Taamaki ki Raro - Kurtis Heketoa

“I love my job in security at Counties Manukau – and equally, I have a love for rugby league!

I'd like to make a few observations about the last NRL season.

The Warriors went well this year, and a lot of that had to do with the coach, Andrew Webster, who has made a big difference. I think he gets the Polynesian and Māori culture.

 I reckon Shaun Johnson probably has a year or two max left in him, so the Warriors will need to start looking for another half.

Luke Metcalf is good but he’s more of a runner and we need the structure that Shaun has brought to the team. He doesn’t need to do the miracle play every single set.

 I think the forward pack is ok – but another hard Aussie prop wouldn’t hurt, we need a long-term signing. With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck coming back next year I think that’s big.

 He carries about 200 metres a game.

 Overall, the team isn’t changing much though, which is good apart from Bayley Sironen leaving us. So, it’s the same team, same coach, so we should be in the same position.

 The NRL was awesome this year- it was so close. There were a lot of teams who were unlucky: we had a better run in the second half of the season with the draw because we only had to play the Panthers once.

 The Rabbitohs, Eels, Roosters and Canberra were all there - if they’d played to their potential it would’ve been even closer.

 My wife (Apii Nicholls) plays for the Raiders in the NRLW, and she also plays for the Kiwi Ferns in test matches. She is playing in the Pacific Championship 2023 at fullback.

 They (the Raiders) came fifth this year. In their final game they had to win by 12 plus.

 They were on the same points on the table but the points differential on the table was what separated them. They were trying to score on every tackle rather than play their natural game.

 Apii has signed for two seasons - 2023/24.

And one more thing - Apii led the Kiwi Ferns to their first win over the Jillaroos since 2016 last Saturday at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

Apii saved at least two tries and was awarded player of the match after the Kiwi Ferns won 12-6.  

So proud!” 

Kurtis Heketoa
Operations Manager - Prevention & Deployment Security Services

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