Junior Reps Preview – Round 1 v Western Sydney Academy
Friday 8 February 2013 3:32 PM
The NSWRL junior representative competitions kick off this weekend with both of the Canberra Raiders Harold Matthews (Under 16s) and SG Ball (Under 18s) poised for exciting campaigns.
Both sides will take on Western Sydney Academy on Saturday at St Mary’s Stadium with Harold Matthews kicking off at 1:00pm and SG Ball Cup kicking off at 2:30pm.
Harold Matthews Cup:
Harold Matthews Co-Coach Adam Kyle has expressed his excitement for the upcoming season for his side due to the fact that they went undefeated throughout the trials after an arduous pre-season.
The young Raiders trounced the Cronulla Sharks 48-12 and ground out a hard-fought 8 all draw with the Manly Sea Eagles to leave Kyle thoroughly impressed and welcoming the arrival of round one.
“Pre-season has been really tough on the boys, as this is their first year in this program,” said Kyle.
“It has been a shock to their system training three to four times a week but they have responded really well and it’s been a great leaning environment.
“The boys have had a few different training activities over the pre-season including a gruelling session at Lake Burley Griffin where they had a boot camp, including carrying ropes, hill sprints, boxing and have all responded well to the workload.
“The two trials were both really positive for us. We set ourselves some tough goals around our defence and the boys really stood up and delivered.”
Due to the amount of talent in the squad and the stellar attitudes of each player at training, Kyle revealed that the selection process to narrow down the final squad was a particularly hard one.
“The standard this year has been extremely high. We have been so impressed by the work ethic of the players who have trialled. They have all come prepared and have shown a real ability to learn and adapt.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the boys who didn’t make the final squad playing in the development programme in the next few weeks because there were certainly a lot of quality players that missed out.”
Although Kyle and the side will be striving to go all the way in 2013, he is a firm believer that developing the players into potential first graders is more important.
“While results are great, we are looking to teach the players as much as possible so they can progress in the Raiders systems. That’s ‘been one of my main aims along with the sides other coach Ezra Howe.”
Regardless, there is a lot for Raiders fans to be excited about this year in the under 16s.
“We have a few really exciting players such as Kody Parsons and Tre Williams. They’re both outside backs with plenty of skill and ability.
“We also have a young half in Lachlan Cooper who has captained the team in the trials and has shown to be a great leader on the field.
“Our forwards have been tough up the middle, with New Zealand born Kalani Going leading the pack with some outstanding performances.”
“I can’t wait to see how they go against WSAS on Saturday.”
1. Nick Cotric
2. Michael To
3. Trent Kelly
4. Kody Parsons
5. Calvin Butler
6. Tre Williams
7. Lachlan Cooper
8. Tyrone Nathan
9. Bayley Graham
10. Conner Brebner
11. Grant Hughes
12. Jake Notaras
13. Kalani Going
14. Jesse Martin
15. Kurt Michl
16. Sioni Afemui
17. Steve Cummins
18. Matt Shearer
19. Trai Henderson
20. Brandon Withers
21. Richie Allen
COACH: Adam Kyle & Ezra Howe
SG Ball Cup:
After making the Grand Final in 2012, SG Ball Coach Peter Marrapodi is anticipating another successful season in the under 18s competition despite the addition of many fresh faces into this year’s squad.
“It’s a totally new group of players and they are looking to be successful in their own right,” explained Marropodi.
“The benefit of our experiences from last year is that we know what it takes to win a premiership and how much hard work and discipline goes into it. I’m not feeling any added pressure after coming off a pretty good year last season, I’m just excited at the upcoming challenge.”
Aiding in Marropodi’s bid to take out this year’s premiership is the retention of three quality players from last year’s line-up.
“Only three players remain from last year’s squad in Isaac Hamad (hooker), Jamal Nchouki (Lock) and Jarrod McIllwrick (second row).
“Last years back row combination of Jarrod McIllwrick (New Zealand) and Jamal Nchouki (Tuggernong Bushrangers) has been particularly impressive. They are two experienced players that bring a toughness to our defensive line that would rival any in the competition.”
Whilst Marropodi considers himself lucky to have the trio for another year, the lack of returning players made selections for the upcoming season rather difficult.
“As there are only three players returning from last year it means we have to get a handle on players’ abilities over a very short period of time.”
“We have a lot of new faces this year so we’ve had a lot of work to get through, but the squad has worked hard and we are starting to play some good footy.
“Our camp at Tathra really brought the squad together and the squad has made great improvements over the off season since then.
“It has been a really tough process to come up with our final squad. The players have gone through five trials to get to this stage and I really like the persistence and discipline they have displayed over the last five months.”
“Our last two trials have been really positive. We’ve been able to improve over the summer and become comfortable with our structures. When we have played at the speed we are capable of we have blown teams off the park. The challenge is to now do that when it counts and for a full 70 minutes at a time.”
Despite the many new faces, Marropodi has also been impressed with the leadership credentials of his side, none more so than Captain Luke Bateman.
“We have a number of leaders in our team which has made it difficult to choose a leader. Our Captain for this week will be Luke Bateman. He is a Souths Logan junior and follows the well-worn path from that part of Brisbane to the Raiders. He has had a very impressive off season and brings a great competitive attitude to the squad.
“We are a totally different team to last year. We have different strengths and weaknesses but we have the same attitude, competitiveness and will to win. With that you can make a dent in any competition. We have a really tough draw this year, but that will just have us better prepared for the big games at the pointy end of the season.”
1. Lachlan Croker
2. Cleveland McGhie
3. Cameron Booth
4. Jack Williams
5. Thomas Cronan
6. Harrison Burey
7. Cody Wynnik
8. Jules Webley
9. Dylan McGrath
10. Luke Bateman
11. Tevita Pangai
12. Jarred McIlwrick
13. Jamal Nchouki
14. Jake McCook
15. Daniel Buitendam
16. Isaac Hamad
17. Lachlan Hurst
18. Terry Nimmo
19. James Pound
20. Andrew Heffernan
21. Leon Tupuola
22. Jack Hickson
23. Chris Hart
24. Brett Solomon
25. Jiordan Fidow-Kele
COACH: Peter Marrapodi