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NZRL National Secondary Schools - Day Three

Wednesday was the final chance for all the teams to stake their claim to a higher finish in the pool rounds and the day started with eight schools who were yet to get a win, including Mt Roskill Grammar and Aranui, James Cook and Whangarei Boys who were d
NZRL National Secondary Schools - Day Three
by NRL

Wednesday was the final chance for all the teams to stake their claim to a higher finish in the pool rounds and the day started with eight schools who were yet to get a win, including Mt Roskill Grammar and Aranui, James Cook and Whangarei Boys who were due to face each other as well as Tangaroa College who were playing Southern Cross (a loss and a win).
Conversely there were seven schools with two wins with Sir Edmund Hillary and Mt Albert and St Paul's College and Manurewa High School set to do battle to find the schools who would finish pool play with three wins from three.

The great news for Tangaroa, although not for Southern Cross, was they managed to get their first win and there was no denying their joy or that of their supporters when the final whistle blew. Mums were hugging, the boys were cheering and despite a cold wind everyone had a big smile of their face. It was a very close game with Southern Cross only going down to them 18-20 and both teams had a lot to be proud of.

Mt Roskill were convincing winners over Aranui who had travelled from Christchurch for the tournament but have been having a tough week, again it was a very close game with Mt Roskill winning 14-12. James Cook and Whangarei Boys couldn't be separated however, the final score was 26 all and they finished pool play with two losses and a draw.

In the battle of the winners, Sir Edmund took the game over Mt Albert in a close one, with a field goal the difference 21-20, St Paul's won their match more convincingly in front of a big crowd which included supporters from both schools plus a number of NRL scouts, NRL staff and past representative players from both sides of the Tasman including Nigel Vagana and cousin Joe, Steve Price and fellow ex Bulldog Andrew Ryan.

Other day three highlights included hearing Northern Swords and NZ Residents 16s squad member Kadince Christiansen interviewed by Ruben Wiki. Kadince is at the tournament with the Whangarei Boys High School team and has signed to play with the Parramatta Eels, a move he will make after his exams at the end of this year.

Andrew Ryan and Nigel Vagana who are both with the NRL in player welfare roles spoke to the players at the Tuesday evening Leadership workshops and visited the tournament to chat with players and enjoy the tournament. Ryan said it was awesome to see such a tournament here, and that it was really well run and the players had been very receptive to his comments the night before saying "It's so important to offer your players this sort of information. So many of them have stars in their eyes and think it's all about playing league but it's not now. They have to make so many more decisions and sensible choices." He was also very positive about the NZRL's 'More than just a game' philosophy and the off field opportunities being offered at the tournament.

Nigel Vagana (Kiwi No 672, 38 tests) was equally positive, saying it's great to see we have the player pathways in NZ to enable the players to stay here and that they now have the same opportunity to develop in NZ as they do in Australia. Both Nigel and Andrew have joined the primary school visits which follow the Leadership workshops, with the NSS players running the kids through some fun skills and drills and talk about the It Not OK! Programme and about asking for help if they're being bullied.

At the Vodafone Warriors ball passing wall there were crowds of kids wanting to impress Manu Vatuvei and Ben Matulino with their skills and asking for photos and autographs. Russell Packer, Omar Slaimankel and Sam Rapira joined them later in the morning drawing quite a crowd.

Tomorrow is a full round of semi finals before the finals on Friday. If you are in the area do come out and show your support to these wonderful players who have come from around the country to do their very best for their family, friends and school.

Premiership Schools
Otahuhu College 18 v Aorere College 8
Papatoetoe High 14 v Taita College 12
St Paul's College 34 v Manurewa High School 10
James Cook High 26 v Whangarei Boys 26
Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate 21 v Mount Albert Grammar 20
Mount Roskill Grammar 14 v Aranui High School 12
Tokoroa High 8 v Kelston Boys High 24
Southern Cross Campus 18 v Tangaroa College 20
Developing Schools
Papakura High 14 v St John's College 16
Kamo High 6 v Howick College 26
Auckland Grammar 78 v Fraser High 0
Tamaki College 28 v Central Southland College 4


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