As slick as Aotearoa Warriors have looked in their past two games, taking on Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in Sydney could present a niggly challenge for the Warriors.
Mawene Hiroti has been named to make his debut for South Sydney Rabbitohs, finally giving the Bunnies some #KiwiNRL funk. There’s also a #KiwiNRL dummy half battle between two 2015 Junior Kiwis and Isaac Liu has low key moved to edge forward for Sydney Roosters.
As Sydney Roosters step into their post-Origin power, Joseph Manu has served up low key immense performances at right centre. This leads into a few thoughts on a possible 'Young Kiwis' team and that naturally leads into pondering Benji Marshall's Kiwis future ... again.
While there are a couple of low key players still unsigned for next season, Aotearoa Warriors have gone hundies on keeping David Fusitu'a at Mt Smart.
Back to back wins. How good does that feel? And not just any old wins either, two classy wins over St George Illawara Dragons and Newcastle Knights in which the Warriors scored points when they needed to, while flexin' with their defence.
Aotearoa Warriors have signed Todd Payten as an assistant coach to Stephen Kearney for three years in a move that bolsters a staff roster that is already full to the brim with experience and talent.
After last week's high of an almighty win against St George Illawara Dragons in Australia, the Warriors are back in Auckland to face Newcastle Knights.
Wayne Bennett is hating on Jordan Kahu, Marata Niukore is holding it down for #KiwiNRL in Parramatta and Canberra Raiders are building a #KiwiNRL crew to rival the best.
The NRL is so crazy, I love it. Four weeks out from the Finals and Penrith Panthers coach Anthony Griffin is gone, which even though this news had been simmering away since pre-season, is still crazy af.
The 2018 NRL season is rounding the last corner into Finals footy and there is not only a heavy #KiwiNRL presence in among the NRL's best teams, those teams desperate to crack the top-8 also have plenty of #KiwiNRL funk in them.
Having seen the effort and intensity that Aotearoa Warriors showcased in their 18-12 win over St George Illawara Dragons in Wollongong, this isn't a case of where has that been over the past few months.
Aotearoa Warriors finally released their squad of 22 and Brisbane Broncos added another kiwi to their roster, ensuring that the first ever Women's Premiership will feature a heavy dose of #KiwiNRL wahine.
Losing to Gold Coast Titans, or more specifically being blown off the park in the second half by the Titans, wasn't so tough to stomach knowing that there were plenty of young lads playing big minutes on the GC. The issue was and now is, that Aotearoa Warriors have to get a couple wins against really good footy teams in their last five games.
Wellington’s Jahrome Hughes is holding it down at halfback for Melbourne Storm, Moeaki Fotuaika is a beast off the bench for Gold Coast Titans and three NRL teams have named all #KiwiNRL wing combos for round 21 of the NRL.
The emergence of Esan Marsters has blown the Aotearoa Kiwis battle for centre spots up and now Joseph Manu is chiming in, after a strong performance for Sydney Roosters in their big win over St George Illawara Dragons
"A really big opportunity missed today" said Shaun Johnson after New Zealand Warriors loss to Gold Coast Titans. Coach Stephen Kearney said it was a wee bit soft and when you're desperately trying to stay in the top-8 after sitting in the NRL wilderness, those aren't great reflections on a late-season performance.
Last week it was Blake Green who was a late scratching from the Warriors team, this week Issac Luke and Tohu Harris have been omitted from the initial Warriors team to face Gold Coast Titans.
Jordan Pereira is back for his second NRL game on the wing for St George Illarawa Dragons, Joseph Tapine is back for Canberra Raiders and there are a few prospects lurking on extended benches for round 20.
The #KiwiNRL glory is only getting funkier and funkier as we get a steady supply of fresh faces and the established players are moving into high-pressure footy. Round 19 saw Jordan Pereira debut for St George Illawara Dragons and Jordan Rapana roll through another fantastic effort from the wing for Canberra Raiders, both of whom are from Wellington.
As we wait for injured troops to get back into selection equation for Aotearoa Warriors ahead of Finals footy, the only real conundrum for coach Stephen Kearney is what to do at centre. Or more to the point; what to do with Peta Hiku.
The most refreshing thing about Mark Rudan so far has been his words. At a pivotal time in the Wellington Phoenix’s existence he showed up with steady confidence and an air of defiance.
Just when everything seemed to be running smoothly, they go and move the goalposts again. But we Premier League fans in Aotearoa are pretty used to that by now.
It’s been a year since Stefan Marinovic made his debut for the Whitecaps. Few would’ve guessed how quickly his rise would come a few months earlier… but then few who were familiar with him would have ruled it out either.
Look, we’re good enough to compete at this level. No doubt about that, just look at the result against France. With that comes increased expectations and while it would’ve been enough to create a few cheeky chances and battle hard in the past, this squad was good enough to be taking those chances.
It was close to a year ago that Ryan Thomas put pen to paper on a new contract with PEC Zwolle. He’d been pondering leaving after a solid season but the club was desperate to keep him.
Mate, all that was missing there was a goal. The kiwi U20 women were definitely outmatched by France but they were by no means intimidated, bringing a structural masterclass to the table to hold the hosts to a 0-0 draw.
Up against a lower league opposition in the FFA Cup, the esteemed Bentleigh Greens, they somehow conspired to lose 1-0 despite playing against ten men for two thirds of the game.
Now, I’m quite fond of a good awards ceremony. So yeah, I don’t wanna dwell on how silly it is to lump domestic players up against internationals like that’s an equal platform or whatever. Instead I’m just gonna do it better.
It was tied 1-1 after the first leg up in Scotland but jeez it didn’t take long before Christopher Grant Wood went boom and the Clarets were up early in this one.
Going team by team through the lot of them ahead of the new campaign. Main men, key signings, what to watch for… all the stuff you need to know, basically.
First up was the Netherlands and if you were committed enough to get up in the middle of the night (putting those World Cup reps to further use) then you were treated to a team from Aotearoa that brought structure and sensibility to their game but also a positive mindset.
The Wellington Phoenix are currently hanging out in Queensland, doing preseason stuff. They’ve got a 22-man travelling squad with six of those players being trialists and all five of the new signings are there along with one lucky academy inclusion.
Some great news on the transfer front this week, so much to keep up with. Let’s start with Katie Rood who, after a year as a foundation player with the Juventus women’s team, has decided to seek more regular playing time elsewhere with the World Cup coming up next year.
Instead turn your focus for a second towards the Under-20 teams of New Zealand, with the ladies about to go to the World Cup and the blokes about to try and qualify for one.
What’s to feel about the Nix signing Mitch Nichols and David Williams? You’re forgiven if this latest unveiling doesn’t fill you with absolute glee…
Oh yes always rate a Flying Kiwis goal. Especially one with a little panache like this sucker, Colly giving it the dropskees down the sideline before cutting in and saying ‘mine, please’ by nutmegging the keeper.
And another one. The Wellington Phoenix have doubled their tally of imports (excluding the established and hopefully imminently domesticated Roy Krishna) with the signing of Polish goalkeeper Filip Kurto.
Spare a drop of envy for Raphael Varane, who has already won four Champions Leagues and a World Cup and he’s only 25 years old. Some blokes have all the luck, aye…
Oh look, two more games, two more clean sheets and two more wins for Abby and the Courage. First off they pushed past Washington Spirit with a goal in each half, Debora first and then Jess McDonald, for a 2-0 win.
This team just looks like a World Cup winning team. It’s got star power and veteran leadership. Incredible young players that’ll help usher in the next era of international footy and a manager who had something big to prove.
His new book, co-authored with Madeleine Chapman, begins at that draft table. It begins at the intersection of his life, the culmination of his every bit of dedication that had come before it and his ritualistic initiation into exclusive world of NBA basketball which was to follow.
When one door closes, another opens. When the NBA Summer League thing didn’t provide the preferred opportunities, well, a strong season in Germany still has its advantages.
Carmelo Anthony in 2018 and Carmelo Anthony’s perception of Carmelo Anthony in 2018 are very different things. He could have done some useful stuff coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder but, nah, he ain’t sacrificing no bench role.
Gotta be honest, it’s been lonely without the weekly Kiwi Steve columns. It’s been lonely without Steven Adams fullstop.
It was a trade that few people saw coming and that neither star player even wanted. Toronto and San Antonio had been speaking about trade packages for Kawhi Leonard for two weeks but then plenty of teams had been making offers for Kawhi…
Webster was always a good shot at getting back into the Summer League stuff after a fine season in Germany, his first as a pro since finishing up with Nebraska after four years. Playing for Fraport Skyliners he averaged 14.9 points, 3.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 39.8% from deep and 48.0% from the field.
Look it was bad enough when they had four all stars in their starting lineup but adding DeMarcus Cousins on top of that? There’s never been a more talented starting five in the history of the league than Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Boogie Cousins.
LeBron James is a Laker… nope, not gonna believe it until they actually call his name on opening day and he strolls out there under the spotlight wearing the purple and gold and shakes Jack Nicholson’s hand on the way out.
The Tall Blacks are one step closer to partaking in the 2019 FIBA World Cup after taking care of business in their two home qualifiers over the last few days.
Not only did Paul George opt to stay in OKC but he laid it all down with a four-year $137m deal. Exactly a year after he was traded to the Thunder, he dropped the ol’ hancock on the dotted line and offered to stay.
The NBA leftovers, the wee gems you find tucked away in a $2 bin down the back of some dodgy suburban Salvation Army.
Remember the Los Angeles Lakers? You probably do, it’s rather hard to forget about them these days. For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season they sure do make a lot of noise.
Of course, Marksy being Marksy, he still managed to make a few moves both in terms of taking on chunky salary and picking up draftees. And it all began with a call from the Charlotte Hornets…
Heaps of great talent there and something to fit every need. But the story of the draft was the Dallas Mavericks trading up with the Atlanta Hawks to get their mitts on Luka Doncic.
Following on from the Corey Webster deal a few weeks back – Corey who is dropping 40+ in China these days – Kevin Braswell’s team has added their first two imports. Armani Moore is the first and Patrick Richard the second.
Please, please, please don’t be one of those silly people who thinks that Steven Adams has some kind of obligation to play for the Tall Blacks and that refusing to do so is some kind of national scandal.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Golden State Warriors won another championship and all that. Good for them, hopefully it’s their last for ages. Which… might not be as implausible as it seemed watching the Dubs thump the Cleveland Cavaliers in four.
ESPN analyst Kevin Van Valkenburg recently decided to draw the ire of an entire nation with an inferiority complex by picking on our national treasure and the apparent pinnacle of masculinity… the All Blacks.
It’s always seemed a little off that Aotearoa hasn’t had more of a history with baseball. We’ve been outstanding at softball and cricket but baseball has never quite caught on, with only a handful of professional players in our history.
Farewell Mike Hesson and welcome Gary Stead. Aotearoa's Blackcaps have a new coach in Stead, who is a veteran of kiwi cricket coaching and appears to have earned this job through his already-established connection with NZC and vast experience of domestic cricket.
Despite minimal contributions from Rachel Priest, Western Storm are sitting at the top of the Women's T20 Super League table after all six teams have played eight games.
It may not look like it at the top of kiwi cricket with an extremely settled Blackcaps bowling stable, but there is a delightful wave of bowlers steadily building their cases for higher honours.
This isn't about the best prospects, or those who you need to watch out for. This is simply a few cricketers that I am most interested in.
The Kiwi County Tour bus is finally buzzing as Amy Satterthwaite and Sara McGlashan hit half-centuries, Rachel Priest whacked a few boundaries and Sophie Devine chimed in with more wickets in the Women's T20 Super League.
The sleeping beast that was Amy Satterthwaite has awoken on the Kiwi County Tour and it seems as though there is a Southern Vipers curse as all the other kiwi cricketers are putting in solid shifts, except the Vipers kiwi trio of Suzie Bates, Amelia Kerr and Sara McGlashan.
Finding opponents is the easy part. It’s finding opponents that match Duco’s vision for where Parker now stands and how marketable he should be that might be tricky, depending on how realistic their view of those things are.
Flying under the radar of the Blackcaps squad dumping last week was BJ Watling sneaking into the Blackcaps ODI squad for their series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates
Whyte was able to get into the fight after a slow first because he was able to throw heavy counter punches and force Parker to slow down to a more relatable pace. But when Parker needed to alter the flow of the fight he just couldn’t manage it.
Having had a rough ol' time against the English in T20 and ODI cricket recently, a bunch of our White Ferns stayed on in England to play in the Women's T20 Super League.
Ain't nothing like an Aotearoa 'A' cricket squad right? Prior to the Blackcaps hitting up Pakistan for some cricket in United Arab Emirates, a squad of fringe Blackcaps and a few up and comers will play T20s, one-dayers and four-dayers against Pakistan A.
If you've missed having the Blackcaps shenanigans of Lesson in your life, Mike Hesson and Gavin Larsen combined one last time to squeeze out Blackcaps Test, ODI and T20 squads as well as an Aotearoa A squad, all of which will tour United Arab Emirates later this year.
There's this thing that the NBA and even closer to home, the NRL has done very well in recent years and that's building up a year-long news cycle. Unfortunately kiwi cricket and the Blackcaps haven't quite got the memo.
Ah, quite a bit actually. Joseph Parker didn’t waste too much time in getting back on the horse after his battling but comfortable defeat to Anthony Joshua back at the end of March.
A few weeks ago Eliza McCartney cleared 4.92m in a meeting in Germany, beating the personal best that she’d set a month earlier in America during a Diamond League event by a good seven centimetres. Now she’s edged up another two cm’s.
Michael Venus did not win a second career grand slam title this weekend. He and South African doubles partner Raven Klaasen went to five sets in the Men’s Doubles final at Wimbledon but fell to Americans Jack Sock and Mike Bryan in the championship match.
All is well that ends all good, right? A win for Aotearoa in their third ODI against England wraps up a tour to Ireland and England that was solid, but under-whelming for the White Ferns.
Despite switching formats, it was the same result for Aotearoa's White Ferns against England and their run on getting smoked by the Poms continues.
Other than the big name movements of Neil Wagner, Colin de Grandhomme and Jimmy Neesham, the 2018/19 domestic cricket contracts lists were a tad underwhelming.
In the White Ferns loss to England, in the final of their T20 tri-series, the lack of class when it matters most, perhaps translating into a lack of killer instinct popped up again and that's exactly where the frustration with the White Ferns and Blackcaps sits for me.