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This year was a year of new things for the U21s

New coaching staff, new players and new systems. Joe Kurukaanga coming to the 21s by way of the Premier 1s, Grant Mackereth co-coach and a management team of Vanessa Mackereth and Divine Hadfield from the 19s along with physio Courtenay Atkins.

The playing roster was large with 42 players registered to the team. Training started in earnest and preseason got underway. The culture was a key component in taking this team back to its rightful place in the competition and this was a big part of the early season campaign.

Game one of the season saw the first 22 players named put 73 points on Kumeu and belief was strong that the team was on track. The following week against 2017 Finalists Massey we came away with a 1 pt win 20-19 and we knew the competition was not going to be a walk in the park. Our first game against Marist proved this and the team suffered their 1st defeat. At the end of the first round, we sat in 2nd place after a loss to ECB but good wins against Shore, Dale and Takapuna.

In the 2nd round, we lost once to ECB 30-21 and finished the 2nd round in 2nd place and a semi-final against ECB at Windsor, our bogey team and we lost a close encounter 10-7.

The coaching team is very proud of the efforts and the drive of this group of players and look forward to their continued growth with Northcote. Currently, 4 of the team are with the Harbour 19s and we wish those boys all the best. The team will also see a few boys move up to Prem 1 and 2 level and again we wish these players every success in 2019. 3 of the team took the field for the Premier team, Isi Kioa, Kilfi Lea’aetoa and Taine Wattie, well-done boys.

Roll on summer and 7s season and we look forward to 2018 with the Cote

Northcote 21s season stats – 14 games 11 wins and 3 losses 563pt for 178 against

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