Witcombe steps up for Northland

Getty Images     02 Apr 2013     Getty Images

He will have George Konia as his assistant coach.

The appointment was made at last week's annual meeting of the Northland Union where it was announced that Adriaan Ferris, who coached the side in 2011-12 had resigned to pursue other coaching opportunities which included possibilities in the United States where he is based.

Northland Union chairman Andrew Golightly said some pleasing results had been achieved in Ferris' time, including wins over Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty and Waikato, where the first win was achieved in Hamilton for 30 years.

"Adriaan also did a superb job for our development team and must be recognised as the most successful development coach for a long time," he said.

Golightly acknowledged the difficulties any Northland coach faced due to limited resources and a tight budget.

"It is a fact the NRU have the lowest player and team management spend in the competition. Adriaan leaves the union in good health having implemented many positive initiatives," he said.

Golightly also reported to the meeting that for the first time since 2009 the Northland Union was in the black.

They had an operating surplus of $166,909 which was far removed from the 2011 deficit of $125,845.

However, Golightly said difficult times still lay ahead and prudent financial management would be required as the union was still on a 'knife edge' in relation to debt issues.

Northland Union chief executive Jeremy Parkinson told the meeting the challenges ahead included the situation regarding the numbers of teenagers staying in the game, a problem that was of concern not only in Northland but throughout New Zealand.