semifinal Canterbury Bulls 40 Marist Richmond Brothers 18
Preliminary Final Marist Richmond Brothers 36 Mt Albert Lions 26
Grand Final[edit]

The Grand Final was held at Ericsson Stadium with the Fox Memorial Grand Final as a curtain raiser.[1]

Team Half Time Total
Canterbury Bulls 6 32
Marist Richmond Brothers 12 28

Awards[edit]

  • Player of the Year: Shane Beyers[22]
  • Coach of the Year: Phil Prescott
  • Personality of the Year: Gary Endacott

North Island Championship Provincial Competition[edit]

Four teams competed in the North Island Championship Provincial Competition; Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and the Coastline Mariners.[23]

Australian competitions[edit]

The New Zealand Warriors competed in the National Rugby League competition. They finished 6th out of 15 teams and won two games before losing the Preliminary Final to eventual premiers the Penrith Panthers.

Club competitions[edit]

Auckland[edit]

The Mangere East Hawks won both the Fox Memorial trophy and the Rukutai Shield (minor premiership). They defeated the Hibiscus Coast Raiders 30-29 in the Grand Final.[1] The Raiders had earlier won the preseason Roope Rooster trophy.

The Northcote Tigers won the Sharman Cup (Division Two) while East Coast Bays won the Phelan Shield (Division Three).

Wellington[edit]

Petone and the Wainuiomata Lions contested the Wellington Rugby League Grand Final.[24] It was played at Maidstone Park on 13 September. Marvin Karawana played in the final for the Lions.

Canterbury[edit]

Halswell won the Canterbury Rugby League title.

Riccarton hosted Runanga in the annual Thacker Shield challenge.[25]

Other Competitions[edit]

Turangawaewae defeated Taniwharau in the Waicoa Bay championship.

The Marist Dragons and Waitara Bears met in the Taranaki Rugby League grand final.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909-2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4, p.p.339-341.
  2. ^ Hilton could miss Warrington finale The Independent, 16 September 2003
  3. ^ Durbin has last try honour The Guardian, 30 October 2003
  4. ^ John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908-2008. Huia Publishers. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2. 
  5. ^ Wiki named NZ player of the year AAP, 21 November 2003
  6. ^ [Marsh shakes off injury, tipped to play ] Waikato Times, 29 April 2003
  7. ^ Bulls one win from glory The Press, 11 September 2003
  8. ^ a b Bartercard Cup Grand Final Preivew (Season Stats) rleague.com, 11 September 2003
  9. ^ Must-win game again for Bulls The Press, 14 June 2003
  10. ^ Marist Richmond Brothers thrown to Lions in playoff cauldron Sunday Star-Times, 24 August 2003
  11. ^ Ackland back in the fold after French farce Sunday Star-Times, 29 February 2004
  12. ^ Rugby League New Zealand Herald, 18 May 2003
  13. ^ Wildcats upbeat about losing tag of easybeats Taranaki Daily News, 26 July 2003
  14. ^ Falcons gain Bartercard Cup extension The Evening Standard, 27 November 2003
  15. ^ Sixtus confident despite injuries The Evening Standard, 2 May 2003
  16. ^ Bergman off to capital as cup coach The Nelson Mail, 22 October 2003
  17. ^ Team Wellington Launched rleague.com, 12 April 2003
  18. ^ Character counters size The Press, 16 September 2005
  19. ^ Teenagers charge into Bulls for Marist-Richmond clash The Press, 24 May 2003
  20. ^ Bulls recall three to tackle Tigers The Press, 7 August 2003
  21. ^ Villasanti facing bigger workload The Press, 25 April 2003
  22. ^ Bulls Scoop Awards The Press, 22 November 2003
  23. ^ Coastline Mariners sink Northland rleague.com, 8 July 2003
  24. ^ Wellington Grand Final Programme 2003 rleague.com, 12 September 2003
  25. ^ Riccarton defends shield The Press, 31 May 2003
  26. ^ Taranaki Grand Final Countdown rleague.com, 11 July 2003
Preceded by
2002 Bartercard Cup
Bartercard Cup
2003
Succeeded by
2004 Bartercard Cup