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Auckland Niue Rugby League girls side head to first ever Pacific Youth Cup

Auckland’s Niue Rugby League community have pulled together an under-18s girls side to participate in their first ever Pacific Youth Cup tournament.

Matt Manukuo
Matt Manukuo
25 January 2024, 8:22am
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As teams head to Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium this week for the 2024 Pacific Youth Cup, there is a special addition to this year's girls competition.

For the first time ever, Niue has entered an under-18s girls side to compete against other nations in the competition. Auckland Niue Rugby League pulled together a group of young Niue girls from the bottom of the South Island to Northland, and Australia.

Chairperson of ANRL Casey Maera says forming the team was something that had been in the works for years.

“It’s so special, we’ve been trying for a number of years now to get an under 18 girls (team) together but being able to do it this year is extra special.

“It’s been part of our planning for a while now, we’ve been having those conversations for the last few years. This campaign has been two years in the making, those conversations with our communities overseas.”

ANRL have been building relationships with Niue Rugby League representatives across Northland, Waikato, Taranaki and Southland. Eight girls from these regions have been named in their squad for this week. Another girl has come from Brisbane.

Head coach Phil Gordon says despite logistical issues during the start of their campaign, coming together at the end has been special.

“It presented some logistical issues, but our communication systems were quite good! At the end of the day when you aspire to put a team out to represent Niue the best we can, I take my hat off to the committee for putting themselves out there to bring these girls in.”

Gordon hopes the team will find success this week.

“I hope we perform to the best of our ability, while winning is our key focus, we want to win in other ways like being the best team we can be.

“We’re definitely not going in to take a back step in this competition, and we want to represent our culture to the best of our ability.”

ANRL Under 18 Boys and Girls.