NZ Residents to face Maori

The New Zealand Residents team is to be revived this year, for a game against NZ Maori on October 15, in Huntly.

This game will be the first time a Residents team has played since 2012, when they beat the Maori 36-24.

That 2012 team was coached by by current NZRL high performance general manager Brent Gemmell, who is looking forward to this year’s clash.

“We recognise that the national competition and residents programme are still key elements of a career pathway for NZ-based players,” he said.

“Both offer an opportunity for them to show they’re ready for the next level and a new challenge. We know this game against the Maori will provide that goal for them to work towards.”

The game also represents an opportunity for players from the NZ Maori tournament to show their talents, while some NRL players may also return for the fixture.

“Our players don’t get to wear the Maori jersey very often, so any opportunity should be taken with both hands,” says New Zealand Maori Rugby League chairman John Devonshire.

“Having a meaningful, quality game against the NZ Residents, it’s about giving the players a chance to measure themselves.

“We’ll try to have a balance of players. We feel an obligation to players within Aotearoa and also players who have been supportive of our kaupapa, like Bodene Thompson or Jordan Rapana.

“Of course, we’d prefer those guys play for the Kiwis, but this is a stepping towards those honours.”

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