Mounties, the Canberra Raiders VB NSW Cup feeder team, have received the equal highest representation in the Team of the Year, which was revealed on Sunday on NSWRL Grand Final Day.
Josh McCrone (five-eighth), Mitch Cornish (halfback), Luke Page (front row) Mitch Barnett (second row) were all selected after their tremendous seasons for Mounties.
The quartet was all instrumental in guiding Mounties to the Minor Premiership, even though Page finished the year with the Illawarra Cutters.
Unfortunately, Mounties was knocked out by eventual premiers the Newcastle Knights one game shy of the Grand Final, but nonetheless it was a fantastic season by the side.
The team highlights the strength of the VB NSW Cup competition as well as the pathway NSWRL competitions provide to the NRL competition and to state and international representative sides.
The VB NSW Cup side is selected by a panel of VB NSW Cup judges and competition experts including broadcasting partners, media outlets and the NSWRL football department.
The New South Wales Rugby League’s General Manager – Football, Barrie-Jon Mather, said the side is a strong one and that each individual named in the side should feel particularly honoured.
“The 2015 VB NSW Cup Team of the Year is a very powerful line-up,” Mather said.
“There’s plenty of speed, skill and size about the side – and all of the individuals within the 17, as well as the coaches, have had fantastic seasons.
“The VB NSW Cup is a genuine pathway for rugby league players, and the success of players like Damien Cook, Tyrone Phillips, Shaun Lane and Mitch Barnett, who all debuted in the NRL this year, shows that.
“It’s a real honour to be selected – congratulations to everyone named in the 2015 VB NSW Cup Team of the Year.”
The team is:
1. Omar Slaimankhel (Wyong Roos)
2. Tyrone Phillips (Canterbury Bulldogs)
3. Kerrod Holland (Newcastle Knights)
4. Sami Sauiluma (Newtown Jets)
5. Kurtis Rowe (Wests Tigers)
6. Josh McCrone (Mounties)
7. Mitch Cornish (Mounties)
8. Russell Packer (Illawarra Cutters)
9. Mitch Williams (Wyong Roos)
10. Luke Page (Mounties/Illawarra Cutters)
11. Mitch Barnett (Mounties)
12. Adam Elliott (Canterbury Bulldogs)
13. Leilani Latu (Penrith Panthers)
14. Damien Cook (Canterbury Bulldogs)
15. John Palavi (Warriors)
16. Daniel Alvaro (Wentworthville Magpies)
17. Shaun Lane (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Coach: Rip Taylor (Wyong Roos)
Assistant Coach: Ben Gardiner (North Sydney Bears)