A re-vamped Junior Kiwis wider squad was named last week, then trimmed down to a squad-squad for their upcoming fixture against Australian Schoolboys.
No tackle busts, just post-contact-metres for Kiwi Ferns/Broncos half Raecene McGregor and Aotearoa Warriors wahine did what the Warriors men didn’t want to do and got busy out of dummy half.
Two of the most exciting #KiwiNRL halves in Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown will line up against each other, while Brandon Smith will be mandatory viewing this weekend after quiet game in the Storm’s loss to Raiders.
Aotearoa Warriors wahine grabbed another win over Sydney Roosters in their first game of NRLW and while it came via solid performances across the park, the rise of Canterbury's Charntay Poko hit another level with a commanding effort in the halves.
One would assume that it's a case of 'problem solved' now that Tonga's rugby league team has a new coach in Frank Endacott, along with fresh coaching staff around Endacott.
NRL Finals have finally come around, popping up to save us from the plodding regular season which honestly feels like it's a wee bit too long.
Georgia Hale is going to be the smallest middle forward in NRLW, Charntay Poko could make a hefty impact in her NRLW debut and then there is the #KiwiNRLWahine at the Dragons who are mandatory viewing.
Plenty of young #KiwiNRL talent under the Finals microscope this weekend; Marata Niukore, Dylan Brown, Briton Nikora, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Joseph Tapine, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith and Joseph Manu.
The only word to describe Aotearoa Warriors right now is weird and they will thankfully wrap up their 2019 season this weekend, while Canterbury Cup and Jersey Flegg couldn't crack finals footy so they are already chillin'.
Ngaruawahia’s Morgan Harper is named to make his debut for the Bulldogs, two prospects from St Pauls are close to cracking NRL footy for Newcastle Knights and it’s an almighty #KiwiNRL clash between Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson for a taste of Finals footy.
Plenty of buzz has been hovering around the young forwards at Brisbane Broncos, none of whom have genuine #KiwiNRL ties other than Payne Haas spending time with Aotearoa Warriors earlier in his youth.
Offering an opinion on any type of drama at Mt Smart is a tedious task, even more so when Aotearoa Warriors aren't offering anything on the field to genuinely discuss.
NRLW is approaching and there have been a few warm up nuggets to explore as the four teams prepare for the second installment of NRLW.
Is Kodi Nikorima still a starting Kiwis half? Or should that job go to Kieran Foran, Dylan Brown, Benji Marshall or Jahrome Hughes? Marata Niukore and Braden Hamlin-Uele are also blowing down the Kiwis selection door and the Roosters have yet another exciting #KiwiNRL prospect coming through.
Aotearoa Warriors been losing and all the wrong noises have been coming out of Mt Smart as the 2019 season winds up.
This last cluster of NRL games for Aotearoa Warriors might as well all be must win games and when you're hunting 2 points, the last team you want to encounter is Sydney Roosters.
Marata Niukore keeps on impressing with Parramatta Eels, Morgan Harper’s nearing a #KiwiNRL debut for Bulldogs, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Jesse Bromwich are still among the best and what a week for the Turner brothers.
Throughout the 2019 NRL season, Aotearoa Warriors have struggled to extract enough x-factor out of their edge forwards and we now sit in a niggly spot where Adam Blair and Isaiah Papali'i reflect the lack of identity or playing style of the Warriors.
Prior to an impressive win over Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night, it had been written that the Aotearoa Warriors were stuck in a little roster building hole.
Kenny Bromwich vs Sam Burgess, Dylan Brown vs Mason Lino and an almighty battle up the guts for Raiders vs Roosters.
Exploiting their status as the only professional club in Aotearoa and tapping into that production line – of which they were already a major part – just seems like the natural antidote… but then it’s understandable that it took the copious remuneration of the Sarpreet Singh transfer to tip that one over the top.
Starting this week with Erin Nayler and her Bordeaux crew because taking any possible risk of them sliding under the radar would be a crime. This team has started the season so strongly and up against Montpellier, the club that beat them to third last season, they laid down another statement of intent with their third straight win to begin the new campaign.
The New Zealand U23 men just came through a couple friendly games against Australia and in a week they take on the best of Oceania for a spot at the 2020 Olympics. Back in July an U23 selection went to Samoa and won the Pacific Games. Busy times indeed for Des Buckingham
New season, new club, new colours for Ria Percival. Same city though, swapping the claret and blue of West Ham for the lilywhite of Tottenham Hotspur. And after playing right back for most of last season she was named in a prominent defensive midfield role for their Super League opener away against Chelsea at a well stacked Stamford Bridge.
Jeremy Brockie signs with the Team of Choice on a season long loan deal where he’ll reunite with coach Eric Tinkler who got some of his best footy out of him at SuperSport United and who else happens to be on the books at Maritzburg these days? A couple kiwi Premiership veterans in Dan Morgan and Micah Lea’alafa.
Most countries don’t really care about Olympic football, that’s the reality. They’re not too bothered if they don’t qualify and they don’t send proper squads even if they do. Usually that’s the way it goes.
The All Whites needed a new manager after Fritz Schmid stepped down in surprising yet underwhelming circumstances and they needed a manager for now. Not some idealised NZ Football marketing version of where this All Whites team is, not the version of a couple years ago coming off a run of meaningful games, but this team in its current state right now.
There it is, the official debut. Wasn’t from the start but after Lineth Beerensteyn had given Bayern the lead against Frankfurt in their first home game of the season, the Dutch forward’s strike partner Jovana Damnjanovic picked up an injury and needed to be replaced. This was in the 35th minute and despite it being a striker who came off it was left back Ali Riley who was introduced.
With the FFA Cup game in the rearview, the preseason process is back on track for the Welly Nix. That means a bunch of friendlies against local sides and it means a bunch of chat coming out of training sessions about how good the lads are looking and how well they’re adapting to what the gaffer’s asking.
So the Courage didn’t play an NWSL game this week… because they were a little busy with the International Champions Cup. Back to back games over the weekend and it started with a scrap against Manchester City, who despite being in preseason, named a team full of internationals.
You kids out there might not realise this… but before there was Sarpreet Singh there was Ryan Thomas. A kiwi footy player transferring to a title contending team in a major European league. That’s a bit of a facetious way to start there but point being: Ryan Thomas’s move to PSV Eindhoven was a massively significant move.
Coming into the new season following on from some tantalising preseason form, it took Chris Wood just quarter of an hour to have the ball in the back of the net. Only drama was that it didn’t count. Ashley Barnes had been offside in the lead up so Woody’s simple tap-in was rubbed off.
It’s an ingrained tradition at this point, the Wellington Phoenix popping over the ditch in the middle of their preseason to lose another FFA Cup game. This was the sixth year of the Nix bring involved in this thing and they’ve only ever won one game.
The theme of Sarpreet’s last few weeks remains: whenever he’s been offered up an opportunity, he’s taken it and demanded more. The fact that Niko Kovač keeps on giving him these new opportunities is as good an indication as there is that his rise is for real.
Reid reported for preseason as normal and although his training regime was still a little cautious, only this week has he started training full on with the squad without limitations, he finally made his long awaited return to the field in a pre-season friendly in Austria last month. As the man himself said: “495 days later… back at it again”.
With the Reign still in the midst of a pretty difficult injury crisis and again missing their USA international players, they were going to need a few bonus contributions against the Houston Dash. Contributions from players who maybe haven’t been there that long. Players like Rosie White.
According to the proverbial ‘they’, preseason means absolutely nothing. Don’t worry about results until there are points on the line and don’t even look at the table until at least November. But while good and bad preseasons might not be the best determiners of impending success, it sure bloody helps to at least have one.
These are wonderful times in kiwi football as the last few months have served up a plethora of exciting transfers, a Women’s World Cup that reached new levels of cultural relevance, a kiwi U20 team that took on the world with full confidence and quality… even the All Whites booked another game for later in the year.
It’s always a pleasant way to start with a couple kiwi footballers going head to head and this week it was Abby Erceg versus Katie Bowen in the NWSL over in the States. North Carolina Courage against the Utah Royals.
We’re still a few months away from Welly Nix articles that don’t begin with the yarn about how Ufuk Talay is pretty much having to build this squad back up from scratch. Maybe once the actual footy starts and we can get into all that. For now though there are still plenty of areas where the Nix are playing catch-up.
So no one told you life was gonna be this way / QB’s a joke, coach’s broke, your pass rush DOA / It’s like your offence is stuck in second gear / When it hasn’t been your play, your drive, your game, or even your year…
Week two of the season is always a notorious one, it’s where the overreactions from week one really sizzle and the convictions of those preseason predictions are really tested. The clever pundit will take that first round with a grain of salt – we don’t know the context of those performances yet because we don’t know which teams are good or not. Most tend not to though.
If you take it in isolation then it was just a pensive moment. Dillon Boucher, a legend of both Breakers basketball and New Zealand basketball, a multiple championship winner whose jersey hangs in the rafters for this club, had resigned as general manager of the New Zealand Breakers.
Oh yes. That is Tall Blacks basketball right there. Two more games to determine their exact finishing position and there just so happened to be a bit on the line as well with a spot in the Olympic qualifying tournaments next year to slip into the shopping cart as well if possible.
Bit late on the ol’ picks because the Quarterback Rankings took ages to do and hey I’m a busy fella after all. So have a read of that thing first because it’s got lots of words in it. Lots of words and lots of numbers too. Sequential numbers, just the way you like them. Also got a few of them pesky opinions too which is what you’re here for but I used heaps of them up over there already.
The result wasn’t the important thing as the Tall Blacks faced Greece in their final first round game at this basketball World Cup. It was a game where the winner would advance and the loser would fall into the classification rounds but when you’re the heavy underdog coming up against the NBA MVP then you don’t have the luxury of knowing that a positive performance would equate to a positive result.
The annual extravaganza is back for 2019 and you’d better believe there are fiery takes and wild opinions.
This was their chance. This was the one they could really target. Lose this and the other two wouldn’t even matter, a win and they’d keep alive any legit hopes of advancing beyond the first group stage.
So when the Tall Blacks came up against Brazil in their World Cup opener it didn’t matter how well they’d gone in their extended preparations. Those preparations are just ways of ensuring they’re at their best as they try to bridge the talent gap that already exists between them and their opponents.
So here’s a thing about some of the major storylines and events that have taken place since the 2018 NFL season concluded (the Patriots beat the Rams 13-3 in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, by the way. In case you’d forgotten).
It’s rare that something unexpected happens within elite sports that are so delicately devoured by fans and media alike… but the retirement of NFL quarterback Andrew Luck was one of those stunning moments that instantly shake you to the core.
Last week they polished off a couple games against Japan, this week the Tall Blacks got some very useful preparation in against the might of Canada… who may have won both but the two games served up drastically different vibes for the Tall Blacks going into the World Cup.
Dunno about you but I’m getting pretty pumped about this basketball World Cup. Most teams are amassing as we speak, getting in the final licks that they hope will give them that crucial one percent extra, with a tad over two weeks to go until the big show tips off.
And with a triple swoop on Wednesday the Breakers have now completed their roster for the upcoming season. ‘Director of Basketball’ Dan Shamir will have a dozen players to juggle and rotate, as well as Terry Li and with two more development players yet to be named.
We’re still two weeks away from the day that Paul Henare announces the Tall Blacks’ official World Cup squad. Before then there’s a training camp in Japan (we’re they are right now) with a couple games against their hosts to follow, then two games against Canada in Sydney… and straight after that we’ll get the final cuts to the squad.
The word was that there was going to be a new Breakers announcement on Wednesday, and a big one too. Then the word was that it was going to be a double announcement which makes it even bigger.
Sooner or later some clever bugger is going to write the definitive history of the first eleven years of the Oklahoma City Thunder and it’s going to be essential reading. Since the franchise upped and moved from Seattle they’ve remained one of the most fascinating teams out there… and it all comes down to three straight draft picks.
New Zealand’s only professional basketball team just signed a Chinese teenager to a development player contract. Terry Li comes from the NBA Global Academy which runs out of Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence. He’s a 198cm tall guard, meant to be extremely athletic, and he’s signed on a three year deal.
And there it is. We knew Russell Westbrook was going to be traded, it was just a matter of where and when and a cheeky Woj Bomb on a Friday arvo cleared all that up. Russell Westbrook to the Rockets, Chris Paul and two future first rounders (plus two potential pick swaps) to the Thunder in return.
There’s a new King of Brooklyn folks, and his name is Sean Marks. Free agency honestly could not have gone better for the Brooklyn Nets as everything came together in perfect harmony, all those seeds that they began to plant in February 2016 when Sean Marks was announced as the new GM of the franchise have sprouted and grown and blossomed and now born fruit.
Aotearoa's Blackcaps slipped up in the third T20I vs Sri Lanka, yet they leave Sri Lanka with a drawn Test series and a T20I series win.
It makes sense that with only a few kiwi wahine playing in the 2019 Women's T20 Super League, the best performing kiwi would be Rachel Priest who has and will continue to be overlooked for White Ferns cricket.
Hamish Rutherford has been called into the Blackcaps T20I squad and thus, his journey in and out of Blackcaps groups continues in rather niggly fashion.
Northern Districts Knights will once again contribute plenty to Aotearoa's Blackcaps, however their domestic troopers are set for a rather intriguing summer across all formats.
Another T20 game and another classy knock from Ross Taylor. The resurgence of King Rossco since that infamous eye surgery has been well documented on these Niche Cache pages, although primarily zoned in on his delightful work in Test and ODI cricket.
Otago Volts have a wee it more balance between their domestic troopers and youngsters compared to other domestic cricket squad for the 2019/20 season, yet there is still plenty of youthful funk to enjoy from the deep south.
Latham might be a very useful wicket-keeper/batsman on the ODI scene but chuck him in the Test stuff and he’s a world class opening bat. And just in case you didn’t already know that, he confirmed it with a top notch 154 in the second Test, helping to set up an innings victory.
A World T20 tournament is looming on the horizon and Aotearoa's Blackcaps are in full planning and preparation mode with a T20 series vs Sri Lanka about to get underway.
Spark up that buckie in honour of Test cricket folks because we've had a couple doozies in recent days, heck even West Indies hosting India looks pretty fun.
Canterbury will roll out another settled group of cricketers for the 2019/20 domestic season and that means that a hefty contingent of younger lads will rally around OG veteran Andrew Ellis.
As Jofra Archer tormented Australia in his first Test, in his typically chill way, thoughts of what could be added to the Blackcaps Test bowling group started to wiggle through the clutter.
We have waited a long time for Test cricket to have some kind of context wrapped around it and now, after the first Test vs Sri Lanka, Aotearoa's Blackcaps have got their Test Championship campaign off to the worst start.
In exploring these domestic cricket contracted player lists ahead of the 2019/20 summer, I am three squads deep and can already double down on my hunch that kiwi cricket is in a great space in terms of a strong, talented contingent of young cricketers settling into domestic cricket.
In the current climate, there isn't a whole lot that can be described as 'solid' about Sri Lankan cricket and changes to their Test squad, under an interim coach set the scene for this intriguing Test series vs Aotearoa's Blackcaps
Sneaking under the cricketing radar has been the start of the 2019 Women's Super League T20 competition in England, where Aotearoa always has a steady presence.
Henry Shipley, Cole McConchie and Blake Coburn are enjoying a wonderful English summer playing club cricket and were nice enough to share some yarns with El Niche Cache.
Glorious Test cricket is back and with a whole new dose of context sprinkled on to them whites like chicken salt.
You’ve already heard all about it and it’s been in the works for about a decade now. But that was all in the conceptual stage. Now we’re about to get into the actual cricket… so what’s going on here? Please, take a seat my friend and let us discuss this bad boy.
Another cricket season, another Central Districts Stags squad that is stacked with talent.