golden oldies

Rugby League in Taranaki dates back to 1908 when it was founded by Adam Lile. It was while serving in Wellington that he was selected for the first New Zealand Rugby League team to travel overseas. Known as the "All Golds", the team toured Australia and England in 1907-08. On his return to New Zealand Lile helped organise the first representative game of rugby league in Taranaki. Played at Western Park No. 2 (now Sanders Park) on September 18, 1908, Taranaki beat Auckland 5-3. A match report noted that "the game was interesting, but purely on account of its novelty." Lile continued to support the development of rugby league locally. He was a founding member of Taranaki Rugby League and also presented a trophy, the Adam Lile Shield, which remains an important prize for Taranaki rugby league clubs. The Taranaki Rugby League team was also known as the Taranaki Wildcats, Taranaki Rockets and Taranaki Sharks.

1993 - Taranaki Rugby League had an office in the Radio Taranaki Basement, area manager was John Devonshire.  Coach of the Taranaki Province that year was Jack Knuckey.

1994 – A Sister club was formed with the Illawara Stealers, Players and coaches where sent on exchange programmes. Willie Talau was one of those players sent.  Neil Lovett was the contact person.

1994 – 1996 Lion Red Cup

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

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

The Rockets were notable for having Willie Talau on their roster. Willie moved to Australia to play NRL for the Bull Dogs and later years also competed in the European Super League with Saint Helens.

1995 - there was a City Challenge competition called best of the West (coast) Taranaki Rugby League beat Wanganui, this was a curtain raiser to the Warriors V Western Reds at cooks garden.  This was the same year NPBHS finished 2nd in the NZ Sec Schools championship, which was played at Mount Smart Stadium and the score was 28 – 22 to Saint Pauls Auckland.


Taranaki Rugby League entered into a partnership with Cronulla Sharks it was during this time that Taranaki Representative Side was named Taranaki Sharks. 

2002 – 2003 Barter card cup

Taranaki Wildcats competed in the Bartercard cup. Coached by Alan Jackson.  Jacko later become the coach of the Kiwi Ferns in 2015 – 2016.

The Wildcats entered the competition in 2002 alongside the Central Falcons. They managed to complete in most games, winning two and two draws. This was not enough to avoid the wooden spoon. 

2003 - 2008

What was the  Rep teams called? Who coached?  How many clubs did we have in competition?

2004 Taranaki Rugby League set up office in the Sport Taranaki complex on Barrett St Hospital on Morley Street.  Later moved up to Yarrows Stadium 2007

Taranaki Rugby league celebrated its 100 year centennial in 2008 where its Team of the Century was named at a centenary dinner in New Plymouth .

The occasion drew 160 people, including some big names in the sport - among them Stephen Kearney, Frank Endacott, Tony Kemp, Nathan Cayless, Howie Tamati and rising star Issac Luke. NZRL chairman Ray Haffenden also attended the celebrations.

Guest speaker on the night was All Golds manager Peter Leitch (the Mad Butcher) and master of ceremonies Gordon Brown.