After years of watching father Steve carve opposition teams apart while playing for the Bulldogs and Warriors in the NRL, the boot will be on the other foot for Jamie-Lee Price when she runs on to the court in Adelaide next month as a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team for their transtasman netball series with Australia.
A proud Steve Price will be in the crowd to watch his 16-year-old daughter take on the country of her birth plus games against teams representing the Pacific Rim, Maori, indigenous Australians and Singapore.
Now the Mt Albert Grammar School Year 12 pupil would one day like to go all the way and become a Silver Fern or, if that was out of the question, maybe an Australian Diamond.
"I have lived half of my life in New Zealand but I'm just as proud to be an Australian," she said as she continues to prepare for the May 28-June 1 series. "I get a little bit of stick but that's all part of it, I suppose."
Steve Price said he still struggles to comprehend the high profile netball enjoys in New Zealand compared to his homeland. "The funding and other opportunities here are so much greater than in Australia."
Price will be joined in Australia by MAGS teammates Holly Fowler and Rebekah Roache.
Full squad, see results.
The success of the Warriors has contributed to an amazing increase in rugby league's popularity in Auckland secondary schools.
Across the board, the Auckland Rugby League, who manage the school competitions, are encouraged by the number of teams lining up this winter.
The under-15 grade has doubled its numbers while there has also been a 40 per cent increase in the 1st X111 grade.
While not having their most successful year in 2011, St Pauls College will again be a major player as they seek to build on not only their school's success but in providing a pathway to senior football.
Among the players to graduate to the NRL are Jerome Ropati, Elijah Taylor, Sione Lousi, Pita Godinet, Sam Lousi and John Palavi (all at the Warriors), Ben Te'o (Broncos), Nafe Seluini (Panthers), Sosaia Feki (Rabbitohs), Evarn Tuimavae (Knights), Mark Taufua (Sharks).
As well, Siliva Havili, Palavi (captain), Michael Sio and Atu Tupou are playing in the Warriors under-20 Toyota Cup team and follow Agnastius Paasi, Feki, Henry Chan-Ting, Palavi, Sam Lousi and Siliva Havili who were in the Warriors Toyota Cup-winning team last season.
The season kicks off today with St Pauls at home to newcomers Rutherford (who have replaced Auckland 7th Day Adventist) in the Premier X111 University Shield Auckland zone. Defending champions MAGS are at home to KBHS in a match-up of two of the long-time rivals.
The first of the season's classic match-ups looms with Kings to host MAGS at Colin Maiden Park on Saturday.
Both teams opened the new campaign with encouraging first-round victories. MAGS beat Tamaki College 31-3 away while Kings, in a game played at War Memorial Park, beat St Peters 22-14. AGS found spirited opposition from Onehunga High before winning 18-5 at home, while it was more comfortable for St Kentigern, 35-3 home winners over Otahuhu, and Sacred Heart who made light of the trip to Tangaroa, winning 68-3.
AGS kicked an early penalty but those points were somewhat against run of play as Onehunga dominated the early exchanges and eventually scored the opening try, which proved to be the visitors' only points.
AGS hit back with Kiti Taimani scoring off a clever Renata Roberts-Tenana kick. The home team added a second try when hooker Michael Elsegood touched down on the back of a strong lineout possession.
With William Cosgriff and Shane Stevenson ensuring AGS played at the right end of the field, it was little surprise when Marco Fepuleai crashed over for the final try.
Playing at the Marist grounds, Kings kicked off their season with a tough win over St Peters, who played a rare home game away from "the Cage".
St Peters took first use of the strong wind but Kings opened the scoring with a Jonathon Putt penalty. Wing Tim Maskell then dotted down under the posts and halfback Putt added the extras for a handy 10-0 lead, which was stretched to 17 when first-five Josh Ioane scored out wide and Putt landed a good conversion.
Down, but not out, St Peters reduced the gap to 17-7 before the break with a converted try of their own.
A second seven-pointer closed the gap to 17-14 but the visitors soon added a third try, and Ioane's second, for a final 22-14 scoreline.
A new-look MAGS team ran out for the first game of the new season at Tamaki College with Adam Batt, David Halaufia, Cameron Hall, Blake Hohaia, Ari Olo, Irae Simone and Wheriko Tawhiri on debut in the starting XV under the captaincy of Cameron Rutherford.
A strong start led to an early and well-constructed try for Hohaia, which was converted by Halaufia. At the other end of the first half MAGS put together some very good phases and support play for Joshua Goodhue to score for a halftime 12-0 lead.
After some positive words in the sheds at halftime, the visitors wasted little time in extending their lead following some nice angles run by centres Jack Goodhue and Brody Lam, with Brody scoring under the posts to push the gap out to 19-0 with Halaufia adding the extras.
After some ill-timed errors and some substitutions debutant Malcolm Kohere scored a bonus point try from a well-planned lineout move. Halaufia converted from wide out for a 26-0 lead.
The home side then applied some pressure of their own which eventually led to a drop goal - their only points.
With a few minutes to play MAGS stole the ball from a maul and replacement winger Joseph Keresoma scored to complete the scoring.
Meanwhile, defending 1A champions Kelston BHS had a two-from-two start to their campaign at the Sanix World Youth Tournament in Japan.
A day after arriving in Japan, KBHS beat Nagasaki Kita High School 54-19 after scoring two early tries and going on to dominate the first spell and taking a 42-12 lead to the break.
It was a different story in the second stanza as Kelston scored only two tries and were tested defensively.
KBHS followed that opening effort with an improved performance and 53-12 victory over Josho Gakuen High School, who went into the game after an impressive first-up victory and high hopes of upsetting the New Zealanders.
They were never in it, however, as Kelston ran in seven tries. Captain Matt Vaega led the way with 28 points.
WBHS wasted no time in hitting their straps in clearing out to beat Mahurangi 56-3 in the feature match on the opening day of the 1A championship.
The northerners were still in it at 15-3 at halftime but their failure to convert good possession and territory into points cost them any realistic chance against a Westlake side who reached last season's semifinals.
In the second half the home side poured on the pressure, scoring seven tries coming from both open and set play as they fed off Mahurangi mistakes.
Two tries each to prop Eliesa Vea and wingers Josh Pickering-Ross and Peter Hurst contributed to the rout.
In the other first round fixtures, defending champions Massey comfortably beat Rangitoto 36-5, Rosmini overcame last year's 1B champions Northcote 26-5 and the promising TGS XV put away the other promoted school Glenfield 77-0. The open B grade and a number of other grades kick off this week.
In surging to the major honours at the national SS championships, Rangitoto College claimed a famous first as the only school to win both premier titles in the same year. The victory by the girls completed a three-peat.
In winning the national title in the Hutt Valley, the girls, coached by Michael Buck, also maintained a season-long unbeaten record capped by a two-goal winning margin over Diocesan in the national final. Little surprise in that: Rangitoto College have nine players who have represented New Zealand at age group level in their squad.
The boys, coached by Alex McKenzie, fought back from losses to long-time rivals WBHS and Sacred Heart College to claim national honours by beating Sacred Heart in the semifinals and WBHS in the final. Five Rangitoto players are involved in the national programme.
Rangitoto has a long water polo tradition dating back to 1985 - the sport's inaugural year in Auckland secondary schools. As one of the school's more popular sports, they have had a minimum of four to six teams competing in local or national competitions every year since.
No surprise that many from the country's biggest school have gone on to higher honours including Finn Lowery, Russell Scoones, Tom Kearns, Bleddyn James, Michael Buck, Ashley Smallfield and more recently six girls from last year's premier team, Chelsea Geary, Nina Lala, Olivia Murphy, Sarah Landry, Lisa Tuke and Pinky Rewi Henry who are heading to the Junior World Championships.
The close co-operation between the school and the adjacent Millennium of Sport and Health plays an obvious role in the school's success. That, coupled with Rangitoto's High Performance programme, provides the athletes with second-to-none support.
The teams at last month's premier championships were led by Tyler Vao and Rebecca Parkes who were also named as the respective MVPs.
Emma Carevic and Dale Harrison were also named among the most outstanding players at the tournaments.
Westlake GHS, already the centre of attention with their ambitious development programme at the school, added some on-water glitter to their achievements with victory in the NZSS team championships at Algies Bay.
The regatta attracted 28 crews from around the country with the WGHS team initially sailing in the silver fleet.
Led by captain Amber Capon and including Holly and Olivia Hamlin, Emma Hyde, Teau McKenzie, Bridgette and Helena May-Stanley and Hilary Comber, they worked their way through the silver fleet to claim a place as the only girls' crew in the 10-strong gold fleet.
They finished eighth in the final analysis, beating Marlborough Girls College to claim the title for the first time since 2007.
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