This weekend, a certain kiwi sports ... guy was chatting away to Kiwis coach David Kidwell. This kiwi sports guy suggested to Kidwell that rugby league in Aotearoa was at an all time low and I've come to expect nothing less from sporting 'experts' who don't actually pay any sort of attention to rugby league. Sure, if you got your knickers in a twist about Aotearoa's Kiwis and the Warriors, you may have some concerns, yet this would have you overlooking the #KiwiNRL takeover and that more kiwi teenagers are being snapped up by NRL clubs than ever, many of whom come straight from 'certain kiwi sports guys' beloved rugby union.
You've come here to read about Charlie Gubb's move to Canberra Raiders and this is simply another example of the #KiwiNRL takeover, at least how strong the #KiwiNRL vibrations are. I mean I heard this joker say how kiwi rugby league was struggling only a day or two after highlighting how Wests Tigers could field a team with more #KiwiNRL lads than Australians - that's an Australian club with more kiwis than Aussies.
I heard how kiwi rugby league is struggling after putting together a draft for a #KiwiNRL top-50, for penciling in a #KiwiNRL Bottom Eight team and preparing to showcase a wealth of #KiwiNRL talent who will be playing Finals footy.
From my perspective, kiwi rugby league is as strong as ever. It's so strong that if you're solely worrying about the Warriors, you're missing out on all sorts of #KiwiNRL funk and even then I'm rather optimistic about the Warriors and where they are heading in the coming years. Don't believe the hype from people who spread such preposterous sentiments, not only do these folk zone in on negativity, but as the Niche Cache proves on a daily basis, these folk are blatantly wrong.
Canberra have signed Mr Gubb for the 2018 season, with a team option for 2019. This means that assuming Gubb ticks the required boxes next year, the Raiders will simply take up that option and have him on-board for 2019. FYI: if it's a player option (as opposed to a team option) then it's up to the player to take up the extra year.
The funk around Gubb's move to Canberra centres around the Raiders making a late play for Gubb as all the Aussie rumour hounds had Gubb going to North Queensland Cowboys. Gubb and his brother Peter both played under Cowboys coach Paul Green at Wynnum when they won the Intrust Super Cup title, so there is a link there. Canberra popped up to snatch Gubb away and there's good reason for that as they need a certified middle forward to bolster their depth.
It's highly likely that Dave Taylor and Jeff Lima won't be around next season, either one of these two have featured most weeks on Canberra's bench. The likes of Luke Bateman and Clay Priest have come through to earn NRL footy, although they are slightly smaller, workhorse type of forwards, which opens the door for Gubb to compliment the likes of Shannon Boyd, Junior Paulo, Iosia Soliola and Joseph Tapine; the core middle forward group with Josh Papalii and Elliott Whitehead on the edges.
This means that there is scope for Gubb to earn consistent minutes through the middle, especially if Gubb comes off the bench in conjunction with Tapine. Gubb offers a splash of grunt and effort in attack, with his 'chop 'em down' defensive style meshing nicely with Tapine's impact with the footy.
More importantly is that the Raiders are likely to bid farewell to #KiwiNRL veteran Jeff Lima, replacing him with Gubb. Gubb will play more minutes next season than Lima's played this season and Canberra have a quality #KiwiNRL gang with Tapine continuing to develop, Jordan Rapana establishing himself as a top-tier winger and Soliola, well Soliola never ceases to amaze. There's also the low key presence of Erin Clark to keep an eye on, another Warrior who has made to the move to Canberra as well as Paul Roache, the younger brother of Nathaniel.
Funnily enough, Paul Roache was signed by Canberra after being named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby union team. Roache has mainly been playing halfback for the Raiders NYC team and there's every chance that the next few years could see Roache and Clark (hooker/half) fill a couple Raiders NRL spine positions.
Just to prove a point; in that Raiders NYC team, Roache and Clark are joined by Fabian Paletua-Kiri (Manawatu) who started at prop for the Junior Kiwis this year. The Raiders NYC squad also features Sione Afemui (Otahuhu), Kalani Going (Grandson of Northland OG Sid Going, nephew of Thomas Leuluai - who was likely to be selected in the Junior Kiwis but got assaulted and left with a broken jaw) and Keb Vaetoe (Tauranga - plucked out of the #KiwiNRL nursery of St Kentigern College rugby).
Then you've got lads like Logan Spaander, Andre Niko, Ron Leapai and Komiti Via Tuilagi who I couldn't find anything concrete linking them back to Aotearoa other than Spaander being a Aus/Maori touch rep and the others playing for Canberra junior clubs that seem to be the clubs where their young kiwis play once they arrive in Canberra; West Belconnen Warriors for example.
Gubb's move to Canberra bolsters the Raiders #KiwiNRL stocks and should be a nifty career-move for Gubb as he'll enjoy more opportunities. Canberra are a #KiwiNRL club to keep an eye on in the coming years as Rapana continues to shine and Tapine really starts to flourish, while the presence of Clark and Roache will give Aotearoa even more play-making depth. There's some kiwi funk simmering away at the Raiders as well, waiting for a chance, so while the Raiders may not have a Tigers-level of #KiwiNRL funk, they getting there and rather swiftly.
Peace and love 27.
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