Taranaki rugby league team

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Taranaki rugby league team
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Club information
Nickname(s) Wildcats, Rockets, Sharks
Colours Black, white, yellow
Founded 1908
Current details
Coach Stacey Lamb
Competition NZRL National Competition (Zone)
Rugby League Cup (District)
Rugby League Cup 1975, 1977–79, 1985, 1999–2000

The Taranaki rugby league team (also known as the Taranaki Wildcats, formerly the Taranaki Sharks and the Taranaki Rockets) are New Zealand rugby league team that represents the Taranaki Rugby League. They currently compete in the NZRL National Competition (Zonal team) and the Rugby League Cup (District team).



Taranaki competed in the very first season of provincial rugby league in New Zealand. They shared a two match series with Auckland 1-all. Taranaki was led by New Zealand international Adam Lile.

In 2008 the Taranaki Rugby League named its Team of the Century: Dave Watson; Babe Hooker; Ron McKay; Willie Talau; Ernest Buckland; Tony Kemp; Issac Luke; Bruce Gall; Howie Tamati; Wille Southorn; Graeme West; Adam Lile; Barry Harvey. Bench: Jack McLeod; Fred White; Lance Moir; Jim Parker; Charles Hunt.[1]

1994–1996: Lion Red Cup[edit]

As the Taranaki Rockets, Taranaki competed in the Lion Red Cup between 1994 and 1996. They were coached by Teri Tamati, Allan Marshall and Howard Tamati over the three years of the competition.[2]

The team was originally going to be called the Taranaki Energisers but this name was vetoed by Eveready Batteries who owned the name in New Zealand.[3]

Season results[edit]

Season Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Position Finals
1994 22 10 1 11 481 536 −55 21 Sixth N/A
1995 22 2 1 19 339 770 −431 5 Eleventh N/A
1996 22 11 0 11 516 438 33 22 Seventh N/A


In 1997 the Taranaki Rugby League side that competed in the Super League Challenge Cup was also called the Rockets.

They adopted the Sharks nickname in 1998 after a public competition. Notable players included Paul Rauhihi, Iva Ropati and Artie Shead.[4]

2002–2003: Bartercard Cup[edit]

In 2002 and 2003 the Taranaki Wildcats competed in the Bartercard Cup. They were coached by Alan Jackson.

Season results[edit]

Season Pos Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts
2002 Wooden Spoon 16 2 2 12 334 636 −302 6
2003 Wooden Spoon 16 1 0 15 262 932 −670 2

The Wildcats entered the competition in 2002 alongside the Central Falcons. They managed to compete in most games, winning two and with two draws. This was not enough to avoid the wooden spoon but most pundits predicted they would be better for the experience in 2003.

In 2003 they again collected the wooden spoon, only managing to win one game all season.

2008–2009: Bartercard Premiership[edit]

Taranaki were part of the Bartercard Premiership in 2008 and 2009, however they were not competitive and finished last and second to last in each year.

Season Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Position Finals
2008 5 0 0 5 96 262 −116 0 Sixth N/A
2009 5 1 0 4 86 212 −126 2 Fifth N/A

2010–present: National Competition[edit]

In 2010, they joined the NZRL National Competition from the defunct Bartercard Premiership.

Notable players[edit]

The Taranaki team of the century was named in 2008 and included: 1. Dave Watson, 2. Babe Hooker, 3. Ron McKay, 4. Willie Talau, 5. Ernest Buckland, 6. Tony Kemp, 7. Issac Luke, 8. Bruce Gall, 9. Howie Tamati, 10. Willie Southorn, 11. Graeme West, 12. Adam Lile and 13. Barry Harvey. Bench: Jack McLeod, Fred White, Lance Moir, Jim Parker and 18. Charles Hunt. The coach was Alan Marshall and Graham Church was named as the referee of the century.[5]


  1. ^ "Dream team of century is named". Taranaki Daily News. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1994, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1994. p.118
  3. ^ Lion Red Rugby League Annual 1993, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1993. p.174
  4. ^ New Zealand Rugby League Annual '98, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1998. p.144
  5. ^ http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/sport/671468/Dream-team-of-century-is-named Dream team of century is named] Taranaki Daily News, 14 October 2008