The Victory Phoenix met the Wairau Taniwha in last year’s final of the Tasman Premier League. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport.

Tasman rugby league in crisis

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The Tasman Premier Rugby League competition has folded despite plenty of optimism to kick-off the new season.

The call was made to cancel the competition after the Stoke Raiders defaulted for a second consecutive week.

The league was initially set to be a five-team competition before the Wairua Taniwha was forced to withdraw just prior to its scheduled start.

It only got worse as the Stoke Raiders had to forfeit on April 27, and again on Saturday, in their planned fixture against the Victory Phoenix.

Tasman Rugby League said in a statement: “The sides organisers have advised that they don’t believe that this side is sustainable for the balance of the planned competition.

“Despite this well-intentioned attempt by a number of people to keep rugby league in the Tasman area alive, due largely to player unavailability and the loss of teams, keeping the competition going has not been possible.”

To ensure players from the remaining clubs, the Greymouth Greyhounds and the Phoenix, have an opportunity to continue to play, they have agreed to a three-match series in the coming weeks.

The first of these will be played in Greymouth on the May 11, with the final two to be played in Nelson on the May 25 and June 8.

Plans are currently being formulated to provide rugby league for those interested later in the year.

Development Officer Dominic Tola will continue to deliver the popular junior coaching programmes in schools and provide competitions at junior and teenage level for keen young players, both male and female.

The annual Intermediate Schools tournament and the Simon Mannering Cup will be the culmination for these players.