1994 New Zealand rugby league season
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.
- 1 International competitions
- 2 National competitions
- 3 Club competitions
- 4 References
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.
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. 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.
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. 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. The other finalists were Darryl Halligan, John Lomax, Whetu Taewa and Aaron Whittaker.
Western Samoa tour
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.
Rugby League Cup
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.
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. Canterbury included Mark Nixon, Logan Edwards, Marty Crequer, Tevita Vaikona and Shane Endacott.
Lion Red Cup
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.
- The North Harbour Sea Eagles were sponsored by Just Jeans and coached by Graeme Norton. Their two main feeder clubs were the Fox Memorial-winning Northcote Tigers and the Hibiscus Coast Raiders. Notable players included Ken McIntosh, Brian McClennan, captain Duane Mann, Fa'ausu Afoa, Paul Rauhihi, Jason Palmada, Don Stewart, Richard Stewart, Tony Tatupu, Latham Tawhai and Joe Vagana.
- Despite making the final of the pre-season competition, the Waitakere City Raiders were easily the worst of the Auckland sides, especially in the first round of the competition. Coach Ron O'Regan blooded a group of young players in the second round and performances improved enough for them to finish in seventh place. Forty Four players were used overall in their season, including Tony Tuimavave, Peter Lima, Robbie and Henry Paul, Willie Swann, Willie McLean, Julian O'Neill, David Bailey, Brady Malam, Anthony Swann and Paki Tuimavave.
- After winning the Pepsi Max Knockout Cup the Auckland City Vulcans started the season as favourites. However the Gary Prohm coached side ended the season in fifth place and were then quickly eliminated from the playoffs by the Canterbury Cardinals in Christchurch. Stacey Jones foreshadowed his 1995 season with the Auckland Warriors by taking over the halfback position during the season from established New Zealand Sevens captain Vinnie Weir. Other notable players included Mark Faumuina, Aaron Lester, Eugene Bourneville, Danny Lima, Jason Mackie, Doc Murray, Meti Noovao and Mike Setefano.
- The Counties Manukau Heroes started the season as the least favoured Auckland club but ended up in the grand final and produced five New Zealand Residents representatives, two New Zealand Kiwis, the coach of the year and the competition's top pointscorer. They were coached by former Marist coach Stan Martin and ended up losing 10 players to professional clubs at the end of the season. The players were: Des Maea, Gus Malietoa-Brown, Hitro Okesene, Whetu Taewa and Solomon Kiri to the Auckland Warriors, Jason Temu and Wilson Marsh to Oldham, Kerry Pomare to Widnes, Paul Okesene to France and Bryan Laumatia to the Cronulla Sharks. Other notable players included Esau Mann, Matthew Sturm, Matthew Tuisamoa and Willie Wolfgramm.
- The Waikato Cougars were coached by Joe Gwynne and captained by Tukere Barlow. The team finished second after the regular season but a series of injuries saw them perform poorly in the playoffs and they were quickly eliminated. Notable players included Gavin Hill, Tama Hohaia, Francis Leota, Martin Moana and Aaron Tucker.
- The Bay of Plenty Stags finished the season in last place, winning only two matches in twenty two rounds. They were coached by Neil Joyce and the squad included Alex Chan and Russell Stewart. The Stags drew players from both the Bay of Plenty Rugby League and the Coastlines Rugby League competitions.
- The Taranaki Rockets were widely regarded as the competitions easy beats until they made the semifinals of the pre-season competition. They performed well for the first nine weeks, with five wins and four losses until they suffered a run of injuries and coach Teri Tamati stepped down for health reasons. Despite this, under caretaker coach Alan Marshall, the Rockets recovered to finish sixth and just miss the playoffs. Notable players included Robert Piva, Mark Woods and Willie Talau.
- Coached by Gary Kemble, the Hawkes Bay Unicorns finished a disappointing tenth. Notable players included captain Mike Dorreen and 17-year-old Charlie Kennedy, who both signed contracts with the Auckland Warriors at the end of the season, as well as Joe Faimalo, who signed with Oldham, and Nathan Picchi.
- The Firestone Hutt Valley Firehawks finished a disappointing eighth in the Lion Red Cup. They were coached by Tyrone Paikea and included Zane Clark, captain Peter Edwards, David Ewe and Denvour Johnston.
- The Wellington City Dukes were coached by James Leuluai and included Paul Howell, Earl Va'a, Riki Cowan, Darren Rameka and Arnold Lomax.
- Coached by former Kiwi Wayne Wallace, the Christchurch City Shiners were clearly the "second" Canterbury team in the competition and finished in eleventh place. The team included Simon Angell, Tane Manihera, Andrew Vincent and Marty Crequer.
- The Canterbury Country Cardinals were coached by Gerard Stokes and included few players from the champion 1993 Canterbury provincial side after many accepted contracts overseas or with other Lion Red Cup teams. Notable players included Glen Coughlan, Logan Edwards, Shane Endacott, Paul Johnson, Mark Nixon, Phil Bancroft, Maea David, Blair Harding, Henry Suluvale, Tevita Vaikona and Aaron Whittaker.
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. North Harbour and Taranaki were the two defeated semi-finalists.
|Counties Manukau Heroes||22||16||2||4||563||334||219||34|
|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|
|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|
|Qualifying finals||Semi finals||Preliminary final||Grand Final|
|North Harbour||25||North Harbour||24|
|2||Waikato||10||Counties Manukau||34||Counties Manukau||16|
|3||North Harbour||24||Canterbury Country||16|
|4||Canterbury Country||30||Canterbury Country||32|
|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|
|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.
|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|
Team of the Year
Top Try Scorers
Top Point Scorers
National Provincial Championship
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.
|Gisborne-East Coast Lions||5||1||1||3||106||172||3|
National Secondary Schools Cup
St. Paul's College won the National Secondary Schools Cup after they defeated Wainuiomata College 33-10 in the final. 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.
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.
Leroy Joe from Otahuhu won the Lipscombe Cup as the Premier One sportsman of the year.
Maika Felise from Wainuiomata won the Colin O'Neil Trophy as the best and fairest in the competition.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Minor premiers, the Repongaere Eels, defeated the Turanga Panthers 36-24 to win the Gisborne-East Coast grand final.
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.
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.
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.34
- John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908-2008. Huia Publishers. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2.
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.61
- World Sevens The Vault
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.154
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.4
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.50
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.p.187-193
- Coffey, John and Bernie Wood Auckland, 100 years of rugby league, 1909-2009, 2009. ISBN 978-1-86969-366-4.
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.164
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.102
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.121
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.115
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.106
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.114
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.118
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.132
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.133
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.110
- New Zealand National Premiership 1994 The Vault
- New Zealand Competitions 1994 The Vault
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.94
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.98
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.176-178
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.172
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.p.174-175
- Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.204