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mdrew
01-05-13, 06:50 AM
Though for a bit of interest, I would do a list of who I think are some of our top juniors. I only included players who I believe are Titans contracted and have not yet reached the NYC stage. Thus players like Nathan Wilson and Sam Gee are not included, nor are some of the other GC White and Green boys, because there is conjecture as to if they are Titans contracted. Hope people find this worthwhile.

1. Sam Swift - Talented young backrower, who I believe played out of position in the front row this season. Hard running and tackling young player who never gives up. For me, he was stand out player for his MM side, who represented Qld U16's last year. He is a real shot are palying NYC next year, even though he will still be eligible for MM.

2. Keanu Dawson - The highly talented backrower has been selected in the Qld U16 side to play in May. Keanu is a wide running backrower who captained GC White CC this year.

3. Max Elliott - See Sam Swift. Like Swift, Max played out of position in the front row for a fair period of the MM season. Both are hard tackling hard running young players. The young Northern NSW product, can hopefully transition to NYC soon.

4. Dylan Pelo - Dylan has been playing on the wing, after playing in the forward in earlier junior seasons. Runs like a front rower and takes a lot of pressure off his forwards. Still eligible for MM next year, he scored five tries in this year's NYC, including a hat trick against GC Green.

5. James Iodice - The young front rower has had a number of injury problems over the last year and a half, but is dominate when fit and healthy. It would not surprise if he stays injury free to get a run later in the year in NYC as a precurser to next year. A natural leader on the field.

6. Emery Pere - Giant young backrower who was the player of the carnival at the U14 level in the Qld state age championships last year. A big strong powerful runner, equally adept in defence, Emery must maintain his discipiline to make the most of his considerable talent. Should be a mainstay of one of the CC sides next year.

7. Braydan McMahon - Played very well at 5/8 in MM this year, and is eligible for that age group again next year. A very good orgainser and defender, he should have the size and strength to stay at 5/8 into the future. Have previously represented Qld at the U16 level.

8. Sean Hudson - The talented, goal kicking centre was the equal leading try scorer for GC White MM this year. Not the biggest centre, but he has supurb timing and gap running ability and constantly making breaks and setting up his support players. May break into NYC on the wing, but has the timing and the ability to read the play to move to centre as he matures.

9 . Kaleb Rongonui - Kaleb is a young backrower, who is at Wavell High. The young backrower was incredibility impresive playing for the U14 development squad this pre-season. I have only seen him play a few times, but he was very impressive.

10. Steve Dressler - The powerful young frontrower made his debut in CC this year, scoring a try on debut and is eligible again for CC next year. A player of great potential, who is attending PBC, is also very mobile for a big boy. Originally signed with the Titans as a 12 year old.

11 to 25 coming soon.

mdrew
01-05-13, 07:22 AM
11 Keenan Palasia - Keenan is a wide running backrower, who formed a great combination with Keanu Dawson at the CC level this year. On occasion, he seems to fade in and out of games, but his involvement increased as the season went on. Another very talented backrower in our stable.

12. Daymeric Pelo - Like twin brother, Dylan, Daymeric is an incredibly hard running player, but unlike his brother, he plays in the front row and represented Qld U16 in that position last year. He came off the bench a lot this MM season and lifted the team with his intensity on each occasion.

13. Dray Ngatuere-Wroe - The Logan Brothers product played 5/8 for the U14 junior development squad, and stood out with his poise and seemingly was a couple of plays ahead of every one else. From what I saw, was the undoubted leader of the squad. A very impresive talent.

14. Josh Bentley - Josh, who played a lot of his junior football at lock for Cudgen, was moved to hooker for the CC competition and really stood out with his runs from dummy half and his strong defence. We seem to be able to develop hookers, so hopefully one more to develop.

15. Sean Garner - Sean has been one of the top juniors in the Tweed area for a while not even though he wil be playing in the U15 age group this year. Has played both lock and 5/8, but I think long term lock is where he will settle, a very good ball player.

16. Austin Cooper - Austin is a young frontrower from Grafton, who did not play MM this year. He is a big lump of a lad with the ability to off load the football in traffic. If he can continue to be motivated, he is one to watch over the coming years. He played U18 football while still eligible for U16's in a tough position.

17. Brett Stratton - Brett was part of the GC White side who unfortunately lost the final last weekend. Brett who played centre this year, will, in my opinion end up in the backrow. One of the best defensive centre's I saw in the competition.

18. Anthony Coleman - Started off the MM season seemingly a little slowly, but evnded the season playing very well. Like some of the U18 players, may be considered later in the year for NYC, if we continue to struggle. Has a great tackling technique.

19. Zac Spring - Zac scored seven tries in MM this year, and although he struggled defensively on occasion, provided to be a difference maker in a couple of games. May move to the wing at the next level and certainly has a nack of being in the right try scoring position on most occasions.

20. Tevita Folau - Played a number of trials for the NYC side this preseason ,before moving back to play MM for Ipswich. He is a big strong boy, sho had some trouble under the high ball in the NYC trials, but showed flashes of brilliance with the ball in his hands. With some more seasoning, we may have a good player here.

21. Lorenzo Vogel - Another young winder from Ipswich, Lorenzo is very similar to Folau. A hard runner, he can get over the try line.

22. Rhys Duke - One of the hardest workers, the second rower probably does not get the recognition he deserves, because he does a lot of the tough work in the middle of the field. Talking to one of the coaches, he is one of the hardest workers around.

23. Sam Grant - The U18 hald, has moved up to Qcup colts since the completion in the MM competition, Sam is a nippy runner who can also kick goals.

24. Payne Hass - The U14 frontrower was very impressive playing for the junior development squad with amazing mobility for his size. Like the next young man, I have not seen him play as much as some of the others, but he has impressed from a small sample size.

25. Ethan Paikea - He has a couple of supporters on this forum, but I have not seen much of him, but he shows some real talent, and should impress as he matures was part of the CC squad this year.

These are my opinions only and if I have not mentioned someone it is because I have not seen as much of them as some of the others. Feel free to disagree. Some such as Jack Cook, Kail Hulls, etc I could have included.

TITAN PETE
01-05-13, 08:05 AM
Nice work mate & i'm familiar with a few of these guys too.

Emery Pere has enormous potential but he needs serious help upstairs as he has been sent off in most matches this year in rep's & school footy, i'm sure this has a lot do with home life or a lack there of as i'm told his parents live in N.Z, but this kid could be anything.

I have come to know Steve Dressler pretty well & the one thing this kid & his dad have shown is "Dedication" , they were living at Yamba & driving to Tweed 3 days a week for training & to play for 2 years before recently moving to Palm Beach to attend PBC.
Steve has been playing for NSW Rep Rugby League from under 12's & has also played NSW Rep Rugby Union at the same time, this kid is one big unit with speed.

Ethan Paikea would be classed as a potential SBW , very fast forward who hits like a truck & has very good hands , has had to over come a back & shoulder injury but is almost 100% & i'm sure you will see the best of him in the upcoming Southcoast rep side.

Duncan Harding & Brent Wolfe would be the other 2 players to keep an eye on for me, one being a lock & Brent is a halfback.

Big fan of Sam Swift,Dylan Pelo & Braydan McMahon along with Danial Shwass.

Lets hope that these guys stick with the game & mature enough to make the grade.

lonegull
01-05-13, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the information mdrew and pete it's great to see some information given on the up and comers

Titanic
01-05-13, 11:52 AM
excellent stuff guys

mdrew
01-05-13, 02:41 PM
Good to see Sam grant and James Iodice playing Qcup colts this weekend

mdrew
04-05-13, 03:33 PM
Congratulations to South Coast U15's looks like they will make the final of the U15 state championships. Well done to all.

mdrew
05-05-13, 07:10 AM
South Coast play the final of the U15 state championships today, good luck all. Fingers crossed we can keep a few of the boys. I know that the Bronco's sent almost their entire scouting network there, I hope that our junior development staff had spoken to/secured a few of the boys prior. Sean Garner has played well from I have seen.

mdrew
05-05-13, 12:52 PM
Bad luck South coast lost the U15 final 18-14

mdrew
05-05-13, 06:20 PM
Congratulations to Sean Garner, Steve Dressler, Ethan Paikea, Brent Wolf amongst others for making U15 QLD sides. Well done

TITAN PETE
05-05-13, 06:37 PM
Congratulations to Sean Garner, Steve Dressler, Ethan Paikea, Brent Wolf amongst others for making U15 QLD sides. Well done

Fantastic news for the Boys , makes the Redbacks & Bears under 15's show their class :thumbsup:

Cheers for the updates Mdrew would have loved to be able to see the boys play.

lonegull
05-05-13, 07:02 PM
Congratulations to Sean Garner, Steve Dressler, Ethan Paikea, Brent Wolf amongst others for making U15 QLD sides. Well done

Are any of these in the titans system

TITAN PETE
05-05-13, 07:09 PM
Are any of these in the titans system

Pretty sure all bar Brent Wolfe who was signed by the Broncos 3 years ago, his uncle is their assistant coach.

mdrew
06-05-13, 06:36 AM
Other boys from the South Coast U15 side to make one of the two Qld sides are Dechlan Day, Syd Smith, Broughton Clark and Campbell Pirihi.

mdrew
06-05-13, 08:57 AM
Thought that you would be happy Titan Pete, had a chuckle when I heard


Fantastic news for the Boys , makes the Redbacks & Bears under 15's show their class :thumbsup:

Cheers for the updates Mdrew would have loved to be able to see the boys play.

mdrew
19-05-13, 02:44 PM
Great debut for Shaun Hudson in the Qcup Colts, three tries and five conversions. Great effort. Good to see a number of the MM boys progressing to Qcup colts.

TITAN PETE
19-05-13, 05:46 PM
Great debut for Shaun Hudson in the Qcup Colts, three tries and five conversions. Great effort. Good to see a number of the MM boys progressing to Qcup colts.

I was there too mate Shaun had a great game , strong defense & top goal kicker, hope u noticed Danial Shwass make his debut in the 9 jersey coming off the bench, had a hand in 3 tries :thumbsup: , he won't be playing there for too long:D

mdrew
19-05-13, 06:20 PM
Did notice no. 9, interesting to see when those two, and a couple of others start getting games in NYC.

TITAN PETE
19-05-13, 06:26 PM
Did notice no. 9, interesting to see when those two, and a couple of others start getting games in NYC.

He is a genuine no7 so considering the positional change I thought he went very well, Sunshine Coast boys were filthy on losing that match they thought they had it in the bag :laugh:

Coaster
19-05-13, 06:27 PM
Just heard we won't be signing any more juniors as they are all too small

TITAN PETE
19-05-13, 06:39 PM
Just heard we won't be signing any more juniors as they are all too small

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Hail Sezer
19-05-13, 08:29 PM
I was there too mate Shaun had a great game , strong defense & top goal kicker, hope u noticed Danial Shwass make his debut in the 9 jersey coming off the bench, had a hand in 3 tries :thumbsup: , he won't be playing there for too long:D

Am looking forward to these 2 coming through the ranks.

Is Shaun training with the NYC side? or just Daniel? And do the burleigh colts team act as a feeder to the NYC team in the same way in which the Qcup team do for the NRL side?

Sorry if i'm way off haha just trying to understand

mdrew
20-05-13, 07:40 AM
The Burleigh and Tweed Colts sides contain a number of boys that are in the NYC squad but are not playing NYC that week. Both sides also include a number of boys that whilst not having a NYC contract are being looked at by the Titans, for example a number of boys from the Northern Territory and Port Macquarie. The Burleigh colts side also has named a number of boys who played MM this year. I have not heard whether Shaun is training with the NYC side, but it would not surprise, if he is. A good attacking centre is a rare commodity these days, Shaun has a chance to be one in future years.

Hail Sezer
20-05-13, 07:47 AM
The Burleigh and Tweed Colts sides contain a number of boys that are in the NYC squad but are not playing NYC that week. Both sides also include a number of boys that whilst not having a NYC contract are being looked at by the Titans, for example a number of boys from the Northern Territory and Port Macquarie. The Burleigh colts side also has named a number of boys who played MM this year. I have not heard whether Shaun is training with the NYC side, but it would not surprise, if he is. A good attacking centre is a rare commodity these days, Shaun has a chance to be one in future years.

Thanks mate, we are lucky to have you on the forum with your wealth of knowledge on our juniors.

I was also wondering how Tevita Folau is going? Yes, the last name has sparked my interest haha

mdrew
20-05-13, 10:25 AM
Tevita played on the wing in a number of trials and whilst he looked good running the ball, he struggled a little defensively, coming in on a number of occasions and letting his oposite winger get on the outside. He went back and played U18's and looked good. He has now progressed to colts where he has spent time in the centre's. Whilst I think that his future is on the wing, playing some centre at a level lower than NYC is not going to hurt. He is still eligible for U18's and is doing well.

TITAN PETE
20-05-13, 02:23 PM
Am looking forward to these 2 coming through the ranks.

Is Shaun training with the NYC side? or just Daniel? And do the burleigh colts team act as a feeder to the NYC team in the same way in which the Qcup team do for the NRL side?

Sorry if i'm way off haha just trying to understand

Yes & Yes ;)

mdrew
23-05-13, 04:38 PM
South Coast won their opening game in the U18 Qld championships, Sam Swift and Daymeric Pelo scoring in the win

mdrew
24-05-13, 03:57 PM
South Coast two from 2 in the QSS U18.

mdrew
25-05-13, 03:01 PM
South Coast beat Northern 44-6 to make the final of the secondary schools U18.

mdrew
26-05-13, 02:03 PM
South coast lost final to Metro North. Five tries all, goal kicking the difference

mdrew
26-05-13, 02:34 PM
Two tries to Shaun Hudson on debut in NYC. Well done Shaun

mdrew
26-05-13, 06:25 PM
Congratulations to Sam Swift for selection in QSSS U18's.

lonegull
26-05-13, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the updates mdrew, your contribution is most appreciated, looks like we have got a few future stars :banana:

Hail Sezer
26-05-13, 08:14 PM
Two tries to Shaun Hudson on debut in NYC. Well done Shaun

How old is this guy? He's not on the Titans website under the profiles tab so did he get pulled in late? Good on him for scoring a double. Must be a talent.

mdrew
27-05-13, 05:56 AM
He is only 18, and played the entire season in MM scoring six tries. He also scored a hat trick last week in his first game at Qcup Colts level for Burleigh. A talent to be sure

Hail Sezer
12-06-13, 03:30 PM
He is only 18, and played the entire season in MM scoring six tries. He also scored a hat trick last week in his first game at Qcup Colts level for Burleigh. A talent to be sure

You're not wrong..

Congrats to Shaun Hudson who was today name din the QLD U18 side.

You can see also him playing for our NYC team this weekend

mdrew
12-06-13, 05:24 PM
He has been with the Titans for quite a while, the disappointment for me, is only one Titan in the QLD U18's, with a number from the Coast originally but now with the Bronco's. Why bother posting about our Junior's, when clearly the Titans have no idea about Junior Development. A young boy who was considered a star in the Penrith JRL has been told he is not good enough here on the coast, he is absolutely good enough. The flip size is a good young front rower from NZ now at PBC

mdrew
21-07-13, 08:40 AM
Look out for Jennan Wedderburn-Parrish, who was recently selection in the Aust Schoolboys side. A very talented player. Very solid in defence and nippy out of dummy half, a real talent. A former QLD U16 rep, he may even be blooded in NYC later this year. Without putting too much pressure on him, a massive talent. Good luck to him. Supurb for MM White this year.

mdrew
28-07-13, 04:04 PM
Speculation is indicating that seven of the 25 noted at the start of this thread will be at other clubs next year with more likely. I can not verify all though but I have no reason to doubt the sources

mdrew
04-08-13, 08:58 AM
You tube link to a compilation of plays by Ethan Paikea. From the bit I have seen he is having an outstanding season for the Redbacks. Titan Pete can hopefully give a run down, of his potential.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t30fnDIIbs

shamus
04-08-13, 09:49 AM
You tube link to a compilation of plays by Ethan Paikea. From the bit I have seen he is having an outstanding season for the Redbacks. Titan Pete can hopefully give a run down, of his potential.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t30fnDIIbs

TP is on a plane on his way to the US for a 2 week vacation. I assume once he lands and gets over his jetlag he will be back on here.

Titanic
04-08-13, 07:30 PM
enjoyed that footage a lot ... thanks

Hail Sezer
04-08-13, 07:36 PM
How old is he?

mdrew
04-08-13, 07:51 PM
Played U15's this year, making the Qld schoolboys U15's. Should be one of a great CC pack next year.


How old is he?

lonegull
04-08-13, 08:29 PM
Great video, is he in the titans system

mdrew
05-08-13, 05:57 AM
Yes he is contracted to us. With the likes of Sean Garner, Emery Pere, Steve Dressler, Duncan Harding etc, we have some real forward talent at the U16 level next year. The next step is that we need to keep them. Throw in Bailey Gil and Jack Peacock as well.

Titanic
05-08-13, 08:19 AM
Mate, some time ago we quietly discussed some sort description or graphical representation of our junior set-up. I realise that that was with David May but it would be very useful for those of us who have little idea about what the various pathways to the seniors are ... something like a flowchart perhaps?

mdrew
05-08-13, 08:31 AM
I should be able to put something together in terms of a pathway

mdrew
05-08-13, 10:15 AM
Apologies tried a flowchart but… The notes below try to present the usual pathway for the young players signed from the age of 12 upwards. Amazing that boys are signed so young but if we do not sign them others will.

U13/14 Development squads (Players from Gold Coast and surrounding area’s, train over the summer months and play 2/3 games in February) → Cyril Connell Cup U16 → Mal Meninga Cup U18 → NYC/ QCup Colts (Burleigh Bears/Tweed Seagulls)/ Bycroft Cup U19’s → Titans 1st grade/QCup Burleigh Bears/Tweed Seagulls.

Additional Development Squads up to players at U16 level are based in Group One, Port Macquarie and Armidale. A number of selected players from Port Macquarie/Armidale attend training over summer on GC, usually 6 from each region. These players enter the Titans pathways system at either MM or NYC/QCup colts level based on performance. For young players from outside the region, some move to GC and are usually placed at PBC to complete their schooling and play CC/MM.

In previous years, we fielded our own CC/MM sides, this year our players were mixed with other GC players to field two sides that were not based on NRL club affiliation. Next year there is still conjecture as to the best way to go. I think that we should field our side, but I am obviously biased. In terms of CC/MM it is a case by case basis whether boys from Group One play. The Elliot boys for example travel up to training and games each week, an 8 hour round trip, while others such as Austin Cooper play in the local competition and are in contact with Titans staff regularly.

Clear as mud Lol

Titanic
05-08-13, 09:09 PM
Perfect ... thanks for that.

I agree that fielding our team seems logical, what's the argument against?

mdrew
06-08-13, 06:19 AM
The main argument was to split the talent between the two squads. Prior to this year, the "Titans" squad did defeat the other GC squad each year in both CC and MM. The idea was that combining everybody would result of two "equal" teams. Alas not so, GC White made the Grand Final of MM and just missed the CC semi - finals. GC Green struggled in both age groups. The two squads played each other, with GC White winning easily in both age groups, including a 50 - 0 drubbing in MM. One positive was the emergence of Scott Mahon as the coach of GC Green MM. He is now the assistant coach of our NYC side. Not saying he is the sole reason but the form of the NYC side has improved since.

mdrew
06-08-13, 07:52 AM
Sorry Scott Mahon coached GC White MM, not Green

Titanic
06-08-13, 01:40 PM
Ta ... doesn't surprise me at all. I reckon that players aspire to play with the best they can ... levelling competition is for administrators but not the players. The trick is not to disillusion those that don't make the top grade by offering them opportunities elsewhere perhaps while not creating the top team as some sort of "precious" group too ... a real balancing act.

mdrew
07-08-13, 12:43 PM
The CC and MM trials are set for 14 September, should be some real talented young boys on show, I will find out more then. Plenty of politics going on

TITAN PETE
08-08-13, 01:35 AM
The CC and MM trials are set for 14 September, should be some real talented young boys on show, I will find out more then. Plenty of politics going on

They are being played at Firth Park & will be worth watching if u can spare a couple of hours to check out our young talent, while we still have it :rolleyes:

mdrew
08-08-13, 01:41 AM
I will be there, looking forward to seeing some good football

mdrew
08-08-13, 06:45 AM
Another one to watch in the CC competition is Koen Sleba a backrower from Benowa Point. He is a multi-sport athlete, but rugby league is his faviourite. Another one for the future.

mdrew
10-08-13, 05:28 PM
He turned down a chance to join the Suns junior program, a great reason to support the young lad. Lol


Another one to watch in the CC competition is Koen Sleba a backrower from Benowa Point. He is a multi-sport athlete, but rugby league is his faviourite. Another one for the future.

mdrew
11-08-13, 04:16 PM
Very good win for Tweed Colts today, over 4th placed Norths, half Sam grant (still eligible for U18's) was very good, as was Nathan Portelli (a very talented backrower from Port Macquarie region) and Mitch Denning (Group 4). All should be in the NYC mix next year. But for injury I have no doubt Mitch would have already figured.

mdrew
17-08-13, 04:10 PM
Expect to see Jennan Parrish make his NYC debut next week. He is just a year out of U16's but can handle the step up. The Australian schoolboys rake is real hard worker

mdrew
28-08-13, 06:04 PM
Interesting to see the team sheet for Burleigh Colts this week, with boys like Daymeric Pelo, Kyle Kalkhoven, Brett Stratton in the side, all are still eligible for MM NEXT year.

TITAN PETE
28-08-13, 07:37 PM
Interesting to see the team sheet for Burleigh Colts this week, with boys like Daymeric Pelo, Kyle Kalkhoven, Brett Stratton in the side, all are still eligible for MM NEXT year.

18yr old Danial Schwass will be playing his 2nd match in the top grade but the Titans don't think he's ready for the 20's :laugh:

Hail Sezer
28-08-13, 07:40 PM
18yr old Danial Schwass will be playing his 2nd match in the top grade but the Titans don't think he's ready for the 20's :laugh:

Lol I thought it was funny how this kid has leap frogged NYC.

mdrew
31-08-13, 06:28 PM
Sam Swift and Daymeric Pelo with tries on debut for Burleigh Colts and both with good performances. Brett Stratton played well too. Even though they are still eligible for MM next year, starting the season in NYC, especially for Sam Swift is not out of the question. Great effort boys, great performances against guys 3 years older

mdrew
08-09-13, 11:16 AM
Great to see Tevita Folau step up over the last six weeks in NYC, scoring a number of good tries from the wing spot. He has played the majority of his football in the centre's up until this year, interesting to see whether he moves to the centre's next year. He still has trouble with the high ball, interesting but good decision to be able to make for whoever the coach is next year.

mdrew
11-09-13, 05:17 PM
Congratulations to Brayden McMahon and his Keebra Park team mates for making the GIO schoolboys cup final. Yes six of the side are contracted to the West Tigers but there are a couple of young boys who MAY end up with us. Good luck to Keebra next week in the final

lonegull
19-09-13, 07:38 PM
I see Keebra won the gio cup are any of the players contracted to the titans

Hail Sezer
19-09-13, 07:44 PM
I see Keebra won the gio cup are any of the players contracted to the titans

Was reading that 10 of the 17 are contracted to the Titans and Tigers for next year

So I'd guess we've got 1 and they've got 9 or something :frown:

http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2013/09/19/458486_gold-coast-news.html

mdrew
20-09-13, 05:58 AM
Three are ours, negotiating for a fourth

mdrew
05-10-13, 05:22 PM
Good to see a couple of our juniors playing for QIS U16 in NZ. Keenan Palasia and Arrion Ngatuere-Wroe. QIS won both games in the series. Australian Schoolboys featuring Jennan Wedderburn-Parrish leveld their series at 1-1 today as well

mdrew
01-11-13, 07:41 AM
A few more names to keep an eye on

Kyle Kennedy - Kyle is a tough young backrower from Lismore, who represented East Coast Dolphins U16's this year. He played a number of games in the U18's for Lismore Marist Brothrs as well. Hard runnning and tackling, he is in the extended MM squads for next year.

Zac Leonard - Zac is a centre/wing who represented NSW Country U18 this year and NSW Country U16 in 2012. I think that he ends up on the wing as he moves up. He is not the biggest or the fastest player but hard work will get him through in front of more naturally talented players. He is still eligible for U18's next year and may stay in Group 19 for one more year, before heading up to play NYC.

Kyle Kalkhoven - He is a young front rower who impressed for GC White in MM this year and is still eligible for MM in 2014. Reminds me of Luke Douglas in terms of the way he plays. Every team needs a few players like him to do the hard work.

Jennan Wedderburn-Parrish - Although eligible for MM next year, I think he starts in NYC, a QLD U16 rep in 2012 he is an absolute stand out and represented Australian Schoolboys this year. Absolute class act and will not stop, really think that he will be playing 1st grade sooner rather than later.

Braydon Robson - A five eight from Bilambil, he is a very good organiser with an astute kicking game. Will play MM next year and can move his team around the field very well. He will only get better with experience although may end up at half as he moves up age groups.

Ezra Tuitopu-Isaac - He is a massive young front rower, who is extremely fast for his size. The good thing is that he does not try to use that speed to run around opponents, but to run over them. He has dominated lower age groups, because of his size AND skill. He represented Samoa U14's recently and is one to watch going forward.

Konrad Edwards - Konrad is a centre who has come on in leaps and bounds this year, becoming more consistant and running good angles and with his size will continue to develop.

I have tried to keep this thread to players below the NYC level, but I can not resist noting Deacon Fletcher a young half from Redcliffe who will be in the NYC squad next year. For me, he outplayed Jackson Hastings and was very unlucky not to be in the Aust Schoolboys this year. He was also named player of the match in the MM grand final this year against GC White. Big call but I think that he beats out Christian Hazard and forms a halves combination with Danial Schwass.

mdrew
02-11-13, 06:59 AM
Sigh, Zac Leonard and Brayden Robson are leaving to accept positions in the Knights SG Ball squad, as is another young guy Rohan Pottinger, obviously we still have massive problems in our junior development

Bayside Titan
02-11-13, 09:28 AM
Hello Mdrew. Have you attempted to contact Mr Annersley to highlight your take on our junior development at all?

mdrew
02-11-13, 11:00 AM
I have spoken or tried to speak to Titans about Junior Development previously but to no avail. Maybe with the removal of two of the senior people in terms of Juniors things will change, but it will be too late to stop a year or two or three leave.


Hello Mdrew. Have you attempted to contact Mr Annersley to highlight your take on our junior development at all?

mdrew
13-11-13, 05:36 PM
Another one to watch is fullback Peauafi Vakauta from Marsden State High School. He played one or two games this year on the wing in MM this year. He is eligible for U18's again next year. He is a very nippy fullback with a load of potential

mdrew
11-02-14, 08:27 AM
The boys that have come over from NZ are from the Hawkes Bay/Taranaki/Manawatu areas, the Titans have a solid presence in the region and undertook trials over there last year. The people who watched the U17 development squad game at Cudgen recently may have noted that they are not just big boys, they are also very skilful and hopefully can progress through the MM Cup to NYC in coming years and there are more boys from the region on the way in coming years.

The players include:

Doryaan Hape Apiata - front row
Paora Noble - hooker
Elijah Toetoe - front row
Tray Nicholson - half
Jah Nofoagatotoa - backrow
Vita Tomoana - front row

TITAN PETE
11-02-14, 08:33 AM
The boys that have come over from NZ are from the Hawkes Bay/Taranaki/Manawatu areas, the Titans have a solid presence in the region and undertook trials over there last year. The people who watched the U17 development squad game at Cudgen recently may have noted that they are not just big boys, they are also very skilful and hopefully can progress through the MM Cup to NYC in coming years and there are more boys from the region on the way in coming years.

The players include:

Doryaan Hape Apiata - front row
Paora Noble - hooker
Elijah Toetoe - front row
Tray Nicholson - half
Jah Nofoagatotoa - backrow
Vita Tomoana - front row

That was the comment i made mate, the boys are huge but have a great offload to go with it :thumbsup:

papi07
11-02-14, 03:42 PM
The boys that have come over from NZ are from the Hawkes Bay/Taranaki/Manawatu areas, the Titans have a solid presence in the region and undertook trials over there last year. The people who watched the U17 development squad game at Cudgen recently may have noted that they are not just big boys, they are also very skilful and hopefully can progress through the MM Cup to NYC in coming years and there are more boys from the region on the way in coming years.

The players include:

Doryaan Hape Apiata - front row
Paora Noble - hooker
Elijah Toetoe - front row
Tray Nicholson - half
Jah Nofoagatotoa - backrow
Vita Tomoana - front row

agree they are big boys, be interesting to see how they adapt to the Australian way of playing, they will need to work hard on conditioning, and be interesting to see their development at coombabah (i think they are going there), especially when they go up against the likes of Keebra and PBC... i wish them all the best

I think PBC may topple keebra this year. the loss of two of keebra key staff to titans (wolfey and smallsy) will a have massive ramifications.

mdrew
12-02-14, 06:55 AM
Yeh mate they are all off to Coomoombah and they are all playing at Southport as well.

TITAN PETE
12-02-14, 07:10 AM
Yeh mate they are all off to Coomoombah and they are all playing at Southport as well.

It will be a chance for Southport u16 to challenge the top sides of the competition in div 1 instead of stacking a div 2 team ;) , makes for an exciting year ahead :thumbsup:

mdrew
12-02-14, 09:23 AM
There will be another wave coming over in 2015, considered to be as talented as the boys that have come over for this year. With some talented youngsters at the U15 level already at Coomoombah and the the NZ boys coming over in the next year or two, Coomoombah will be quite strong, as will Southport!

mdrew
21-06-14, 08:15 PM
James Iodice making his NYC debut against St George, as tough and hard running young man as you will find. Fingers crossed his injury curse is behind him, good luck James

TITAN PETE
21-06-14, 08:43 PM
James Iodice making his NYC debut against St George, as tough and hard running young man as you will find. Fingers crossed his injury curse is behind him, good luck James

I'll keep an eye on him tomorrow mate :thumbsup:

TITAN PETE
22-06-14, 05:18 PM
Not sure if u were there today mate but I thought James played very good for his 1st game appearance , he ran out of puff in the 1st half fairly noticeably but when he came on in the 2nd half the Dragons players knew he was out there, I was told he's coming back from an injury so a few games under his belt will do him the world of good , Hazard played well again but they are struggling as a whole.

mdrew
22-06-14, 06:38 PM
Yeh mate, thought he did well too. He is literally three games back from 18 months away from the game due to injury. He will only get better. Shaun Hudson is a couple of games back from injury too. Hopefully we see him in NYC, the team needs something


Not sure if u were there today mate but I thought James played very good for his 1st game appearance , he ran out of puff in the 1st half fairly noticeably but when he came on in the 2nd half the Dragons players knew he was out there, I was told he's coming back from an injury so a few games under his belt will do him the world of good , Hazard played well again but they are struggling as a whole.

mdrew
17-09-14, 07:44 AM
Thought I might update my take on our top juniors, could not cut the list to 25 so I have noted 30 players. If I have missed any apologies, this is just my take, I am no expert. I have only included players who have not played NYC and I have not included some as I can not be sure they will be with the Titans next year. I hope that you find the list useful.

1. Ethan Paikea The young front rower represented QLd U16s this year, and for me is the best U16 front rower in the country. Big strong and powerful, he is a class act both on and off the field, and he played extremely well for the Redbacks throughout the U16 GC comp. He will play MM next season and should also be prominent for the Keebra Open side in the GIO cup.
2. Vito Suia-Siaosi Played a lot of hooker this season after playing in the next row earlier in his career, and come off the bench for QLD U16s this season, a really talented footballer, with the only question being where he ends up, either backrow or hooker. Anther Redbacks player, will play MM next year.
3. Lorenzo Leapai A superbly talented front row/second row from Logan Brothers who represented QLD in the Australian U15 titles. He performed exceptionally well in an amazingly talented Logan Brothers U15 side. I really had to think hard about not putting at No.1. If you have not heard of him, you soon will. Will play CC for Souths Logan next year.
4. Payne Haas Giant young front rower, who was the stand out player at the Australian U15 championships, and was also named in the Australian merit side. He is big boy but is exceptionally quick and mobile. Will play in CC next year.
5. Kobe Tararo The third of four Titans players who played in the U16 Interstate match, he is a wide running second rower with a great tackling technique. He will play MM for Souths Logan next year.
6. John Boy Quinlan He is a young centre from Armidale, who played Senior football this year and was unlucky not to be selected in the NSW Country U18 side. He played a couple of games for our development squad early this year. He is very quick and elusive. Still eligible for U18s next year.
7. David Butler Another young frontrower who has recently moved to Keebra from Coombabah, he runs exceptionally hard and does not back down. From what I have been told, no one trains harder. Eligible of U15s next year
8. Daymeric Pelo Should be part of our NYC squad next year, he was a key part of the PBC GIO side that made the semi-finals and even though he has played a lot of front row, probably ends up in the next row at the NYC level. Played a bit of QCup colts.
9. Pharnsis Suia-Siaosi The younger brother of Vito, he plays in the front row and formed an exceptional front row pairing with David Butler for Coombabah. One of the hardest tacklers I have ever seen, he is eligible for U15s next year.
10. Danial Brownbill He is a rangy backrower who played CC with Easts Tigers and knows how to find the try line. Will play MM next year and also played some U16 representative football this year.

This is my first ten, if people are interested I will do the next ten when I can.

Bayside Titan
17-09-14, 08:04 AM
Keep it up. Love to read more.

Hail Sezer
17-09-14, 08:05 AM
Thought I might update my take on our top juniors, could not cut the list to 25 so I have noted 30 players. If I have missed any apologies, this is just my take, I am no expert. I have only included players who have not played NYC and I have not included some as I can not be sure they will be with the Titans next year. I hope that you find the list useful.

1. Ethan Paikea – The young front rower represented QLd U16’s this year, and for me is the best U16 front rower in the country. Big strong and powerful, he is a class act both on and off the field, and he played extremely well for the Redbacks throughout the U16 GC comp. He will play MM next season and should also be prominent for the Keebra Open side in the GIO cup.
2. Vito Suia-Siaosi – Played a lot of hooker this season after playing in the next row earlier in his career, and come off the bench for QLD U16’s this season, a really talented footballer, with the only question being where he ends up, either backrow or hooker. Anther Redbacks player, will play MM next year.
3. Lorenzo Leapai – A superbly talented front row/second row from Logan Brothers who represented QLD in the Australian U15 titles. He performed exceptionally well in an amazingly talented Logan Brothers U15 side. I really had to think hard about not putting at No.1. If you have not heard of him, you soon will. Will play CC for Souths Logan next year.
4. Payne Haas – Giant young front rower, who was the stand out player at the Australian U15 championships, and was also named in the Australian merit side. He is big boy but is exceptionally quick and mobile. Will play in CC next year.
5. Kobe Tararo – The third of four Titans players who played in the U16 Interstate match, he is a wide running second rower with a great tackling technique. He will play MM for Souths Logan next year.
6. John Boy Quinlan – He is a young centre from Armidale, who played Senior football this year and was unlucky not to be selected in the NSW Country U18 side. He played a couple of games for our development squad early this year. He is very quick and elusive. Still eligible for U18’s next year.
7. David Butler – Another young frontrower who has recently moved to Keebra from Coombabah, he runs exceptionally hard and does not back down. From what I have been told, no one trains harder. Eligible of U15’s next year
8. Daymeric Pelo – Should be part of our NYC squad next year, he was a key part of the PBC GIO side that made the semi-finals and even though he has played a lot of front row, probably ends up in the next row at the NYC level. Played a bit of QCup colts.
9. Pharnsis Suia-Siaosi – The younger brother of Vito, he plays in the front row and formed an exceptional front row pairing with David Butler for Coombabah. One of the hardest tacklers I have ever seen, he is eligible for U15’s next year.
10. Danial Brownbill – He is a rangy backrower who played CC with Easts Tigers and knows how to find the try line. Will play MM next year and also played some U16 representative football this year.

This is my first ten, if people are interested I will do the next ten when I can.

Excellent post mate and yes you are an expert haha.

I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone that we would love to see the rest of your list

lonegull
17-09-14, 08:59 AM
Mdrew keep up the great work, get the next ten out there cant wait for it.

JunctionBlock
17-09-14, 09:30 AM
Great write up. Having a child playing in the U16's and running leaguesafe for the last couple of years it's been a privilege watching our boys compete against them. Some other BIG names have unfortunately been lost to TSS and scholarships to play union. My greatest fear, however, is the direction some of these other kids are taking as far as the cross roads we all face as teenagers with the girls, parties, drugs and fighting or simply having to work part time jobs. Some real talents are being lost simply due to lack of parental guidance or financial commitments. Other kids are experiencing early on what clubs and rep clubs will do to cover up indiscretions to keep these kids playing football regardless of what they do off field.

mdrew
17-09-14, 09:34 AM
Next Ten:

11. Phillip Quinlan – Backrower who was recently on the Gold Coast with the boys from the Armidale area that come up each year. Played like a man amongst boys and deserved his selection in the NSW Country U16 side. Different build to his brother John-Boy but equally as talented. Will play in the local U18 competition next year in the Armidale region.
12. Jai Whitbread – the fourth of the our U16 Interstate representatives, he will not wow with big hits and line breaking but will run and tackle himself to a stand-still. Will play MM next year and I really think that his has a bright future.
13. Lizaya Iti – A powerful young backrower who led his Wests Panthers team to the U14 GBJRL Premier Division Title. He is strong and aggressive and also played well for Coombabah. He will play U15’s next year and is tough, talented and a leader both on and off the field.
14. Lui Lockington – He is a centre/wing from Cairns blessed with size and speed. He played for Northern Pride CC last year and will play MM in 2015. Probably the fastest junior we have on our books and knows how to play.
15. Braydon McMahon – Made his QCup Colts debut at hooker, although he plays half/five eight for Keebra and club. He has a good kicking and passing game and will be in the NYC squad next year. Importantly has the size to win the one on one defensive battle.
16. Dechlan Day – A young backrower who attends TSS and has the size speed and intensity to go a long way. Has previously won the U14 award for best player in the GBJRL competition.
17. Jovahn Tearoiti – Young frontrower from Coombabah who leads from the front. He played U13’s this year and whilst big and strong stood out for his ability to read the play and know what is required to be done at all times.
18. Emery Pere – No Junior on our books has more ability than this young backrower, and I mean no one. He needs to stay focussed and disciplined and the sky is the limit. Goes to TSS and is tearing up the GPS competition. Can kick goals as well.
19. Jerome Veve – Even though he is still eligible for U18’s next year, he made his QCup colts debut and did not look out of place. Incredibly mobile for a big guy he only needs to ensure that he maintains possession. A smokie for time in NYC next year.
20. Will Evans – He was the stand out player in the U13 State Championship and can basically play anywhere across the backline. I think that the PBC student ends up at five eight personally, he just reads the play so well, equally as good at fullback though.

Titanic
17-09-14, 09:48 AM
Sounds like we need a junior foundation to support an academy that focuses on football/study and career development ... preferably based in the hinterland away from distractions.

mdrew
17-09-14, 11:30 AM
21. Kaleb Rongonui – See Emery Pere, another young second rower with an amazing amount of natural ability, he just needs to stay disciplined and focussed. Played for Apley U15’s in the GBJRL competition, hopefully will feature in CC with Norths Devils next year
22. Dylan Pelo – Made his QCup debut with Burleigh this year, and seems to have at least temporarily moved back to the forwards after the last few years playing either centre or wing. Should figure in the NYC squad next year.
23/24 – The Elliott brotehrs Max and Sam, hopefully Max figures in the NYC squad next year, Sam should be a fixture in MM. Both are second rowers.
25. Jordan Scott – Jordan was named player of the match in the Bycroft Cup U19 grand final and will form part of a very competitive group of hookers in NYC in 2015. Very good passing game and exceptional defensively.
26. Waylon Manual Bartlett – A big young backrower out of Ipswich. He was part of their CC squad which he should be again in 2015. One of the better young players in the Ipswich region, a real talent.
27. Rueben Ioane – Big front rower, another who has recently started going to Keebra. Should play CC next year.
28. Brett Stratton – Brett has played the majority of the season in QCup colts, but has also trained all year with the NYC squad. He currently plays in the centres but it would not surprise if his future lies in the backrow over the next couple of years.
29 Billy Mozer – A young centre who shows flashes of absolute class, he is set for U15’s next year and when consistency emerges look out.
30 – DeAndre Watterues – Like Mozer a young centre (U13’s this year) who just needs to play football, the rest will come.

There are plenty more that could/should be included, such as Brodie Hannon, Luke Mostroinni, Max Bryant, Kaleb Williams, Dean Garner, Steve Dressler, Albert Liki, Dan Johnson, Kenny Kennedy, Jordan Champion, Blake Campbell etc. Unfortunately not all of these boys will make it but hopefully the Titans can help all be the best young people and footballers they can be. Apologies if people disagree they are only my thoughts.

JunctionBlock
17-09-14, 06:40 PM
Gotta agree on Emery, had the pleasure of watching him since under 14's. I just hope he can stay on the right track. Lost his way the last couple of years (off the field) but if he turns that corner he will definitely make it in the future. His little brother in Under 12's this year is a cut above the rest as well.

TITAN PETE
17-09-14, 07:09 PM
You are a fantastic judge of junior talent Mcdrew & I'm very pleased to see Ethan on top of the list , anyone that gets the opportunity to watch young Ethan play do yourself a favour , barring any injury he will play at the highest level & I expect he will be given a shot at NYC after his MM duties are finished , he is 16 but what a talent & I agree with Mcdrew 100% Ethan is the best junior forward in the Country ...

On Emery he has talent to burn but has too many issues away from the game & I think he'll struggle to stay out of trouble..

I think there is a huge chance another name will be added to the list by this time next season in Brent Woolfe, he's only staying with the Donkeys next season to complete year 12 :thumbsup:

Reddyred
22-09-14, 10:21 PM
Thought I might update my take on our top juniors, could not cut the list to 25 so I have noted 30 players. If I have missed any apologies, this is just my take, I am no expert. I have only included players who have not played NYC and I have not included some as I can not be sure they will be with the Titans next year. I hope that you find the list useful.

1. Ethan Paikea The young front rower represented QLd U16s this year, and for me is the best U16 front rower in the country. Big strong and powerful, he is a class act both on and off the field, and he played extremely well for the Redbacks throughout the U16 GC comp. He will play MM next season and should also be prominent for the Keebra Open side in the GIO cup.
2. Vito Suia-Siaosi Played a lot of hooker this season after playing in the next row earlier in his career, and come off the bench for QLD U16s this season, a really talented footballer, with the only question being where he ends up, either backrow or hooker. Anther Redbacks player, will play MM next year.
3. Lorenzo Leapai A superbly talented front row/second row from Logan Brothers who represented QLD in the Australian U15 titles. He performed exceptionally well in an amazingly talented Logan Brothers U15 side. I really had to think hard about not putting at No.1. If you have not heard of him, you soon will. Will play CC for Souths Logan next year.
4. Payne Haas Giant young front rower, who was the stand out player at the Australian U15 championships, and was also named in the Australian merit side. He is big boy but is exceptionally quick and mobile. Will play in CC next year.
5. Kobe Tararo The third of four Titans players who played in the U16 Interstate match, he is a wide running second rower with a great tackling technique. He will play MM for Souths Logan next year.
6. John Boy Quinlan He is a young centre from Armidale, who played Senior football this year and was unlucky not to be selected in the NSW Country U18 side. He played a couple of games for our development squad early this year. He is very quick and elusive. Still eligible for U18s next year.
7. David Butler Another young frontrower who has recently moved to Keebra from Coombabah, he runs exceptionally hard and does not back down. From what I have been told, no one trains harder. Eligible of U15s next year
8. Daymeric Pelo Should be part of our NYC squad next year, he was a key part of the PBC GIO side that made the semi-finals and even though he has played a lot of front row, probably ends up in the next row at the NYC level. Played a bit of QCup colts.
9. Pharnsis Suia-Siaosi The younger brother of Vito, he plays in the front row and formed an exceptional front row pairing with David Butler for Coombabah. One of the hardest tacklers I have ever seen, he is eligible for U15s next year.
10. Danial Brownbill He is a rangy backrower who played CC with Easts Tigers and knows how to find the try line. Will play MM next year and also played some U16 representative football this year.

This is my first ten, if people are interested I will do the next ten when I can.


Really enjoy your comments, thanks mate

mdrew
14-11-14, 07:53 PM
Sorry all, left out Keanu Dawson. Keanu was the captain of the Keebra Opens and is currently training with the NYC (thanks HS) squad and is a top class second rower. He is still eligible for MM in 2015, but should see at least some time in NYC.

mdrew
03-02-15, 11:22 AM
Just for the heck of it, I thought that I would draft up a side made up of young blokes from U13’s to U18’s, just to see what it looks like. In short we have some very talented young players in our ranks. Unfortunately not all will make it, but our future is bright if we can keep them and help them develop on and off the field. I know that I have missed a lot but my quick thoughts. Some are bracketed together because I could not make a call.

Greg Lelesiuao
De’Andrew Wattereus/Lui Lockington
Caleb Williams
Konrad Edwards/ John Boy Quinlan*
Liam Pakau
Will Evans (yes I know he plays a lot of fullback but…)
Josh Ralph/AJ Brimson
Ethan Paikea
Vito Sula – Siaosi
Payne Haas
Keanu Dawson
Jerome Veve/ Lorenzo Leapai*
Ethan Roberts

Kobe Tararo/Jai Whitbread
Pharnsis Sula-Siaosi
Tuki Seiuli/Jovan Tearoti
Phillip Quinlan/Blake Campbell

RenegadeGC
03-02-15, 11:42 AM
Just for the heck of it, I thought that I would draft up a side made up of young blokes from U13’s to U18’s, just to see what it looks like. In short we have some very talented young players in our ranks. Unfortunately not all will make it, but our future is bright if we can keep them and help them develop on and off the field. I know that I have missed a lot but my quick thoughts. Some are bracketed together because I could not make a call.

Greg Lelesiuao
De’Andrew Wattereus/Lui Lockington
Caleb Williams
Konrad Edwards/ John Boy Quinlan*
Liam Pakau
Will Evans (yes I know he plays a lot of fullback but…)
Josh Ralph/AJ Brimson
Ethan Paikea
Vito Sula – Siaosi
Payne Haas
Keanu Dawson
Jerome Veve/ Lorenzo Leapai*
Ethan Roberts

Kobe Tararo/Jai Whitbread
Pharnsis Sula-Siaosi
Tuki Seiuli/Jovan Tearoti
Phillip Quinlan/Blake Campbell

Not a half bad squad at first look, ive heard Vito has been let go from Titans, didnt trial on weekend due to being suspended from last year and looked like hes carrying about 10 extra kilos and over weight.

mdrew
14-05-15, 09:47 AM
For what it worth I thought that I may as well update who I think are some of our talented juniors, noting thirty young players. In terms of the players I am obviously only going on my thoughts and in no way do I profess to be an expert. There are plenty of boys that I could have noted, going from players recently signed such as powerful centre AJ Kepaoa and 5/8 Bostyn Hakaraia both from NZ, the injured winger Lui Lockington and others such as Kobe Tararo who I have not seen play this season. I not included any U13 players such as fullback Rixson Andrew, Fullback Ediq Ambrosyev or Damon Somerville, because it I have not seen enough of some of them, even though they are very talented. I note that I will leave out or forget a lot of young players who deservedly should be noted.

I have tried to include a player comparison, not to note who they may turn out like, but to give an insight into the style of play of the person. I will try to do five a day, hopefully people are interested. If you disagree with something that I have said please feel free to PM me.

I also stress that as there is a significant amount of movement went players are young some of these boys may have or will not be with the Titans in future, but I have tried my best.

30. Antinio Nelu – A recently signed front rower, previously from Auckland NZ, but now residing in Ipswich. Since arriving in Australia his fitness has improved significantly, pointing to the dedication required to improve. In NZ he made a number of Auckland representative sides. Antonio recently represented Met West in the U15 State Titles. He is a powerful runner of the football, who knows only one way and that is straight ahead and can offload once he has impacted the defensive line. In defense he is happy to go for the big hit often, but for such a player does not give away too many penalties. He should be a mainstay of the Ipswich CC side next year. From a player comparison point of view think of Mark Ioane of the Titans.

29. Phransis Suia-Siaosi – Powerfully built front rower who recently represented South Coast in the Qld State U15 titles, deservedly making the Qld White side. He is built low to the ground and uses that leverage very effectively in defense which is his calling card. In attack he is on occasion uses a slight step to put off defends. He attends Coomoombah and should be a key player in one of the Gold Coast CC sides next year. From a player comparison perspective think along the lines of Sam Moa of the Roosters. In hindsight should be much higher on my list, I think I will be saying that a lot.

28. Jonah Haas – He is a massive, powerful front rower who runs hard and is extremely aggressive on the field. That is one of his strengths but also his main weakness. He on occasion can be far too aggressive leading to giving away penalties etc. He is currently training with the NYC squad and If he can harness his aggression and become more disciplined the sky is the limit, hopefully the extra demands, expectations and discipline of training with the NYC squad will help him reach his potential. From a player comparison perspective think James Tamou of the Cowboys.

27.Jovan Tearoiti – He a front row/second row who recently represented the Gold Coast Vikings at the recent SEQ U14 titles and played well enough to make the U14 train on squad. He also excelled including a stand out performance for the Titans development squad against Saoma late last year. He flat out has no fear and charges into defensive lines with relish including running various different lines, including running on the inside shoulder, which is one of the most difficult routes to run. He has a good offload and can ball play before the line if necessary. Defensively he hits very hard and usually maintains discipline in the defensive line. For the type of power player he is, he gives away very few penalties. From a player comparison perspective think of someone like Frank Paul Nusala (apologies for spelling)

26. Albert Liki – He is a second rower who played for Souths in the recent CC competition where he finished second on the points scoring table, with a total of 60 points, from two tries and 26 goals. You do not make the Souths CC forward pack until you can play and this is the case with Albert, he could be considered a wide running second rower with a solid low tackling technique. In short he is a wide running backrower with a very good turn of speed once he breaks through the line. He takes his share of runs in the middle of the ruck but he is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into. He then has the speed to out pace any cover defense. From a player comparison perspective think of a young Ben Creagh of the dragons, as a well rounded backrower with the ability to break the line by himself and then has the pace to finish things off.

mdrew
14-05-15, 02:03 PM
25. Jerome Veve – He is a big strong backrower, who is only at this spot because he was injured early in the year, meaning that he missed the entire MM competition, which was obviously very disappointing. He is back in training now and I believe is training with the NYC squad. He is a big strong frontrower/lock who has shown flashes of amazing ability, and all he needs is game time against quality opposition for him to continue to develop. When I saw him play I thought that he was best suited to playing in the middle of the park, but just like the way Ryan James is currently being used, I certainly think that he has/is developing similar skills to enable him the play a similar style. I know that I have mentioned Ryan James, but from my perspective a closer player comparision may be Frank Pritchard from the Bulldogs.

24. Emery Pere – Emery is a big and immensely talented backrower who is also a star at No.8 for TSS in rugby. On pure talent alone he would be in the top handful of junior players I personally have ever seen. Unfortunately discipline seems to be issue for him. He played exceptionally well in MM this year, alternating between front row and back row, I personally think that his best position is that of a wide running backrower with very good ball skills. He can also line up and smash attackers who run at him and has the ball skills to play both before and at the line. Playing high level GPS schoolboy rugby has clearly helped his skill set and he can also kick goals. I know that some members of the forum have concerns about his discipline both on and off the field, and fair enough, but if he can overcome concerns about his discipline then the sky is the limit. The only question is whether it is in league or rugby. If things come together I have no doubt he has the ability to play NYC next year, the only question is if things fall into place. From a player comparison perspective it is part not to see aspects of Sonny Bill Williams in his play, hopefully things fall into place for him.

23. Konrad Edwards – He is a centre/backrower who played CC this year, scoring four tries in the process. This was after being named in the Australian U15 merit side in 2014. He is just a footballer, it is hard to put it any other way, he is solid across the board, full stop, there is literally no doubt he is the type of player that will get the most out of his ability , and he should be a part of one of the MM squads in 2016. From a player comparison perspective, it is hard to go past a comparison to someone like Elijah Taylor, he will just keep showing up in attack and defense.

22. Phillip Quinlan – He is a forward from Armidale NSW, who is best suited to playing in the middle of the field. In 2014 he was selected in the NSW U16 Country side, thoroughly deserving his spot. He is a no nonsense type of player who will do a lot of the heavy work in the middle, both in attack and defense. It will be interesting to see where he plays next year, as his older brother, John Boy will be eligible for NYC next season. From a player comparison perspective Kevin Proctor of the Storm springs to mind.

21. Jake Evans - – He is another in a stable of backrowers that are in the Titans junior development system. He has not had the typical route that many young rugby league players have had. He grew up in Western Australia and only took up rugby league when his family moved to the Eastern Seaboard, and started making representative squads in Warwick, including the South West Queensland Mustangs junior representative sides. He is a bit of an all rounder in that he may not stand out in either attack or defense but does everything well. He played MM this year and should back up in that competition against next year. From a player comparison perspective think of someone like Alex Glenn of the Bronco’s.

mdrew
14-05-15, 02:14 PM
20. Luke Mastroianni - He is a young front rower who captained one of the CC sides this year. He has made numerous representative sides over the last couple of years and deservedly so. He runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step. He will not wow onlookers with offloads or line breaks but will continue to work all day, both in attack and defense. In defense he covers inside well when balls are turned back inside on the fringe of the ruck. From a player comparison think the Titans own Luke Douglas, a work horse. He should be in one of the MM squads next season.

19. Liam Pakau - He is an extremely talented young centre from Ipswich, who played MM this year scoring three tries in the process. He has also played a couple of games in the QCup colts competition for Ipswich even though he is still eligible for MM in 2016. He is a player I first saw a couple of years ago and my opinion of him has not changed one bit, he is powerfully built young man who runs with pace and power. It would be unfair to categorise that his game is only built on pace and power though as he has a very good step and fend, he can also draw defenders in to give players outside him room. His defensive game is one built on intimidation. He represented U16 Maroons in 2014. It will be interesting to see whether he gets an opportunity in NYC next year, if not he will play MM again. From a player comparison perspective think a young Steve Matai.

18. Caleb Williams – He is a super quick centre from Northern New South Wales, who unfortunately was hurt early in the MM competition, otherwise he would have been much higher. He is just an incredible player who has an effortless running style. The only query is where he will play, is it at centre or fullback, where he can use has pace in more open spaces. At centre he has the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the outside, something that is rare in the modern game. The mind boggles at what he could do in more space at fullback, returning kicks against a staggered defensive line or running off passes when forwards have gotten through the initial defensive line and off load. Regardless he looks an exceptionally gifted player who from a player comparison perspective looks to have a similiar style to the Titans own James Roberts, being someone who has skills that you just can’t teach and can make something out of nothing. Due to the injury he likely will play MM again next year, but hopefully he will get an opportunity to train over the off season with the NYC squad.

17. Max Dowd – He is a fullback/five eight who has been named at five eight for Qld U16’s after a very good season in CC this year, where he scored five tries. He also plays for TSS in the GPS competition as well. He is not the biggest player but seems to have plenty of time when he has the ball in his hands and is rarely rushed when making decisions in how the attack is going to progress. I personally think that he may end up at full back, playing a Darius Boyd style of game. Regardless he is a talented footballer who deservedly gets to represent his state shortly. He should feature in MM next year.

16. Ben Thomas – He is a second rower who was the equal top try scorer in the CC competition this year with eight tries and like Max Dowd was selected in the Qld U16 side, also absolutely deserved. He is another backrower and also a local gold coast product to boot. He is a big young man who runs hard and straight and has a bit of pace if he finds himself in any space, and defends with vigor and a bit of aggression, regularly putting in big hits, but it is controlled and he rarely misses tackles. He should be in one of the MM sides next year. From a player comparison perspective, think of Joel Thompson of the Dragons, someone with size, speed and strength.

lonegull
14-05-15, 02:20 PM
Wow many thanks Mdrew what a great insight to some of the juniors in the titans ranks its a shame we don't get more from the club but thank god we have people like yourself on the forum to share their insights on the junior ranks.

RenegadeGC
14-05-15, 02:25 PM
Awesome review. A couple changes that you may not know. Emry Pere is no longer with Titans and from what I've heard is with Cowboys. Konrad Edwards also from what I've heard is not signed by Titans.

I'm very interested to see the progress of Jonah if he can harness that discipline he will do well

Hail Sezer
14-05-15, 02:25 PM
That's sensational mdrew keep em coming

RenegadeGC
14-05-15, 05:15 PM
GL is 18 already so will not be in MM hope he gets a Crack in 20s this year. I believe he has that x factor that can change a game and spark something from nothing

RenegadeGC
15-05-15, 08:08 AM
Awesome awesome work MDrew haha we can't all be perfect ;) but great insight into players.

Keanu is no longer at school so won't be playing for Keebra or South Coast Schools. I think Juwain Compain is now with broncos.

A great initiative the Titans finally have going is their Academy squads and also their high performance squad which they have now tapped in and established at Logan as well as the coast and Norther NSW.

Something I believe should have happened a long time ago. There is no doubt that this area produces a plethora of talent and if we were to have one cc and one mm we would dominate much like the Stingers. But a credit to staff and players with 2 teams in each grade we constantly compete at the high levels.

Hail Sezer
15-05-15, 08:09 AM
Brilliant work mdrew..read every single one of them with interest. Having your knowledge on this forum is a huge asset, particularly with the limited information we get about these players through these age groups

Look forward to seeing some of these lads in 20s next year

charged2go
15-05-15, 08:12 AM
great stuff mdrew! good to see some analysis on our younger players coming through the ranks... I know a fair few of these boys personally as some of them have been training with us, jerome veve, tyrone roberts davis, jonah haas, greg... and i know a fair few others from around the grounds aswell... very detailed and correct analysis and its clear you know your stuff! I have had the honour of helping to coach ethan paikea and he is a very humble young athlete who will always get his job done and never take a backwards step no matter who his opposition is. did a couple of pre season sessions in the NYC and never looked out of place. dont be surprised if injuries keep hindering the current NYC side i dont think Woolf would hesitate to throw him in the mix in the later rounds of the season. Good stuff Mdrew, keep these updates coming.

Titan Crius
15-05-15, 09:42 AM
MDrew, what fantastic posts on our young guns coming up through the system, a fantastic detailed critique on all players mentioned, and yes we have one of the best junior bases in the country. thank you very much for your outstanding input, keep it coming :)

Titanic
16-05-15, 11:26 AM
Hahaha … great work mdrew … that's the stuff, especially when you consider the dark days when nobody seemed to give a toss … never lose your belief :clap::clap::clap:

mdrew
16-05-15, 07:41 PM
Hahaha … great work mdrew … that's the stuff, especially when you consider the dark days when nobody seemed to give a toss … never lose your belief :clap::clap::clap:

Haha I agree, a few times I felt like giving up (and I am sure that I will again) some times because of my own demons and some because of frustration, but at the end of the day I will try to keep going because the life blood of any club are the juniors, they deserve our support. Please Titans use the resources of people who are offering. if one person goes to a junior game or heads to a Titans games early to see an NYC game, everyone wins, from the person/family attending a junior game to the NYC squad who will play in front of a bigger crowd.

If one more person is interested in junior rugby league because of this type of thread I will take it as a win and if one junior player becomes more dedicated to be a better person both on and off the field that is also a win. Some people may consider that I am wasting my time but... Yeh well I will leave it at that. rant over.

Reddyred
16-05-15, 08:26 PM
Haha I agree, a few times I felt like giving up (and I am sure that I will again) some times because of my own demons and some because of frustration, but at the end of the day I will try to keep going because the life blood of any club are the juniors, they deserve our support. Please Titans use the resources of people who are offering. if one person goes to a junior game or heads to a Titans games early to see an NYC game, everyone wins, from the person/family attending a junior game to the NYC squad who will play in front of a bigger crowd.

If one more person is interested in junior rugby league because of this type of thread I will take it as a win and if one junior player becomes more dedicated to be a better person both on and off the field that is also a win. Some people may consider that I am wasting my time but... Yeh well I will leave it at that. rant over.



Once again you have out done yourself MDrew. Great work and insight for people like me that very rarely gets to games. Your comments are appreciated mate. keep up the great work.

mdrew
04-07-15, 07:30 PM
Will Evans performance at 5/8 at the QLD Junior Age Chamionships has been nothing short of amazing. On top of his individual performance he has shown exceptional leadership skills this young man is a class act as a footballer and as person. well done to Will Evans and his family. PS Bryon has be superb as well. The future is bright.

mdrew
05-07-15, 02:14 PM
Tyronne Roberts-Davis played centre for the Qld U18 QSSRL side in their 2 point loss to NSW Combined Catholic Colleges which has just finished. Qld lead 10-0 but could not hold on

mdrew
13-08-15, 07:22 AM
Just for the sack of discussion, I thought that I would put down a side made up of junior Titans players, who have not played NYC yet. I did not include Jerome Veve as hopefully he makes his NYC debut this week. Please feel free to throw other names up or put down your own side. I am sure I have missed a few players and have only noted players that I am comfortable saying they are with the Titans. I have included players whether they are injured or not. Some may be slightly out of position but it is only my opinion and that obviously means nothing. Really wanted to include names like Daruis Farmer, John Boy Quinlan etc so I am most likely incorrect

1. Will Evans
2. Caleb Williams
3. Liam Pakea
4. David Fauid
5. Lai-One Manu
6. Ethan Roberts
7. Josh Fauid
8. Ethan Paikea
9. Zac Beecher
10. Payne Haas
11. Geordie Brand
12. Ben Thomas
13. David Butler
14. Phillip Quinlan
15. Antonio Nelu
16. Jonah Haas
17. Max Dowd

mdrew
14-08-15, 06:28 AM
Titans team number 2 with an extended bench, apologies there are probably a few names that are not well known:

1. Wipere Takitimu
2. Brent Barnes
3. John Boy Quinlan
4. Bryson Vaovasa
5. AJ Kepaoa
6. Bostyn Hakaraia
7. Josh Ralph
8. Jovan Tearoti
9. Oliver Singh
10. Steve Dressler
11. Darius Farmer
12. Blake Lenehan
13. Nelson Grove
14. Elijah Rasiga
15. Luke Mastroanni
16. Jaxson Paulo
17. Jack Evans
18. Brodie Hannon
19. Isaac Lee
20. Kelepi Faukafa

We really do have some exceptional talent coming through. IF people are interested I will redo my top juniors list soon

mdrew
14-08-15, 06:49 AM
15. Payne Haas – Like his brother Jonah, Payne is a big strong front rower, who played CC this year, after being named player of the carnival at the U15 Australian schoolboys carnival in 2014, and obviously being named in the merit side as well. In 2014, he represented Philippines at the U16 level, scoring four tries and being named player of the match. He is a big strong young man who just charges at the defensive line with absolutely no fear. I have rarely seen someone run so hard. He also has an offload after contacting the line. He is powerful also in defence and for a big front rower has a very good turn of pace. He should feature in MM next year and a player comparison perspective think Jarred Warea-Hargraves with less niggle. He attends Keebra Park and will represent South Coast U18’s at the upcoming Secondary Schools competition.

14. Tyronne Roberts-Davies – he is an elusive outside back who played MM this year, scoring 32 points from five tries and 6 goals. He has recently commenced training with the NYC squad and is shortly making his QCup colts debut at centre. The Keebra Park student, who is also representing U18 South Coast, is an elusive runner who will not be caught if he gets into open space. He has only a slight build but still gets in front of his man in defence. In the long term, I think that he is best suited to wing as he seems to have innate spacial awareness when moving close to the sideline. He should progress to the NYC squad next year and from a player comparison perspective think the Titans own David Mead. He is the cousin of Ethan Roberts.

13. Daruis Farmer – He is a rangy backrower from Ipswich who is the third of our juniors who was selected to represent Qld u16’s after a very consistent year for the Ipswich CC side. He is a very calm player on the field and is most effective on the edge of the ruck. His style of play is that of a wide running back rower with above average speed for the position, but he will also take his share of hit ups through the middle of the ruck. He is effective in defence and covers across the field well, thus putting him in a good position to make the tackle when the ball is turned back inside. The Titans development staff should be commended for looking at the Ipswich area, with Daruis being the type of player any club would be proud to have involved with them. He should in involved in the Ipswich MM next year and from a player comparison perspective thing along the lines of Gavin Copper of the Cowboys.

12. Greg Lelesiuao – Greg is a fullback/centre/wing who is just a gifted footballer. In MM this year he played fullback scoring seven tries. Greg who has been training with the NYC squad, has also progressed to QCup colts, where he has played both centre and wing, no mean feat for a player with a year of eligibility still left in U18 football. I think that it is unlikely he plays MM next year as he hopefully is playing NYC. With the ball in his hand he just has incredible elusively and speed off the mark. The only thing that he needs to do is to minimise the errors. During various MM games he made a number of errors in a row, but as I said he is only 17. I can see aspects of an Anthony Milford type of player and I personally think that in the long term fullback will be his best position. He is a massive talent and a good find from Woodridge High School.

11. Josh Fauid – He is a half/five eight from the North’s Devils club for whom he played halfback and captained the MM side to a semi-final. For an elusive runner of the football, he still has the ability to set up his outside support and has a solid kicking game. He has transitioned to QCup colts where he is playing five eight for North’s. He should be in line for the starting halfback spot in NYC next year and certainly is a talented player who has also some experience at hooker, although half would seem to be his ideal long term position. From a player comparison perspective a playing style of Jarrod Mullen from the Knights would not be far from the mark.

10. John Boy Quinlan – He is a young centre (he has also played a lot of fullback) from Armidale, who played Senior football this year, including one match at five eight and with selection in the Greater Northern Tigers U18 side, should be pushing to be selected in the NSW Country U18 side. He has already played a number of games for our development squad over the last couple of years. He is very quick and elusive, and hopefully can push for an NYC spot next year. From a played comparison perspective, think along the lines of Justin Hodges in that he is just difficult to tackle. He is the brother of Phillip Quinlan.

9. Keanu Dawson – He is a big strong front rower who I believe may be the captain of the Keebra park school boy side this year. He has previously represented Qld at the U16 level and will represent South Coast U18’s in the upcoming QSSRL U18 competition. He had an up and down season in MM this year but now has transitioned to QCup Colts and he has also been training the entire year with the NYC side. Depending on form and injuries he may get a taste of NYC late in the year. He is a powerful runner of the football, but sometimes in defence can try for the big hit a little too much and also just needs to be a little more selective with his offloads in traffic. In saying that, I think that he is a huge talent who can become a big part of the NYC forward pack next year. I think that he will probably play some back row when he first breaks into the NYC side but his long term position is in the front row. From a player comparison perspective, a comparison to Josh Maguire of the Broncos is fair.

8. Jai Whitbread – He is a young backrower who played very well at the MM level this year, after representing NSW U16’s in 2014, thus he still has a year of eligibility in MM next year. Interestingly he has also played some outside centre in rugby. He will not wow you with big hits or line breaks but he will be the first one into the tackle and the first one to put his hand up to take the ball up, where he seems to always make the first defender miss and make more ground than he seemingly should. Wishful thinking maybe but I would like to see him maybe get a run late in the season in NYC this year, but I concede that that is unlikely. Hopefully he gets to training with the NYC squad in the off season and maybe get a start some time in 2016, if not he will be an MM mainstay. From a player comparison perspective it is hard to go past a Nathan Hindmarsh style. He really looks like a player who will realise his potential and make a career in first grade in the back row.

7. I am leaving out seven at the moment as I am getting conflicting information about his status with us.

6. David Butler – David is a young front rower who really should be higher than this, he is just a class act on the field. He represented South Coast in the recent QSSRL U15 competition, where in my opinion was the best forward on show. He understandably made the U15 Maroons side for the national U15 school boy’s titles in June. He runs exceptionally hard and does not back down, and from what I have been told, no one trains harder. He is also an exceptionally hard tackler and can very effectively anyone one on one because of his strength. From how he holds himself on the field, he is a leader by his deeds. He should be a CC mainstay next year and it is hard not to see aspects of Matt Scott of the Cowboys in his style of play.

5. Will Evans – He is a young back who represented Gold Coast Vikings at the U14 level at the recent SEQ titles where he played at five eight, he also made the U14 SEQ extended squad. From the games I have seen him play prior to that he played a lot at fullback where he was simply dynamic. He played fullback in 2014 where he was named the best player at the U13 state titles. He is just a class act on the football field who just seems to know where and when to be both in attack and defence and makes everybody around him look better. I think that he has a real shot at staying at five eight long term and has the potential to be anything. He has a chance to play CC next year at the age of 15, because in my opinion he is that good. I am not going to put a player comparison for him because the only players I can think of are considered immortals (or soon to be) and that is unfair to label him. If he was older it would be hard not to have him as who I consider our top junior. If you are near Burleigh juniors when they are playing head down and watch an absolute class act. He attends PBC and his brother Jack is also in our junior development system.

4. Sam Elliot – He is a forward (I will leave it at that as he can literally play anywhere in the pack, except obviously hooker) who excelled in the MM competition, winning the Mat Rogers medal. He is from the Lismore area and his brother is currently playing for the NYC side (Max Elliot). The only way to describe has play is hard running and tough defence, he is seemingly everywhere on the field and projects as someone who can play 80 minutes without the need to be interchanged. He should join his brother in NYC next year, and that is a scary proposition for opposing forward packs with the brother’s toughness and will to win. If you have seen any of our NYC games this year, he plays almost exactly like his older brother, maybe with a little more speed in open space. I think that he will play his football in the back row going forward, a real talent.

3. Lizaya Iti – He is yet an backrower (maybe I notice back rowers more, because I played there!) who represented South Coast U15’s and made the U15 Qld Maroons side like a lot of his South Coast team mates. What is even more impressive is that he played the entire year for South’s at the CC level, and that is no mean feat as they had a superb forward pack, and always seem to. Another impressive thing for me is his discipline, where in previous seasons he may have let things get to him a little, this year it was the absolute opposite. He plays an aggressive style and does not back down from any challenge or anyone. He will play CC again next year and attends Coombabah. Coombabah should have a very talented U15 side this year for their school games. Tough and aggressive he has a Paul Gallen style of game without the niggle in his game.

2. Ethan Roberts – He played a lot of the MM season at five eight and was very good, even though he did miss the start of the MM season with injury. During the season he scored 20 points including four tries and two goals and is yet another player from the Grafton/Lismore area and is currently attending PBC. He has made numerous representative sides over the years including representing NSW at the U16 level in 2013, when he also got player of the match and was roundly praised by Brad Fittler. He is a big five eight, and as a result has also played a bit of back row who can take the ball to the line and set up his outside supports, although he does have some sneaky speed. On the field he so calm and collected and rarely makes the wrong decision with the football. You constantly see him talking to his team mates, letting them know what is going on, he reads the play very well. Hard to see him not playing NYC next year, where he will likely break in at five eight, yet I do think that he may end up in the back row as his career progresses. Like above I am not going to note a player comparison because the only one I can think of is a Qld immortal. Super talent.

1 Ethan Paikea – He is a powerful young front rower who unfortunately has been injured on and off for the majority of the season, and currently has a knee injury which means he will likely miss the QSSRL U18 competition and a number of GIO games for Keebra, the red backs will miss him as well (sorry Titan Pete). I will not go into his game too much because there are people on this forum who know him and his game far better than me. Hopefully he can come back fit and healthy from his injuries and even though he will be eligible for MM again next year, hopefully gets a real shot at making the NYC side in the opening rounds. From everything I have seen and heard, he is a talented young man but more importantly a very decent young man off the field. From a player comparison perspective think Sam Burgess.



First up, if I have gotten anything wrong in the analysis, I apologise, it was not my intention to detail wrong information.

Apologies also as when I finished the list, the number of young players who could have or should have been on the list that I missed is very disappointing. Every young player signed to the Titans or another NRL club at any age should be proud of their achievements, and not noting some of them, I have let them and their families down. Players such as Nelson Grove, Jordan Champion, Blake Campbell, Geordie Brand, Isaac Lee, Jaxson Paulo, Zac Beecher, AJ Brimson, Sheaziah and Juwan Compain, Sam Ross etc should be congratulated and acknowledged as talented young men doing their best.

lonegull
14-08-15, 07:15 AM
well done mdrew, like the work and thanks for the updates keep them coming

mdrew
18-08-15, 02:24 PM
Thought that I would start doing an update of our junior’s this time I thought I would go to 50, in short because I could not make up by mind when to stop. I stress that I have only included players that I think with the Titans. I have not included a number of players because I can not be sure that they are with us or there are rumours or I am aware that they are with different clubs. Unfortunately the change to NRL ownership allowed clubs to get under our guard to sign away some of our top juniors.

Also unfortunately a few boys have dealt with injuries throughout the year, including Caleb Williams and Lou Lockington, they are lower than they should be probably. I have only noted one player who has played U13’s this year and that is only because he had such huge wraps on him and I was able to see him play a few times in a short space of time. There are a large number of talented U13 boys, such as Damon Soverville, Ediq Ambrosyev, Rixon Andrew etc but I have not seen a large number of their games for while thus did not include them even though they probably should have been. Once again, apologies if my information is not accurate, or you believe that I am wrong.

I will try to include a player comparison, not to note who they may turn out like, but to give an insight into the style of play of the player now for people to relate to. I will try to do one a day, hopefully people are interested. I will try to start them in a couple of weeks as the junior season winds down and the development squads have their final hit outs for the year. If you disagree with something that I have said please feel free to post your opinions or PM me. In brackets, I think is their most likely position, not necessarily where they are playing now.

The list below is in draft form and it may change quite substantially by the time I get into some detail, assuming people are interested.


1. Ethan Paikea (front row)
2. Josh Fauid (half)
3. Will Evans (5/8)
4. David Fauid (fullback)
5. Geordie Brand (front row)
6. David Butler (front row)
7. Antonio Nelu (front row)
8. Wipere Takitimu (fullback)
9. Bryson Vaovasa (centre)
10. Ethan Roberts (5/8)
11. Ben Thomas (second row)
12. Daruis Farmer (second row)
13. Phillip Quinlan (second row)
14. Max Dowd (5/8)
15. Liam Pakea (centre)
16. Lai-One Manu (fullback)
17. John Boy Quinlan (centre)
18. Jovan Tearoti (front row)
19. Blake Lenehan (second row)
20. Zac Beecher (hooker)
21. Luke Mastroanni (front row)
22. Jack Evans (second row)
23. Steve Dressler (front row)
24. Nelson Grove (backrow)
25. Josh Ralph (half)
26. AJ Kepaoa (centre)
27. Brent Barnes (wing)
28. Caleb Williams (centre)
29. Jonah Haas (front row)
30. Elijah Rasiga (second row)
31. Bostyn Hakaraia (5/8)
32. Kyle Fairbank (second row)
33. AJ Brimson (half)
34. Kelepi Faukafa (second row)
35. Jaxson Paulo (centre)
36. Corey Alexander (fullback)
37. Kyron Herron (front row)
38. Oliver Singh (hooker)
39. Isaac Lee (centre)
40. Sheaziah Compain (centre)
41. Phransis Sula-Siosaia
42. Tuki Seiuli (front row)
43. Ethan Kane (fullback)
44. Dea Jarn Asi (fullback)
45. Lupe Siaifa (second row)
46. Dennis Waight (wing)
47. Jordan Champion (lock)
48. Blake Campbell (lock)
49. Max Bryant (second row)
50. Lou Lockington (wing)

[

RenegadeGC
21-08-15, 05:58 PM
Will Evans and Nelson Grove having big games in the 14 Prem Major Semi for Burleigh

mdrew
22-08-15, 01:59 AM
Will have to revise the top five on the list with Stanley Jackson being left off, the young front rower is a very talented young player. Dre Siaosi Brown also should also be on the list.

TITAN PETE
22-08-15, 04:50 AM
Later today we have Burleigh v Mudgeeraba u17's playing off for a Grand Final birth , this will be a top class game with the Redbacks chasing their 5th premiership in a row & if they qualify they will have appeared in all 6 GF's since the finals were introduced & I'm told will become the most successful Gold Coast Junior Rugby League side in History.

The teams will have some quality players on the park that are already contracted to the Titans & Broncos with the likes of Brent Wolf,Duncan Harding, Steve Dressler, Jack Peacock,Apiata & co playing in what will be a very physical match, unlucky for Mudgy & Lucky for Burleigh is the fact that Ethan Paikea is out injured.

DavidBouveng
22-08-15, 09:48 AM
where is it at and what time? would be cool to come and watch

shamus
22-08-15, 10:07 AM
MAJOR SEMI'S THIS WEEKEND AT PARKWOOD!!

Sat U17 Div 1 against Burleigh at 6.15pm ; (From Mudgee Redbacks site)

DavidBouveng
22-08-15, 10:19 AM
cheers mate

TITAN PETE
22-08-15, 09:07 PM
Burleigh beat the Redbacks to advance to the GF 20-14 after 2 disallowed tries to Mudgeeraba , controversial but you have to expect that with the quality of officials running the games.

palmbeachpariah
23-08-15, 05:40 PM
will goes decent ..nelson sadly will be too small over the next 24 mths and still tackles with only one shoulder and too low

- - - Updated - - -

dressler and peacock didnt play broken hand for one flu for the other

TITAN PETE
24-08-15, 06:47 AM
will goes decent ..nelson sadly will be too small over the next 24 mths and still tackles with only one shoulder and too low

- - - Updated - - -

dressler and peacock didnt play broken hand for one flu for the other

Who is Will, Peacock has glandular fever & Nelsons speed around the ruck area is probably the fastest in the comp, size wise he's pretty close to Woolf

On Dressler he's off to Sydney this week to speak with a few clubs who have shown interest in him so he may be another young front rower leaving...

mdrew
24-08-15, 07:26 AM
The Titans originally signed Steve Dressler as a 12 year old from Yamba, so it would be certainly disappointing to lose such a talented and dedicated young player who has battled through a lot of injuries. I believe that the Titans have offered him a contract, hopefully we can keep him at the club, assuming that he wants to stay of course.

RenegadeGC
24-08-15, 08:26 AM
Who is Will, Peacock has glandular fever & Nelsons speed around the ruck area is probably the fastest in the comp, size wise he's pretty close to Woolf

On Dressler he's off to Sydney this week to speak with a few clubs who have shown interest in him so he may be another young front rower leaving...

TP, i think he was talking about Will Evans.

Shame that Dressler is leaving but who could blame him after the fiasco contract dramas. He has been in good form for both PBC and Burleigh all considering coming back from a knee operation as well.

Couple of big clashes this weekend in 15s, 16's and 17's -
15s - R Bay vs Burleigh (winner to play Ormeau in GF)
16s - Nerang vs Southport (winner to play R Bay in GF)
17s - Nerang vs Mudgeeraba (winner to play Burleigh in GF)

lol my bold predictions -
15s' Bay to beat Burleigh off the back of Tanah Boyd (and also to beat Ormeau in the final)
16's Nerang to beat Southport (should have too much strike power with Kees Nicholson, Arron Shelford, Jaxson Paulo and Iggy Sefo) although if Brocky Hamil gets some support this could be a close one. If Nerang makes it through to GF they may be able to upset Bay (tough ask when you see the Bay side on paper, lol its basically a combination of this years CC sides)
17s Nerang for upset in this one, unless Sam Clark and Ethan Paikea back. Burleigh to take out the GF.

mdrew
24-08-15, 09:35 AM
Ok, may as well start my run down, obviously my ratings and comments are arbitery but hey I am trying my best Lol. I would suggest that any list will change substantially as young players come to the Titans or move for other opportunities, juniors are the life blood of any team, and the Titans are no different.

50. Lui Lockington. He is a tall rangy winger hailing from the Cairns area. Unfortunately he was injured for most of this year, after having a breakout year for Northern Pride at the CC level in 2014. He has previously represented Qld Murri at the U16 level. Due to the injuries that he suffered he was only able to play one or two MM games this year, where he started on the wing for Northern Pride. He has already played in a Titans jersey on a couple of occasions, representing the Titans in two games late last year, one against Samoa at the U16 level, won by the Titans 44-0 and also at the U17 level against a Canberra Raiders development squad, which the Titans also won.

He is very quick down the sidelines with a good in and away to beat defenders on the outside and will not get caught from behind if he gets into open space. In addition to his speed he seems to have the ability to “freeze” his direct opponent with his ability to step off both feet before accelerating around them usually on the touchline side. Like most of the modern day wingers he also has the ability to find the try line in some unlikely situations where it appears that there is no way he could possibly get the ball down without going into touch.

In terms of chasing attacking kicks he has a very good leap and uses his forward momentum well to get above defenders, where the majority of the time he looks to catch the ball rather than hit it back to his team’s advantage, in my opinion that is not a bad thing. He also has very good hands low to the ground on grubber kicks or when defenders drop bombs and uses his reach to get to the ball quickly before defenders. He will also chase general play kicks with vigour trying to improve the effectiveness of his teams kicking game.

In defence, he is not the strongest winger, but will certainly look to come out of the line to stop the attack quickly. Like all younger players he just needs experience to ensure that he picks the right time to come out of the line. He will show his opposite winger the sideline and is confident that his speed will enable him to get across to make the tackle. He will occasionally stand quite shallow in defence and rely on his speed to get back and retrieve opposition kicks. In terms of defending kicks he will certainly go up to try to make the catch, but his standing leap is not huge compared to his leap when he has forward momentum. As he fills out he will become more effective defensively, not that there is too much wrong at present.

Unfortunately injuries curtailed his season, but barring something unforseen, he should be back fit and healthy for the 2016 season where he should be a key contributor for Northern Pride in the MM Cup competition. Whilst he could likely also play centre or fullback, his skill set to me suggests that his long term future is definitely on the wing. From a style perspective, think of someone like Anthony Topu from the Roosters as a tall rangy speedy winger who will be a factor in his teams attacking game both in terms of running the ball and being a target in the attacking kicking side of the equation.

palmbeachpariah
24-08-15, 11:47 AM
Steve had dropped a ton of weight ( not literally ) :0..and he has got rid of a lot of his pot plantness..not getting sinbinned for being 3rd man in etc..i believe he was considering repeating yr 12 next yr

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will evans ..i have a vested interest in the 15s gf and believe ormeau will continue their dominance against bay where their physical game upsets tanners play :0

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you have very good sources:?)

TITAN PETE
24-08-15, 05:00 PM
TP, i think he was talking about Will Evans.

Shame that Dressler is leaving but who could blame him after the fiasco contract dramas. He has been in good form for both PBC and Burleigh all considering coming back from a knee operation as well.

Couple of big clashes this weekend in 15s, 16's and 17's -
15s - R Bay vs Burleigh (winner to play Ormeau in GF)
16s - Nerang vs Southport (winner to play R Bay in GF)
17s - Nerang vs Mudgeeraba (winner to play Burleigh in GF)

lol my bold predictions -
15s' Bay to beat Burleigh off the back of Tanah Boyd (and also to beat Ormeau in the final)
16's Nerang to beat Southport (should have too much strike power with Kees Nicholson, Arron Shelford, Jaxson Paulo and Iggy Sefo) although if Brocky Hamil gets some support this could be a close one. If Nerang makes it through to GF they may be able to upset Bay (tough ask when you see the Bay side on paper, lol its basically a combination of this years CC sides)
17s Nerang for upset in this one, unless Sam Clark and Ethan Paikea back. Burleigh to take out the GF.

Sam is a definate starter would've played last Saturday if it was do or die & every Nerang game in this age group usually has a sin bin or 2 so I'm hoping for a decent referee that isn't a Nerang local but class will shine through in the end :thumbsup:

TITAN PETE
24-08-15, 07:39 PM
The Titans originally signed Steve Dressler as a 12 year old from Yamba, so it would be certainly disappointing to lose such a talented and dedicated young player who has battled through a lot of injuries. I believe that the Titans have offered him a contract, hopefully we can keep him at the club, assuming that he wants to stay of course.

Fairly sure he has lost his titans contract after breaking his hand while playing for Palm beach against Keebra & then playing the following match against Kirwan when told not to play.

The Titans are very strict with their juniors & playing with injuries, no excuses accepted.

mdrew
25-08-15, 05:54 AM
49. Max Bryant (Previously posted, updated with minor changes, including player comparison). He is a young backrower from south of the Border who played CC this year with Gold Coast Green, and had a solid year, scoring 2 tires as well as kicking 11 goals and a field goal. He has previously represented NSW Combined Catholic Colleges at the U15 level, from St Joseph’s Banora Point and plays his club football for the Cudgen Hornets in the Group 18 Junior Rugby League competition. He is not a big giant backrower but has a solid build who operates effectively on the fringes of the ruck due to his good ball skills, which have also developed as a result of him playing a fair amount of junior football at five eight. He has been with the Titans for a number of years.

From the times that I have seen him play, he has developed his passing skills especially from the left side. In the younger age groups he ran the ball more than passing, but as he has developed and started playing against better players and teams, he has adapted his game to take advantage of the players around him. When running the ball he does not put his head down and just run straight, he uses foot work before the line and can also pass just before the line putting fellow forwards into gaps as defences converge. He also does have a decent turn of speed in open space.

He can also kick in general play, both long kicks to gain ground and also the shorter grubber kick near the try line. I do not think that he will be a team’s primary general play kicker but has the skill set to be a secondary option when the primary kicker is under pressure. Like his tactical kicking I do not think that he ends up as a primary goal kicker but is effective enough to be a secondary option, where he is very accurate from close range.

From a defensive stand point he is an effective tackler and will come over the top to prevent offloads and will not shirk contact against larger opponents. He seems to usually defend on the fringes of the ruck and will cover behind the backline and does not stop once the ball goes past and thus is effective in defending the inside pass or when an opposing centre cuts back inside.

Moving forward he should progress to MM next year and play a part in the back row. I do not think that he has ever played there but it would be interesting to see how he would go at dummy half, again possibly a situation where he may be able to fill in there in a short term to give the regular dummy half a breather or to address an injury. As he is not a “monster” from a size perspective he will need to continue to be effective on the edges of the ruck. From a style perspective, think of someone like former Titan and current Souths player Paul Carter, with some more speed, and ball handling skills on the fringes of the ruck.

mdrew
25-08-15, 07:23 AM
48. Blake Campbell. He is a backrower from the Gold Coast Region who played his football at the U15 level this year, including representing South Coast at the U15 QSSRL State Championships and plays his club football for Runaway Bay and his school football at Coombabah. He had a good season scoring 10 tries and kicking 6 goals as well for a 52 point haul for the year. As usual he was one of the top try scorers in his age group and division.

He was been in the Titans junior development system for a couple of years now, and is one of a number of talented backrowers in our system and certainly in the region. He has represented the Vikings and Kookaburra’s on multiple occasions in the different age groups over the last couple of years and is part of the Gold Coast Rugby League Academy program in 2015, and was part of the Titans U14 development side that drew 32 all against a giant Samoan team at the end of 2014 at Burleigh.

He is a wide running backrower with a very good turn of speed once he breaks through the line and will outpace all but the quickest cover defenders. He has the ability to use footwork before the line, especially on the ends of the ruck where he has a good in and away as well as a very good fend to complement his footwork. On top of those attributes, he is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into thus making the play makers on his team look good. Even though he is good on the edge of the ruck, he takes his share of runs in the middle where he uses foot work prior to the line so as not to absorb huge hits against, usually larger forward packs. He is also a disciplined player who rarely gives away penalties and also has good hands.

Defensively he looks to wrap up the ball on initial contact, he will not constantly come up with big hits, but will rarely miss tackles and also covers across the field very well, meaning he is usually in good positions to make a tackle if the ball is turned back inside and also to make cover defending tackles if breaks are made wider out. He is quick enough to get to most outside backs in cover defense. Due to his speed and positional sense he is usually one of the first players down field in relation to kick chase as well.

Moving forward he should be part of one of the CC Cup sides in 2016 where he should contribute in the back row as a wide running forward who knows how to get to the try line as well as a player who will do a lot of the little things well, such as chasing kicks, defending inside passes etc. From a style perspective think of a young Ben Creagh of the dragons, as a well-rounded backrower with the ability to break the line by himself or as a result of running a good line and then has the pace to finish things off consistently.

palmbeachpariah
25-08-15, 02:04 PM
agree with a lot of the above but he needs another 10-20 kgs..against strong defensive kids he gets really rag dolled.. To me his biggest strength is one can throw him into the front row to play tight and he will do a half decent job

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49. Max Bryant (Previously posted, updated with minor changes, including player comparison). He is a young backrower from south of the Border who played CC this year with Gold Coast Green, and had a solid year, scoring 2 tires as well as kicking 11 goals and a field goal. He has previously represented NSW Combined Catholic Colleges at the U15 level, from St Joseph’s Banora Point and plays his club football for the Cudgen Hornets in the Group 18 Junior Rugby League competition. He is not a big giant backrower but has a solid build who operates effectively on the fringes of the ruck due to his good ball skills, which have also developed as a result of him playing a fair amount of junior football at five eight. He has been with the Titans for a number of years.

From the times that I have seen him play, he has developed his passing skills especially from the left side. In the younger age groups he ran the ball more than passing, but as he has developed and started playing against better players and teams, he has adapted his game to take advantage of the players around him. When running the ball he does not put his head down and just run straight, he uses foot work before the line and can also pass just before the line putting fellow forwards into gaps as defences converge. He also does have a decent turn of speed in open space.

He can also kick in general play, both long kicks to gain ground and also the shorter grubber kick near the try line. I do not think that he will be a team’s primary general play kicker but has the skill set to be a secondary option when the primary kicker is under pressure. Like his tactical kicking I do not think that he ends up as a primary goal kicker but is effective enough to be a secondary option, where he is very accurate from close range.

From a defensive stand point he is an effective tackler and will come over the top to prevent offloads and will not shirk contact against larger opponents. He seems to usually defend on the fringes of the ruck and will cover behind the backline and does not stop once the ball goes past and thus is effective in defending the inside pass or when an opposing centre cuts back inside.

Moving forward he should progress to MM next year and play a part in the back row. I do not think that he has ever played there but it would be interesting to see how he would go at dummy half, again possibly a situation where he may be able to fill in there in a short term to give the regular dummy half a breather or to address an injury. As he is not a “monster” from a size perspective he will need to continue to be effective on the edges of the ruck. From a style perspective, think of someone like former Titan and current Souths player Paul Carter, with some more speed, and ball handling skills on the fringes of the ruck.

I saw a lot of him playing 6 and 7 at cudgen this yr...his greatest flaw is he tends to drift and cramp outside backs with ball in hand and needs to play whats in front of him more consistently..will say that i have never seen a kid kick the ball so far

mdrew
15-09-15, 06:27 AM
47. Dea Jarn Asi. He is a half/fullback who played at the U15 level this year for the Ormeau Shearers, and was involved in their semi-final win against Burleigh 14-10, where he kicked a conversion and played at half. Previously for the Titans development squads he has played some five eight (at the U14 level against Samoa, where he teamed with Ethan Kane in the halves) and fullback. He was also involved in the South Coast squad for the U15 QSSRL State Championships this year. On the season he scored 4 tries and 19 goals for a 54 point haul, which was in the top 3 or 4 for the division, Tannah Boyd was the top points scorer in the division by a fair way. He has also previously represented both the Vikings and Kookaburras in 2014 at the U14 level.

He is a very elusive runner of the ball, which likely in part stems from also being a talented touch football player, a sport in which I am quite sure that he has represented South Coast in, could be wrong in that though. He will take on the line regularly and has a very good step off both feet but his right foot step seems to be the preferred step based on the games that I have seen. His passing game is solid and on occasion he drifts across the field looking for runners to run into holes and has the ability to “freeze” the defensive line, making to easier for his support runners. Again his passing to the right hand side seems slightly better from my observation at least.

He is a decent general play kicker, who is very accurate, however he does not have the biggest kick and when he tries to kick too hard it usually finds a defender on the full, when he takes a bit off the kick he has very good accuracy. He also chases his own kicks very hard. He also has a decent short kicking game and will certainly chip and chase for himself which because of his speed usually puts the defense into disarray. He is also a very accurate goal kicker from all but right on the sidelines. Not sure he will be a primary goal kicker for a side, but he certainly will be an option to consider. He has improved as an organiser as he has moved through the age groups and should continue to do so as he matures.

He is not the biggest player but even when defending in the front line will tackle using his shoulder which assists when defending against larger forwards operating on the edge of the ruck. Whilst not the biggest he is strong enough to effectively tackle one on one against opposing halves and with his speed he can cover a lot of ground. He is also very good at turning and chasing when the opposition puts in short kicks.

Moving forward he should be part of one of the CC Cup sides in 2016 where he should contribute in potentially a variety of positions, from fullback to the halves. For me, and again my opinion means absolutely nothing to anyone but me, his future lies at fullback with the ability to sweep around the back of the ruck and also pop up in supporting in the middle of the ruck, either running himself or looking for offloads from his forwards and use his footwork against big tiring forwards. From a style perspective, think of the Bulldogs version of Ben Barba, not the Broncos or Sharks version.

mdrew
15-09-15, 06:57 AM
46. Ryan Steidman. He is a young front rower who attends PBC and played his junior football at the U15 level this year and was part of the Titans U14 junior development side side last year in their development games, including a hard working performance against Samoa U14’s where he absorbed a lot of punishment but never shirked his responsibilities and was still taking the ball up as hard at the end of the game than he was at the start. He and his fellow forwards absorbed some of the biggest hits I have ever seen in a junior game that day and still backed up for more the next time the Tians had the ball.

He runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step. He will not wow onlookers with offloads or line breaks but will continue to work all day, both in attack and defence. One slight change that I have noticed from last year is that he has developed a step prior to hitting the defensive line, which has enabled him to get partly through the line and extend the running metres that he makes. Previously he just ran straight allowing defenders to look to line him up. For a young player this is a very positive development to the extent that he understands the game and shows that he has the ability to make subtle changes to his game and improve his effectiveness. It has also meant more offloads in his game, but offloads are not something that he does frequently but and he will only offload when there is a high likely hood of the player he passes to, being in a better position than himself.

In attack, he understands that his role is to take hit ups and always is available when the ball needs to be taken out from his goal line and for a front rower he really gets back quickly to take his turn. He is also a smart footballer to the extent that he understands the attacking plays unfolding and stays out of the way on those occasions, no selfish player here!

In defence he is not a big hitter, preferring to make sure that the tackle is made and is very effective both in terms of initial contact and also coming in a wrapping up the football, he also covers inside well when balls are turned back inside on the fringe of the ruck, even late in games when he has every right to be worn out, but he somehow wills himself to get there and make the tackle. When at marker he works hard and always gets out of marker quickly to put pressure on the kicker, but then somehow gets back quickly to take his turn to bring the ball out from his own territory.

He will probably not stand out as he progresses up the age groups, which has nothing to do with his ability, it is just the way he plays the game. He will take hit ups and tackle all day and do all of the little things necessary to help his team succeed. He will play at the U16 level in 2016 and it will be interesting to see whether he makes one of the CC sides. From a style perspective think of a Luke Douglas type who will not stand out but he is very effective in the role he is asked to and is comfortable playing.

mdrew
15-09-15, 07:44 AM
45. Dennis Waight. He is a winger who played at the U15 level this year for Southport for whom he scored two tries during the season. He also represented South Coast in the QSSRL U15 tournament earlier this year, where he scored a very good try in their win against Darling Downs, and has previously been a number of the U13 and U14 Vikings and Kookaburras. Like a number of players that have been noted on this thread, he was also part of the Titans U14 development squad that drew 34 all with Samoa late last year. He is a hard working winger who is likely not going to top try scoring lists, but does pretty well everything well in an understated way, he is not a flashy player but he is efficient and effective in the things that he does on a football field.

Even though he does not have blinding speed he is quick enough to take advantage of any space that he is given down the touchline by opposing wingers. One good think about his play in attack is that he stays on his wing and is regularly outside his opposite number allowing his inside players to be able to find him in attack and in the games that I have seen he stays back and does not over run the players that are inside of him. He seems to be aware of his skill set as not open he is taken over the sideline and knows when to cut back inside rather than taking his opposite number on along the touchline and potentially being taken into touch. He will also come in and take his fair share of hit ups to give his forwards a rest, when the ball needs to be brought out of his end of the field.

In terms of defense, he is solid and seemingly understands the attributes of his opposite number to the extent that he alters his defensive positioning if he is against speedy, elusive wingers and against larger wingers. What I mean by that is that is that when he is up against speedier winger he will give than less room down the touchline, forcing then to look to come inside rather than being beaten down the touchline. He will chase kicks very hard but usually ensures that he maintains a defensive line when chasing kicks rather than coming out of the line and leaving a gap for opposing players to exploit. Like most young outside backs though he will continue to work on when to come out of the line to cut down the time and space of opposing centre, against staying out on his opposing winger.

In 2016 he should be part of one of the CC sides, where I think that he stays on the wing, which I believe is his long term position with his defensive abilities and also his ability to exploit any weaknesses shown by his opposite number. From a player comparison perspective think Lachlan Maranta of the Broncos, he may not have amazing speed etc but he gets the job done efficiently and effectively with few errors, which I know may not wow people but in a day and age where mistakes are ruthlessly exploited he will get his work done with a minimum of fuss.

K2G
15-09-15, 08:29 AM
I really enjoy reading these player assessments mdrew!

Keep em coming mate :thumbsup:

lonegull
15-09-15, 08:59 AM
K2G spot on couldn't agree more, keep them coming great insight into some of our future stars

palmbeachpariah
15-09-15, 10:46 AM
46. Ryan Steidman. He is a young front rower who attends PBC and played his junior football at the U15 level this year and was part of the Titans U14 junior development side side last year in their development games, including a hard working performance against Samoa U14’s where he absorbed a lot of punishment but never shirked his responsibilities and was still taking the ball up as hard at the end of the game than he was at the start. He and his fellow forwards absorbed some of the biggest hits I have ever seen in a junior game that day and still backed up for more the next time the Tians had the ball.

He runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step. He will not wow onlookers with offloads or line breaks but will continue to work all day, both in attack and defence. One slight change that I have noticed from last year is that he has developed a step prior to hitting the defensive line, which has enabled him to get partly through the line and extend the running metres that he makes. Previously he just ran straight allowing defenders to look to line him up. For a young player this is a very positive development to the extent that he understands the game and shows that he has the ability to make subtle changes to his game and improve his effectiveness. It has also meant more offloads in his game, but offloads are not something that he does frequently but and he will only offload when there is a high likely hood of the player he passes to, being in a better position than himself.

In attack, he understands that his role is to take hit ups and always is available when the ball needs to be taken out from his goal line and for a front rower he really gets back quickly to take his turn. He is also a smart footballer to the extent that he understands the attacking plays unfolding and stays out of the way on those occasions, no selfish player here!

In defence he is not a big hitter, preferring to make sure that the tackle is made and is very effective both in terms of initial contact and also coming in a wrapping up the football, he also covers inside well when balls are turned back inside on the fringe of the ruck, even late in games when he has every right to be worn out, but he somehow wills himself to get there and make the tackle. When at marker he works hard and always gets out of marker quickly to put pressure on the kicker, but then somehow gets back quickly to take his turn to bring the ball out from his own territory.

He will probably not stand out as he progresses up the age groups, which has nothing to do with his ability, it is just the way he plays the game. He will take hit ups and tackle all day and do all of the little things necessary to help his team succeed. He will play at the U16 level in 2016 and it will be interesting to see whether he makes one of the CC sides. From a style perspective think of a Luke Douglas type who will not stand out but he is very effective in the role he is asked to and is comfortable playing.


i watched him play for tugan 15s in major semi last sat..he was awful lazy slow and no lateral movement..maybe he was injured and playing in a team that has no structure probably not helpful

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47. Dea Jarn Asi. He is a half/fullback who played at the U15 level this year for the Ormeau Shearers, and was involved in their semi-final win against Burleigh 14-10, where he kicked a conversion and played at half. Previously for the Titans development squads he has played some five eight (at the U14 level against Samoa, where he teamed with Ethan Kane in the halves) and fullback. He was also involved in the South Coast squad for the U15 QSSRL State Championships this year. On the season he scored 4 tries and 19 goals for a 54 point haul, which was in the top 3 or 4 for the division, Tannah Boyd was the top points scorer in the division by a fair way. He has also previously represented both the Vikings and Kookaburras in 2014 at the U14 level.

He is a very elusive runner of the ball, which likely in part stems from also being a talented touch football player, a sport in which I am quite sure that he has represented South Coast in, could be wrong in that though. He will take on the line regularly and has a very good step off both feet but his right foot step seems to be the preferred step based on the games that I have seen. His passing game is solid and on occasion he drifts across the field looking for runners to run into holes and has the ability to “freeze” the defensive line, making to easier for his support runners. Again his passing to the right hand side seems slightly better from my observation at least.

He is a decent general play kicker, who is very accurate, however he does not have the biggest kick and when he tries to kick too hard it usually finds a defender on the full, when he takes a bit off the kick he has very good accuracy. He also chases his own kicks very hard. He also has a decent short kicking game and will certainly chip and chase for himself which because of his speed usually puts the defense into disarray. He is also a very accurate goal kicker from all but right on the sidelines. Not sure he will be a primary goal kicker for a side, but he certainly will be an option to consider. He has improved as an organiser as he has moved through the age groups and should continue to do so as he matures.

He is not the biggest player but even when defending in the front line will tackle using his shoulder which assists when defending against larger forwards operating on the edge of the ruck. Whilst not the biggest he is strong enough to effectively tackle one on one against opposing halves and with his speed he can cover a lot of ground. He is also very good at turning and chasing when the opposition puts in short kicks.

Moving forward he should be part of one of the CC Cup sides in 2016 where he should contribute in potentially a variety of positions, from fullback to the halves. For me, and again my opinion means absolutely nothing to anyone but me, his future lies at fullback with the ability to sweep around the back of the ruck and also pop up in supporting in the middle of the ruck, either running himself or looking for offloads from his forwards and use his footwork against big tiring forwards. From a style perspective, think of the Bulldogs version of Ben Barba, not the Broncos or Sharks version.

Deejarn does indeed play touch represented qld this yr

Titanic
15-09-15, 06:43 PM
mdrew ... great stuff as usual ... it's been another frustrating season, so thanks for keeping us up to date with what the future may hold :clap::clap::clap:

mdrew
18-09-15, 10:27 AM
44. Caleb Barker. He is a young centre who is adept at both Rugby League and Rugby Union, making representative teams for both codes this year. This year he played his Rugby League at the U14 level for the Grafton Ghosts in Group One competition, where he scored on average almost two tries per game, including a five try effort in one game against Ballina. He also scored a double in their 46-6 Grand Final victory recently.

He has already represented NSW at the U12 level in league and was man of the match when South Grafton High won the Under-14 Daily Examiner Shield, which is a schoolboy competition for schools in the NSW Region. He will be playing for our U14 Development squad in their match against Samoa at Burleigh shortly, after be involved in our Development Squad in the Grafton/Lismore area this year and also representing Group One at the U14 level in the NSW Country age championships where he played in the centres. He has represented NSW Country U14 in Rugby Union, after only taking up union around two years ago. He has even represented NSW North Coast in AFL.


For a 14 year old, he is a tall young man at around 188cm, approximately 6 2” in the old scale, but he is exceptionally quick, with a lot of his tries coming from long range efforts originating from his own territory, as once he gets into the clear he is unlikely to be caught by the opposition cover defence. Due to his size and speed he is almost impossible to stop one on one in the competitions that he has played in so far in his career, with his favourite move being an in and away to beat his opposing number on the outside and then using his acceleration to break the game apart. He does not just have top end speed, he has very good acceleration off the mark as well. His fend is decent and as he puts on more muscle it will become more effective due to his long reach, meaning opposing defensive players cannot get close enough to combat him one on one before defensive help arrives.

At the moment due to his dominance he sometimes does not look for his outside support, but I do not believe that he is a selfish player, it is just that he normally makes a lot of breaks. I have no doubt though that with experience he will be become adept at setting up his winger when the opposing defence converges on him. With his height and reach he should also be able to develop the ability to offload in tackles, making him even harder to defend. Obviously as a result of his height he is good under the high ball both in attacking and defensive situations.

Defensively he is solid at wrapping the ball up and just needs to refine his technique as he progresses and also when to come out of the line in an effort to limit the time and space of the opposition as well as ensuring that due to his height he keeps his tackles down against opposing centres who are usually not as tall. He does however slide well in defence and has the speed to cover opposition line breaks very well. He will need to continue to get stronger and maintain his speed to stay at centre, and potentially become a legitimate strike centre, but there is nothing in his performances to date that suggests that he will not be able to.

Due to the dominance of his club side and his physical attributes, he has stood out in his junior football, both in league and from what I have been told union (Please note that I have not seen him play any rugby)but obviously is a hard working young man to play multiple sports so well.

Moving forward he will likely stay in the Group One area next year, playing at the U15 level in 2016 with the Grafton Ghosts and Group One representative teams as well as likely continuing to play rugby union for the Grafton Redmen and schoolboy league for South Grafton High School. At this stage, I cannot see any reason that he will not continue to develop as a centre. From a player comparison perspective someone like Shaun Kenny Dowell of the Roosters springs to mind as someone who will be an attacking weapon in any team that he plays for, another player with whom he has some similarities to, from my perspective is Mark Gasnier, although he probably has a bit more speed than the former Dragon centre.

I am looking forward to seeing him play with the best U14 players from the Gold Coast, Group One and Group 18 against a big and talented Samoan side.

lonegull
18-09-15, 07:55 PM
Mdrew when is the Samoa game in which our development side plays

mdrew
18-09-15, 08:16 PM
It is tomorrow week mate, being the 26th


Mdrew when is the Samoa game in which our development side plays

lonegull
18-09-15, 08:34 PM
Any chance you can post the side when or if it has been selected

mdrew
18-09-15, 08:44 PM
Probably will not be finalised until the day but if I can I will mate


Any chance you can post the side when or if it has been selected

Deville
19-09-15, 02:04 PM
Gc developement 13&14

RenegadeGC
20-09-15, 05:58 AM
Make up of sides wont happen till Thursday. Which also is when the Titans 15s take on West Tigers 15s at Cudgen

RenegadeGC
20-09-15, 06:19 AM
Gc developement 13&14

Lol im not to sure Titans would he too happy about team lists private emails being posted on a public forum.

mdrew
20-09-15, 07:31 AM
Yes the training camp starts Thursday for the U13/14's, a few will not play due to injuries and being rested due to the amount of matches they have played this year, should be some good games over the coming week for our junior teams


Make up of sides wont happen till Thursday. Which also is when the Titans 15s take on West Tigers 15s at Cudgen

palmbeachpariah
21-09-15, 06:40 AM
Make up of sides wont happen till Thursday. Which also is when the Titans 15s take on West Tigers 15s at Cudgen


What time is the game at cudgen?

mdrew
28-09-15, 06:47 AM
43. Caleb Esera. He is a young front rower from the Souths club in Brisbane and was one of his team’s key performers throughout the year, that cumulated in a grand final loss to Logan Brothers in the U13 GBJRL competition. He was also part of the Titans U13 development squad who defeated a Toowoomba U14 side at Burleigh on the weekend. He is a tall front rower, who along with team mate and fellow Titans U13 development squad member Rixon Andrew, were key reasons why his side came back from 30 to 6 down early in the second half to 30-26, before ultimately just falling short. He along with two other Souths team mates will form the front row for the U13 development squad against Toowoomba this weekend. For me he was the Titans best forward in their U13 development squad, including scoring a very good try when he ran a good line outside the five eight.
He runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step, for example in the grand final, he constantly ran into the heart of the Logan Brothers forward pack who were huge and were hitting very hard in the tackle. One thing that did impress me was that he did not just put his head down and run into the first defender he saw. On a number of occasions he cut back behind the play the ball to take advantage of defenders who were slow to get back into the defensive line, similarly he also ran wider on occasion to target the smaller Logan Brothers defenders, when Logan Brothers started to compress their defensive line when Souths had the momentum on their side. Whilst he did not offload the ball too many times, he did get his arms free but only passed when his support was in a better position. He continually put his hand up all day to take the ball up and has a very quick play the ball so that his team can maintain momentum. In the development squad game he offloaded on a number of occasions which maintains the Titans momentum.

In defence he regularly is the first player up to target the ball carriers, even though he is one of the bigger forwards in his team and will make solid initial contact as well as having the ability of defending one on one. He is not adverse to looking for the big hit but does have a good front on defensive technique and decent agility and lateral movement when looking to tackle smaller opponents.

It is clear from how his team mates respond to him that he is a leader on the field and clearly is a hard trainer due to the fact that he was still going at the same pace at the start of the grand final as he was at the end even though he played the entire game on a very hot day against a quality opposition.

Next year, he should be a mainstay of Souths U14 side and hopefully a long term member of our Elite Junior Development Squads. From a style perspective, think along the lines of the James Tamau of the Cowboys as a tall front rower with good footwork both in attack and defence and he is also a leader on the field who can set the direction and tempo for his team by leading from the front in the most demanding position on a football field.

mdrew
28-09-15, 10:45 AM
42. Matamatagi Ripley. He is a young centre from the Logan Brothers club in Brisbane and was part of their U13 2015, grand final winning team, scoring two tries in the match, as well as having a very good game for the Titans in their U13 development squad against Toowoomba recently. In the Titans game he continued on with his good form scoring a very good long range try as well as kicking goal. He also represented U13 Stingers in the Queensland age championships earlier this year.
He is a super quick centre with an effortless running style with a classic centres build with the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the outside, something that is rare in the modern game. His has used this skill set on multiple occasions on the right side of the field. Right centre is the only position that I have seen him play. He has a very strong left hand fend which prevents opposing centres getting in on him and forcing him towards the sideline. Even though he has size, strength and power in the centre position, he does look for his outside support when confronted with the fullback, even though he is more than capable of beating fullbacks one on one if need be.

His kick at goal was very good, it was from around 20 metres in from the side line on a 45 degree angle. I have not seen him kick for goal before but he hit that one sweetly and it went straight between the posts. I am not sure whether this is a skill he practices or whether the coaches were giving different boys a chance, he does not usually for his Logan Brothers club side that I am aware of.

He is a smart player and will take what the defence gives him, when the defence is sliding he will cut inside and when the defence is playing an up and up style he has the speed and footwork to get on the outside of his direct opponent. He also has very good hands, for example in the U13 GBJRL grand final he picked up a number of passes from either low down or above his head and then can use his speed off the mark to look to create something for either himself or his team mates.

Defensively his game is built on intimidation, he will come in when the opportunity presents itself and hit very hard around the chest. In the Titans development squad game, you could see the opposing centre looking where he was positioned as the ball was moved out to the back line. He is also chase kicks very hard but not to the extent that he outruns the remainder of the defensive line or over runs the opposition player returning the kick.

The Titans Logan development squad has identified a number of very talented players, Matamatagi Ripley is certainly one of those. Moving forward he will play at the U14 level in 2016, with the powerful Logan Brothers club. The Logan Brothers club should be credited as they let their palyers across all age groups use the individual skills that they have in attack but also preach working hard in defence and dedication and discipline to the game plan. He should also be in line to represent Stingers at the U14 level and hopefully has a long association with the Titans in their Junior development squads.

Forme he a strong powerful centre with good speed and footwork and has the skills to stay at centre in the long term. From a style perspective, think of someone along the lines of Michael Jennings of the Roosters as a legitimate strike centre with the ability to make breaks from anywhere but also can handle the defensive side of the game. He is just one of those players that looks like he was born to play rugby league.

mdrew
28-09-15, 12:31 PM
41. Joshua Vuta. He is a young hooker/utility player who played in the Cyril Connell cup competition earlier this year for one of the gold coast sides. In the CC competition he played mainly in the hooking role, but in terms of junior club football he has played some back row as well. For his club side, being Runaway Bay he scored three tries in the eight games that he played in. He also plays rugby union for Somerset College, where he played at half I believe. He was the reserve half for Queensland One in schoolboys rugby union this year, thus he is a versatile and talented player across both codes.

He started at hooker for the Titans U16 side in their game against Samoa, in that game he also played some back row/centre and made a good fist of those positions as well, including keeping his spacing so that his inside support could put him into space allowing him to set up his winger, in that case being left winger Jeremy Miller for the try that put the Titans side ahead, where they stayed for the remainder of the game. On that occasion he tried to beat the fullback in the inside before passing to his winger rather than drawing and passing. He was nominated as the best player for the Titans U16’ development squad by the Samoan coach for his efforts.

In attack, regardless of the position hs is playing, he is quick and strong and has good footwork to beat opposition defenders and then has very good speed, not necessarily speed off the mark, but definitely has good top end speed once he gets moving. In relation to his play at hooker his passing is reasonably crisp, especially to the right side, but on occasion he passes in two movements, the first being a straightening motion with a distinct second motion being the delivery of the pass, on other occasions he does pass directly from the ground in one fluid motion, like he would be doing as a rugby half. He does like to run from dummy half and his strength and speed does compensate if there are no gaps in the defensive line. Once tackled he immediately starts fighting to get a quick play the ball in an effort to maintain momentum.

He can also kick out of dummy half and will chase very hard to prevent the opposition from making ground in relation to kick returns. His right foot kick is not huge but seems to be very accurate and normally finds the ground rather than defenders on the full.

In terms of wider positions, such as in the back row or at centre, he can and will talk on defenders and look to run over them, when he stays wide, like he did for the development squad good things happen for his team.

Defensively he is more than strong enough to defend in the middle of the ruck and quick enough to defend on the fridges. In the centre of the ruck he sets a strong base to create the necessary leverage to defend against larger forwards. When defending out wide, he is better in an up and in type defensive scheme rather than a sliding defensive structure. He is also extremely fit thus getting back into the defensive line is no issue for him over the course of the entire game.

Moving forward I would suggest that he will be in the mix for a role in the Mal Meninga Cup squads for 2016. The big question for he is where his long term future lies. I can legitimately see a case for him to stay at hooker, similarly there are skills in his game which suggest a future in a wider playing position such as in the back row or at centre. He has a diverse range of skills to take advantage of and with a reduction of the inter change down to eight and potentially a further reduction in coming years, a player of his type will become very valuable. I am a little conflicted but if I have to make a call it would be that his future lies as a wide running back rower. From a style perspective, one player with similar versatility that I can think of is Lewis Brown, shortly of Manly, who can play hooker, centre or back row depending on what the team needs and play them all quite effectively.

mdrew
29-09-15, 07:01 AM
40. Tom Landers. He is a young outside back who played on the wing in MM, earlier this year, but also played a lot of his club football in the centres. He played at centre for the Titans U18 Invitational side against Samoa recently. For MM White this year, he scored seven tries, and also scored five tries in the Gold Coast U19 competition before progressing to first grade where he scored two more tries in the three first grade games that he played for the Southport Tigers. He grew up in the Warwick/Toowoomba region, before moving down to the Gold Coast last year, and is a tall centre/wing who can find the try line.
He is very quick down the sidelines with a good in and away to beat defenders on the outside and will not get caught from behind if he gets into open space. I would not say that he has blazing speed but he does have decent top end speed and is unlikely to get caught from behind by anyone but the absolute quickest of opponents. His best attribute from an outside back perspective is his ability to keep his width and be available for his team mates, when the opposing defender cheats inside. When the ball is moved out the back line, he stays on the touchline, and a lot of the tries that he scored for MM White were when he was able to beat his opposite defender when they had come in just a fraction.

He probably could have scored a few more tries but made sure that his team would score when in open space as he would draw the fullback and pass to his support when he could have easily gone himself, a sign of a team player. One thing that I noticed more when he played for Southport was that he came into dummy half and took his turn at running the ball out of dummy. It is not something that he had to do in MM, but in U19’ and first grade he did not shirk his responsibilities on that front, again a sign of a team player.


When playing in the centres he looked to draw in the winger to try to create space down the touch line for the attackers outside him, but he does have enough pace, when he is able to get outside his opposing defender and make line breaks when the defensive winger stays out. Thus from what I have seen he has very good situational awareness in attack from either the centre or wing position.

In terms of chasing attacking kicks he has a very good leap and uses his forward momentum well to get above defenders, where the majority of the time he looks to catch the ball rather than hit it back to his team’s advantage. He also has very good hands low to the ground on grubber kicks or when defenders drop bombs and uses his length to get to the ball quickly before defenders. He also holds his line well when chasing kicks so that the opposing kick returner meets a straight line of defenders and not a staggered one.

In defence, he is not the strongest player, but will certainly look to hold his line defensively. When he plays on the wing, I did not often see him come in when he did not need to, preferring to stay on his opposing winger and trusting his teams inside defenders. From my perspective at least, his skill set in defence is more suited to a sliding defence structure rather than an up and in one.

Due to his solid skills in the air and his length he is solid at defusing bombs, and positions himself well by making sure that he is in position to come forward to meet the ball, rather than standing directly under it and trying to jump flat footed. This negates some of the advantage of the attacking team’s jumpers who can use their momentum to jump higher than defenders if the defender is caught under the ball, another sign of a player with good situational awareness.

Whilst he can clearly play either centre or wing, and I believe he actually played a bit of fullback in his younger days, I think that his skill set, build and situational awareness suggests that his long term future is definitely on the wing at the NYC level or above. It would not surprise however that he would get a fair amount of time in the centres if he plays at the QCup level if he does not break into the NYC side immediately next year. Moving forward to next year, an opportunity to train with the NYC side would not surprise and presents as a very smart player who will find the try line regularly whatever competition he plays in. From a style perspective, think of someone along the lines of the Titans own Anthony Don, as an under the radar player who is efficient and effective with his skills and with good awareness of the game and his role in it.

mdrew
29-09-15, 11:51 AM
39. Isaac Lee. He is a tall rangy centre from Lismore Marist Brothers in the Group One area, who has been with the Titans for a few years, and in addition to starting at centre in the recent U16 development squad game against Samoa, he also played in the U15 development squad game against the Balmain Tigers late in 2014, where he was named best back by Titans coaching and development staff in their loss. He had had a very productive season in the Group One junior rugby league competition from a try scoring perspective at least, he only played five games in the U16.5 competition but ended up with 11 tries, including two hat tricks.

He also represented NSW Combined Catholic Colleges Northern U18’s this year and played for St Johns College Woodlawn in numerous Schoolboy competitions throughout New South Wales. In the game against Samoa he formed a solid centre combination with fellow centre Kees Nicholson, where both showed flashes of the skills that they even though the conditions were difficult for outside backs. From a trivia perspective he is the son of former Cronulla Sharks front rower Danny Lee, all be it he is a completely different body shape to his front row father.

Over the course of the year you can see the difference, additional size has made, not in relation to the style of play but to his effectiveness as a hard running centre. He has always been a straight running centre, who is not afraid to run over rather than around his opponent, but with increased size and strength his effectiveness has increased his effectiveness exponentially. He regularly gets half way through the line and with his length is very effective in getting his hands free to off load, including offloading with one hand and has a decent fend to complement his off loading abilities.

Against Samoa due to the conditions, being wet and slippery, he modified his game and took a number of hit ups into the waiting forward pack, where again he was effective in using foot work prior to the line to make ground and take pressure off his own forward pack. Normally though due to his length and speed he regularly attracts multiple defenders leaving opportunities for him to set up his outside support.

Due to his length, he is effective both in attacking high attacking kicks as well as defusing them. He is better with high kicks rather than kicks along the ground.

Defensively his increased strength has meant that he is even more effective in the defensive aspects of the game, and can handle one on one situation’s against wide running opposition backrowers as well as smaller faster opposition backline players with his combination of strength and speed. He seems to rarely over commit in defence allowing the play to develop in front of him before committing to any particular defensive strategy. That would suggest that he is more suited to a sliding defensive methodology, but he is also able to defend using an up and in style of defensive strategy just as effectively. This ability to alternative between the two key defensive methodologies, depending on the opposition , the state of the game and where the game is situated on the field is invaluable.

Moving forward he will likely stay in Lismore for the next couple of years and continue to progress through the U18 ranks of the Group One competition as well as hopefully playing some senior football, and for St Johns College Woodlawn in the GIO Cup and other regional cup competitions and battle for a place in the East Coast Dolphins representative side at the U18 level as well as NSW Country U18 selection hopefully.

I think that ultimately he will end up as a player who can alternate between centre and wing and one that will be very good under the high ball and some one who will cause all sorts of headaches for opposing defenders at either position, but it is certainly not set in stone that he can not stay in the centres permanently as his development both physically and as a player this year has been great to see and bodes well for his future development as he has maintained his speed as he has developed his strength. From a style perspective think of someone like the Roosters Shaun Kenny Dowell as a player who can give a team a real attacking edge through multiple avenues and also be versatile enough to move between the two wide back line positions.

mdrew
30-09-15, 07:00 AM
38. Andrew (Andre) Semu. He is a tall rangy backrower who played very well for the Titans U14 development squad in their recent win against Samoa where he took it upon himself to match the giant, and I mean giant Samoan forward pack. The U14 side were 10-0 down and had no ball after a number of back to back penalties, but it was Andrew Semu and fellow forwards Stanley Jackson, Sam Wilmot, Drekwon Brown (22) etc who turned the tide on the back of hard straight running, quick play the balls and getting multiple players into the tackle to slow down the Samoan forward packs momentum. Once the tide had turned the Samoan side could not wrestle back the momentum and did not score again for the remainder of the match, as the Titans U14’s led by Andrew Semu , captain Brent Barnes at fullback and others did not let them back into the game as they played an up tempo style of football to take advantage of their greater mobility.

In relation to his club football, this year he played U14’s for the Beaudesert this year, scoring tries in the twelve games that he played. He also played a few games up in age group for the Beaudesert Kingfishers U15 Div 4 side, scoring two tries in those couple of appearances.

In attack, he is a wide running backrower with a very good turn of speed once he breaks through the line. He takes his share of runs in the middle of the ruck but he is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into. He then has the speed to outpace any cover defence. From the games that I have seem he normally runs to the left side of the field, and will run wider out and look to come back on the inside shoulder of the opposition defence on the edge of the ruck, looking for situations where the opposition inside defenders are slow to come across.

He is an aggressive runner and looks to continue to continue to pump his legs once he has contacted the defensive line, this making more metres for his team and with his determination he will also on occasion break clear of the defenders totally. At the very least, due to him continuing to pump his legs, he forces more defenders to commit to the tackle, meaning the defensive line is not set once he plays the ball.

The one thing that stands out is regardless of how many times that you watch him play is the intensity and effort that he puts in to every moment that he is on the field, both in attack and defence. This attribute can be seen in his defence, which whilst aggressive, is not overly so, in the context of him losing his discipline. Another thing that I picked up from the development squad game was that he was always there to support his team mates, in the second half the game got very willing and he was the first player there to support his side, not to the extent of anything negative, but to show that they would not in intimidated.

In the Titans development squad game, he defended both in the edge of the ruck and well as in the middle of the ruck. He was effective in both situations. His initial contact is solid and is more than enough to stop the momentum of the ball carrier. He is also effective at wrapping the ball up and preventing offloads.

Moving forward I would assume that he will continue playing for the Beaudesert Kingfishers at the U15 level in Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition and continue to be a part of the Titans junior development system. From a style perspective, the one that stands out for me is Gavin Cooper, formally of the Titans and now a key member of the Cowboys forward pack, as a tall, rangy, mobile, wide running backrower with some toughness to his game. For me he was one of the stand outs across all four of the Titans development squads in their games against Toowoomba and Queensland Samoa.

mdrew
01-10-15, 07:04 AM
37. Deon Samuela. His a young half/five eight from the Runaway Bay junior rugby league club where he played at the U14 level this. He was also part of the U14 Titans development squad that defeated Samoa recently. Whilst he played the majority of his club football at five eight, he played at half for the Titans development squad. He has also represented the Gold Coast in Vikings and Kookaburra’ squads over the last couple of years. For Runaway Bay he scored two tries and kicked eight goals at the U14 level for a twenty four point haul in that competition. He also played a number of games up an age group in the U15 Div 2 competition, where he excelled in the couple of games in played, scoring six tries and kicking fourteen goals for a points haul for the season of fifty two.

His game for the Titans development squad against Samoa was understated compared to his play with Runaway Bay. For Runaway Bay he takes the line on more, however rather than a negative, I see this as a sign of maturity, as the Tians U14’s backline in the second half were making huge inroads every time the ball went wide, thus Deon Samuela’s took it on himself to get quick clean football out to the backline, A task in which he succeeded in.

In attack, as already noted he is a half/five eight who is a dynamic runner of the football who excels in taking on the defensive line with deft footwork around the ruck, looking to seek out bigger slower forwards when they are caught on the edge of the ruck. He does not however have blinkers on, and when his backline is set deep, he can see an overlap or a another play developing he will get the ball out quickly and effectively, using his solid passing skills from both sides of his body, where he will put the football out in front of his runners.

Assisting his play is the fact that he makes the decision what to do with the ball quickly thus enabling the ball to get out wide quickly. One aspect that was notable in the development squad game, was how he directed the team around the field, he was in charge of when and where the forwards ran and also when he wanted the ball to spread it out wide to his backline.

He has a solid all round kicking game but like most young general play kickers he just needs to ensure that he does not try to kick the ball too hard and lose accuracy as a result. He will also chase his own kicks very hard.

Defensively he has decent size for a five eight, and probably would be considered a bigger half for his age group, a facet which assists in him being a very effective defender for his position, in fact he is an asset to his team’s defensive pattern to the extent that he has the strength and technique to more than hold his own one on one against wide running forwards.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 year at the U15 level and based on this year, may also play some U16 football for Runaway Bay. Even though he played half for the development squad, I think that he has the attributes necessary to stay at five eight in the long term. From a player comparison perspective thing maybe someone like the Parramatta Eels Cory Norman as a player who whilst an effective runner of the football, can also direct his side around the field.

mdrew
09-10-15, 11:17 AM
36. Jaxson Paulo. He played a number of positions this season, including centre, five eight and also some second row at the U16 level. In the Cyril Connell Cup competition this year, he scored six tries over the course of the short season, where he played a combination of centre and second row. He also came off the bench for the U16 development squad game against Samoa. In that game he played a lot of the game in the back row as one of the forwards went down injured early in the first half.

For his club side Nerang he scored seven tries and kicked forty-two goals to finish with a points total of 112 points, to finish one of the leading points scorers in the U16 Premier division on the Gold Coast. He also played one or two games in the U17 Premier division side and has been named in the extended MM raining squad for 2016. If you watched the video embedded in the development squad news article, Jaxson is the young bloke in jersey 18 who split the line before offloading one handed to number 6 Jaman Rio who offloaded to the eventual try scorer Isaac Lee. This very short video of him actually does present a synopsis of the skill set that Jaxson Paulo has, he is quick, strong and has a decent off load. The part of the video showing the Jaxson Paulo line break is about half way through the game footage.

As noted above, he has played the majority of his football prior to this year in eth centres and in that position, a big strong runner of the football. Whilst in does not have a great deal of speed off the mark, he does have decent top end speed and can break tackles by running over his direct opposite defender as well as using a very good fend, when he gets to the outside, this prevents defenders from getting he under his ribs and thus he can maintain his running line under defensive pressure.

As shown in the video due to his size he is very good at offloading the football when he is engaged with the defensive line, I would much rather see two hand off loads from junior players, Jaxson is one that is very effective at offloading with one hand, especially his right hand. When he breaks through the main defensive line he is also very effective at setting up his outside support, by drawing the fullback. This is a skill that is more difficult that it may seem, as the attacker needs to ensure that he draws the fullback before passing.

When he plays second row, he has got very good feet, in terms of not just charging straight at the set defensive line. He uses foot work before and after the defensive line to assist in breaking tackles and as the video shows he is adept at offloading in traffic. In terms of his attacking skills, he has the skills at this point in time to play either centre or second row.

As his statistics show he is an accurate goal kicker who also gets a deal of distance with his kicks, but like all younger kickers, if he tries to kick the ball too hard, accuracy suffers, but he can and will get them from the sideline. As he continues to get naturally stronger, there is no reason to suggest that he will have any problem at all from getting the distance from the sidelines whilst maintaining his accuracy.

In terms of his defence, he obviously during the course of this year, has defended both in the edge of the ruck and well as in the middle of the ruck. He was effective in both situations. One area that game him some slight issues was defending against smaller quicker centres, when defending out in the backline, but in saying that he is still quite effective as a defender in the backline. His initial contact is solid, especially when he is defending in the centres, and is more than enough to stop the momentum of the ball carrier. He is also effective at wrapping the ball up and preventing offloads. Due to his current attributes he is more effective when his team is using an up and in style of defensive strategy.

Moving forward,I would anticipate that he will make one of the MM sides as well as playing U17 Premier division as well as possibly playing some U19 football in the local gold coast competition. I think that ultimately he ends up in the back row, but not necessarily immediately, I certainly think that for the next couple of years, he will still be able to handle playing in the centres, but I think that by the time he gets to U20 level, either in NYC (if it still exists) or QCup Colts, he will likely transition to the back row full time where he will be a tall, rangy, mobile, wide running backrower who will also be a solid goal kicker.

From a style perspective, one player who comes to mind is retied Sydney Roosters back rower Craig Fitzgibbon, another would be Jed Cartwright of our NYC side. I think that Jaxson Paulo ends up around the same size with a similar skill set and long term project as Jed Cartwright, that being as a running back rower, who can fill a centre position if necessary. I know that Cartwright played exclusively in the centres in NYC this year, but next year, in my eyes he will probably at least start the progression to the second row.

mdrew
12-10-15, 07:34 AM
35. Kelepi Faukafa. He is a young backrower who signed earlier this year from Ipswich, although I note that he did start in the front row for the Titans U18 Invitational side against Samoa recently. He played well this year for the Ipswich MM side and is obviously looking to progress to the NYC ranks next year. He played his school football for Ipswich State High, a school from which a number of other young players will use time with the Titans to hopefully secure an NYC contract, players in that category include Raiden Fonoti and Kristian Petty. They, like Kelepi Faukafa are predominately backrowers. He also played for Met West in the QSSRL U18 State Championships.

Since the conclusion of the MM season he has graduated to playing 1st grade in the local Ipswich competition where he played the last seven games of the season. The Ipswich first grade competition is actually a pretty fair standard and is not for the faint hearted with a lot of big men hitting very hard, thus he is getting a good grounding in playing against men. I only saw one game of his games in the 1st grade competition but he certainly did not look out of place in that contest which was a bruising affair. In the first grade game that I saw he got absolutely smashed in a couple of tackles but each time he got up and kept coming for the entire game and in defence he was hitting just as hard as he was getting hit and seeming enjoying every minute of it.

Whilst he played in the front row for the U18 development side, he played the majority of this year in the back row where he is a hard running backrower who is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into thus making the play makers on his team look good. Even though he is good on the edge of the ruck, he takes his share of runs in the middle where he can use foot work prior to the line so as not to absorb huge hits against, usually larger forward packs. He does however go through stretches where he just runs hard and straight throwing self preservation out of the window, in a long run that probably not great for him but it does fire up his team mates when they see him charging at full speed into a set forward defensive line. I have not seen many offloads from him but obviously the type of game he plays requires few mistakes and he does that well.

Defensively he hits very hard and usually aims for just under the ribs and is certainly someone opposing forwards look for when running the ball up and is adept at making sure the opposition do not get quick play the balls, read that he is very good at winning the wrestling battle in the ruck. He defends in the centre of the ruck and seems best suited in the long run defending there and adds a degree of intimidation to any forward pack he plays for.

In 2016, he will join the NYC squad and from there it is up to Woolf what his role will be. Based on his experience playing against men in Ipswich I do not think that the step up in standard will worry him at all, and his aggression will hold him in good stead when opposing some of the massive forward packs running around in the NYC. On the field he seems very quiet from a verbal communication perspective, but is someone who will lead by example and will lift his side with a good run or a hard crunching tackle.

From a player comparison perspective, think of someone along the line of Mau Mau from the Parramatta Eels, as a tough hard running and tackling forward who will not back down and will add some aggression and an intimidation factor to the Titans NYC squad.

mdrew
12-10-15, 11:22 AM
34. AJ Brimson. He is a young five eight/half, who played well in the MM competition this year, with speed, specifically speed off the mark, being his calling card. Surprisingly he only scored one try in the MM competition, though, however he scored two tries in the game against Samoa, one of which was shown in the junior development squad video posted on the official website. One that occasion he was backing up on the inside and split the defence with his speed once he received the pass. He also played his schoolboy football for Keebra and made the South Coast QSSRL U18 squad. He also made his QCup Colts debut Tweed Seagulls late in the year, and scored a try on debut I believe. Understandably he is also a very good touch rugby player.

In attack, as noted above, his speed off the mark is the first attribute that you will notice when you see him play. Any video’s, including the video on the official site does not do his speed off the mark justice, watching him play live, it is great to see when he takes off. He does not seem to have an extra gear once he is through the defensive line, but has the ability to maintain his speed over a long distance, thus the apparent lack of an extra gear in speed has no discernible impact that I have identified. Coupled with a very good right foot step, his speed enables him to make numerous line breaks. He can and will beat defenders in the inside with a step and if the defensive line is staggered a dummy and go, presents multiple headaches for the opposition’s defensive strategies. He also backs up any line breaks and loves to score tries.

At present, one area for him to continue to develop is his play making skills, including putting his runners, whether they are backrowers or centres into holes. With experience however there is nothing to suggest that these type of play making skills will not develop over time. I am not suggesting that play making skills will eclipse speed as his key attribute, but enhanced play making skills will make his speed more effective as defensive lines start to focus in his runners and thus leave more space for him. As games progress he is very good at identifying tired forwards in the defensive line, and he will ruthlessly exploit that when he sees that. Against Samoa, he left a few forwards clutching at air as they began to tire.

He has a good short kicking game but he does not have the strongest leg in terms of kicking deep but is accurate enough and regularly finds the ground to enable the chasers to get down field. He will chase hard and usually is one of the first down field to defend. In terms of his short kicking game, he will back himself and put in little kicks over the top or grubber through the defensive line for himself, which causes all sorts of issues for defences due to his speed and desire to get to the ball first.

In defence, due to his size he is obviously not going to come up with the big hit but reads the play well enough and can hold his own when defending much bigger players. He will also track across field well looking when the ball is turned back inside. When confronted with forwards running directly at him on the edge of the ruck, he will get in front of them and use his shoulder in an effort to contain them into defensive help arrives.

Moving forward, I think that he will have an opportunity to be involved in the NYC squad in 2016 and will be one of a number of young players vying for an opportunity in the halves. Prior to this year I was of the opinion that AJ Brimson was strictly a half, but he has made enough progress in terms of play making and game management that playing at either five eight or half is reasonable from a career trajectory stand point.

From a player comparison perspective, think of the Bulldogs version of Ben Barba as a player who whilst known for his amazing speed off the mark, does have some other attributes to his game which can sometimes get be overlooked when people focus purely on his speed.

mdrew
13-10-15, 09:03 AM
33. Kyle Fairbank. He is a young backrower with a strong work ethic who played this year at the U14 level for Runaway Bay, including starting in the back row for our U14 development squad game against Samoa recently. For Runaway Bay, in addition to scoring 3 tries for the U14 Premier Side, he also played a number of games at the U15 level across a couple of divisions, including scoring a double in his only game at the U15 Div 2 level. Over the years he has also made numerous junior representative sides at the U13 and U14 level for the Vikings and Kookaburras. He stands out regardless of how many times that you watch him play is the intensity and effort that he puts in to every moment that he is on the field, both in attack and defence.

He is not the biggest young player you will ever see, but he is all effort in attack and will constantly run the ball into the heart of the opposition forward pack regardless of how big they are, for example the Samoan pack in the recent development squad match were huge but he charged at them regardless. He is a smart runner though to the extent that he does use good foot work prior to the defensive line to help negate his lack of size and he also has very good leg drive once initial contact has been made. He also works hard when tackled to ensure he gets a quick play the ball to maintain the momentum for his side.

In addition, he has enough pace to be an effective runner of the football to effectively run the ball on the edges of the ruck. He is not exceptionally quick but quick enough to rush defenders to make a decision when to commit to the tackle. Another area where he is quite effective is when he goes into dummy half to distribute the football, where he has a decent pass to both sides. He has not, to the best of my knowledge ever played hooker fulltime but is effective enough at distributing the ball when called upon.

In terms of his defence, he is a rare breed in that he has a very good low tackling technique, a skill he needs moving forward as he does not have the size to tackle huge opposition forwards ball and all, and is also an exceptional cover defender, in part because of the effort he puts in to track the ball across the field when opposition teams spread the ball wide. He will look to come out of the line to look to put a big hit on, to look to motivate his side on occasion, but that is not his go, his forte is that of a young player with an exceptional low tackling technique who can use both shoulders, ensuring his head is always in the right position, thus limiting possible injury. Whoever was responsible to teaching him to tackle should be congratulated. It is a pity that the ability to tackle low with the correct technique is fast becoming a lost art in the game.

Moving forward, he will play the 2016 season at the U15 level and will likely be in the mix for U15 South Coast representative sides etc. It would not surprise also if he plays some matches in the U16 Premier competition as well. For a young bloke he really throws himself into everything that he does on a football field. The question for some will be whether he is going to be big enough to continue to be effective in both attack and defence as he moves into the higher age groups of junior football, but I will not count him just yet out due to the effort he puts in to all aspects of his performance.

With rugby league likely to continue to trend to towards the adage that size of the forwards is the be all and end all, Kyle Fairbank is a throw back to the days when size was less important. He projects to be a smaller backrower who due to his aerobic capacity will be able to play the full 80 minutes, something that will become more important as the number of interchange continues to reduce over time.

A player comparison would possibly be someone like former Storm, Cowboys and Qld player Dallas Johnson, as a smaller player who will get absolutely everything out of the skills that he has and be impossible not to cheer for.

mdrew
14-10-15, 07:37 AM
32. Ediq Ambrosyev. He is a young fullback who played the 2015 season at the U13 level for the Coomera Cutters in the Gold Coast Junior rugby league competition. For the Cutters this year, he scored a total of 27 tries in U13 football as well as approximately half the 2015 season playing up in the U14 competition. In the 2014 year he scored around 50 tries, so he knows how to find the try line. In addition he represented U13 Vikings and Kookaburra’s as will as being selected at fullback for SEQ U13 White for the Queensland junior age championships. Previously he represented Qld at the U12 level, where he was selected in the second row. In the recent U13 Titans development squad game, he started in the bench, with Rixon Andrew starting at fullback, but he played a significant portion of the game at centre, scoring two tries in the game against an older Toowoomba U14’s, including an 80m run away intercept try.

He is an agile runner of the football who relies on his speed and elusiveness to make it difficult for larger opponents to line him up. It is interesting though to the extent that when he is open space, it does not look like he is running quickly, but he clearly is as he is rarely run down when he is in open space, including in the Toowoomba game where the chasing defenders made little ground on him at the 80m that he ran to score. When lining up at fullback he always makes himself available for offloads in the centre of the ruck where he has good footwork to beat forwards, including a good stutter step that ‘freezes’ the defensive line and then he can use his speed off the mark to make ground.

One thing that impresses me is that he does not jog after the ball when it is kicked down field, he will flat out sprint to get there either on the full or as quickly as possible, thus eliminating the effectiveness of the oppositions kicking game. When he retrieves the ball he makes a decision quickly about where to look to run around a staggered defensive line or to run straight in an effort to make as much ground as possible. To date he has not been asked to be a ball player out of the back of the ruck so it will be interesting to see how that skill develops as he plays at the higher levels.

One aspect of his game in terms of the fullback position, he does on occasion take some risks in terms of taking the ball on the full from kicks, I.e. sliding etc to look to take the ball on the full, but he has good hands and does not often lose control of the ball. He also has a good leap, thus is able to normally get above the chasers to defuse bombs, and as noted earlier he has good hands, thus he is also efficient at defusing grubber kicks as well.

I have not seen him play centre much at all, outside of the U13 development squad game and on only a few other bits of games, but he handled in very well, he maintained his spacing with his other centre and winger and also used a good in and away to score as well.

In terms of his defence the impressive thing for me when he is defending at fullback is that he will not just stand there and wait for the attackers to come to him, he moves forward quickly when a break is made, forcing the attacker with the ball to rush his decision making process, I.e. whetehr th pass or look to step him. In the centres, granted I have not seen him defend there all that much, he seems capable, especially in terms of an up and in defensive strategy.

In the 2016 season, I would think that he will play at the U14 level, but like previous seasons, he may well play a number of games up an age group at the U15 level. He will also be in line for representative football for the U14 Vikings, Kookaburra’s, South East Queensland etc. In relation to his long term position, prior to the U13 development squad game I would have said it is fullback first daylight second, but even though it is only one game, he looks to have the skill set to potentially play centre more often, however I still think that fullback will probably stay his primary position moving forward. We are well stocked with fullbacks in our junior development squads with the likes of Ediq, Rixon Andrew and Brent Barnes amongst them, so being able to play multiple positions is a good ability to have.

From a player comparison perspective, a now retired player that springs to mind who moves well even though it may not look like it and a player who seemingly has plenty of time to efficiently and effectively impact the game is former Raider, Queensland and Australian player, Gary Belcher.

mdrew
14-10-15, 09:22 AM
31. Corey Manicaros. He is a young hooker from North Tamworth who has recently signed for the next couple of seasons for our NYC side. I will stress from the outset, I have seen him play a lot less than everyone else being noted on this list, but the couple of times I have seen him play live, he has been exceptional. This year, he played his club football with North Tamworth, playing a lot of the year alternating between the U18 side and first grade in the Group 4 competition. In the U18 competition he was scoring on average around two tries per game and in first grade he had a strike rate of two tries every three games. He also played in both the U18 and first grade grand finals, with North Tamworth winning both. In the U18 game he scored three tries in the first 20 minutes and then was rested for the 1st grade grand final where he came off the bench in their win.

In addition is his club football, he also made numerous representative sides, including representing New South Wales CHS (Combined High Schools) in the ASSRL U18 championships, U18 Greater Northern Tigers in the NSW Country championships and also was involved in Farrar Agricultural Colleges GIO Cup campaign, thus he played a lot of football this year.

He is an extremely talented all round hooker, who excels at all three critical aspects of the modern day hooker, those being his distribution out of dummy half, selective running out of dummy half and defending in the centre of the ruck. In terms of his distribution out of dummy half, he is efficient in his passing and there is little wasted movement as he passes in one motion off the ground rather than two distinct movements like many hookers where they first stand then pass. In the games that I have seen there is no discernible difference between his passing from either side of his body, and his passes are crisp and flat and also he can pass a reasonable distance off the ground when the first receiver is standing a little wider of the play the ball. Where he is also extremely effective is leading his forwards onto the ball, he passes in front of the forward ensuring no loss of momentum to the run. In short he is a very good game manager from the hooking position.

Where he really stands out in terms of attacking play, is his speed out of dummy half, he is extremely quick and has exceptional footwork to take advantage of tiring forwards, using a step off both feet. He wins a lot of penalties by running at forwards who are offside, if the offside forward is called out of the play, he has the speed to break into open space and has the pace to make it difficult for the cover defence to get to him. Around the try line he is also very good at making the right decision whether the go himself for the try line or pass, where he gets down low and drives with his legs. Obviously as he progresses he will need to ensure that, especially close to the line he continues to make the right decisions. Due to the pace that he plays the game at and his speed he is always available in terms of backing up in the centre of the ruck, when forwards get there arms free.

His defence for a hooker is exceptional, for a smaller forward he is a hard hitter and can defend effectively one on one against far larger forwards, he sets a good base with his lower body and explodes upwards with his shoulders to drive opposing forwards backwards and is also very good at slowing the play the ball down. His intensity means that he will track the play across and thus is in a good position when the ball is passed back inside. He literally tackles everything that moves in the centre of the ruck.

Moving forward, from my perspective it is difficult not to see him as a real chance to play a major role in our NYC side next year, as an 80 minute player who will stiffen the defence in the centre of the ruck and lead the forward pack around the field with his distribution and leadership skills as well as being a constant threat to run out of dummy half. It would also not surprise to see him get an opportunity at QCup level as the year progresses.

From a player comparison perspective, due to his distribution, running, defence and the speed and intensity that he plays the game at, a playing style akin to Danny Buderis of the Knights is an appropriate comparison I would suggest.

mdrew
14-10-15, 12:39 PM
30. Caleb Williams. He is an exceptionally fast outside back who unfortunately suffered a season ending dislocation injury early in the 2015 season meaning that he was only an to play a handful of games throughout the season, including only a couple of MM games, I think as few as two, scoring only one try in that limited time on the field. His sole try in MM this year, however demonstrated the skill set that he possesses, he got the ball early, beat his opposing centre of the outside with a great in and away and sprinted approximately 60m, easily outpacing the covering defence to score in the corner. He currently attends TSS (The Southport School) after previously attending PBC, but he is originally from northern New South Wales. He has run around 10.21s for the 100m, so saying he is fast is an understatement.

He is just an incredibly fast player who has an effortless running style, he looks like his is gliding across the ground. In the centre position, he has the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the outside, something that is rare in the modern game. When he gets the ball early from his inside play makers, he is incredibly difficult to deal with one on one, as whilst his speed has already been noted, he is also a powerful runner who has the power to also break tackles and not just rely on his speed.

You can just sense the uncertainty in the defensive line when he receives the ball with space to manoeuvre. He must be a half/five eight’s dream in that teams will look to get up onto him quickly, potentially leaving space for them to dummy and run. Also when the team is struggling he can just make something happen out of nothing even against a set defensive line, he can just drift across the field and then explode into any gaps that he can see develop.

To be honest, I have not taken a great amount of notice in terms of his defence. He seems solid in that area and clearly has the ability to use his speed to compensate if a player gets around him, based on that attribute alone, I would suggest that he would be better suited to a sliding defensive methodology rather than an up and in style of defence.

Due to the injury he likely will play MM again next year, although I note that he has not been included in the initial train on squad, likely due to the long term injury, which will mean he will not return to training well in the New Year.

The only query is where he will play, is it at centre or fullback, where he can use has pace in more open space. Personally I think that he would be a little wasted on the wing with his skill set. The mind boggles at what he could do in more space at fullback, returning kicks against a staggered defensive line or running off passes when forwards have gotten through the initial defensive line and off load. If push came to shove however, I would think that his long term position is at centre. In my opinion the most difficult position to develop a player is that of a legitimate ‘strike” centre, there are so few in the game, thus why not give a young player with the skills to fulfill that role the best chance to reach his potential there before considering other positions.

Regardless he looks an exceptionally gifted player who from a player comparison perspective looks to have a similar style to the Titans own James Roberts, being someone who has skills that you just can’t teach and can make something happen out of nothing as well as raising the anticipation of the crowd every time the ball heads in his direction.

mdrew
14-10-15, 01:02 PM
29. Stanley Jackson. He is a powerful young front rower from the powerhouse Logan Brothers club in Brisbane’s south. He is part of one of our three U14 development squads, specifically our U14 Logan development squad and started in the front row for our U14 development squad in their recent 28-10 win against Samoa. He also captained his U14 Logan Brothers club side in their GBJRL grand final at Nundah in September against Wynnum Manly. He made numerous representative sides in 2015 including U14 Stingers and U14 South East Queensland for the Queensland age championships in June, starting in the front row for both of those representative sides. I caution however that he is also part of Broncos and Cowboys U14 development squads, as well, thus he is clearly held in high regard by junior development recruitment and development staff across Queensland.

He is a big powerful young man who whilst using his size to his advantage by running hard and straight, he does have quite decent footwork prior to the defensive line, which he uses to cut back behind the play the ball to take advantage of defenders who are slow to get back into the defensive line. In the GBJRL grand final he played a major role in Souths Logan wrestling back the momentum from Wynnum Manly in the second half by running straight and hard into a Wynnum defensive line that had their tails up after closing the gap on the score board.

Whilst he does not seem to offload the ball too often, when he does get his arms free he only passes when his support is in a better position, which is a sign of maturity for such a young player. He continually put his hand up all day to take the ball up and has a very quick play the ball so that his team can maintain momentum. In the development squad game he off loaded on a couple of occasions which maintained the Titans momentum in the second half as they started to get on top of the bigger Samoan forward pack.

One area that he did not seem to use too often this year, but does seem to have the capacity to develop based on his size, skills and footwork is the ability to off load before the line, an example of what I am meaning is how the Canterbury Bulldogs forward pack uses those small offloads prior to the line. Stanley Jackson has shown glimpses of having the skills to utilise the same skills if the opportunities arise.

In defence he uses his size and strength to make very solid initial contact and certainly can take on all opposing forwards one on one. He is not adverse to looking for the big hit but does have a good front on defensive technique, maintaining decent leverage and reasonable agility and lateral movement when looking to tackle smaller opponents on the edge of the ruck, although clearly he is more effective in the centre of the ruck, as most front rowers are.

It is clear from how his team mates respond to him that he is a leader on the field and clearly is a hard trainer due to the fact that he was still going at the same pace at the start of the grand final as he was at the end even though he seemed to take a knock early in the game but came back on when his team needed him on a very hot day against a quality opposition who had the momentum at that critical stage of the game. Also you are not made captain of any Logan Brothers side unless you show leadership attributes and also train hard and remain dedicated. Throw in multiple development squad training sessions and camps with us and other teams and you have a fit dedicated young man.

Next year, he should be a mainstay of Logan Brothers U15 side which again will be a very good, well coached side and hopefully a long term member of our Elite Junior Development Squads. He is obviously spoilt for choice though between the Titans, Broncos and Cowboys, obviously hopefully he sticks with us though. With representative football commencing in school boy football at the U15 level, he will be difficult to keep out of one of the Queensland sides (two are picked each year) for the Australian U15 school boys competition. This is the competition in which Titans Elite Academy member Geordie Brand was selected as player of the carnival earlier this year.

From a style perspective, think along the lines of the Jarrod Warera-Hargraves of the Roosters as a big strong forward leader with a skill set that belies the intimidating presence that he projects on the field, and you also add in leadership skills in the most demanding position on a football field, a good mix all round.

mdrew
14-10-15, 01:22 PM
28. Josh Ralph (Updated from post earlier this year). He is a young half who essentially played the entire season with the Runaway Bay first grade side, where he was quite impressive, including scoring 7 tries in the eleven games that he played at that level. He played a couple of games for MM White earlier this year, including a one or two at five eight. He was also part of the U20 Gold Coast Vikings side that won their competition and scored a double in both of his team’s games.

He can find the line as evidenced by the stats noted above and can be confirmed by the fact that he scored 15 tries in 11 games in 2014 at the U19 level when he was only 16/17 years old. He also started at half for an U19 Titans Invitational side in their 40-6 win over Samoa, where he teamed with AJ Brimson (5/8) and in my opinion was one of the Titans better players in difficult conditions that afternoon.

He is only slight of build even when up against players in his own age group but looks even smaller against men. Do not take his lack of size in any way as a lack of ability or courage, he has a lot of both, which is on display each time he runs onto the field. With the ball he is a very good distributor and will take the ball to the line in an effort to set up his supports. He is particularly adept at using the blind side when he sees an opportunity. Even against men he will back his judgement and take the game on. Assisting his play is the fact that he makes the decision what to do with the ball quickly thus enabling the ball to get out wide quickly. In previous seasons when I have seen him play he sometimes took the line on himself too much, but the times that I have seen him play this season he has become more selective about when to pass and when to run. This was on display against Samoa as well.

He has a good short kicking game but he does not have the strongest leg in terms of kicking deep but is accurate and regularly finds the ground to enable the chasers to get down field. In defence, due to his size he is obviously not going to come up with the big hit but reads the play well and can hold his own when defending much bigger players. He is also very vocal on the field always talking and encouraging his side.

It will be interesting to see where to from here for him in terms of whether he progresses to NYC next year and I am sure that he will be written off in some quarters due to his size, but I would not count him out just yet, even though he will be competing with the likes of Josh Fauid etc next year for a spot. He may need to prove himself in QCup before getting an opportunity at the NYC level however. Whilst he has played some football at five eight and even though sometimes in the modern game it is difficult to distinguish between who is playing half or five eight, half seems to be where his future is from my perspective.

From a player comparison perspective thing maybe a Gary Freeman type player as someone who will give everything on the field regardless of their size and will not back down and has the organisational, leadership and game management skills that will give him an opportunity to succeed.

palmbeachpariah
16-10-15, 10:30 AM
take it from me..caleb w cannot defend ..hes well suited to stay at tss and play union

mdrew
16-10-15, 12:21 PM
27. Jordan Birch. He is a young fullback from Nerang who played is club football there at the U17 Premier level this year as well as playing MM, he will be eligible for MM again in 2016. He also started at fullback for the Titans U18 Invitational side against Samoa recently. For MM Green, he scored one try and kicked nine goals for a tally of 22 points. For Nerang, he scored four tries and kicked two goals for a season tally of 20 points in the U17 Division Premier competition. He also represented South West U18’s in the QSSRL U18 School Boys State Championships, where he played one or two games in the centres, rather than his traditional fullback role. He also played his schoolboy football for Coombabah in the Queensland Super Six GIO Cup competition.

He is a silky smooth player, who looks like he glides across the field picking and choosing his time to get involved and wants to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. He is very quick off the mark and when the ball is being brought out of his teams half he is always around the forwards looking for off loads but as evidenced in the U18 development squad game against Samoa, where on a couple of occasions he took advantage of tiring forwards to make ground in the centre of the ruck.

He also can play the way a lot of the current fullbacks play when they receive the football “out the back” from the five eight. In those circumstances, he seems to currently he runs more than he passes, but he is usually one of the better players in all of the teams that he has played on to date, thus I have no doubt that his passing and decision making skills will improve in these situations as he continues to play with ‘better’ players.

He seems to also have a very good positional sense in terms of taking a high percentage of opposing teams general play kicks on the full, thus regularly giving his team good initial field position to start their set of six. Similarly his positional sense when close to his own goal line means he defuses a lot of attacking grubber kicks as well. He will also take the responsibility to run the ball back himself rather than hand it up to his winger. When the kick goes to a winger, he is good at running out of dummy half prior to the defensive line getting set. In the game against Samoa, the conditions were difficult for fullbacks, thus I am not going to be critical but he normally has very safe hands.

In terms of goal kicking, in most of the games I have seen he has not done much goal kicking at all, thus I can’t make any technical comments, but obviously he is at least going to be a secondary goal kicking option as he progresses based on his statistics from this and previous years.

In relation to his defence, one thing that stood out to me was that he will not take a dummy from attackers running at him and he will stay with the ball carrier on all occasions. He seems to stand very shallow at fullback in defence, but with his speed he is able to compensate, also his fullback positioning is dependent on his teams coaching staff and thus I am absolutely not being critical when he positioning is almost certainly a coaching methodology issue. He is also a good talker from full back, you can hear him talking to his team mates about their positioning in defence and offering encouragement.

For 2016, he has been named in the Gold Coast MM train on squad, however I understand, and I could be totally wrong, that he will be doing at least some training with the Titans NYC squad over the off season, not sure whether that is all sessions or just some. I do not think that he will start in NYC due to Greg Lelesiuao likely being the fullback there but after the MM competition winds up in June he will probably progress to QCup Colts and from there it is possible that he gets some opportunities in NYC late next season depending on form and injuries.

Whilst he has played some centre, in representative football at least, with the skills he has and the way the modern game is played now and seemingly into the future, fullback seems to be his best position going forward. For me he is one of those players that may not stand out the first one or second time you see him play but the more you see him the more you start to appreciate some of the less obvious aspects to his game such as his positioning at fullback, his clean hands etc.

From a style perspective, I would consider someone like former Canterbury Bulldog Luke Patten as a solid comparison as a gifted played who does a lot of little things well and is sometimes over looked by everyone but his team mates.

mdrew
19-10-15, 08:14 AM
26. Brendan Piakura. He is a young defence orientated backrower who played this year at the U13 level for Helensvale, scoring seven tries and kicking three goals for a season tally of 34 points. He also made U13 Vikings and U13 Kookaburra’s representative sides as well as playing for South East Queensland in the Queensland State Age Championships in July this year, where he started at lock in his team’s games. He also started at lock for the Titans U13 development squad in the recent victory over Toowoomba U14’s, where he made quite an impact defensively, before succumbing to a shoulder injury which forced him off the field. In terms of schoolboy football, I believe that he attends Keebra Park.

He is not the biggest or fastest forward running around, I would say that he would be actually, outside of hookers, be one of the smaller forwards running around in the U13 Premier Division in the Gold Coast competition. He reasonably effective at gaining ground in the centre of the ruck by running at gaps rather than trying to run over larger forwards. He uses his determination and continues to pump his legs to gain as much ground as he possibly gain before trying to get a quick play the ball.

Where his greatest impact on a game is going to be is his defence. His has a great tackling technique and a hard hitting style to go with it. I think that in every game that I have seen him play, including representative games as well as for the U13 development squad, he has made a huge impact defensively. It is not a reckless style where he runs in trying to pull off the biggest hit possible, it is a cold, calculating style where he uses a great technique to hit opposing forwards just under the rib cage to devastating effect. He sets strong lower base by setting his legs and generating force by driving through the tackle with his lower body, gaining leverage and momentum, culminating with the power projecting through his shoulders with the kinetic effects projecting into his opponent. Because of the zone he targets, his tackles derives a lot of dropped balls as his tackles hit the bottom of the football knocking it loose and forcing the mistake from the opposition.

I do not want to give people the impression that every tackle that he makes, he drives his larger opponents backwards, but when the opportunity presents itself such as when an opponent starts to run slightly across field, he will clinically and effectively make the opposition player pay. When he drives a much larger opponent backwards, you can see the impact of the tackle immediately, his team are galvanised and generate additional confidence, conversely you can see the opposition forward’s head drop, and on a few occasions followed by the ball. As games progress you can actually see opposition forwards who are running the ball, look for where he is in the defensive line. As a result he has the ability to seal off one side of the ruck, enabling his team’s defensive strategy to be adjusted accordingly.

Next year he will play the 2016 at the U14 level and I would think that he will also secure his place in a number of age group representative sides as well, and continue to train and play for the Titans development squads. I can not see a move away from the back row for him, where he can be a real difference maker as a result of his defence as well as being an 80 minute player.

From a style perspective, I know that I have used this comparison before but he does remind me of former Storm and North Queensland Cowboy, Dallas Johnston as a feared defender who despite his size is reasonably effective at making ground in the centre of the ruck, due to the fact that he will run at gaps rather than trying to run over defenders. His calling card though is and will continue to be his defence where he can be a real difference maker and force opposing coaches and players to factor into their game plan where he defends.

mdrew
19-10-15, 09:09 AM
25. Luke Mastroanni. He is a young front rower who was one of the best players in the CC competition this year and he has been named in the MM train on squads for the 2016 season. He also started in the front row for the Titans U16 development squad in their recent victory against Samoa, a game in which I believe that he captained the side. He also has captaincy experience from the CC competition this year as well. He played his club rugby league for Runaway Bay in the U16 Premier competition this year where he scored eight tries for the season, many through busting tackles close to the goal line.

He runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step to anyone and led the charge early on the development squads game against Samoa. He will not wow onlookers with offloads or line breaks but will continue to work all day, both in attack and defence. One slight change, that has paid handsome dividends for him, is that I have noticed from previous years is that he has developed a step prior to hitting the defensive line, which has enabled him to get partly through the line and extend the running metres that he makes. Where that particular aspect has made a noticeable difference to the effectiveness of his game is when he uses his foot work to change direction during his run to target the area behind the play the ball. He is just a relentless worker who will put his hand up to take multiple runs in the same set of tackles.

For a young player this is a very positive development to the extent that he understands rugby league and shows that he has the ability to make subtle changes to his game and improve his effectiveness exponentially as a result. It has also meant more offloads in his game, but offloads are not something that he does frequently but and he will only offload when there is a high degree of probability that the player he passes to, will be in a better position than himself thus promoting the football to the benefit of his team.

In attack, he understands that his role is to take hit ups and always is available when the ball needs to be taken out from his goal line and for a front rower he really gets back quickly to take his turn. He is also a smart footballer to the extent that he understands the attacking plays unfolding around him and stays out of the way on those occasions. He does run decoy plays very well and on those occasions it really does look like he expects to receive the ball rather than just running a decoy line for the sake of it. This attribute makes for the possibility of future success as his teams play makers develop the ability and confidence to hit the front runners, rather than passing “out the back” every time.

In defence he is not an overly big hitter but definitely makes solid initial contact and is very effective at targeting the football in order to reduce the possibility of off loads. For a front rower his lateral movement is very good meaning that he can make tackles against smaller attackers running out of dummy half or on the back of off loads. Due to his aerobic fitness and relentless attitude, he covers inside well when balls are turned back inside on the fringe of the ruck, even late in games when he has every right to be worn out, but he somehow wills himself to get there and make the tackle when needed.

When at marker he works hard and always gets out of marker quickly to put pressure on the kicker, but then will be one of the first forwards back to take his turn to bring the ball out from his own territory. He is also disciplined in his defensive attitude and rarely gets penalised for holding down or having his hands on or near the football. His aim is to win the defensive battle and then be ready to make the next tackle.

Projecting forward to the 2016 season and beyond, he projects to stay in the front row long term, and next year be a mainstay of one of the Gold Coast MM sides and hopefully a long term member of our Elite Junior Development Squad as well as playing in the U17 Premier Division competition and possibly playing some U19 football in the local Gold Coast competition. Depending on what happens with the NYC competition beyond 2016, it would not surprise to see him play U20 football as early as 2017.

In addition he continues to display the leadership attributes that you like to see in a player/person, not just in junior rugby league, but across any level of our game. He shapes as someone who has the attributes to be a first grade/club captain one day.

From a style perspective, someone like Aaron Woods (with less facial hair and a better hair cut) of the Wests Tigers would be an appropriate comparison (with less silly niggle in his game) as a forward with a sound temperament, leadership qualities and the ability to play long stretches of games without a break on the interchange bench.

mdrew
19-10-15, 09:59 AM
24. Zac Beecher (Updated from post earlier this year). He is a young hooker who played very well in the MM competition this year, scoring six tries in that competition and subsequent to the completion of that competition progressed to playing 1st grade in the Northern River Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) competition for Ballina. The NRRRL competition is not a bad standard and thus for him to be playing hooker in that competition at 17 is no mean feat at all. Last week, he was named in the NRRRL team of the year, which is no mean feat at all. He also plays for St Johns Collage Woodlawn and made the NSW Combined Catholic Colleges side for the U18 Australian Schoolboys championships that were played earlier this year. He was first signed by the Titans from Northern NSW as a 14 year old, and has since progressed through the CC and MM competitions and next year likely into the NYC squad.

He is solid all round hooker who distributes effectively to both sides of the ruck. He does have some speed when running out of dummy half but as he progresses up the ladder through higher standards of competitions he will need to ensure that he is selective about when he runs the ball and when he passes. As the season progressed in relation to the NRRRL, he did in fact become more selective in terms of running out of dummy half and as a result ended up more effective and drew a number of penalties as forwards tired and just could not get back on side.

He is efficient in his passing and there is little wasted movement as he passes in one motion off the ground rather than two distinct movements like many hookers where they first stand then pass. He passes well from both sides of his body. His passing to eth left is still a little better than to the right, but from the MM competition to the end of the NRRRL 1st grade competition, he made positive strides in that regard, thus there is no reason to expect anything other than continued progression. One thing that he does well in dummy half is not taking his eye off ball intil it is in his hands. I know that that sounds like common sense, but even in first grade the number of fumbles that occur from the dummy half is too high.

Another skill that he continued to develop playing against men in the NRRRL was kicking out of dummy half. He did not kick out of dummy much in MM but kicked from there more regularly as the NRRRL season progressed. He is not a long kick, but is effective at finding the ground with his kicks. He was an effective kicker in terms of game management, what I mean by that is that late in games when his team were up or needed a breather he kicked for touch in those instances, which showed a high level of maturity and game management skills.

He defends in the middle of the ruck and is an effective low tackler and is adept at wrapping the ball up. He is also very good defending at marker in terms of harassing the opposition kickers. He is not going to wow you with his defence because you will not see big hits, but you will see an efficient and effective defender.

He has very good endurance and projects as a hooker who will be able to play 80 minutes without interchange, which will become a critical skill as the number of interchanges are reduced to 8 next year, and possibly even lower in subsequent years. For the 2016 season, I think that he has a real shot at being part of the NYC squad next year but with the signing of Cory Manicharos and Jordan Scott still eligible for NYC, it will be a battle but whoever wins that spot, which is a good position for Woolf to be in. His experience playing against men for a significant portion of the 2015 season will stand him in good stead for that challenge. If he does not start in NYC I would expect him to be a key member for Tweed Seagulls in the QCup Colts competition.

From a player comparison perspective think someone along the lines of the resigned Nathan Friend as a hard working player with leadership skills, a diverse skill set and someone that his team mates will appreciate playing with.

mdrew
19-10-15, 10:58 AM
23. Blake Lenehan. He is a young forward who has been signed from Ipswich and played this season for Ipswich in MM, where he won the coaches award for the 1015 season before progressing to the Ipswich Jets QCup Colts side, where he played the second half of the season in the front row, not bad at all for a 17 year old and was the team mate of fellow 17 year old and Titans signee Liam Pakau in both QCup Colts and MM. He also played a hand full of U19 games for West End in the Ipswich competition prior to his colts call up. The Ipswich MM side has been a fertile breeding ground for the Titans this year, with a couple of others players from that side likely to be seen in Titans colours in NYC over the coming years.

He has been named in the Gold Coast MM train on squad for the 2016 season, although hopefully he gets an opportunity to train with the NYC squad over the off season. He also started in the front row for the Titans U18 Invitational side’s 40-6 victory over Samoa recently, where for me he was one of the Titans better forwards on the day.

I am not going to wax lyrical too much in relation to Blake Lenehan because what you see is what he get and no matter how many words that I write about his attack and defence, they could all be summed up in a couple of words – an old style, hard working, effective forward. He is just solid at all aspects and also has good size for a forward. He is around 187cm and 100kg and has the physical attributes to add more muscle mass without compromising his speed, lateral movement or aerobic endurance at all.

He is a no nonsense type of player who will do a lot of the heavy work in the middle, both in attack and defence. Whilst he has played the last couple of years in CC and MM as well as QCup Colts in the front row, I think that into the future his primary position will be in the second row where he should be a close to an 80 minute player.

It will be interesting to see where he plays next year, as he is still eligible for MM, but should push for an NYC spot hopefully, if not I would expect that at the conclusion of the MM competition he will go directly to the QCup Colts competition. From a player comparison perspective think Tohu Harris or Kevin Proctor, both of the Melbourne Storm as someone who is just a solid and effective rugby league player.

mdrew
19-10-15, 02:56 PM
22. Keegan Vandenberg. He is a young backrower from the Norths Devils junior rugby league club in Nundah in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane, which is right in the heart of Brisbane Broncos territory and was part of this year’s Titans Logan based U13 development squad, as well as being a stand out after coming off the interchange bench for the development squad in their recent victory against Toowoomba at Pizzey Park. The Titans coaching and development staff should be commended for getting some very talented young players from all parts of Brisbane into the Logan Based Development Squad to enhance the junior development program outside the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales based development squad members.

He also made the Stingers U13 representative side which played in the Queensland Age Championships in June this year. His team mates included other Titans development squad members such as Rixon Andrew, Brocco Uhrle and Laaiva Pritchard-Malaki, like Keegan Vandenberg these other players are in the Titans Logan development squad. I believe that he attends Wavell and thus should be involved in schoolboy football at a high level in a well-coached environment. Current Titans contracted Australian School boys fullback David Fauid also attends Wavell and Josh Fauid who will be playing NYC next year is a former student and also plays for the Norths Devils.

He is a very calm player on the field even though he plays the game at a very high speed and is most effective on the edge of the ruck. His style of play is that of a wide running back rower with above average speed for the position. I would actually argue that in fact a better definition of his speed would be well above average, and I am talking the speed of an outside back not a backrower where he plays. He is exceptionally quick off the mark, but what makes him even more impressive from a speed perspective is that when he gets into space, he has an extra gear again, making it almost impossible for the cover defence to catch him once he is open space.

The Toowoomba defence had all sorts of trouble trying to contain him, both in terms of him taking the ball up into the centre of the ruck, but he was almost untouchable when he ran on the fringes of the ruck and he used his foot work to beat defenders with a variety of moves, including a step off both feet and a very good in and away. Couple those two aspects with a very good fend and you have a young player who causes nightmares for a defensive line. He will also not be stopped without a fight, on a couple of occasions when he played for the two U13 stingers sideand again against Toowoomba, the defence had to commit multiple players into the tackle to stop him from continuing to gain ground forcing a fracture in the defensive line, He just refuses to stop pumping his legs.

He will need to ensure that at the end of his runs he does not rush the play the ball, something that I am sure that he will develop with his continued maturity as a player. He is not a huge backrower but he runs with pace, strength and power every time he touches the ball. I have not seen a great deal of him off loading the football, but the ball skills that he possess would suggest this particular will develop into a plus skill over time.

He is aggressive in defence whether he is defending in the centre of the ruck or on the fringes, and due to his natural strength is more than capable of defending one on one and can and will stop even the biggest opposing forwards in their tracks and targets the area around where the attackers carry the football. His speed and lateral movement means that he will not be beaten by light stepping halves trying to take advantage of tiring forwards or the opposition running out of dummy half. I have noted that he is aggressive, but not to the extent that he will give away penalties, he just wants to win every one on one battle.

Due to his speed and athleticism he covers across the field well, thus putting him in a good position to make the tackle when the ball is turned back inside from the halves. He also is clearly very fit, he played big minutes for the Stingers U13 side and even in the development squad game, and he did not look out of breath when he was interchanged. One thing that seemed to be the case for me was that he appears to be very quiet on the field, but as he gets more accustomed to the players around him this may change.

In the 2016 season, he will play his football at the U14 level and will be hard to keep out of Stingers representative sides once again and hopefully he is a long term member of the Titans junior development set up. I could see that some people may consider that a move to the centres may be a good utilisation of his skills, but for me when you have such a talented young player in the back row with the touch of aggression that he has you allow him to develop at an appropriate pace in his seemingly natural long term position. I appreciate the concept of versatility but when a player is a natural fit at one position, the best thing to do is let them continue to gain experience there rather than trying him a different position just to see if he might fit there as well.

From a player comparison perspective, I am a little reluctant to say so but the Canterbury Bulldogs version of Sonny Bill Williams springs to mind as an appropriate comparison, when you see the combination of the skill set he possesses and the athletic ability, add in a touch of aggression and you have a young player of immense potential who plays the game seemingly at a different pace to most of the players around him.

mdrew
20-10-15, 07:30 AM
21. John Boy Quinlan. He is a young centre from the Armidale region of New South Wales who played senior football this year, including one match at five eight and was selected in the Greater Northern Tigers U18 side in the centres, the second year in a row he represented the Greater Northern Tigers at the U18 level. He can probably consider himself unlucky not to have been selected in the NSW Country U18 side in either of the last two years. In addition, he has already played a number of games for our development squad over the last couple of years. Whilst he has played a fair bit of his football at centre over the last year or two, prior to that fullback was his primary position as he progressed up the junior ranks.

He is a solidly built young centre who I consider quick rather than fast, he has decent speed once he gets going but does not have the extra gear to outpace defenders once he gets into space, similarly he is not very quick off the mark and in attack relies on his strength and a good right foot step and fend to break tackles. He is not going to make a lot of breaks himself, but he does set up a lot as his strength allows him to break the first tackle and then off load to his support players. He is also adept at getting outside his opposite centre and draw in the winger allowing a clear passage for his winger to make ground down the touch line. He just seems to have the knack of breaking tackles that he does not have any right to, including when he runs from dummy half, where a strong right hand fend enables him to push off defenders. The times that I have seen him play at fullback he looks to get the ball quickly and brings the ball back straight and hard.

In defence, he gets up into the face of the attacking centre and aims to cut off the time and space of his opposite. Based on his strength and the fact that he does not have blazing speed off the mark, he is better suited to an up and in style of defence where he can time his move to target the attacker as he is receiving the ball rather than letting them get on his outside. His initial contact is very good and he seems to aim for around the chest of his opponents.

Whilst he has a history of playing his junior football at fullback and the fact that he has played some first grade NSW country football at five eight, I think that the move to centre is the correct one in terms of possible future success for the Armidale product. For the 2016 season, it will be interesting to see whether he gets an opportunity in NYC, with his experience against men in first grade and the last one or two Murri carnivals, where he played with his younger brother Phillip, standing him in good stead from a physical perspective, but like all young players, it will be whether he can adapt to the increased speed of the game that may be the defining factor.

From a player comparison perspective, I know that they have different builds but similar to the way that they both have knack of breaking tackles when they really should not be able to and the defence knows that they are going to run from dummy half, there are aspects of the play of recently retired Brisbane Broncos centre Justin Hodges in his game.

mdrew
20-10-15, 08:22 AM
20. Phillip Quinlan. He is a young forward from the Armidale region of country New South Wales and is the younger brother of John Boy Quinlan. This season he made numerous junior representative sides including Group 19 U18’s and the Greater Northern Tigers U18’s for the NSW Country championships, in both squads he played with his brother John Boy Quinlan. In 2014, he was selected in the NSW Country U16 side and early this season played a number of Titans junior development games. He also played in the recent Murri carnival in the open age group, which is no mean feat for a 17 year old where again his brother has his team mate.

Unlike his brother who is an outside back, Phillip is a forward who has played plenty of football both in the back row and as well as up front, for example he played in the front row for NSW Country U16 but played in the back row for the Greater Northern Tigers U18’s this year. In essence, the closer to the centre of the ruck that he plays the more effective he is, meaning that based on the way that the game is going he will likely end up at either front row or lock, as unlike previous generations where locks were wide running players, they now play predominantly central to the ruck.

In attack he is a straight runner of the football and there is little subtly to his game, it is get the ball and run straight ahead to gain as much ground as possible and get a quick play the ball. On occasion he does use some footwork prior to the line but in the main it is head down and run straight. If defences do not target his legs he will drag defenders with him as he continues to pump his legs and continue to fight until the tackle is finished, then he will fight to get a quick play the ball. He just needs to make sure that he maintains his composure when fighting to get to his feet.

He can off load the football but usually seems cautious not to make a mistake, which based on the way that he has been asked to play, it is a wise choice. His hands are actually quite decent and thus I think that he has some untapped potential to ball play a little more, but he is still eligible for U18’s in 2016 so he has plenty of time, and the fact that he will almost certainly play first grade in Group 19 next year, if he is still in the Armidale region will accelerate the development of his ball playing, because whilst it may not have been on show in the games that I have seen, there has been just some little flashes that suggests that there may be more to come in that area.

In defence the critique is simple, he relishes the contact in the centre of the ruck, he hits hard and often and looks to dominate and intimidate his opposition full stop. He tackles hard and is big and strong enough to win the wrestle on the ground and slow the play the ball down. I only saw a small bit of one of his games in the Open Division of the recent Murri game on TV, but even in that game he defended using the same methodology that he uses in junior football, thus clearly he does not get intimidated at all. His lateral movement is reasonable, but is not a strength and thus he is more effective in defence when he is in the centre of the ruck.

For the 2016 season he is still eligible for U18’s and if he is still in NSW Country he will likely feature again in the Group 19, Greater Northern Tigers U18 representative sides and would also be a good chance to make the NSW Country U18 side. He will also likely play a fair amount of first grade football in the Group 19 first grade competition, which is not necessarily the strongest first grade competition in NSW country but is certainly tough from a contact perspective.

From a player comparison perspective, think of a player with a similar style to Cronulla Sharks forward Paul Gallen as a forward who is best suited to the centre of the ruck and who will look to dominate the opposition with every tackle and every run.

mdrew
20-10-15, 08:46 AM
19. Lai-One Manu (Updated from post earlier this year). He is a tall rangy fullback who played his school football for Redbank Plains State High School as well as Redbank Plains for his club football in the Ipswich Junior Rugby League at the U13 level this year. He was the first player the Titans signed when they reached the partnership agreement with Redbank Plains High School. He was named player of the match in the year nine Broncos Old Boys Plate final when his school side won 26-20 against Marsden High, with Manu scoring a try with around a minute to go to break a 20 all tie. He had scored a try with 8 minutes left to tie the game.

Interestingly the two tries mentioned above were very different in terms of how he scored them. For the first one he took the ball close to the opposition line and charged through the forwards, carrying a number of the Marsden forwards over the line with him, the other, he cut through Marsden’s backline defence after receiving the ball from his five eight and using his speed and evasive skills to outpace the opposition on the way to the try line.

For a tall player he is very quick off the mark and when the ball is being brought out of his teams half he is always around the forwards looking for off loads but as evidenced by one of his tries he also can play the way a lot of the current fullbacks play when they receive the football “out the back” from the half or five eight. In those circumstances, currently he runs more than he passes, but he is playing at the U13 level and I have no doubt that his passing skills will improve as he maturing and gets more experience in older age groups and possible representative games.

In terms of his defence, one thing that stood out to me, all be it from only a few times I have seen him play, and I stress I have not seen a great deal of him play, when the opposition makes a break he moves forward looking to cut down the time of the attacking player, which is quite impressive for such a young player. Due to his height, he is good also at defending the high ball. On occasion he seemed to stand very shallow at fullback, but with his speed he is able to compensate.

He presents as a silky smooth player, who looks like he glides across the field picking and choosing his time to get involved and wants to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line, as evidenced by the match against Marsden where he was the match winner on that day. I initially thought he would be a very good centre, and I am sure with his natural ability he would be, but with the skills he has and the way the modern game is played, fullback seems to be his best position into the future. He obviously has a long way away, but I am looking forward to seeing him play over the coming years and seeing how he progresses as he possesses all of the skills and physical attributes to be a very good rugby league player.

For the 2016 season he will play his football at the U14 level in the Ipswich junior rugby league region and also should get plenty of games under his belt playing his school boy football for Redbank Plains High School, in multiple competitions, where he will be under the care of Titans junior development staff over seeing his progression.

From a player comparison perspective, again I am going off only a very limited amount of observations, but I would say a reasonable comparison to Josh Duggan of the St George Dragons would be fair as a player who is a very good runner of the football and who has the confidence to back himself in both attack and defence.

mdrew
21-10-15, 06:54 AM
18. Damon Somerville. He is a local young centre hailing from the Burleigh Bears who played his club football at the U13 level this year as well as representing Gold Coast Vikings, Kookaburra’s and South East Queensland. In addition he also started at five eight for the U13 Development Squad in their recent game against Toowoomba. In 2014 he made the Queensland Primary Schools team, where he was named on the bench. His team mates in the Queensland side included Titans U13 development squad members, Rixon Andrew and Ediq Ambroseyev.

Like one or two others noted on this thread, the note of caution is that I believe that he is also part of the Broncos U13 development squad, thus he is understandably held in high regard by junior recruitment and development staff in South East Queensland.

For Burleigh in the U13 Premier competition he average around a try a game in scoring 12 tries and kicking two goals for a total points haul of 52 points, he also played one game for Burleigh’s U14 Premier division side scoring a try in that game. He also scored the U13 development squad’s first try against Toowoomba with a good dummy to split the defence and outpace the cover defence over 40 metres to score under the posts. This try is shown on the video on the Official Titans site in the media article that details our development squad victories. He also converted his own try in that game but is not normally the goal kicker for his club side.

He is a super quick centre with an effortless running style with a classic centres build with the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the inside or outside. His has used this skill set on multiple occasions on both sides of the field. Even in junior football it is quite rare to see a centre that can play on both sides of the field equally as well and as can be seen from the video he has a very good dummy that he uses regularly.

When the ball is passed to him early, he straightens the attack up well, meaning he does not run himself or his support out of room. Even though he has speed in the centre position, he does look for his outside support when confronted with the fullback, even though he is more than capable of beating fullbacks one on one if need be.

Outside of the U13 development squad game I have not seen much of him at all at five eight, but even taking into account it was only one game, he did look very good in that game. He seemingly has an innate ability to make the right decision when he has the football, in terms of running or passing and when he passed he got the ball out to his outside backs quickly giving them room to move. His passing to the right from five eight looked a little more fluid and natural than when he passed to the left hand side of the field.

He clearly is a smart player and will take what the defence gives him, when the defence is sliding he will cut inside and when the defence is playing an up and up style he has the speed and footwork to get on the outside of his direct opponent. He also has very good hands and can use his speed off the mark to look to create something for either himself or his team mates whether that is at centre or five eight.

Defensively he does not necessarily stand out, which is a good thing to the extent that he is an effective defender and does not jumper grab but does use his shoulder. Purely from a skill and physical attribute perspective he seems more suited to a sliding defensive methodology rather than an up and in style, but this is more conjecture from me rather than a fact based argument.

In the 2016 season he will play for Burleigh at the U14 level and like this season, may play a game or two at a higher age group as from my perspective he is one of the better players from his age group running around on the Gold Coast. I know that I have spoken about how well he played at five eight against Toowoomba, but for me his long term position is that of a centre, who may be able to fill in occasionally at five eight.

From a player comparison perspective, think along the lines of Manly centre Jamie Lyons from a style perspective as a classy centre who is just as good at setting up his team mates to make breaks as he is at making them himself.

mdrew
21-10-15, 07:10 AM
17. Max Dowd. He is a young five eight who represented Queensland U16’s in their win against NSW in a State of Origin curtain raiser in Sydney earlier this year. Titans contracted backrowers Ben Thomas and Darius Farmer were his team mates that night. He played for Gold Coast White in the CC competition, scoring five tries over the course of the season and alternated between half and five eight.

In addition to his rugby league season, Dowd who attends TSS, played the entire GPS rugby season at fullback in the TSS first XV, not a bad indicator of the skill he possesses as TSS finished third I believe in that competition and he was the youngest player in the TSS first XV. I did not see him play many rugby games in the GPS competition but from what I observed and understand he had a very good season, playing against players who were in most cases two years older than him.

Max Dowd’s calling card from an attacking perspective is his passing and game management abilities, these were on show in the Queensland U16 game where along with half back Dray Ngatuere-Wroe he directed the Queensland side around the ground, especially after the first twenty minutes or so when NSW had gotten on top and Queensland needed to wrestle the momentum back. In addition, in that game he set up the final try that put Queensland ahead for good (maybe it was a fraction forward, but I am a Queenslander so I will take it without complaint). He drifted across the field and a waited for the opportunity to develop as one of the NSW defenders on the edge of the ruck over committed and caused a small gap to develop in the defensive line which he took advantage of by putting one of the Queensland backrowers into the gap with a beautifully timed pass allowing them a saloon passage to the try line.

Over the course of the CC season he also played very well ,obviously to be picked in the Queensland U16 side, but due to the nature of the interstate game, there were a few skills that he did not necessarily get to show in that game, but were on display in CC, those being his ability to run the ball when the opportunity presents and his kicking game. In terms of his running game, he is not going to be known as someone that is going to beat a defender with speed, but he does very good foot work that he uses to good effect in tight spaces. He has a very good step off both feet and can put together combinations of steps over a short distance to break free of situations where he is seemingly surrounded by defenders. Also maybe it’s only me, but he seemed to rarely take a big hit when running through the centre of the ruck.

Going back to his speed briefly, as noted he is not very quick, but he does have some reasonable speed off the mark, which is complemented by the fact that he runs at the right moment, for example when he is drifting across field he will dummy and run when defenders anticipate the pass rather than focussing on him running the ball. His running skills compliment his ability to put runners into holes rather than the other way around.

His kicking game is very accurate, and even though he is not a big player he can generate very good distance on his kicks whilst at the same time not losing any accuracy, thus he finds the ground for a lot of his kicks. He can also kick pin point bombs, allowing plenty of time for his chasers to get to the ball as it is coming down close to the try line.

In terms of his play with the TSS first XV, I am not a great rugby person (can not understand all of the ruck and mall penalties) but from the couple of games I saw his skill set translated well to the fifteen man game. He kicked well from the fullback position, on one occasion against Gregory Terrace, I think that it was from Brisbane it was also like an old fashioned kicking duel that Dowd got the better of against his opposing fullback.

Defensively he tackles well low and that is seemingly his main tactic against wide running forwards rather than trying to tackle them ball and all. In the interstate game he was battered by huge NSW forwards constantly running at him but he continued to get in front of them by going in “low”. You can not doubt his toughness, as the interstate game and one or two of the CC games, especially when the two Gold Coast sides played each other were tough affairs. Also some of the rucks and malls that he was involved in the GPS rugby were not for the faint hearted with boots, knees, elbows etc going in all directions.

He has been selected in the Gold Coast MM training squads for 2016, and would expect that once again he will be in the TSS first XV for the 2016 GPS competition. In league I would expect that he may well continue to alternate between five eight and half, but for TSS it will be interesting to see if he is moved to either No9 or No10 to be closer to the action. Based on the fact that I think that his best attribute is his ability to put runners into gaps by targeting individual defenders and drawing them out of their defensive structure, I think that his long term future is at half, although depending on the particular coaches methodology there may be almost no difference between how the half and five eight play.

From a player comparison perspective, think along the lines of Manly half Daly Cherry Evans as an intelligent skilful player who will be the catalyst for most of the good things that his team does and is faster between the ears than his foot speed.

IpswichTitans
21-10-15, 11:01 AM
16. Liam Pakea. He is a nuggety young centre from Ipswich, who normally plays on the left side of the field, and after the completion of the MM season, where he played for Ipswich, progressed to play the second half of the season in QCup Colts for the Ipswich Jets. One of his team mates in both MM and QCup Colts was Blake Lenehan. In the MM competition he scored three tries and was awarded the Parcell Family Award, the Junior Jets program's highest honour, for his "commitment to the program" over a number of years. He played his school boy football for St Peter Clavier College in Ipswich as well as playing a handful of club games for the Goodna Eagles when he was not playing for the Ipswich Jets and in 2014 he made the U16 South East Queensland kookaburra’s side.

He has already played in a Titans jersey, after starting on wing for the Titans U18 Invitational side against Samoa. He is a player I first saw a couple of years ago when he was 15 playing in the CC competition as an underage player and my opinion of him has not changed one bit. He previously has been part of the Broncos Elite junior development squad, so it is good to grab one from them rather than the other way around.

He is powerfully built young man who runs with pace and power. It would be unfair to categorise that his game is only built on pace and power though as he has a very good right foot step and right hand fend, he can also draw defenders in to give players outside him room. Due to his strength and fend he regularly gets on the outside of his opposite defender forcing the winger to make a decision as to whether to come in on him or stay with his winger. If he comes in, Liam has the quick hands to get the pass away prior to contact, but also is big and strong enough as well as having very good core strength and balance to absorb the contact and still get the pass to his winger. If the opposing winger still out, he is definitely quick enough to break into open space. When you look at his build he may not look like he has a lot of speed, but he definitely does. He is not necessarily the quickest off the mark but ha very good acceleration once he is moving and can sustain his top pace over an extended period.

I note that most of the attacking attributes that I have noted above are ‘better” from the left side. His passing to the right, his step and fend are good from the right side but he is currently clearly better playing in the left centre position. For Ipswich Colts he played on both sides of the field. I am not sure whether time and experience playing on his less comfortable side will develop those skills so that they are equivalent to his right side or whether left will always be the dominate side. Regardless he is a handful for defences.

His defensive game is one built on intimidation he will come out of the line when the opportunity presents itself and hit very hard around the chest and drive through is lower body and continue until the tackle is well and truly finished. In MM opposing centres were looking for him in the defensive line when they were running which did generate a few lost balls, obviously it was different in QCup Colts where he was playing against people three years older. The positive for Liam is that he does not purely rely on strength and power to hit, timing is also a key attribute to ensure that he arrives at the attacker at around the same time that the ball does, this also reduces the likelihood of injury to himself or the defender getting on his outside setting up a two or one. Colts was a huge learning curve for him specifically in terms of defence and I have no doubt that he will take those lessons into next season and be better for the experience regardless of where he starts the 2016 season.

He is still eligible for the MM competition in 2016, but it is interesting to note that he has not been named in either the Gold Coast or Ipswich MM squads, indicating that he may well spend the off season training with the Titans NYC squad. Whilst he has played a little bit of wing, I think that ultimately his long term future lies in the centres and specifically on the left hand side of the field.

If he does not start off in NYC in 2016 it will be an interesting decision for the Titans development staff as to whether he plays MM or starts the Season in QCup Colts awaiting his NYC opportunity. My money would be on him playing QCup Colts as he proved in the second half of this season that he can handle QCup Colts even though he had a bit of a rough start in his first couple of games, but he definitely improved as he played more games especially in terms of his defence.

From a player comparison perspective think of a young version of Manly centre Steve Matai, as a powerfully built centre who is an aggressive player who looks to physically dominate his opposite number in defence.

I've had the privilege of playing outside of Liam, he's a very good player.

mdrew
21-10-15, 12:27 PM
14. Bostyn Hakaraia. He is a young half/five eight from New Zealand who recently captained the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and also represented New Zealand U18’s in their two match series in Brisbane last month against the Australian Schoolboys side where he played against Titans duo Tyronne Roberts-Davis and David Fauid. Unfortunately for Bostyn Australia won both matches convincingly. In addition to the representative sides mentioned above he made numerous other representative sides including making the NZ U18 high performance squad camp this year. Previously he has represented NZ at the U16 level NZ Maori at the U16 and U18 level and was also part of the Akarana high Performance squad preparing for this year’s NZ age championships. He currently attends Mt Albert Grammer School (MAGS) in Auckland who from my understanding are one of the most powerful NZ schools from a rugby league perspective and he was a key player in their run to the NZ National All Schools semi-finals.

Earlier this year he was over on the Gold Coast training as part of the Titans elite player development unit training camp. He will be moving over to the Gold Coast at the end of this year permanently, and has been named in the MM training squad for 2016, but may well spend some time training with the NYC squad over the summer. The Titans are starting to make decent inroads to NZ and not just in the Manawatu region, so well done to the Titans scouting network for getting the signature of a player with a good junior pedigree.

I will before I make any further comment note that I have not seen him play live. I have seen multiple full game videos of him playing from NZ as well as edited highlights and live streams of his two games against Australian School boys. If you watched the games against Australian School boys you probably do not get a real good feel for his talent, in those games, the first of which he started on the bench and the second he started at half. Unfortunately for the NZ boys, the Australian forward pack dominated and thus the NZ boys found it hard to get into the game, especially the halves.

He is a solidly built half/five eight who from the game footage that I have seen he is more of an organising type of player rather than a running half/five eight. He can be seen directing his forwards when and where to run and seemingly makes it clear that he is in charge of directing the team around the field and adhering to the game plan. Considering he was one of the younger players on the field and he was directing around a number of young players who had already played NYC it is a good sign of his maturity and leadership skills in the NZ U18 games. His passing from both sides of his body is crisp and accurate and when passing to the left side generates good spin and distance whilst maintaining accuracy.

In the School boys test he did not take the line on that often, but based on the footage the from representative games in New Zealand he can and will take on forwards when he sees that they are isolated in the edges of the ruck, although his passing percentage would be much higher than his running percentage, at an estimate I would say 85-90% passing, 10-15% running. He seems to be quite quick off the mark and seems to have a good right foot step, when he gets into space he really does work progressively though his options as he does not seem to have the top end speed to finish off breaks himself.

He has a prodigious kick on him and seemingly also has good accuracy, in the footage seen to date, he kicked a couple of 40/20’s and they appeared effortless. His kicking game suggest he will be a real 40/20 threat when he comes over to Australia. Also his prodigious boot generates significant height on his bombs, and I mean they are huge bombs and are seemingly quite accurate. He is also a very good goal kicker with both good range and accuracy. From the footage and his player statistics, he was the primary kicker for MAGS and all other representative sides, but the NZ U18 side. I would suggest that he is likely to be his side’s primary goal kicker regardless of the level progressing into he future.

Defensively I can not comment a great deal as in the majority of his games from NZ he was on the side dominating the game and against Australian Schoolboys it was the opposite, but looking at the Australian Schoolboys game, he certainly looked to get in front of the constant wave of Australian forwards coming at him. The second game get quite willing towards the end of the game and he did not back down at all.

As noted he is coming over to the Gold Coast at the end of this year, to take up a three year deal with the Titans and has been named in the extended MM training squad with fellow New Zealand signee and Auckland player front rower Xavier Johansson who is from Wesley College. It would not surprise if he trained at least some sessions, if not full time with the Titans NYC squad, however due to Josh Fauid being part of the NYC squad, he may well start in MM as Fauid would seem to be a clear favourite to start 2016 at half in NYC. Initially, based on the NZ footage I thought that his long term position would be five eight, but based on the School boys tests I have revised that to a long term future at half back for me, even though at the MM level his skill and experience would suggest no problem playing either half or five eight, but when he progresses to U20 football a transition exclusively to half seems to be an appropriate hypothesis.

From a player comparison perspective, someone like the Brisbane Broncos Ben Hunt seems appropriate as a half with good game management skills and a very good kicking game.

mdrew
21-10-15, 12:48 PM
13. Ben Thomas. He is a local boy from the Beaudesert Kingfishers who plays in the second row and had a stellar year in CC this year, finishing with a team leading eight tries across the games and winning the Queensland Cyril Connell Cup player of the year award. As a result of his good form in the CC competition, he was selected on the bench for the Queensland U16 side who went on to defeat NSW in Sydney in a State of Origin curtain raiser. Titan’s team mates that night were five eight Max Dowd and second rower Darius Farmer. He also started at lock for the U16 Titans development squad in their recent win against Samoa, where with Darius Farmer and Luke Mastroianni were the Titans best for me in conditions best suited for forwards. He was also named best forward when our U15 development squad played the Wests Tigers late in 2014. For the Kingfishers he scored six tries over the course of the 2015 Gold Coast Junior Rugby League season in the U16 Premier Division.

He is a hard running backrower who is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into thus making the play makers on his team look good. Where he really excels though is his footwork, he has very good late and quick foot work which enables him to change direction quickly allowing him to readjust where he is running to take advantage of either a late developing hole in the defensive line or where the defensive line is repositioning late.

Even when he is taking a hit up in the centre of the ruck, his feet are always moving and he is constantly making slight corrections to his running direction and he is also able to maintain his speed regardless of the multiple directional changes. He seems just to run at a faster pace than other forwards on the field. These attributes lead to a lot of line breaks and he has the speed to convert them into tries himself. As a result of his foot work he does seem to get hit high reasonably often as defenders are not able to react quickly enough to the change in the directional aspects of his running. Obviously drawing penalties (legitimate ones) is a good thing but the physical toll clearly not.

These critical attributes mean that he is difficult to target and runs at a very fast pace into the defensive line but the fluidity of his directional changes means he is a difficult target to get hold of for defenders. In the Samoa game you could see how his running angles changed as the game progressed from a duration perspective as well as momentum perspective. As the Samoan forwards tired his directional changes went from cutting to the fringes of the ruck to cutting back behind the play the ball as gaps were appearing there with the Samoan forwards becoming increasingly slower to get back into the defensive line due to fatigue as the smaller, faster Titans forwards extracted their toll on the aerobic fitness of their much larger opponents.

Defensively he hits very hard and usually aims for just under the ribs and is adept at making sure the opposition do not get quick play the balls. He is equally adept at defending in the centre of the ruck as he is defending on the fringes and his initial contact is more than sufficient to make an impact on the ball carrier. His lateral speed is understandably very good due to his quick twitch feet and thus he is effective at defending against nippy runners out of dummy half as well as half backs and five eights running of the fringes.

For the 2016 season, he has been named in the MM train on squad and should become a key contributor in one of the Gold Coast sides where he should continue to be a try scoring backrower. I can not see any positional change on the horizon and see no reason why he will not stay in the back row where he has played all of his junior football. Once the MM season is completed, he will play for the Kingfishers at the Premier Division U17 level in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition.

From a player comparison perspective, one player with a similar playing style that I can think of is Sydney Roosters backrower Mitch Aubusson as a try scoring, hole running backrower with good footwork and speed who plays the game at a pace that forces defenders to rush their decision about how to defend against him.

mdrew
21-10-15, 01:42 PM
12. Ethan Roberts. He is a young utility player from Northern New South Wales, specifically the Grafton/Lismore area, who currently attends PBC and after an injury interrupted start to the year had a solid second season in MM, before playing the rest of the season in the Gold Coast Senior competition at both the U19 and First grade level for Tugun. At the U19 level he scored nine tries and a goal from 12 games and also scored a first grade try from his two or three first grade games. In MM he scored four tries and kicked two goals in his abridged MM season.

Previously he has represented NSW at the U16 level in 2013 where he started the game at five eight in the NSW win and was named player of the match in that interstate game and was roundly praised by Brad Fittler on social media. In MM he played at five eight and for Tugun he played five eight, back row and hooker and for the Titans U18 Invitational side he started at hooker and then played some back row when Jayden Parker came on to take over at hooker. He can be seen as the number nine in the video of the U18 Titans game on the Titans official site. He was originally contracted to the Brisbane Broncos who were the team that brought him up to PBC before coming over to the Titans. His young brother Blake played five eight for the Titans U15 squad against Balmain Tigers.


In attack, regardless of the position he is playing, he is quick and strong and has good footwork to beat opposition defenders and then has very good speed, not necessarily speed off the mark, but definitely has good top end speed once he gets moving. In MM he scored one or two tries from his own half where he stood up his opposing five eight and beat the cover defence over 60m. Similarly when breaks were made by the outside backs, he had the speed to keep up with them, I won’t say comfortably but he kept up speed wise. Where he excels is drawing defenders in to him and using his ball skills to put his runners into gaps, either through a short pass off his hip, like the Bulldogs forwards, or holding the ball until the last second when the defender commits and then gets the ball away, he is prepared to take the hit to open the gap in the defensive line.

In relation to his play at hooker his passing is reasonably crisp, especially to the right side, but on occasion he passes in two movements which is not surprising because prior to this year I am not aware of him playing hooker at all, obviously he is used to playing at five eight and has not quite transitioned yet to passing off the ground in one fluid movement. As he plays more at hooker, I would expect him to improve from the perspective of knowing when to run from dummy half.

On the field he so calm and collected and rarely makes the wrong decision with the football in his hands. You constantly see him talking to his team mates, letting them know what is going on and encouraging them, he just reads the play very well.

Defensively he is more than strong enough to defend in the middle of the ruck and quick enough to defend on the fridges when playing at five eight. In the centre of the ruck he sets a strong base to create the necessary leverage to defend against larger forwards and explodes upward through his core at very good initial contact regardless of the size of the attacker. When defending on the fringes of the ruck, he has the size and strength to handle wide running backrowers one on one and his lateral movement and anticipation are good enough to combat smaller quicker players without impacting on the integrity of his defensive technique.

He can also kick in general play, more so tactical kicks to gain ground rather than attacking kicks such as grubber kicks or bombs. I do not think that he will be a team’s primary general play kicker but has the skill set to be a secondary option when the primary kicker is under pressure and if he continues to play at hooker, he will need to work on getting his kicks away quickly to take full advantage of kicking from dummy half. Like his tactical kicking I do not think that he ends up as a primary goal kicker but is effective enough to be a secondary option, where he is accurate from close range but his accuracy suffers the wider out the kicks are from.

For the 2016 season it is hard not to see him not playing NYC next year for the Titans, the question is more around what position will he likely play. Based on this year he may well break into the NYC as a utility player off the bench, who can play five eight, hooker or as a ball playing backrower. For me his long term future is as a ball playing backrower who has the size and skill to operate effectively on the fringes of the ruck. If he does not start the season in NYC he should comfortably start the 2016 season in QCup Colts for the Tweed Seagulls while he waits for an opportunity to present itself. Playing against men for a couple of games for Tugun in the Gold Coast First Grade competition will hold him in good stead for next year.

From a player comparison perspective, a player with a similar style that I can think of is a physically smaller version of Canterbury Bulldog Greg Eastwood but a similar skill set as a back rower who has good ball skills in the fringes of the ruck and is faster than he is given credit for. He just looks like a natural footballer who was born to play rugby league, I really think that this young player has a massive future.

palmbeachpariah
23-10-15, 08:32 AM
12. Ethan Roberts. He is a young utility player from Northern New South Wales, specifically the Grafton/Lismore area, who currently attends PBC and after an injury interrupted start to the year had a solid second season in MM, before playing the rest of the season in the Gold Coast Senior competition at both the U19 and First grade level for Tugun. At the U19 level he scored nine tries and a goal from 12 games and also scored a first grade try from his two or three first grade games. In MM he scored four tries and kicked two goals in his abridged MM season.

Previously he has represented NSW at the U16 level in 2013 where he started the game at five eight in the NSW win and was named player of the match in that interstate game and was roundly praised by Brad Fittler on social media. In MM he played at five eight and for Tugun he played five eight, back row and hooker and for the Titans U18 Invitational side he started at hooker and then played some back row when Jayden Parker came on to take over at hooker. He can be seen as the number nine in the video of the U18 Titans game on the Titans official site. He was originally contracted to the Brisbane Broncos who were the team that brought him up to PBC before coming over to the Titans. His young brother Blake played five eight for the Titans U15 squad against Balmain Tigers.


In attack, regardless of the position he is playing, he is quick and strong and has good footwork to beat opposition defenders and then has very good speed, not necessarily speed off the mark, but definitely has good top end speed once he gets moving. In MM he scored one or two tries from his own half where he stood up his opposing five eight and beat the cover defence over 60m. Similarly when breaks were made by the outside backs, he had the speed to keep up with them, I won’t say comfortably but he kept up speed wise. Where he excels is drawing defenders in to him and using his ball skills to put his runners into gaps, either through a short pass off his hip, like the Bulldogs forwards, or holding the ball until the last second when the defender commits and then gets the ball away, he is prepared to take the hit to open the gap in the defensive line.

In relation to his play at hooker his passing is reasonably crisp, especially to the right side, but on occasion he passes in two movements which is not surprising because prior to this year I am not aware of him playing hooker at all, obviously he is used to playing at five eight and has not quite transitioned yet to passing off the ground in one fluid movement. As he plays more at hooker, I would expect him to improve from the perspective of knowing when to run from dummy half.

On the field he so calm and collected and rarely makes the wrong decision with the football in his hands. You constantly see him talking to his team mates, letting them know what is going on and encouraging them, he just reads the play very well.

Defensively he is more than strong enough to defend in the middle of the ruck and quick enough to defend on the fridges when playing at five eight. In the centre of the ruck he sets a strong base to create the necessary leverage to defend against larger forwards and explodes upward through his core at very good initial contact regardless of the size of the attacker. When defending on the fringes of the ruck, he has the size and strength to handle wide running backrowers one on one and his lateral movement and anticipation are good enough to combat smaller quicker players without impacting on the integrity of his defensive technique.

He can also kick in general play, more so tactical kicks to gain ground rather than attacking kicks such as grubber kicks or bombs. I do not think that he will be a team’s primary general play kicker but has the skill set to be a secondary option when the primary kicker is under pressure and if he continues to play at hooker, he will need to work on getting his kicks away quickly to take full advantage of kicking from dummy half. Like his tactical kicking I do not think that he ends up as a primary goal kicker but is effective enough to be a secondary option, where he is accurate from close range but his accuracy suffers the wider out the kicks are from.

For the 2016 season it is hard not to see him not playing NYC next year for the Titans, the question is more around what position will he likely play. Based on this year he may well break into the NYC as a utility player off the bench, who can play five eight, hooker or as a ball playing backrower. For me his long term future is as a ball playing backrower who has the size and skill to operate effectively on the fringes of the ruck. If he does not start the season in NYC he should comfortably start the 2016 season in QCup Colts for the Tweed Seagulls while he waits for an opportunity to present itself. Playing against men for a couple of games for Tugun in the Gold Coast First Grade competition will hold him in good stead for next year.

From a player comparison perspective, a player with a similar style that I can think of is a physically smaller version of Canterbury Bulldog Greg Eastwood but a similar skill set as a back rower who has good ball skills in the fringes of the ruck and is faster than he is given credit for. He just looks like a natural footballer who was born to play rugby league, I really think that this young player has a massive future.


personally i think ethan has been losing ground since he repped group 1 at 14..

mdrew
23-10-15, 12:23 PM
10. Kobe Tararo. He is a young backrower from the Logan area who represented Queensland at the U16 level in 2014 and attends Keebra Park for whom he played his school boy football. He recently started in the second row for the Titans U18 Development side and was noted in the article on the Official Titans site that he had a very game and was one of the stand outs and a further Titans NYC player. He has been named in the Gold Coast MM train on squad for the 2016 season. He did not play any MM games this year after playing the 2014 CC season with Souths Logan.

From an attacking perspective, he has a wide running mindset for a backrower with a very good turn of speed once he breaks through the line. Like all good running backrowers though, he takes his share of runs in the middle of the ruck but he is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into although he is not averse to running straight over people either. From the games that I have seem play he normally runs to the right side of the field, and will run wider out and look to come back on the inside shoulder of the opposition defence on the edge of the ruck, looking for situations where the opposition inside defenders are slow to come across. His determination is one aspect that enables him to be in the right place at the right time.

Another key aspect of his running game is that he runs fast into the defensive line. I know all forwards run hard (well most) but in addition to that, Kobe Tararo runs fast and does not slow down when he impacts the defensive line. From my perspective this is a critical trait and one that is all too rarely seen, even in a lot of first grade games it looks like forwards are running up to the defensive line in slow motion, Tararo is not one of those forwards. An example of what I mean is that if you look at say the Roosters forward pack they run at speed and it makes a huge difference to the ground that can be made through the centre of the ruck.

He is a hard runner and does not give up on the run until the opposition puts him on the ground, as a consequence, he makes a lot more metres for his team than he has a right to and with his determination he will also on occasion break clear of the defenders totally. I would consider that he runs ‘tough’.

In the Titans development squad game, he defended both in the edge of the ruck and well as through the middle. He was quietly effective in both situations. His initial contact is solid and is more than enough to stop the momentum of the ball carrier and effect tackles one on one. He is also effective at wrapping the ball up and preventing offloads. When he hits he hits hard, but I would not call it aggressive per say, but he is just tough in his approach to his defence. I do not necessarily think that his defensive work will stand out because he is not going to come up with a huge hit which will get the crowd on its feet, but he will do a lot of work and will likely always finish near the top of the tackle count regardless of the level and standard of football he is playing.

He has been named in the MM extended training squad for the 2016 season where he should be a main stay of one of the MM sides. On completion of the MM season, I would expect that he would immediately progress to QCup Colts where I do not think that there will be any issue with him being not able to handle the speed and physical demands of the game at that level. A call up to the NYC squad is also certainly not out of the question next year. I can not see any reason for a change of position for him. He is a strong tough backrower with some real ability to harness as he progresses and matures.

From a player comparison perspective, someone along the lines of Boyd Cordner of the Roosters (even though he is probably not as tall as Cordner) would be appropriate from a style perspective as a well rounded back rower who plays the game hard with toughness and like a lot of the Roosters forwards they do not just run hard, they also run fast and do not slow down when engaging the defensive line.

mdrew
26-10-15, 10:03 AM
9. Brent Barnes. He is a young fullback who has represented both the U14 Vikings and Kookaburras this year, in relation to his club football he played at both theU14 and U15 level for the Helensvale Hornets. He had a stellar 2015 scoring 24 tries and kicking ten goals for a total points haul of 114 points. From the statistics you can see that he had a very impressive strike rate even more so considering he played a fair portion of the year playing up an age group in U15 Division One. He also captained the Titans U14 development squad in their game against Samoa recently, where he also started at fullback and also made the U15 possibles v probables game in the 2015 Queensland Murri carnival.

He is a silky smooth runner of the football, who looks like he glides across the field picking and choosing his time to get involved from the fullback position and clearly wants to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line or his team needs someone to stand up and be counted. In the U14 development squad game, after a tough first 10 minutes, when his team was down 10-0, he took it upon himself to take the game on. He took runs up the centre of the ruck and led by example with the likes of second rower Andre Semu to wrestle the momentum away from Samoa. In the second half when the things were getting a bit aggressive, again it was Brent Barnes who took control of his side to ensure that they maintained their discipline as well as making sure no liberties were taken.

He is exceptionally quick off the mark and when the ball is being brought out of his teams half he is always around the forwards looking for off loads, or taking the ball up himself, as evidenced in the U14 development squad game against Samoa, where on a couple of occasions he took advantage of tiring forwards to make ground in the centre of the ruck.

It is not just his speed off the mark that is so impressive, it is the extended distance that he can maintain his top speed. Once he is through the initial defensive line, he has an extra gear as well to out pace any cover defense. Making his speed even more difficult to deal with for defences is his footwork, he is able to change direction very quickly which enables him to take advantage of a staggered defensive line when returning kicks.

He also can play the way a lot of the current fullbacks play when they receive the football, “out the back” from the half/five eight. In those circumstances, he seems to currently runs more than he passes, but he is usually one of the better players in all of the teams that he has played on to date, thus I have no doubt that his passing and decision making skills will improve in these situations as he matures as a player. In the instances when he runs, he will dummy, step and accelerate quickly. I can see no discernible difference in relation to the quality of his step regardless of what foot he steps off.

He also has very good positional sense for the fullback position in terms of taking a high percentage of opposing teams general play kicks on the full, thus regularly giving his team good initial field position to start their set of six. Similarly his positional sense when close to his own goal line means he defuses a lot of attacking grubber kicks. He will also take the responsibility to run the ball back himself rather than hand it off to his winger where he runs with pace and strength. When the kick goes to a winger, he is good at running out of dummy half prior to the defensive line getting se for the next play the ball. Another aspect in relation to returning kicks is that he attacks grubber and chip kicks rather than waiting back to see how the play unfolds. In short he does not wait for the game to come to him, he makes thing happen on the field by taking the game on.

Defensively he is an aggressive defender who will look to come forward when a break has been made to cut down the decision making time of the attacking team he will hit hard in the tackle. He also will not take a dummy either. He uses the sideline very well from a defensive stand point. He will always stay inside the attacker presenting him with the sideline and then once the attacker has committed to the side line, he will use his speed and momentum to force the attacker into touch. He is his team’s defensive quarter back in terms of the positioning of the defensive line, you can hear him talking and encouraging constantly and was understandably made captain of the U14 side due to him leading by example, both in attack and defence.

The 2016 season should see him play at the U15 level, but just like this year, he may well play some U16 football for Helensvale. I note that he has not been named in the CC train on Squad for next year. From a long term position perspective, he could undoubtly play a number of positions, including fullback, wing and centre at a high level, but based on the evidence of what I have seen, a long term future at fullback would be the way to go, where he can be a real difference maker for his side.

From a player comparison perspective, a player along the lines of Penrith Panther Matt Moylan is an appropriate comparison as a silky smooth player who has all of the skills and temperament to be able to turn a game on its head with scintillating football and make difficult tasks look easy.

mdrew
27-10-15, 07:47 AM
7. David Butler. He is a local young front rower who represented South Coast in the QSSRL U15 competition this year, where in my opinion was the best forward on show. He understandably made the Queensland U15 Maroons side for the national U15 school boy’s titles in June and with fellow Titans junior Geordie Brand was part of the Championships winning Queensland side. He was actually named the Queensland Maroon’s player of the match in their first game against NSW CCC I believe it was. He was also selected for Queensland at the U12 level a couple of years ago. He played his club football on the Gold Coast for Helensvale in U15 Division One where he scored five tries and kicked a goal for a season tally of 22 points and started in the front row for the U15 Development Squad in their recent victory against the Balmain Tigers.

He runs exceptionally hard and there is little subtlety to his running, it is straight and hard and another positive is that he will not just run upright, he will drop his should into the defender making it difficult if not impossible for him to be stopped easily. His running style means that he throws self-preservation out of the window, and fires up his team mates with his charges at full speed into a set forward defensive line. He will on occasion take advantage of slow defenders by angling back behind the play the ball, but outside of that he just flat out runs full throttle every time he touches the ball and runs fast and will fight for a quick play the ball every time. If anything he is more effective in the second half of games where his running style begins to wear down the opposition.

I have not seen a great deal of off loads from him, so whilst they will not necessarily be a significant part of his game moving forward developing this ability and the use of some foot work prior to the line will only make him even more effective. He has good lateral movement for a front rower so he does have the skills to develop some footwork but just needs more experience.

Defensively he hits very hard and usually aims for just under the ribs and is certainly someone opposing forwards look for when running the ball up and is adept at making sure the opposition do not get quick play the balls, read that he is very good at winning the wrestling battle in the ruck. He defends in the centre of the ruck and is best suited in the long run defending there and adds a degree of intimidation to any forward pack he plays for. If anything he tries so hard in attack that he gets worn out for his defensive responsibilities, but to his credit he will continue to endeavour to be in the right position as often as possible.

He has been a bit of a favourite of mine, since I saw him play for our U13 development squad in a game at Redlands a few years ago. He had come off for a rest, but a couple of injuries meant that the coach turned around and said to the players on the bench, “I need someone to play lock”, David Butler’s hand went straight up, when the coach told him to quickly warm up to go on, he turned to the player next to him and get a quick rundown of where he needed to defend on the field as he had never played lock before. A little thing like this goes to show the dedication and willingness of him to do what is necessary to help his team win.

He has been selected in the Gold Coast CC train on squad for next year where he should be a mainstay of one of the two Gold Coast teams in the front row as well as playing U16 Division One in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League for Helensvale. From a long term perspective, I would consider it almost certain that he will stay in the front row where he can be a strong physical and leadership presence for any team that he plays, although the way that locks play these days, they are a third front rower so whilst he may have the No. 13 on his back, the way he plays the game will not change.

From a player comparison perspective, I know that it is a big call but I can see aspects of a playing style that is similar in style to Cowboys, Queensland and Australian front rower Matt Scott as a front rower who will make a lot of ground in attack to set up momentum and field position for his team. Like Matt Scott, David Butler gets on top of the opposition by out working them.

mdrew
28-10-15, 08:44 AM
6. Darius Farmer. He is a young second rower from Ipswich who represented Queensland at the U16 level this year with Titans team mates Ben Thomas and Max Dowd. He played in the CC competition with Ipswich this year and also started in the second row for the Titans U16 Development Squad in their game against Samoa, where in the first tackle of the game he absolutely smashed the Samoan forward returning the ball from the kick off. For Ipswich he received the 2015 CC Ipswich Player’s player award. He played for Springfield Black in the U17A competition in the Ipswich Junior Rugby League where he scored three tries over the course of the season.

He is a tall, rangy exceptional athlete and this can be seen when be he is running with the football. In his carries he rarely takes a hit up without movement, he uses foot work prior to the line to look to break through as well as cutting either cutting back in behind the play the ball or cutting out towards the smaller defenders on the fringes of the ruck. He, certainly from the games that I have seen, including the interstate game, a number of CC games and the U16 development squad game, he plays on the right side of the field. I will not say that he plays on that side of the ruck exclusively but he is stationed there quite often.

Like one or two others mentioned recently he runs ‘fast’ into the defensive and his foot work prior to the line enables him to get partly through the line quite often, certainly more so than you would expect for a backrower taking the ball through the centre of the ruck. One reason for this is that he is a smart footballer, he does not try to run over defenders, but he runs at the gaps between defenders and uses his running speed to break through if defenders only use their arms on the tackle. He does not necessarily have a great top end speed, but he is certainly fast enough to get through to the full back prior to the arrival of the cover defence. He would be one of the faster back rowers running around for his age group in South East Queensland.

Playing on the right hand side of the field seemingly more often, means that his right foot step and his fending using his left hand are the effective attributes, but based on his physical attributes, his skill set and his understanding of how to play the game means that I have no doubt that these attributes are transferrable to playing on the left hand side of the field.

He seems like a quiet player on the field, I have not heard him running around yelling and screaming and losing discipline for example, but that means he is measured in how he plays the game and the response from his team mates suggests that he is highly regarded and is a leader through his actions rather than his words.

In defence he regularly is the first player up to target the ball carriers, even though he is not one of the bigger forwards in his team and will make solid initial contact as well as having the ability of defending one on one. As could be seen in the U16 development squad game, when the opportunity presents he has the ability to hit very hard, by setting a good base and driving through his lower body and core into his opponent. Ultimately though he is a strong defender with a good front on technique and good lateral movement to track and defend against smaller opponents either on the fringes or centre of the ruck.

Moving towards the 2016 season, he has been named in the Gold Coast MM training squad and you would anticipate that he will be a key member of one of those sides. Once the MM season is completed expect him to transition back to playing for Springfield U17’s (assuming he does not play in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition) for the second year in a row, although playing some games at the U19 level in the Ipswich Junior Rugby League competition is not out of the question. I would expect that due to his size, speed and skill attributes that he will continue to play in the back row for the foreseeable future and even though he seems to play more on the right side of the field at present, there is nothing to suggest he will not transition into a player who can play on both sides of the ruck.

From a style perspective think of a young Ben Creagh of the St George Dragons, as a well-rounded backrower with the ability to break the line by himself or as a result of running a good line and then has enough speed to break into space prior to looking for his support players as well as being an extremely efficient defender who will hit hard when the opportunity presents itself.

mdrew
30-10-15, 08:16 AM
5. Rixon Andrew. He is a young fullback from Souths in the GBJRL competition. He made just about every representative team possible for his U13 age group this year, including U13 Brisbane Stingers and U13 South East Queensland. For the Queensland State Age Championships, he not only top scored with eight tries from his three games but he was also named the most outstanding player in the U13 age group. In addition he started at fullback for the Titans U13 development squad in their recent game against Toowoomba.

For Souths he was part of the side that unfortunately lost the grand final 36-30 to Logan Brothers in the GBJRL but that was only after he inspired a second half comeback which brought Souths back from a 30 to 6 deficit. Rixon Andrew scored two tries early in the second half to help inspire his side. Other Titans involved in that grand final included Caleb Esera, Aaron Lafai, Brock Ashton (Souths) and Matamatagi Ripley (Logan Brothers). Unfortunately he is also part of the Broncos U13 Elite Development Unit, and anyone who has seen him play will understand why both clubs hold him in high regard.

In attack, he does not play like a typical full back he does not sweep around the back of the play and he does not necessarily work in the centre of the field looking for off loads from the forwards. He plays up in the line in attack, playing like a second five eight. For Souths he played a lot of the time playing outside the five eight, for the Stingers and the Titans U13 development side he played a lot more on the opposite side to the five eight and one off the ruck. He is not a speedster as he is a solidly built player, but he does have decent speed off the mark and can also sustain his top speed. He has a myriad of attacking moves to break a game open. In the Titans development squad game he really did look to set up his supports by running to the line himself, on a number of occasions in that game he used a step off both fend and a powerful fend again from either side to get outside his opposite defender and then once the next defender was forced in to cover him, he has a very good pass, both from a direction and timing perspective to put his outside support into gaps.

In the development squad game on one run he beat at least three or four defenders with a combination of the moves noted above as well as sheer strength and power before offloading to his outside support with an exquisite one handed pass who had a clear run into space. On the next play the ball second rower Jadye Williams scored as a result.

In terms of running the ball back from kicks, his timing and anticipation means that he gets to a lot of balls on the full and makes a quick decision whether to run the ball flat out back into the oncoming defenders or look to create an opportunity by running across field. Regardless he is an absolute handful to tackle.

Against Logan Brothers in the grand final, early in the second half with his side down 30 to 6, he look the line on himself and made numerous breaks both out wide as well as up the middle, where on one occasion he carried at least three Logan Brothers forwards over line. For around twenty minutes of the second half in that grand final, he was almost unstoppable, the defence knew that he was going to get the ball but he still was able to set up the attack and bring his side back to a 30-26 score line, scoring two tries himself in that period.

One other aspect that was noted, certainly more so when he was playing for Souths is that he likes to chip kick over the defensive line, normally for himself to chase. He actually chips the ball quite high looking to retrieve the ball on the full rather than waiting for the bounce as he is big and strong enough to beat most players his age in the air. The other thing that this does is enable him to hit the fullback very hard if the opposing fullback gets to the ball before him. He tried the chip in the last play of the grand final but was unable to get a result.

Defensively in the fullback position he understandably he does not a huge amounts of tackles but the ones he makes are the ones that need to be made. If an attacker runs directly at him, he will come forward to cut down the time the attacker has to make a decision and he will hit very hard. An impressive attribute that he does have he is ability to force attackers in the clear to try to beat him down the side line. He will stay inside the attacker and force him in the needed direction and then use his timing and anticipation to make the tackle, usually forcing the attacker into touch.

In the GBJRL grand final against Logan Brothers, in the first half he was confronted with attackers on multiple attackers as Logan Brothers got away to a good lead, but on each occasion he forced the attackers to beat him with a decision to pass to a support player rather than trying to anticipate a pass and thus being suseptible to being beaten by a dummy. He does stand quite deep in defence but as noted he moves forward quickly to reduce the time and space immediately.

Moving forward to the 2016 season, it is all most impossible not be see him being heavily involved in the U14 representative sides such the Stingers etc and obviously playing for Souths Juniors based in Acacia Ridge in the GBJRL competition. From a position stand point, it must be very difficult for his coaches not to play him at five eight so that the ball can be in is hands as much as possible, but from the full back position he can pick and choose where and when he gets the ball. I would think that staying at fullback in the short term is likely but as he progresses to the higher age groups of junior rugby league and towards the senior grades, it would not surprise at all that he is moved to five eight.

Another poster on this forum noted a former NRL player who Rixon Andrew plays like and I can not disagree with him. He has a similar playing style to former Bronco and current Queensland Reds player Karmichael Hunt, as a strongly built fullback with all of the running and ball playing skills to play the game at a high level who is fearless both in terms of charging into the defensive line as well as using his skills to the absolute limit.

For me he is one of the most impressive young players that I have ever seen and seemingly is always one play ahead of the game and an innate understanding of the game and his role in it, he does not let the game come to him, he takes the game but the scruff of the neck and just throttles it.

mdrew
30-10-15, 09:45 AM
4. Geordie Brand. He is a young front rower who has had an amazing year, making multiple representative sides including making the Australian U15 Merit side and was named player of the tournament, which was a great result after being a key member of the Queensland U15 Schoolboys side. In the U15 National School boys championship grand final against NSW he scored two tries from close range in the 30-10 win, which also included fellow Titans contracted player David Butler. He also started in the front row for the Titans U15 development squad in their recent victory over the Balmain Tigers.

He is also a member of the Titans Elite Junior Performance Academy, which is run by Jamie McCormack. There was a story on the Titans official site about him and the tournament a couple of months ago. He currently attends Keebra Park but plays his club rugby league at Logan Brothers. The Logan Brothers U15 side this year (like most years) has been the dominant team in the GBJRL competition at that age group, with Geordie Brand being a big reason for their success, they are well coached and are brimming with talented players who play well as a team. He was the captain of the side and was one of the best in their grand final victory against Souths in the U15 GBJRL Grand Final.

In that Grand Final, he was in my opinion Logan Brothers best and was probably only shaded by brilliant backrower and fellow Keebra Park student David Fifita from Souths as the best player on the field. He led his side from the front continually taking the ball into the heart of the huge Souths pack and by the end of the day had worn them down. One run in particular he fielded the ball from a drop out and charged to within a metre of the line. Centre Sebastian Winters-Chang, another Keebra student benefited from the quick play the ball, scoring an easy try.

In attack he just flat out runs hard and straight, this trait helped him score two tries in the U15 Australian final against one of the NSW sides. The tries were as a result of him charging straight and hard from close range, and literally just wanting to score regardless of who was in front of him. On both occasions the defensive line was set and compacted in the middle but he was able to still find his way over, carrying defenders with him on one of those occasions, for his first try he just burst through the two defenders in the line and scored next to the posts. One area in attack that I have not necessarily seen too much of his is off loading. I am not suggesting this is not within his capabilities but it is something that to date has not shown up, but based on his dedication to his craft it is hard to see that particular skill not developing to at least a solid level.

Like I described an earlier player in this thread, being Blake Lenehan who actually he plays fairly similar to, there is no real need to carry on too much about how he plays, he runs and tackles hard both in the middle of the ruck and certainly this year on the edges of the ruck as well. He is just a no nonsense footballer who plays the game hard and fair and just continually works on the field. He is just absolutely solid in every aspect of the game. I can not necessary absolutely point to one specific reason why, because he is not a ‘flashy’ player but he really does stand out when you watch him play and it is not just because he wears head gear!

I have seen him play in previous years, but this year he has made a huge leap forward and it is impossible not to be impressed by his ability, commitment and determination. He also seems to be a leader and well liked and respected by his team mates. You do not get to be selected to captain a Logan Brothers side unless you work hard both on the field and at training, so he clearly has a number of leadership attributes, including leading by example on and off the field.

He should be a mainstay of one of the Souths Logan CC side next year and hopefully a long term member of our Elite Junior Development Squad as well as being involved in Keebra Park’s Super Six and GIO Cup school boys campaigns. In his career so far, he has played almost exclusively in the front row, but as a result of training with the older members of the Titans Elite Performance Academy he seems to have trimmed down a little and seems a lot quicker with increased lateral mobility. I can see him transitioning to the second row as he progresses and even though he is probably around 188cm and 95kg or a fraction more, he looks to be someone who will be a close to 80 minute player.

From a style perspective prior to this year, I originally thought of someone like the Wests Tigers Aaron Woods (with less facial hair and a better hair cut all round) but after his outstanding year and a change to his body shape and possible position change in the future, a better comparison may be to Brisbane Broncos backrower Matt Gillett as a skilled 80 minute backrower who stands out due to his determination and intensity with leadership skills thrown in as well.

RenegadeGC
30-10-15, 01:08 PM
Darius is doing preseason with NYC squad as well. For me he is similar to a young SBW. Size, speed, and a great offload. Can put a hit on as well

Sunny86
30-10-15, 02:44 PM
So proud of my nephew Darius great things to come for him

palmbeachpariah
05-11-15, 10:19 AM
3. Will Evans. He is a local young fullback from the Burleigh Bears who played this year at the U14 level including making the U14 Vikings and Kookaburra’s sides as well as the U14 South East Queensland side, where he was awarded his side’s best back award for the competition. In that competition, he finished as the second top try scorer with seven tries in three games. In 2014, he won the best player award for the U13 level at that year’s championships. He also was named player of the final for a State based U14 club competition, playing for Burleigh in Cairns, where he scored three tries in the final and was the top try scorer at the competition. He currently attends PBC with his older brother Jack Evans who is also developed in our development academy.

As noted he played his club football with Burleigh and played both at the U14 and U15 level. At the U14 Premier level he averaged more than two tries per game, scoring an incredible 20 tries in just nine games as well as kicking three goals for a total points tally at the U14 level of 86 points. He finished eight tries in front of fellow Titans development squad member Brent Barnes. Throughout the course of 2015, he also played four games at the U15 Division Two level for Burleigh. Playing at the higher age level did not stop him from scoring either, in those four games, he scored nine tries, thus for the club season he scored 29 tries in just 13 games, an incredible achievement.

From an attacking perspective there is not a great deal of things that he can not do, he can slice through the defensive line himself with a step and dummy or a fend. His fend is actually quite effective for a player his size. From what I have seen it is more effective when he is on the left hand side of the field, but there is no doubt that he can easily play both sides of the field equally as well. He is also adept at sweeping around the back of the halves to take the ball ‘out the back’ and from that point he really does play what is in front of him, he will certainly take the ball himself if the opportunity presents, but is equally effective at drawing the opposition defenders in and putting his runners into gaps.

He is plays a lot of his football like a second five eight where like at fullback he has the ability to see the play develop early and either use his foot work, which is clean and crisp in confined space or put is runners into gaps, where he will wait to the last possible moment before releasing the football and thus taking hits. He is very tough for his size though. The one attacking attribute that has not been mentioned yet is his speed. He is not exceptionally quick in relation to his top speed, but is very quick off the mark and can change direction with little or no loss to his forward momentum. His timing and anticipation makes his lack of real top speed an absolute non issue.

He is a very good general play kicker, who is very accurate, however he does not have the biggest kick but a big positive is that he understands that are rarely tries to kick the ball too hard, thus minimising the instances where the ball is caught by defenders on the full. There is no doubt from my perspective that he will be his team’s primary general play kicker going forward and due to his accuracy and his ability to understand what type of kick is required in each distinct situation means he will be a big threat in terms of 40/20’s etc. He does not get a great deal of height on his bombs but again is very accurate which enables his team mates to arrive at the same time as the ball, putting significant pressure on the defenders.

Defensively in the fullback position he understandably he does not a large amounts of tackles but he makes the necessary ones. If the attacking player runs directly towards him, he will come forward to cut down the time the attacker has to make a decision and he will make the tackle. He is not the biggest full back running around but he is an effective low tackler rather than trying to go high and potentially being pushed of. He also will not take the dummy in instances where the opposing team makes a clean break, he will force the attacker to pass the ball to his supports. Like a number of the current day fullbacks he gets himself under the ball quite often when opposing players are attacking close to the line and held up a few far bigger players when they seemed certain to score.

Moving forward to the 2016 season, it is all most impossible not to see him being heavily involved in representative football at a number of levels such as the Queensland U15 School boys side etc. He has also been named in the CC training squad for next year, and is the only player who will still be eligible for U15’s in 2016 who has made the squad, a big achievement. I would expect that he will make the final squad for one of the team’s and also make a solid impact on the competition from fullback. Like this year, he will play his club football with Burleigh, with the only question being at which age group, likely like this year, he will probably play a number of games at both the U15 and U16 level.

From a position stand point, just like with the comments made in relation to Rixon Andrew above, it must be very difficult for his coaches not to play him at five eight so that the ball can be in is hands as much as possible, but from the full back position he can pick and choose where and when he gets the ball as the game unfolds in front of him. I would think that staying at fullback in the short term is likely especially when he is playing above his age group, as he is not the biggest player, but I can see a permanent move to five eight as he moves towards the senior grades.

From a player comparison stand point, I am going to make a massive call, but I can really see aspects of a playing style with similar attributes to former, Brisbane Bronco, Queensland State of Origin and Australian captain Darren Lockyer. Like the afore mentioned player he is likely to play a lot of fullback early in his career, but move to five eight, where he has the rare ability to both makes a lot of breaks himself with smooth foot work but also set up his support runners with his ball playing ability. Throw in a very good game manager and you have a young player with a lot of potential and the hard working mentality to make the most of it. He is just a natural footballer.

needs to learn to pass both sides but effective at 1 not a 6

mdrew
24-11-15, 12:13 PM
Other Players worth consideration:

Jackson Keil – he is a talented young hooker from the power house Logan Brothers club south of Brisbane and also was named forward of the match by Paul Sironen when the Titans U15 development squad defeated a Balmain Tigers U15 side in September at Cudgen. He was also part of the Logan Brothers U15 side who won their U15 GBJRL grand final recently at Nundah. A team mate in that grand final side in their victory against Souths was Geordie Brand. He has not made a lot of junior representative sides over the last couple of years, but I would argue that that has more to do with the fact that he plays a very understated game rather than any skill based argument any one could have against him.

Acknowledgement must be given to the Titans junior development staff for the inroads that they have made in terms of the signing boys from Logan Brothers, which has traditionally provided a lot of talented players to the Broncos and Raiders and of course Cameron Smith to the Storm. Other Logan Brothers players involved in Titans development squads include Stanley Jackson (front row), Geordie Brand (front row) and Matamatagi Ripley (centre).

He is an extremely talented all round hooker, who excels at all three critical aspects that a modern day hooker must have to be successful, those being his distribution and game management out of dummy half, selective running out of dummy half and defending in the centre of the ruck where he is more effective than people would think when they first see him play. In terms of his distribution out of dummy half, he is extremely efficient in his passing and there is no wasted movement or energy as he passes in one motion off the ground rather than two distinct movements like many hookers where they first stand then pass. There is no discernible difference between his passing from either side of his body, and his passes are crisp and flat and also he can pass a reasonable distance off the ground when the first receiver is standing a little wider of the play the ball.

Where he is also extremely effective is leading his forwards onto the ball, he passes in front of the forward ensuring no loss of momentum to the run. In short he is a very good game manager from the hooking position. He is also a good communicator on the field, he is constantly encouraging his team both in attack and defence. He does not yell and scream, like the other parts of his game, he is calm and composed and uses positive reinforcement rather than yelling and screaming to get his point across to team mates but he does make it clear that he is in charge however.

Where he really stands out in terms of attacking play, is his speed out of dummy half, he is extremely quick and has good footwork to take advantage of tiring forwards, using a step usually off his right foot, although he does not necessary run much out of dummy half. The times that he does run though, he targets forwards who are offside, if the offside forward is called out of the play he has the speed to break into open space. Once in open space he does not usually have the pace to finish things off himself but he invariably will make the right decision with the ball a sto whether to take the tackle or pass to a support.

Around the try line he is also very good at making the right decision whether the go himself for the try line or pass, where he gets down low and drives with his legs between opposing forwards. In many respects this is due to the fact that he does not run too much meaning that when he runs he usually takes the opposition by surprise. Obviously as he progresses he will need to ensure that, he continues to make the right decisions in relation to whether to run or pass regardless of where he is on the field. He will not score many tries from close to the try line, but if opposing defences omit to consider him a threat he will take advantage of any situation that presents itself.

His defence for a hooker is exceptional, for a small hooker, he is certainly on the small side but that is no hindrance to how he currently plays the game, nor to his ability to reach his long term potential. He does not necessarily hit hard but due to his very good low technique he can defend effectively one on one against far larger forwards, he sets a good base with his lower body and explodes upwards with his shoulders to drive into opposing forwards. His intensity and continuous effort means that he will track the ball across the field and thus is in a good position when the ball is passed back inside. He literally tackles everything that moves in the centre of the ruck even though he is always the smallest forward on his side. He is also very good at getting out of dummy half quickly to put pressure on the opposing teams kickers in all parts of the field.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 season at the U16 level and will almost certainly be in contention to be involved in the Souths Logan CC squad, with fellow Titan Geordie Brand. He projects as an 80 minute player, who will probably be known more for his organisational and distribution skills rather than his running out of dummy half, but do not be fooled, he may not run a lot out of dummy half, but when he does he invariably makes a lot of ground, he chooses his time to run wisely. It is unlikely that he will make many representative sides into the future because he is not a flashy player but he will undoubtedly be appreciated by his team mates due to his calm, measured and clinical approach to how he plays rugby league.

From a player comparison perspective, due to his distribution, running and defence that he plays the game at, a playing style and comparison akin to the hooking version of former Manly Sea Eagle Geoff Toovey is appropriate even down to his size but with less arguing with officials.

mdrew
24-11-15, 12:55 PM
Danial Brownbill – He is a centre/second row who played this year at the MM level for the Easts Tigers, scoring five tries over the course of the season. He was originally part of the Titans junior developments squads, but for the last two years was part of the North Queensland Cowboys junior development system, before coming back to the Titans. Previously he has represented Queensland at the U16 level and prior to that made multiple South Coast junior representative sides, including schoolboy football, playing both in the centres and second row.

He has played the majority of his football this year in the centres, certainly when playing MM, and in that position, is a strong runner of the football. Whilst in does not have blinding speed off the mark, he does have decent top end speed and can break tackles by running over his direct opposite defender as well as using a very good fend, when he gets to the outside, this prevents defenders from getting he under his ribs and thus he can maintain his running line under defensive pressure. One skill that he does possess when playing in the centre position is a decent in and away especially from the right hand side of the field. He will wait until the last possible minute to step to commit the defender before getting on his outside.

When he breaks through the main defensive line he is also very effective at setting up his outside support, by drawing the fullback. This is a skill that is more difficult that it may seem, as the attacker needs to ensure that he draws the fullback before passing, but the fullback moves too early he has the pace to score himself as he can sustain his top speed over a reasonable distance.

When he has played second row previously, he has got very good feet, in terms of not just charging straight at the set defensive line. He uses foot work before and after the defensive line to assist in breaking tackles and as the video shows he is adept at offloading in traffic. In terms of his attacking skills, he has the skills at this point in time to play either centre or second row.

In terms of his defence, he obviously during the course of this year, defended almost exclusively in the centres but past experience indicates that defending on the edge of the ruck does not cause him too many issues. One area that game him some slight issues was defending against smaller quicker centres but in saying that he is still quite effective as a defender there. His initial contact is more than solid and is more than enough to stop the momentum of the ball carrier. He is also effective at wrapping the ball up and preventing offloads. Due to his current attributes he is more effective when his team is using an up and in style of defensive strategy rather than a slide methodology.

Moving forward, I would anticipate that he will make one of the MM sides the only issue is whether he plays for one of the Gold Coast MM sides or with Easts Tigers MM, as he has been named in both squads. At the conclusion of the MM competition it would not surprise for him to transition immediately to QCup Colts and then get an opportunity in NYC possibly later in the year. I think that ultimately he ends up in the back row, but not necessarily immediately, I certainly think that for the next couple of years, he will still be able to handle playing in the centres exclusively, but I think that by the time he gets to 1st grade level, whether that be NRL or QCup etc, he will likely transition to the back row full time where he will be a rangy, mobile, wide running backrower who is capable of playing the entire eighty minutes.

From a style perspective, someone like Mitch Aubusson of the Roosters may be a good comparison as a versatile player adept as a multi talented backrower who can fill in admirably in the centres would be a decent comparison.

mdrew
25-11-15, 08:29 AM
Jayde Williams – He is a young second rower from the Redland Bay area who was part of the Titans Logan based U13 development academy and also started in the second row for the Titans in their recent victory against a Toowoomba U14 squad at Burleigh. He scored a try in that match which can be seen on the video footage on the Titans Official Site linked to an article on the development squad matches. He also represented South East Queensland White in the Queensland junior age championships in June this year, where he scored five tries, including a double in his side’s first match of the championships against the Capricorn Capras. In the U13 development squad game, he along with Caleb Esera and Brendan Piakura were the pick of the forwards for me. U13 Brisbane Stingers representation also came his way.

He is a tall, rangy exceptional athlete and this can be seen when be he is running with the football. In his carries he rarely takes a hit up without movement, he uses foot work prior to the line to look to break through as well as cutting either cutting back in behind the play the ball or cutting out towards the smaller defenders on the fringes of the ruck. He, certainly from the games that I have seen, including the development squad game and some of the Stingers games he plays on the left side of the field the majority of the time.

Like one or two others mentioned recently he runs ‘fast’ into the defensive and his foot work prior to the line enables him to get partly through the line on a number of occasions. One reason for this is that he is an intelligent footballer, he does not try to run over defenders, but he runs at the gaps between defenders and uses his running speed to break through if defenders only use their arms in the tackle. He has very good speed off the mark for a second rower and can then translate that into very good top end speed which he can sustain over long distances. He would be one of the faster back rowers running around for his age group in Queensland. At the Queensland junior age championships, the only backrower who was clearly faster was fellow Titans U13 development squad member, Keegan Vandenberg.

Playing on the left hand side of the field seemingly more often, means that his right foot step and his fending using his left hand are the effective attributes, but based on his physical attributes, his skill set and his understanding of how to play the game means that I have no doubt that these attributes are transferrable to playing on the right hand side of the field to increase his effectiveness on the field. I have not seen him off load the ball in tackles very often, but that is more a result of no need to off load the ball as he makes a lot of breaks. As the level of the opposition increases, this is an attribute he will need to develop, but with his skill set, I do not thing he will have an issue developing in this area, it is just a matter of experience. Sometimes you just have to remember that these are young blokes just starting out in the game.

Where he also excels is backing up breaks, he is quite quick for a second rower and even when breaks are made out wide, he is one of the first players there supporting on the inside. It was this attribute in the development squad game that led to his try. Fullback Rixon Andrew, put centre Matamatagi Ripley away down the left hand side of the field. After a quick play the ball, Jadye Williams took the ball up off the half and charged through the defensive line before it could be reset, to score next to the posts. This is the try that was shown on the video.

Defensively he looks to wrap up the ball on initial contact, he will not constantly come up with big hits, but is certainly capable of hitting hard when the opportunity presents itself, but will rarely miss tackles and also covers across the field very well, meaning he is always in a good position to make a tackle if the ball is turned back inside and also to make cover defending tackles if breaks are made wider out. One area that I have noticed is that he does defend a lot in the centre of the ruck, rather than on the fringes, in no way is this a negative in the context that with his size and strength he can handle the physical contact and work load, but as he progresses in age he will probably need to adjust to defending more on the fringe of the ruck to enable him to use his exceptional athletic ability more.

He is quick enough to get to most outside backs in cover defence, in short he is one of the better back row cover defenders I have had the opportunity to see in junior football. Due to his speed and positional sense he is usually one of the first players down field in relation to kick chase as well. These last two attributes and part athletic ability part determination. He just does a lot of the little things well.

In the 2016 season, he will play his football at the U14 level in the Redlands area and will be hard to keep out of Stingers representative sides once again and hopefully he is a long term member of the Titans junior development set up. From a position perspective, he seems to have the ideal build for a second rower in the modern game to go along with good pace and thus from a position projection perspective, second row seems to be his ideal position moving forward.

From a player comparison perspective, someone along the lines of Boyd Cordner of the Roosters would be appropriate from a style perspective as a tall powerful well-rounded back rower who plays the game hard with toughness and at a pace above a lot of the players around him. For people who have seen a few of the Titans development squad games, he has a current build similar to fellow Titans backrower Darius Farmer and does in fact play a similar style of football. There is no reason to think that he cannot have a similar junior career projection and develop into a very talented backrower who could play for the entire 80 minutes.

mdrew
25-11-15, 01:39 PM
Elijah Winitana – He is a young front rower from the Group One area of Northern New South Wales who is part of the Titans Grafton/Lismore based U14 development academy and also started off the bench in the U14 development squads recent game against Samoa prior to coming on and playing in the front row. He played his club rugby league at the U14 level for Clarence Coast in the Group One junior rugby league competition where he finished as the third top try scorer in the U14 competition I believe with 18 tries in 14 matches. He was the top try scoring forward and finished behind two other Titans development squad members in Hamish Ellem and Caleb Barker in the overall try scoring ranking for that competition. He obviously liked playing against Kyogle, scoring seven tries in the two games against them during the 2015 season.

He also was one of the best for McLean High School in their Buckley Shield campaign, scoring a number of tries in that competition prior to McLean High School being knocked out of that competition by Singleton High School. He made a number of representative sides including the Group One U14 side for the New South Wales junior age championships, where he started his team’s three games in the front row.

When playing club football or Group One junior representative football, he does look like he has good size for the front row position, but when playing for the U14 Titans development squad, granted he was playing against a massive and I mean massive Samoan U14 side he certainly was the smallest of the front rowers who played in that match. This situation does not negate his ability though it just means that a position switch to the second row is a distinct possibility as his career progresses.

In attack he runs very hard and straight. In club football in Group One he was almost unstoppable. During his first couple of runs in the development squad game he got hit very hard, but to his credit he kept taking the ball up, and was part of the reason that the Titans U14 side was able to wrestle the early momentum away from the Samoan side, who had jumped out to a 10-0 lead. Impressively as the game progressed he adjusted his running to take into account the opposition. He changed from just very straight to either using cutting back behind the play the ball or using some footwork prior to the line, a sign of a smart young player. For a young front rower he has actually quite decent speed once he gets into the clear. From a decision making stand point, it must have been quite difficult playing in a side where you have had only a couple of training sessions to get familiar with them, but as he gets more experience I am sure that he will get more confidence with the game plan and players around him.

In defence he is not a big hitter, but is quite aggressive during the tackle, preferring to make sure that the tackle is made and is very effective both in terms of initial contact and also coming in a wrapping up the football. He also covers inside well. When at marker he works hard and always gets out of marker quickly to put pressure on the kicker. He is not flashy but does a lot of the tough defensive work in the centre of the field.

Next season he will play the season at the U15 level for Clarence Coast in the Group One junior rugby league competition and in all likelihood will be part of the Group One U15 representative side as well as continuing to play his schoolboy football for McLean High School. From a position perspective, I note that he has played almost exclusively in the front row to date, but moving forward I would envisage that a move to the second row would best suit his size and skill set. It will be interesting to see when/if a positional change comes about.

From a player comparison perspective, a player that would be a good comparison is Sam Thaiday of the Brisbane Broncos as a forward who runs and tackles with a hint of aggression in his game and an all-out style. Similarly Sam Thaiday can probably play front row if needed but is far more suited to the second row.

mdrew
26-11-15, 11:18 AM
Aaron Shelford – He is a local young second rower who played his club football for Nerang in the U16 Division One competition, where he scored four tries and kicked a solitary goal for an 18 point haul over the course of the 13 games he played during the season. He also played in the CC competition for Gold Coast White where he scored two tries I believe. In the CC competition he alternated between the front row and the second row from a position perspective, including starting in the second row for their semi-final against the Sunshine Coast Falcons, which unfortunately they lost. In earlier seasons he made a number of Vikings and Kookaburra’s representative sides. He also started in the second row with Darius Farmer for the Titans U16 development squad in their victory over Samoa.

Running with the football, he has good footwork prior to the line and does not often just put his head down and run straight, but uses his solid footwork to try to work the gaps between defenders rather than trying to simply run over them. He does not have great speed off the mark or necessary great high end speed, but he will work hard and make the most of his ability. He actually does have a decent off load when he has impacted the defensive line as well.

Defensively he is not a big hitter, usually aiming for just under the ribs and first intention is to lock up the ball to prevent offloads. One area where is quite effective whether he is defending on the fringes of the ruck or in the centre of the ruck including when he is defending at marker, is against smaller attackers who look to use their foot work. He is quite reasonable lateral mobility for a forward and due to the fact that he also is not that tall, usually is able to wrap up the smaller attackers without his tackles slipping up to around the head or neck, and thus giving away penalties. His ability to successfully defend against these type of attackers as well as having the technique to defend against larger forwards is one of a number of reasons that I consider that a future in the second row is plausible.

He will probably not stand out during a game but will work hard both in attack and defence and leave all the eye catching things like big hits, line breaks and one handed off loads to other forwards who will benefit from his hard working style.

For the 2016 season, he has been named in the MM train on squad and it will be interesting to see how many matches he gets in his first year of eligibility at that level, as there are a number of talented second rowers named in the Gold Coast MM train on squad. It will likely depend on how many of those young players start the season in NYC, such as Kobe Tararo, Darius Farmer, Blake Lenehan etc.

Whilst he has alternated between second row and front row over previous junior seasons, I would anticipate that based on his build and skill set that starting as early as next season he will possibly transition to the second row full time. He likely could play front row in an emergency type situation but second row seems like a more natural fit for him from my perspective at least. Once the MM season is completed, he will play for Nerang in the Premier Division U17 level in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition.

From a player comparison perspective, one player with a similar playing style from my perspective is former Titans second rower and current Titans coaching staff member Anthony Laffranchi, as a solid backrower who will probably never be a star but will be a solid contributor to a team’s forward pack. Likely there will be players with more natural ability that will not go as far in rugby league as Aaron Shelford will, simply because he will make the most of the ability he has through sheer hard work and effort.

mdrew
26-11-15, 01:01 PM
Jaman Rio – He is young half/ five eight who played his club football at the U16 Premier Division level for the Burleigh Bears as well as playing for Gold Coast White in the CC competition, predominately at five eight. He also played a few games in the U16 competition at lock, including their semi-final against Nerang. For Burleigh this year, he scored four tries and kicked 16 goals at the U16 Division One level, for a total points haul of 48 points. He also played three games at the U17 level, including two games at the Division One level, scoring one try in the process. He also started at five eight for the Titans U16 development squad in their recent victory against Samoa where he provided the last pass to a couple of the Titans tries, one of which can be seen in the video embedded on the junior development article on the Titans Official site.

Originally he is from Wellington in New Zealand, where he made a number of junior representative squads for the Wellington Orca’s at the U12 to U14 level, including being named vice captain for the U14 development squad in 2014, he played for the Upper Hut club in the Wellington junior rugby league competition, before moving to the Gold Coast for the start of the 2015 season. In 2015 he represented South Coast U15 school boys in the QSSRL competition.

In attack, as already noted he is a half/five eight who is a reasonably dynamic runner of the football who excels in taking on the defensive line with good footwork around the ruck, looking to seek out bigger slower forwards when they are caught on the edge of the ruck. He has good speed off the mark, but does not necessary have high top end speed to individually exploit his own breaks and thus needs to look to off load once he breaks through the defensive line.

He does not however have blinkers on, and when his backline is set deep, he can see an overlap or a another play developing he will get the ball out quickly and effectively, using his solid passing skills from both sides of his body, where he will put the football out in front of his runners. His long passing game is reasonably good from an accuracy perspective, but something that can be worked on. Possibly the best feature of his passing game, is when he takes the ball to the line and holding the ball until the last possible moment looking to draw in the defender on his outside and putting a forward/centre running into the resulting hole. He seems to be better running to the right side of the field in this circumstance.

Assisting his play is the fact that he makes the decision what to do with the ball quickly thus enabling the ball to get out wide quickly. One aspect that was notable in the development squad game, was how he directed the team around the field, he was in charge of when and where the forwards ran and also when he wanted the ball to spread it out wide to his backline. He also backs up well, which adds another string to his bow, this can be seen on the video on the Titans official site where he backed up Jaxson Paulo (jersey 18) on the outside before offloading to the eventual try scorer centre Isaac Lee.

He has a solid all round kicking game but like most young general play kickers he just needs to ensure that he does not try to kick the ball too hard and lose accuracy as a result on occasion he does take a little while to get his kicks away and this is something that he may need to work on, but when not rushed he does generate significant distance and accuracy. In terms of attacking kicks he has a very good short kicking game in terms of putting the ball into the in goal area, looking for either a try directly from the kick or earning a goal line drop out. With likely continued improvement and experience, he has a reasonable opportunity to be his side’s primary tactical kicking option, but his floor is that of a more than effective secondary option.

He is also a very good goal kicker with both good range and very good accuracy. Prior to this year, he was the primary kicker for Burleigh and other representative sides, but this year, he shared the goal kicking duties at both club and representative level. I would suggest that he was an opportunity to be his side’s primary goal kicker regardless of the level progressing into the future.

Defensively he has decent size for a half/five eight, and probably would be considered one of the better defenders for his age group on the Gold Coast. He is an asset to his team’s defensive pattern to the extent that he has the strength and technique to more than hold his own one on one against wide running forwards and thus a forward does not necessarily need to be allocated to the fringes of the ruck for defensive purposes.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 year at the U17 level and has also he has been named in the Gold Coast MM training squad. Whether he gets many games in MM next year will be dependent on where the likes of NZ recruit Bostyn Hakaraia and AJ Brimson start the 2016 season. If either starts in NYC then Jaman Rio may start in MM if not then he may need to bide his time for Burleigh in club football waiting for his MM opportunity.

Even though he played a handful of games at lock for the Burleigh Bears, I think that his future lies in the halves where he played the CC season, specifically at five eight. His decent speed of the mark, his short passing game and solid general play kicking game, indicates a future in the halves is likely.

From a player comparison perspective thing maybe someone like the Brisbane Bronco’s Ben Hunt as a solid all round player who whilst an effective runner of the football, can also direct his side around the field and also is a solid general play and goal kicker. He probably does not have the speed off the mark as Ben Hunt though.

mdrew
30-11-15, 07:28 AM
Cayle Manu – He is a young centre/wing who started on the wing, after originally being named on the bench, for the Titans U13 development squad in their recent victory over a Toowoomba U14 side at Burleigh in September. He is part of the Titans Logan based development squad. On that day, whilst the Titans U13’s put on show with the likes of fullback Rixon Andrew, five eight Damon Somerville etc., excelling, Cayle Manu really made people sit up and take notice, he obviously is a decent player but he really stood out on that day.

He is powerfully built young man who runs with pace and power. It would be unfair to categorise that his game is only built on pace and power though as he has a very good right foot step and right hand fend. For his build, he is very quick down the sidelines with a good in and away to beat defenders on the outside and will not get caught from behind if he gets into open space. Whilst his speed off the mark can not be considered explosive he has good top end speed once he gets moving. In addition to his speed he seems to have the ability to “freeze” his direct opponent with his ability to step off both feet before accelerating around them usually on the touchline side. On the wing, with his low centre of gravity he is able to come in and take runs through the centre of the ruck, and effective runs at that. He will take off from dummy half and use his elite foot work make a lot of the “tough” yards.

In terms of chasing attacking kicks he does not have the greatest of leaps but will always look to challenge for the ball and put pressure on the defenders. He also has very good hands low to the ground on grubber kicks or when defenders drop bombs and uses his strength to get to the ball quickly before defenders. He will also chase general play kicks with vigor trying to improve the effectiveness of his teams kicking game.

His defensive game is one built on intimidation he will come out of the line when the opportunity presents itself and hit very hard around the chest and drive through is lower body and continue until the tackle is well and truly finished. In the U13 development squad game, opposing players were looking for him in the defensive line when they were running which did generate a few lost balls. The positive for Cayle Manu is that he does not purely rely on strength and power to hit, timing is also a key attribute to ensure that he arrives at the attacker at around the same time that the ball does, this also reduces the likelihood of injury to himself or the defender getting on his outside setting up a two or one.

In 2016 he will play the season at the U14 level and should be part of the Stingers representative sides. I think that he over the next couple of years, he will likely alternate between centre and wing, but in the long term I believe that his best position will be on the wing, with his skill set and intimidation factor.

From a player comparison perspective think former Canterbury Bulldogs winger Matthew Utai , he may not have amazing speed etc but he is very difficult to tackle due to his build and strength and as someone who will regularly be able to come in and take pressure off his forwards with some bullocking runs.

mdrew
30-11-15, 08:08 AM
Xavier Johansson – He is a young front rower from Wesley College in Auckland New Zealand and has recently signed a two year deal with the Titans after being spotted in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Tournament. He played his club football in New Zealand for the Papakura Sea Eagles in the Auckland Rugby League Catchment area. He has been named in the Gold Coast MM training squad, but will also be training with the NYC squad prior to Christmas.

I will before I make any further comment note that I have not seen him play live. I have seen a number of full game videos of him playing for Wesley College in NZ as well as edited highlight packages, including the 2014 Plate final of the New Zealand Secondary Schools tournament where he scored a try in Wesley Collages loss.

He is a powerful runner of the football, who knows only one way and that is straight ahead and can offload once he has impacted the defensive line or has crashed through it. There is no subtlety to his running, it is straight and hard and another positive is that he will not just run upright, he will drop his should into the defender making it difficult if not impossible for him to be stopped one on one. He does though have quite food pace when/if he gets into space, probably above average for a front rower.

In the few games that I saw, defending teams had to commit substantial defensive resources into each tackle enabling his team to attack on multiple directional axis. From the videos that I have seen, he was quite effective close to the try line, he would get back deep and run into the ball hard and low to score quite a few tries for Wesley College.

In defence he is happy to go for the big hit with his target zone around the rib cage rather than the chest area thus mitigating the risk of the tackle slipping up around the head. He is obviously suited to defending in the centre of the ruck rather that the fringes and will have some trouble with nippy runners out of dummy half. It has been suggested to me that he is a very hard dedicated worker in training. His calling card though is the strength and power to effectively engage the opposing forward early in their run and use his natural strength to win the forward battle in the centre of the ruck.

Even though 2016 will be his first year in Australia, he should be a mainstay of one of the Gold Coast MM sides. At the conclusion of the MM season, he will likely transition to the local U19 competition, or possibly the QCup Colts competition, at this stage I do not know which club side/QCup side he will play for. I think that it will be difficult for him to make his NYC debut in 2016, with the front rowers in front of him, such as Morgan Boyle, Kurt Bernard, Simione Fatafehi, Doryaan Hape-Apiata, Jay Hunkin, Max King and Justin Fai, but I guess you never know.

From a future playing perspective, I cannot see him playing anywhere other than the front row and if he continues to work hard on his stamina and flexibility and has some luck with injuries, opportunities etc., he seems to have a good future ahead of him. The key for him will be adapting to the level of competition in Australia and developing consistency in his game.

From a player comparison point of view, I think that a fair comparison from a style of play perspective would be former New Zealand Warriors front rower Sam Rapira, as tough hard runner forward who does everything at 100 mph. Well done to the Titans recruitment staff for identifying and signing a potential diamond in the rough.

mdrew
30-11-15, 12:07 PM
Oliver Singh – He is a local young utility player, who has played a number of positions over the last couple of years, including hooker, half and most recently starting at five eight for the Titans U14 development squad in their victory against Samoa. He currently attends PBC High School and plays his club football at the Currumbin Eagles Club, where he has played mostly U14’s but has played two games up at the U15 age group. At the U14 level he scored nine tries and four goals across the season for a total of 44 points. He also represented the U14 Kookaburra’s earlier this and is a member of 2015 Gold Coast junior rugby league academy. He also received the Rugby League Encouragement of the year award earlier this month at the Gold Coast Academy of Sport awards night for 2015.

He started at five eight for the Titans U14 side in their game against Samoa, and made a good fist of the position. In attack, regardless of the position he is playing, he is quick and strong and has good footwork to beat opposition defenders and then has decent speed, but he is not a burned from a speed perspective. Although his speed off the mark is effective at creating immediate space when combined with a good dummy. In relation to his play at hooker his passing is reasonably crisp, especially to the right side, which mirrors his play in the halves.

He has a solid all round kicking game regardless of whether he is playing in the halves or hooker but like most young general play kickers he just needs to ensure that he does not try to kick the ball too hard and lose accuracy as a result on occasion he does take a little while to get his kicks away and this is something that he may need to work on, but when not rushed he does generate reasonable distance and accuracy. With likely continued improvement and experience, he has a ceiling of being a team’s primary tactical kicking option, and his floor is that of a more than effective secondary option.

He can also kick out of dummy half when playing at the hooker position and will chase very hard to prevent the opposition from making ground in relation to kick returns. His right foot kick is not huge but seems to be very accurate and normally finds the ground rather than defenders on the full.
Prior to this year, he was the primary kicker for his club side as well as the Titans U13 development squad, but this year that situation changed and he kicked a lot less, with for me was a little surprising as he showed both range and accuracy in the past as a goal kicker, including a couple of great kicks from the sideline in the 2014 season. It will be interesting to see whether he continues to kick for goal in the coming years.

Defensively he is more than strong enough to defend in the middle of the ruck and quick enough to defend on the fridges, thus his defensive abilities will not dictate his eventual long term position. In the centre of the ruck he sets a strong base to create the necessary leverage to defend against larger forwards. When defending in the halves, he due to his low centre of gravity and tackling technique and effectively engage wide running forwards as well as having the footwork and lateral movement to contain and eliminate the threat of smaller stepping players breaching the defensive line.

Moving forward to the 2016 season, he will play at the U15 level for the Currumbin Eagles and PBC where he will likely be contention for South Coast representation at the QSSRL U15 competition, the same competition where this year, Queensland won the National titles, led by U15 Player of the Year and Titans contracted front rower Geordie Brand.

A long term position perspective is an interesting one, even though he played a number of games in the halves this year, based on his build and passing skills, I can legitimately see a case for him to transition to hooker full time in the years to come. Obviously though the powers that be potentially think otherwise with him starting at five eight for the Titans U14 development squad. Playing both in the halves and at hooker for the next couple of years though is the most likely scenario as he works on his passing and game management skills before any decision needs to be made to limit him to playing one position. Versatility is a good trait to have as a young player.

From a player comparison perspective think someone along the lines of the Titans own Matt Srama as a solid all round player who played a lot of his junior football in the halves and who will probably not stand out, but does a lot of little things well and likely provide a legitimate kicking option out of dummy half and having the endurance to be an 80 minute player.

mdrew
30-11-15, 02:23 PM
Jordan Champion – He is a local young backrower who played his club football with the Helensvale Hornets at the U15 level, scoring two tries during the season. Even though he has played a lot of second row in his junior rugby league career, although he interestingly played a handful of games at five eight for Helensvale this year. He also represented South Coast at the U15 QSSRL State Championships earlier this year played his school football at Coombabah. He has also been named in the Gold Coast CC training squad for the 2016 season.

He was been part of the Titans junior development squads for a couple of years now, and is one of a number of talented backrowers in our development squads and certainly in the Gold Coast region. We seem to be able to identify good solid young backrowers in our own back yard. He has represented the Vikings and Kookaburra’s on multiple occasions across a number of different age groups over the last couple of years and was part of the Titans U15 development side that defeated the Balmain Tigers three tries to two in September at Cudgen.

He is a talented wide running backrower with a decent turn of speed once he breaks through the line and will outpace all but the quickest cover defenders. He has the ability to use footwork before the line, especially on the ends of the ruck where he has a good in and away as well as a very good fend to complement his footwork, he can also throw a solid short pass in those situations as well, where he tries to wait as long as possible before popping the short pass.

On top of those attributes, he is impressive at running a good line on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into thus making the play makers on his team look good. He will also take his share of runs in the middle where he uses foot work prior to the line so as not to constantly absorb big hits against, usually much larger opposition forwards. He is also a disciplined player who does not often give away penalties or makes silly mistakes and also has good hands, including the ability to drag in passes that are behind him.

Defensively he looks to wrap up the ball on initial contact, he will not constantly come up with big hits, but will rarely miss tackles and also covers across the field very well, meaning he is usually in good positions to make a tackle if the ball is turned back inside and also to make cover defending tackles if breaks are made wider out. He is quick enough to get to most outside backs in cover defence. Due to his above average speed for his position speed, tackling technique and positional sense he is usually at or near the top of the tackle count for his team.

Moving forward he should be part of one of the CC Cup sides in 2016 where he should contribute in the back row as a wide running forward who has some decent ball skills on the fringes of the ruck as well as a player who will do a lot of the little things well, such as chasing kicks, defending inside passes, preventing off loads etc. Even though he has moved around a little bit this year from a positional sense, including a couple of games for Helensvale at five eight, one of those being a semi-final, I personally cannot see him playing anywhere but second row as his career progresses towards the upper echelons of junior rugby league.

From a style perspective think of former Titans back rower Ben Ridge as a player with similar attributes, being a solid in all aspects back rower who on occasion will flash an above average skill set, including a very good tackling technique.

mdrew
07-12-15, 12:37 PM
Ethan Kane – He is a local young utility back who has played a variety of positions in club, representative and Titans Development Squad football, including fullback, five eight and halfback. He played a fair portion of the 2015 season at halfback, including playing at half for the Group 18 U15 side this year in the New South Wales Country Age Championships. It was a tough competition for the Group 18 side, but Ethan Kane did well, including scoring a try in the Plate competition. He has previously represented Group 18 at the U14 level and also played a number of games for the Titans Development squads, at the U13, U14 and U15 age levels, including teaming with Dea Jarn Asi in the halves against Samoa in 2014. He has been selected in the Gold Coast CC training squad for the 2016 season.

He is quite an elusive runner of the ball and some good foot work in confined space. He will take on the line regularly and has a very good step off both feet but his left foot step seems to be the preferred step based on the games that I have seen at least. His passing game is what I would consider above average and he will drift across the field looking for runners to run into holes and has the ability to hold the defensive line in place as he develops the play in front of them, making to easier for his support runners to get a clear passage through the line, especially when a defender comes out of the line and commits to Ethan Kane. He will also wait until the last possible moment to release the football. His best attribute in his passing game is the speed, timing and accuracy when he passes to his outside backs. He gets a very good spiral on the ball from both sides of his body and leads his outside attackers into the ball, enabling them to maintain the momentum of their run.

He is a reasonably solid general play kicker, who is reasonably accurate, however he does not have the biggest or most powerful kick and when he tries to kick too hard it usually finds a defender on the full, when he takes a bit off the kick his accuracy increases exponentially. He also chases his own kicks well, almost always leading the chase down field. He also has a decent short kicking game especially close to the opposition line, but on occasion his chip kicks can sometimes be a little too high. Not sure that he will be a primary tactical kicker for a side, but he certainly will be an option to consider especially when talking about attacking kicks such as grubber kick. He has improved as an organiser as he has moved through the age groups and should continue to do so as he matures and plays against better opposition and with better players on his own side.

He is not the biggest player but even when defending in the front line will tackle using his shoulder which assists when defending against larger forwards operating on the fringes of the ruck. Whilst not the biggest he is strong and tough enough to effectively tackle one on one against opposing halves and with his solid speed and foot work he can cover a lot of ground as he tracks the ball across the field. He is certainly not going to be a liability in defence for his team and is more than willing to take on bigger forwards. When defending at fullback in the past he forces the opposition to make a decision with the football rather than letting the attackers come to him with time on their side.

Moving forward he should be part of one of the CC Cup sides in 2016 where he should contribute in potentially a variety of positions, including full back and half back. For me, his ultimate future lies at fullback with the ability to sweep around the back of the ruck using his solid footwork or his above average passing skills to put his supporting players into gaps created in the defensive line. He would also have the ability to pop up in supporting in the middle of the ruck, either running himself or looking for offloads from his forwards and use his footwork against big tiring forwards. His game management skills have also taken a step forward this season and he looks like he is growing into a leader on the field as well. I know that he has played some five eight in the past but I think that ultimately his best long term position lies elsewhere.

From a style perspective, I think that a player who has a similar type of skill set is Brisbane Bronco and Queensland State of Origin full back Darius Boyd, as a player who moves well with or without the ball, has good anticipation and can create for himself or others from the fullback position.

mdrew
07-12-15, 12:48 PM
Aaron Lafi – He is a young front rower from the South’s Acacia Ridge magpies club in the South West suburbs of Brisbane, specifically Archerfield. He started in the front row for the Titans U13 Development Squad in their recent win over Toowoomba. As noted he started in the front row and was actually part of an all South’s Acacia Ridge front row with front row partner Caleb Esera and hooker Brock Ashton. The starting fullback in that Development squad was also a South’s team mate in Rixon Andrew. All four players were also part of the South’s U13 GBJRL side that lost their grand final to Logan Brothers 36-30 as well as being part of the Titans U13 development squad based in Logan. He also made a number of representative sides including Stingers and South East Queensland U13 sides.

Aaron Lafi is a solidly built young front rower with a low centre of gravity, which makes him quite difficult to tackle. There is no subtlety to his game, he runs straight and hard, with the only concession to this being a slight step off his left foot in occasion prior to impacting the defensive line. One thing that he does do will however is continuing to pump his legs once his initial momentum is halted by the defensive line, he makes more metres than he should as a result and also forces defending teams to commit multiple defensive assets to stopping his progress. He does not have a real off load to his attacking game, but that is not his role, his role is to take the ball into the heart of the opposition’s defensive line and make as many metres as possible.

Like his attacking game, his defensive methodology is simply constructed and enacted. He moves up and hits the ball carrier as hard as he can, as often as he can, full stop. He is best suited to defending in the centre of the ruck and that is where you will almost always find him and for a solidly built young player, he moves well in terms of moving up and back in defence. His lateral movement is reasonable for a front rower but he will on occasion have some difficulty with smaller faster stepping opposition players.

Moving forward to the 2016 season, he will play in the U14 age division for South’s and likely again be in contention for a number of the relevant U14 representative sides as Stingers and South East Queensland. There is no doubt in my mind that he will continue to play in the front row for his entire career and make a good fist of the most physically demanding position in a football field.

From a player comparison perspective, I would consider that a player with a similar build and a similar playing style is North Queensland Cowboys, Queensland and Australian front rower Matt Scott as a front rower who is not flashy but works hard to put his team on the front foot through gaining ground through the centre of the ruck.

mdrew
07-12-15, 01:04 PM
Jacob Tekii – He is a local young half back who played his club football for the Coomera Cutters in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition at the U13 level this year. He also made a number of representative sides in 2015, including the Vikings and South East Queensland White U13’s for the Queensland age championships in July of this year. He had a very good competition for South East Queensland White, including scoring a double in their 48-4 victory over the Northern Marlins. Fellow U13 Titans Development Squad member Ediq Ambrosyev also scored a double in that match. He also started at half back for the Titans U13 Development Squad in their recent victory over a Toowoomba Development Squad.

He certainly knows how to find his way to the try line, including scoring 12 tries for the Cutters at the U13 Division One level this year, in addition to kicking 22 goals for an impressive points haul of 92 for the season. His best season from a try scoring perspective was in 2014 when he scored a staggering 37 tries across the season, including 30 tries in 12 games in the U12 age group as well as seven in eight games at the U13 age group.

In attack, his speed off the mark is one attribute that you will notice when you see him play. He does not seem to have an extra gear once he is through the defensive line, but has the ability to maintain his speed over a long distance, thus the apparent lack of an extra gear in speed has no discernible impact on the quality of his play. Coupled with the ability to step off both feet, his speed and deception with his ball handling skills, enables him to make numerous line breaks. He also backs up any line breaks and as can be seen from his try scoring statics over the years with the Coomera Cutters, he knows how to find the try line.

Whilst the comments above are directed towards his individual ability to break a game open, a key attribute to how he plays is his ability to organise and direct his team around the field as well as adjusting his game to the specific situations within a game. An example of what I am referring to could be seen in the U13 Development Squad game, as the Titans side got on top and the outside backs, such as Damon Somerville, Rixon Andrew, Matamatagi Ripley etc. were running riot he did not even look to run himself, instead he put the team first and got the ball out wide cleanly and efficiently. In that same game, after a break by centre Matamatagi Ripley he had every right to look to go himself as there was only one opposition in front of him with the line open, but again he made sure of the try by drawing the defender and passing to backrower Jayde Williams giving him a clear run to the line with a nicely timed and directed pass.

He has a very good kick on him and seemingly also has good accuracy to go with the power that he generates. His kicking game suggest he will be a real 40/20 threat as he matures and progresses through the age groups, he also gets his kicks away quickly thus not allowing the defenders to put an undue amount of pressure on him. Also his power generates very good height on his bombs. He does have some subtly though in his kicking, he is adept at grubber kicking into the opposition in goal line as well as putting appropriate weight on his chip kicks, in an effort to get a repeat set of tackles. In short he is a very good tactical kicker, who is above average in all aspects and flashes plus ability in a few attributes such as range and weighting of the kicks.

He is also a very good goal kicker with both good range and accuracy, although when he is kicking from wider one, he sometimes tries to kick the ball too hard and his accuracy suffers as a result. Like his general play kicking, I would suggest that he is a real chance to be his side’s primary goal kicker regardless of the level progressing into the future.

Where he projects very well is in the defensive aspects of rugby league, in essence he is a very good defender for the half back position, this includes against opposing halves who will try to use footwork and evasion to beat him or against big wide running forwards. No matter who is running at him, his timing, strength, lateral movement and technique are all well above average even verging on plus, not just for his position but for his age group in general. His defence is an area that stands out when you watch him play in person. He, from my perspective at least defends like a second rower, which means his team’s defensive strategy can be accommodated to account for the fact that a “defensive minder” is not a critical requirement for any team with Jacob Tekii in it.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 year at the U14 level for the Coomera Cutters and may also play a few games at the U15 level due to his maturity and skill level. Based on his play this year, he will surely be in the mix to play a fair bit of representative football as well for the Vikings and South East Queensland at the U14 level at the 2016 Queensland Age Championships. From a long term position perspective, I have no doubt that he has already found his position, that being of halfback, where he combines a good skill set, leadership and maturity level to have the opportunity to become a very good rugby league player in future years.

From a player comparison perspective thing maybe someone like newly signed Titan and junior standout Ashley Taylor as a young play maker who whilst having all the skills necessary for a future at half back, also shows the ability to alter his game based on what his team needs during the course of a match and whose kicking game can have a major impact.

mdrew
07-12-15, 03:14 PM
Justin Bleakley – He is a young fullback from Lennox Heads in Northern New South Wales who in addition to rugby league, has played a bit of rugby recently, including making some representative sides, including the North Coast U15 in 2014. In union he played a lot of inside centre and was an attacking threat with the ball, including scoring a hat trick against a visiting Western Australian side. In league he has played both centre and fullback, including starting at fullback for a Titans U16 development side against Samoa recently, in that game he also spent some time on the wing in the second half.

He has been named in the MM train on squad for the 2016 season. He also attends St Johns College Woodlawn and plays for the school side in multiple New South Wales competitions, including het GIO National School Boys Cup. From St Johns College Woodlawn, he represented New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges in rugby league at the U15 level in 2014 and played his club rugby league with the Ballina Seagulls in the Group One junior rugby league competition. For Ballina, he played this year in what was essentially an U17 competition this year, scoring nine tries in as many games. He also kicked four goals for a points scoring tally of 44 points for the season. Centre Isaac Lee is another Titans linked youngster who played in that competition.

He is an agile runner of the football who relies on his decent speed and elusiveness to make it difficult for larger opponents to line him up. When lining up at fullback he always makes himself available for offloads in the centre of the ruck. One thing that impresses me is that he does not jog after the ball when it is kicked down field, he will flat out sprint to get there either on the full or as quickly as possible, thus eliminating the effectiveness of the oppositions kicking game. When he retrieves the ball he makes a decision quickly about where to look to run around a staggered defensive line or to run straight in an effort to make as much ground as possible.

To date he has not been asked to be a ball player out of the back of the ruck so it will be interesting to see how that skill develops as he plays at the higher levels, including as early as next year in the Mal Meninga Cup competition. Also his hands at fullback are usually quite safe, however in the U16 development squad game, he did drop a couple of kicks, I will note however that the conditions were quite difficult. In the first half Justin Bleakley was looking straight into driving rain when trying to catch a few high balls, so I think that he should get a pass on that day due to the poor conditions.

He is not the biggest or necessarily strongest player but will take the hit when needing to make the tackle in the last line of defence. In the U16 game against Samoa for example he certainly was not shy in terms of getting in front of some giant Samoan players running straight at him when defending at fullback or on the wing in the second half.

As noted he has been named in the MM train on squad for next season and it will be interesting to see if he starts the season in MM as there are a few talented young fullbacks in the MM squad, such as Jordan Birch and potentially Max Dowd. From a position perspective, I would think that fullback, rather than centre or wing is the likely long term position scenario, as I am not sure that he has the absolute speed needed for centre or wing, even though he does has decent speed.

From a player comparison perspective, a fullback with a similar style that comes to mind as a solid all round player who will go about the tasks set for him during a game with a minimum of fuss would be former Canterbury Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten. He will not set the world on fire and maybe he will not stand out in any one particular area but he is a little above average in each skill area that a fullback needs to succeed.

mdrew
09-12-15, 11:04 AM
I figure I would try to focus on who may be with the Titans in a few years and not worry about who will not.

Kyron Herron – He is a young front rower from the Lower Clarence Magpies in the Group One region and played this year in the U18 NRRRL competition, and is eligible for that age group again in 2016. He also played two games in the NRRRL reserve grade competition. He actually played one first grade in 2014, not bad at all for a 16 year old playing country football.

At the U18 level he scored tries tries and kicked two goals for a season haul of 20 points. He also has made a number of Group One junior representative sides in previous years and plays his school boy football for MacLean High, who are one of the strongest schools in the region, especially at the open age group.

He is a big powerfully built front rower who runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step even though for most of his junior football he has been playing against older opposition, sometimes as much as two or three years older. He also has good foot work before and at the line.

He can also off load the football both before the line and when he is being tackled, he seems to be one of those players with the innate ability to get his hands free, or more accurately his right hand free. Whilst this can lead to some mistakes, usually he is very selective about when to pass. With his offloading skills, one aspect that he should develop as he progresses is in relation to short passes to supporting forwards (I.e. the way the Canterbury forwards run in packs and deliver short passes). He is always the player standing back deep from kick ups to take the first hit up and will charge straight at the line.

He also is quite quick for a bog young bloke, both in terms of explosive speed off the mark and agile from a footwork perspective but also with speed over an extended distance. Once he gets into space, it is only going to backs who will catch him.

In defence, he can certainly hit very hard and for a big boy he has quite decent endurance thus allowing him to get back quickly into the defensive line. Where also very good, due to his good athletic skills is for a front rower is effectively tackling smaller attackers in the centre of the ruck. He does not fall for dummies and is difficult to step as he mirrors the lateral movement of the attacked to effectively wrap up the opposing player.

He is also quite a good goal kicker who gets a lot of distance with his kicking to go with good accuracy. You do not see many goal kicking front rowers but Kyron Herron is legitimately a very solid goal kicker, although it is unlikely that he will be a first choice goal kicker for a side, but it is quite rare to see a front rower kick for goal. Where he also excels is on kick offs, he gets a lot of distance and height on his kicks, gives his team time to get down the field to force the opposition to start their set of six from deep in their own territory.

He should be playing U18 football in Group One next year, and likely also gets an opportunity with the Lower Clarence Magpies first grade side in the NRRRL. The Group One 1st grade standard is reasonably decent even with the loss of the two Grafton sides, being the Ghosts and the Rebels to Group Two. From a position perspective I think that in the long term staying at front row is the likely projection and with his size, his offloading ability and his goal kicking you have a big front rower with a diverse skill set.

From a player comparison perspective think Jesse Bromwitch of the Melbourne Storm as a player with a similar skill set, being that of a multi-faceted and dedicated player who will be the first player to take a hit up and despite his size has above average to plus foot work.

mdrew
09-12-15, 02:50 PM
Laaiva Pritchard-Malaki – He is a young second rower from Brisbane and also started from the bench for our U13 development squad in their recent match against Toowoomba. He also made the Stingers U13 representative side which played in the Queensland Age Championships in June this year. His team mates in the Stingers side included other Titans development squad members such as Rixon Andrew, Brocco Uhrle and Keegan Vandenberg, like Laaiva Pritchard-Malaki these other players are in the Titans Logan development squad. He is yet another player attending the Logan based development squad from the Broncos own backyard and played his club football with Aspley in the GBJRL competition.

He attends Wavell and thus should be involved in schoolboy football at a high level in a well-coached environment. He was part of their Renouf Cup side this year, which is an U13 schoolboy competition for schools in the Brisbane area. His twin brother and older brother are also good footballers in their own right. His older brother Quinlan is also a very good rugby player, being one of the better outside backs in the GPS First XV competition as well as representing the North’s Devils at the MM level this year. Like him his twin brother Farani is also a backrower.

His style of play is that of a wide running back rower with quite good speed for the position. He quick off the mark and can maintain his top speed over a reasonable distance and also has a good fend and can step off both feet both in space and in tight situations. The side step he has is not a big step but is quick and subtle enough to keep defenders off balance. He will also continue to pump his legs once he makes initial contact with the defensive line and will fight for every yard. Once his momentum is stopped, he will fight for a quick play the ball to maintain his team’s momentum, although on occasion he will rush the play the ball, but that will all come with experience. Like a lot of dominant U13 players he does not offload too often, but that is more a product of the lack of necessity to do so, rather than an identifiable skills gap which needs to be addressed.

He is an aggressive defender whether he is defending in the centre of the ruck or on the fringes, and due to his natural strength is more than capable of defending one on one and can stop even the biggest opposing forwards in their tracks and targets the area around the chest after setting a solid base to project his momentum into the ball carrier. He also has decent lateral mobility and thus will not be over matched against smaller agile opponents. As noted he is an aggressive defender and looks to come off the defensive line quickly, he just on occasion needs to temper this and listen to the referee to ensure that he does not leave early and give away penalties for being inside the ten metres.

In the 2016 season, he will play his football at the U14 level in the GBJRL competition for Aspley and will be hard to keep out of Stingers representative sides once again and hopefully he is a long term member of the Titans junior development set up. For me, with his physical attributes and skill set indicates that he will settle into the back row as his long term position with no need for a positional switch.

The Titans, have a number of very talented young backrowers in our development squads at the U13 and U14 age levels, such as Keegan Vandenberg, Brendan Piakura, Kyle Fairbank, Jayde Williams and the like, and Laaiva Pritchard-Malaki is another to keep an eye out for in the coming years.

From a player comparison perspective, someone with a similar playing style that could be used for a comparison perspective would be the Brisbane Broncos backrower Alex Glenn as a strong hard running, hard tackling aggressive and effective backrower who can play for 80 minutes without the need for a break on the interchange bench.

palmbeachpariah
10-12-15, 07:44 AM
yes have watched the kid at cc training..ethan kane

mdrew
10-12-15, 08:18 AM
Tahenga Mareko - He is a local young centre/backrower who plays for the Helensvale Hornets in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition. This year, for Helensvale he played a number of games, both at the U14 and U15 level. In the U14 Premier Division he scored two tries on the season. He also played a number of games at the U15 level, both in Division One and Division Two. Across those U15 Divisions he scored three tries on the season. He also started from the bench in the Titans U14 development squad match against Samoa recently, even though he was initially named in the starting side earlier in the week.

He was also part of a number of representative sides, including the U14 Vikings side and also played for South East Queensland U14’s in the Queensland age championships. For Helensvale he normally played lock, but in the representative sides, he played a lot of centre. He also was part of the Cook Islands side who participated in the QPICC competition in November, scoring a number of tries across their games. A Cook Islands team mate was Burleigh’s Will Evans.

He is a hard running centre/backrower who is impressive at running good lines on the fringes of the ruck and constantly picks the right holes to run into thus making the play makers on his team look good. Where he impresses is through is his footwork, he has good late and quick foot work which enables him to change direction well allowing him to readjust where he is running to take advantage of either a late developing hole in the defensive line or where the defensive line is repositioning late. In terms of his play in the centres, like when he plays in the back row he runs straight lines with footwork, usually outside the opposing centre and looks to exploit his strength advantage against opposing centres. He has decent top end speed and similarly decent speed off the mark. I would suggest his speed is average for a centre but above average for a back rower.

Defensively he hits very hard and usually aims for just under the ribs and is adept at making sure the opposition do not get quick play the balls. He also has a touch of aggression in his play and definitely finishes off each tackle that he is involved in. He is equally adept at defending in the centre of the ruck as he is defending on the fringes and his initial contact is more than sufficient to make an impact on the ball carrier. His lateral speed is good and thus he can defend well against nippy runners.

When defending in the centres, he really does look to come out of the line and hit his opposing centre as hard as possible to cut off the attacking play before it has time to fully develop. He does not let the play unfold in front of him, he looks to disrupt as early as possible. With his size and defensive tendencies when defending in the centres, he is more suited to an up and in defensive methodology compared to a sliding system, where quicker opposing centres look to get on his outside and use their pace against him.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 season at the U15 level for Helensvale, and like this year will also likely play a number of games at the U16 level. He will also be in serious contention for the South Coast U15 QSSRL side. From a position projection perspective I would anticipate that in the short term he will continue to play matches at both back row and centre, but as he grows I think that ultimately he finds a permanent home in the back row due to his size and strength. He is not overly fast at present thus back row seems a likely scenario.

From a style perspective, a player that stands out with a similar style is former Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panther Sika Manu as a tough back rower with decent footwork prior to the line.

mdrew
10-12-15, 09:15 AM
Jack Hamlit - He is a local young winger who plays his club football with Southport in the Gold Coast junior rugby league competition. This season he played U14 Division One, mainly at fullback and scored 16 tries over the course of the season, averaging better than a try a game and also played one game at the U15 Division One level. Southport easily won their grand final, 42-12 with Jack Hamlit playing at fullback in that game.

He also made a number of representative sides including the U14 Vikings squad for the South East Queensland age championships, where he started from the bench and came on and played on the wing. He also started on the wing for the U14 Titans development squad in their recent game against Samoa, scoring a try in that game where he stayed out in his wing and was able to exploit an overlap that had developed inside of him.

I will preface the discussion below, on the basis that the comments mainly relate to his play on wing, I have seen him play fullback, but on the basis that I think that his long term future will be on the wing, I will focus on those observations.

Even though he does not have great top end speed he is quick enough to take advantage of any space that he is given down the touchline by opposing wingers. One good think about his play in attack is that he stays on his wing and is regularly outside his opposite number allowing his inside players to be able to find him in attack and in the games that I have seen he stays back and does not over run the players that are inside of him. He seems to be aware of his skill set as he does not take chances with the sideline and does his utmost to ensure that he is not taken over the sideline and knows when to cut back inside rather than taking his opposite number on along the touchline. He will also come in and take his fair share of hit ups to give his forwards a rest, when the ball needs to be brought out of his end of the field even though he is not the biggest or strongest player.

In terms of defence, he is solid and seemingly understands the attributes of his opposite number to the extent that he alters his defensive positioning if he is against speedy, elusive wingers and against larger wingers. Like most young outside backs though he will continue to work on when to come out of the line to cut down the time and space of opposing centre, against staying out on his opposing winger and when to drop back to cover the side line, his time at fullback has clearly helped in these situations.

In 2016 he will play his club football with Southport at the U15 level. From a position projection perspective, even though he has played a significant amount of his club football at fullback, I think that ultimately he ends up on the wing long term. I would think that he will continue to play with Southport at fullback and representative sides such as South Coast U15 QSSRL on the wing. With his ability to be in the right position at the right time and decent straight line speed, added to his height, I just think a future on the wing is beckoning. Not as a highlight reel exciting winger, but a solid and dependable one.

From a player comparison perspective think Lachlan Maranta of the Brisbane Broncos, he may not have blazing speed etc. but he gets the job done efficiently and effectively with few errors and he always seems to be in the right position to exploit breaks down the touch line. He just comes across as a smart player who understands how his skills translate onto a rugby league field and does not try to do things that he knows that he is not capable of.

mdrew
11-12-15, 11:15 AM
Jovahn Te Aroiti - He is a local young forward who plays his club football for the Helensvale Hornets in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition. In the 2015 season, he alternated between playing for his proper age group being U14’s and playing up an age group in the U15’s. At the U14 Premier level he scored one try and at the U15 level he scored two tries across Division 1 and Division 2. Helensvale is fast becoming a fertile breeding ground for the Titans, with the likes of Brent Barnes, David Butler, Jordan Champion and Tahenga Mareko amongst others hailing from the Hornets.

He also started on eh bench for the Titans U14 development squad in their recent match against Samoa. When he came on, he played in the second row. He also represented the Vikings, Kookaburra’s and South East Queensland U14’s during the 2015 season, starting in the second row for those representative sides.

He is a hard running player who never seems to just put his head down and runs straight, he always uses a step prior to contacting the defensive line, coupled with the fact that he drops his shoulder into defenders, means that he is a handful to tackle and his rarely knocked back onto his heals. He is also good at maintaining his momentum after impacting the defensive line. He seems to usually step off his left foot. He has a high work rate and I would suggest that he would normally be at or near the top of his team’s statistics in terms of the number of hit ups he makes and on occasion runs a very good inside shoulder route to supplement his other attacking attributes.

Defensively he aims hits very hard and usually aims for just under the ribs and is certainly someone opposing forwards look for when running the ball up and is adept at making sure the opposition do not get quick play the balls by using wrestling techniques well. Prior to this year, he normally defended in the centre of the ruck and on occasion struggled with smaller faster attackers. This year however with what seemed to me as increased speed and footwork he was better able to mirror the opposition attackers more effectively. He will probably not make a large amount of hits that are going to knock opposing forwards backwards, but opposing forwards are going to feel everyone and start to look out for where he is in the defensive line.

In 2016, he will play his club football at the U15 level for Helensvale and will be in contention for the South Coast QSSRL U15 representative side amongst others. It would not surprise if like this season he also played some games at a higher age group as well as he is certainly physically ready to play against older opposition. Prior to this year he played a fair bit of his football in the front row, but this year, the majority of the time he seemed to play in the second row, especially in relation to the junior representative sides. A year or two ago, I thought that his long term position would have been in the front row, but during this year, his speed and footwork seems to have increased and thus he has become more effective on the fringes of the ruck, thus I am going to reassess my opinion and would think that a future in the second row is feasible.

From a player comparison perspective, think of someone along the lines of St George Illawarra Dragon’s Tyson Frizell as a good comparison from a playing style perspective as a strong, aggressive second rower with a low centre of gravity and good footwork prior to the line which makes him difficult to tackle.

mdrew
16-12-15, 08:18 AM
Apiata Noema-Matenga (Noema) – He is a local young centre/second rower who played his club football with the Burleigh Bears at the U17 level this year. Burleigh in fact lost the grand final 18-12. He also played MM this year, scoring four tires and kicking three goals for a 22 point haul. In MM he started the season at centre but towards the end of the MM competition he had moved to second row, his U17 season with Burleigh followed a similar projection. He is eligible for MM again in 2016. Previously he was part of the Broncos Elite Player Development Squad and was so for a number of years.

Over the course of his junior football he has also made numerous representative sides including the Vikings, Kookaburras, South East Queensland, Queensland Maroon and South Coast at the U15 and U18 level. He attended PBC and was part of their GIO Cup side that lost the Queensland Grand Final, however they did defeat Keebra Park in the Queensland quarter finals in a high quality contest in front of a crowd of around 5,000. Other Tians linked PBC team mates in that game included, Malachi Morgan and Ethan Roberts. In the Keebra side that day were AJ Brimson and Bronston Kennech amongst others.

He is a hard running centre/backrower who really does look to run straight over people, especially when he played in the centres, towards the end of the year, in the back row, he did use more footwork prior to the line and was best running on the fringes of the ruck, rather than straight up the centre. He still has decent to above average top end speed but he does take a little bit of time to get up to his top speed. I would suggest his speed is average for a centre but above average for a back rower. He also has a very good left hand fend to add to his stocky frame and good strength. His low centre of gravity and power make him a difficult proposition to defend against, regardless of where he lines up in attack.

Defensively he hits very hard and usually aims for just under the ribs and is adept at making sure the opposition do not get quick play the balls. He also has a touch of aggression in his play and definitely finishes off each tackle that he is involved in. He is equally adept at defending in the centre of the ruck as he is defending on the fringes and his initial contact is more than sufficient to make an impact on the ball carrier. Towards the end of the year, his defensive technique in the forwards had improved immensely and he set a good stable base with his lower body, which he them used to explode into the attacker.

In the centres he did struggle with faster centres who looked to try to beat him on the outside, but now in the forwards his lateral movement is actually a strength as he does not have to deal with players who have the same speed attribute. At the centre position, he really did look to come out of the line and hit his opposing centre as hard as possible to cut off the attacking play before it has time to fully develop.

Moving forward as noted he has a further year of MM eligibility and has been named in the MM White side which will be coached by Titans High Performance Manager Jamie McCormack and looks to be a very talented side. Upon completion of the MM competition he will likely transition to the Burleigh QCup Colts side, although a stint in the local U19 Coast2Coast Earthmoving competition is also a possibility. Not sure whether he will get an opportunity at the NYC in 2016 but is certainly tough enough to do so if the opportunity arises. With the NYC competition being scrapped I will intrigued to see the pathway for young players like Apiata Neoma through the QCup and then to the NRL and how each NRL club handles this progression, especially with the mooted reserve grade competition coming into effect in around 2018.

From a position projection perspective I am a little conflicted, I think that in the short term it may be possible for him to play a bit of football at centre still, but in the long term it is looking increasingly likely that a future in the second row is almost a certainty based on his size and speed attributes.

From a style perspective, a player that stands out with a similar playing style, especially in terms of attack is former Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panther Sika Manu as a tough nuggetty back rower with decent footwork prior to the line to add to sold speed for a backrower and someone who is aggressive in defence.

lonegull
16-12-15, 08:36 AM
Mdrew you raise a good point, with the releasing of the blueprint for the NRL future and the scrapping of the NYC this will change how the dynamics of a club and how they go about their junior recruitment and retention, interesting times ahead

mdrew
16-12-15, 08:46 AM
Agreed mate, it will be interesting to see how each team adjusts to the new rules around reserve grade, not singing players until later in their teens etc.


Mdrew you raise a good point, with the releasing of the blueprint for the NRL future and the scrapping of the NYC this will change how the dynamics of a club and how they go about their junior recruitment and retention, interesting times ahead

mdrew
16-12-15, 09:11 AM
Bronston Kennach – He is a young front rower who has played the 2015 season with the Nerang Roosters at the U17 level, scoring four tries across the 14 games that he played at that level. He is originally from Auckland in New Zealand where he made a number of representative sides, including the U15 Counties Manakau Stingrays side for the 2013 national Age Championships prior to moving over to attend Keebra Park at the beginning of 2014. He has been named in the Gold Coast MM White side for the upcoming 2106 season. He was also part of the Keebra Park Open GIO Cup squad, who were knocked out at the Queensland quarter final stage by PBC in front of a crowd of around 5,000.

In attack he runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step regardless of how often he is hit, he will continually get back and take another hit up, on occasion taking multiple hit ups per set of six. He does not have a great deal of foot work prior to or at the line and this is something he will likely work on during the off season and in pre-season MM training. A similar situation exists for his off-loading. A linear development in both footwork and/or offloading will increase his effectiveness exponentially.

In defence he is not an overly big hitter but definitely makes solid initial contact with the ball carrier and is very effective at targeting the area around the football in order to reduce the possibility of off loads occurring. For a front rower his lateral movement is reasonable but he will on occasion, have difficulty against smaller faster players like a majority of front rowers and needs to ensure that he keeps his arms down against them especially late in games, when fatigue becomes a factor, to reduce the possibility of giving away penalties for a high tackle. He is also quite effective when defending at marker, and does not use it as a chance to have a break and will chase hard from the position.

Projecting forward to the 2016 season and beyond, his progression indicates he will stay in the front row long term, and next year is a part of the MM White squad. There are a number of very talented front rowers or players who can play front row in MM White, such as Xavier Johannson, Luke Mastroianni, Blake Lenehan and Ethan Paikea (depending on his fitness) so he will have his work cut out to play much MM next season. If he does not play MM he will line up in the local Coast2Coast Earthmoving U19 competition which is quite a reasonable standard actually or possibly some local first grade.

From a style perspective, someone former Wests Tigers Keith Galloway may not be a bad comparison from a playing perspective. He will not wow people with barnstorming runs, one hand off loads, big hits etc., but he will work hard and do a lot of the “grunt” work in both attack and defence and be a bit of an unsung hero from a work rate perspective with team mates. He is one player who may not have the natural ability of some other players written up on this thread, but he is one who projects to make the most out of the ability that he has through sheer hard work, dedication and effort.

mdrew
16-12-15, 09:31 AM
Charlie Gee – He is a local young half/five eight from the Beaudesert Kingfishers club who played the majority of the year at the U16 level although he also played a few games up an age group at the U17 Division Two level. For the season he scored ten tries in 11 games at the U16 level and also three tries and three goals at the U17 level. He played CC this year, scoring four tries, I believe was his final try scoring figure. At both club and representative level he alternated between half and five eight. He has been named in the MM White squad for the 2016 season along with fellow Beaudesert Kingfisher backrower Ben Thomas. He also started at half for the Titans U16 Development squad in their recent game against Samoa, Jaman Rio was his scrum base partner in that game.

In attack his calling card is his organisational and passing skills more so than his running game. His speed would probably considered average for a half/five eight but he will throw a dummy and run when opposing defences are focussed on his support runners and provide him with opportunities. He also does not have quick twitch feet, thus his step is more average than say a plus side step like AJ Brimson or Brent Barnes.

He also has a good long passing game thus enabling the ball to get out to his back line quickly when they are set deep. He develops a good spiral on the ball and is able to lead his outside backs onto the ball through putting the ball out in front of them. He will also take the ball to the line and delay the pass as long as possible to his support runners when necessary.

Assisting his play is the fact that he makes the decision what to do with the ball quickly thus enabling the ball to get out wide or when the ball needs to be turned back inside. In short he looks to dictate what the defensive line needs to do to combat his sides attack rather than waiting to see how the opposition is looking to defend at a particular time in a game.

One aspect that was notable in the development squad game, was how he directed the team around the field in wet difficult conditions and he looked to manage the game to take account of those conditions. He seems like he maintains his composure on the field and does not yell or scream but obviously gets his message across to his team mates with a calm presence.

He has a solid all round kicking game but like most young general play kickers he just needs to ensure that he does not try to kick the ball too hard with a loss of accuracy resulting. Certainly his short kicking game close to the try line is good and he weights his attacking kicks quite well. He probably will not be a team’s first choice general play kicker but will be a solid alternative when required.

Defensively he has decent size for a half/five eight, and probably would be considered a bigger half for his age group, especially in terms of height anyway. This is a facet which assists in him being an effective defender for his position. Getting stronger over the off season though will make him more effective in the defensive aspects of the game especially as the forwards who will be running at him will continue to get bigger, stronger and faster.

Moving forward he will be part of the MM White squad for the 2016 season, but will face stiff competition from NZ recruit Bostyn Haraira, AJ Brimson, Max Dowd and Isreal Oti for a spot in the halves. He will play his club football at the U17 level for the Beaudesert Kingfishers in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition. Whilst he has played a fair bit of football at five eight, I think that ultimately he plays half back in the long term, although I do expect that he will continue to play his club football for the Kingfishers at five eight for at least next year.

From a player comparison perspective think maybe someone like former Canberra Raiders and St George Dragons half Sam Williams, as a solid half who will play a steady game and look to exploit the skills of the players around him rather than trying to win the game himself.

mdrew
16-12-15, 10:23 AM
Malachi Morgan – He is a local young centre/second rower who played his club football with the Burleigh Bears at the U17 level and played lock in their losing grand final side. Over the course of the season he scored four tries, playing both in the centres as well as in the back row. He also played a couple of games in the MM competition and has been named in the MM White squad for the 2016 season. He also was part of the PBC GIO Cup squad and played in the centres for PBC, including the quarter final victory against Keebra Park, and represented South Coast U18’s in the QSSRL tournament. He also started at centre for the Titans U18 Invitational side against Samoa, where he partnered Tom Landers in their 40-6 victory.

In term of the comments below, I am going to confine them to observations in relation to him playing in the centres, which I believe will be his long term position. A lot of the skills are transferrable to the second row however.

He is a quick centre with a fluid running style with a classic centres build with the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the outside. In term of his play, the in and away is his bread and butter, he has very good speed off the mark and can break to the outside quickly, couple that with long arms, which he uses to great effect with a powerful fend makes him difficult to tackle. When opposing centres are able to get hold of him, he usually is able to maintain his balance and keeps an arm free, looking to offload. He has more tools though than just an in and away, he will also use his size and strength to run straight over smaller opposing centres as well as also having the skill to step back inside of the defender if he is pushing to the outside too early. Over the course of the season, including schoolboy and representative football, he has lined up at both left and right centre and I have observed no discernible difference in his game on either side of the field.

What he is also quite adept at doing is timing his pass to his outside supports if the outside defender looks to come in and help defend him allowing an overlap to develop. In relation to his speed, he has good speed off the mark and also good top end speed, certainly what I would consider, average to above average for a centre and at least plus for a second rower.

As you would expect, due to his size and strength, he is a very good defender regardless of position. He will not necessarily hit hard, but he is very good at mirroring the movement of the opposing centre and wrapping him up ball and all. He is also quick enough to recover and chase if the opposing centre gets on the outside and his long reach is also a positive attribute in those situations. From a team defensive methodology stand point, he seems to be very comfortable in a sliding defensive scheme where he can use his speed and body control to their best advantage.

Moving forward he will be part of the MM White squad for the 2016 season, but will face stiff competition for a centre spot from Apiata Noema, Ben Valeni, Daniel Brownbill and Liam Pakua. There is also a host of back row competition such as Blake Lenehan, Sam Clark, Ben Thomas, Kobe Tararo and Darius Farmer. If he does not start in MM he will play his football with Burleigh in the Coast2Coast Earthmoving U19 competition and possibly some first grade games. At the conclusion of the MM competition, I would suggest that he will be in line to be part of the Burleigh QCup Colts training squad. Burleigh Colts will be very strong again as they look to defend their title and he may have to bide his time before getting an opportunity. I think that it will be difficult for Malachi to break into the NYC side next year however, due to the talented outside backs already in the NYC squad.

Whilst he spent a fair portion of the season with Burleigh in the back row, I can really see him staying in the centres long term, most young players who alternate between centre and second row in junior rugby league usually end up in the second row long term, but Malachi Morgan, may well be the exception to that rule. He has the size, speed and defensive capabilities to make a very good centre long term. He really does show flashy is real ability, especially in terms of slicing through defensive lines. Once he develops consistency to go with his undoubted natural ability the sky is the limit.

From a player comparison perspective a young player that springs to mind as a similar player is the Penrith Panthers young centre Waka Blake, they look around the same size, about 190cm and 100kg and both flash real ability, both just need more experience to reach their potential. There is just something that I cannot put my finger on about Malachi Morgan when you watch him play, he teases you with flashes of exceptional talent and ability. This is one young player I will be intrigued to see where he goes in rugby league.

mdrew
16-12-15, 02:34 PM
Declan White - He is a local young five eight who played his club football this season with the Southport Tigers Rugby League Club in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition. He played the majority of the season at the U13 Division 2 level, but also played a game or two at the U13 Division One level and also played four games up an age division at the U14 Division Two level. In the U13 Division Two competition, he averaged just under a try a game, scoring ten tries in 11 games and at the U14 Division Two level, he scored three tries in the four games he played. He also represented the U13 Viking this season and represented South Coast when they finished third in the U12 Queensland Primary Schools championships in 2014. He started from the bench for the Titans U13 development squad in their recent game against Toowoomba and played at five eight when he came on.

He is only reasonably slight of build but do not take his lack of size in any way as a lack of ability or courage, he has a fair amount of both, which is on display each time in each game he plays. With the ball he is a very good distributor and will take the ball to the line in an effort to set up his supports. He will also back his judgement and take the game on especially in relation to his passing game.

As noted above, his calling card moving forward is clearly going to be his passing game, and this is what will set up the other parts of his game such as taking the line on and also differentiate him from other young play makers. From what I have seen he is not overly quick off the mark but still will be able to make some line breaks when teams focus on him passing and ignore him in terms of running the football. In the U13 development squad game, he threw some beautifully timed passes to his support players, mainly to the left hand side of the body. One in particular that I recall was a perfectly weighted over the top pass to front rower Caleb Esera to put him into a big gap. His long passing game is as good as I have seen at the U13 level in my time watching junior football.

In defence, due to his size he is obviously not going to come up with big hits but he reads the play well and is tenacious when defending against much bigger players who look to target him in the defensive line. He will hold on and look to slow the attacker down until defensive help arrives. In the development squad game, he was targeted quite a lot by the Toowoomba forwards especially in the second half but he hold his own defensively.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 year at the U14 level for the Southport Tigers and will likely in the mix to play representative football as well for the Vikings at the U14 level at the 2016 Queensland Age Championships as well as more time with our Gold Coast based U14 development squad. From a long term position perspective, I think that even though he has played a fair bit of five eight, his long term position will more than likely be at half. He is not the biggest player but has a very good passing game which will only continue to improve as he gets older and gains experience.

From a player comparison perspective think maybe someone like the Brisbane Bronco’s Ben Hunt, especially in terms of his passing game. He just seems to have a knack of knowing when to pass, what type of pass to throw and also be able to weight the pass very well.

mdrew
17-12-15, 06:56 AM
Doryaan Hape-Apiata – He is a giant young front rower who has been named in the Titans NYC training squad for the 2016 season. He played for MM White in the 2015 MM competition, upon completion of the MM competition, he progressed to play in the Gold Coast Powergard Cup first grade competition with Nerang. In the seven games he played in that competition he scored three tries for the season after not crossing in the MM competition.

He is originally from the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand and came over to Australia at the start of 2014 to take up a rugby league scholarship at Coombabah High with a couple of other young New Zealand boys. I believe that he represented the U15 Mid Central Vipers in the New Zealand junior age championships whilst playing in New Zealand. The first time I saw him play was at Redlands for the Titans U17 development squad against the Redlands U18 Nev Blair side in February 2014, he was impressive that day and was a key reason for the Titans big win 40-0, and has continued to impress each time that I have seen him play since.

As noted he is a big and I mean big strong front rower who is a powerful runner of the football, who knows only one way and that is straight ahead and can offload once he has impacted the defensive line or has crashed through it, in addition he is quite effective when his team is attacking close to the try line. He can either take the ball himself, and when he gets low he is very difficult to stop or he can run as a decoy and attract defenders away from the real axis of attack.

One of the skills that stands out in games is his ability to offload the ball once he has impacted the defensive line. He has the unique ability to get his right arm free to off-load the ball regardless of how many defenders are hanging off him. When I talk about off-loading I am not talking about just flicking the ball out the back in hope, I am talking about being able to pop the ball up to speedier players lurking near the ruck.

For a big front rower he does actually have quite decent speed and footwork, certainly well above average for a player of his size. He does however wear down but with an off season with the NYC squad should help immensely with this. This good footwork enables him to step prior to the line, creating little half breaks which enhances the ability to off-load the football. In the first one or two MM games this year, he did struggle a little with the pace of the game but later in the season as he became more accustomed to it his performance improved as a direct consequence.

In defence he is happy to go for the big hit often, on occasion however as he starts to tire he can leave an arm out and get penalised for a high tackle, a focus on stamina will assist in eliminating this. He is obviously suited to defending in the centre of the ruck rather that the fringes and will understandably have some trouble with nippy runners out of dummy half. His calling card though is the strength and power to effectively engage the opposing forward early in their run and use his natural strength to win the forward battle in the centre of the ruck. He can defensively handle any one on one battle that presents itself. At times in games he really does prevent opposing gaining any ground at all through the centre of the ruck. It is now a matter of extending the duration of his ruck dominance.

As noted above, he has been named in the Tians NYC training squad, but will likely find it hard to break into the NYC immediately with the likes of Morgan Boyle, Kurt Bernard, Jay Hunkin, Simione Fatafehi and Thomas Tiatia in the squad. I would think that he will start off the season in QCup Colts for either Tweed or Burleigh as he gains experience at the U20 level. From a position perspective there is no doubt he has and will be a front rower for his entire career.

From a player comparison perspective think of the Canterbury Bulldogs Sam Kasiano as a big strong front rower who has more speed and mobility than it would appear, but also off-loading skills to complement. He is a big strong young front rower who may take a bit of time to develop and if he can keep working on his stamina and mobility there are certainly tools to work with. If everything goes right the Titans may very well have a real diamond in the rough on their hands.

mdrew
17-12-15, 08:26 AM
Nathan Prostramo – He is a local young second rower who played is club football during the 2015 season for the Burleigh Bears across two competitions. He started the year in the U19 Coast2Coast Earthmoving competition, scoring one try in the eight games for Burleigh in that competition, before earning a promotion to the Burleigh Bears QCup Colts side where he played the majority (although he was not part of the Grand Final 17) of the remainder of the season scoring one try (I believe) in the process. He attended the Titans open NYC trial a couple of months ago and was rewarded with a spot in the NYC squad for next year. The Titans did well out of the trial last year, hopefully with players like Nathan Prostramo lightning strikes twice.

He has a solid build for a second rower and also has reasonable speed for the position which enables him to be quite effective in running the ball. He is best on the fringes of the ruck where he can target the smaller halves to run at and look to steamroll over them. When running in the centre of the ruck he just runs straight and fast. He will, I am sure develop some additional footwork when running in the centre of the ruck as he progresses into the U20 ranks full time. When he gets into the clear his speed is good enough to put some separation between him and cover defenders to enable him to make the appropriate decision with the ball.

Defensively he is very strong in the upper body which enables him to be quite an effective defender in the centre of the ruck as he can hold his ground against the largest of forwards running at him. In the fringes of the ruck his decent speed helps and just needs experience in dealing with dummies and two on one situations, especially down the blind side. His good upper body and core strength means that he is very effective at slowing the play the ball down. With the additional wrestling training I am sure that will come with training with the NYC squad, he will only become more proficient in that part of the game.

In 2016, he will join the NYC squad but may find it hard to break into the top 17 immediately, with the likes of Sam Swift, Shane Wright, Nathan Watts returning and new players such as Kelepi Faukafa, Jerome Veve, Aiden Taua, Blake Lenehan etc. If he does not break into the NYC immediately, he will play for Burleigh in the QCup colts competition while he awaits his opportunity. From a position perspective, he played a bit of centre earlier in his junior career, but he has played exclusively in the second row over the last couple of years and that will not change anytime soon.

From a player comparison perspective, think of someone along the line of new Titans recruit Chris McQueen as a second rower who does not have one stand out skill but is solid in all aspects. His ceiling is that of a solid NRL first grader, his floor a solid QCup player. He is likely not going to be a State of Origin player level player but has the tools to be an effective NRL first grader if things pan out, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

mdrew
17-12-15, 01:54 PM
Phillip Sami – He is a young utility back from Ipswich who played a variety of positions this season between club, representative and schoolboy football. He played in the centres and on the wing for the Easts Tigers in the MM competition, fullback for Ipswich State High, including their GIO Cup and Super Six campaigns and half for Met West U18’s in the QSSRL competition. For Easts in MM, he scored eight tries over the course of the season, and his team mates included fellow Titans NYC squad members, centre Daniel Brownbill and hooker Ryan Cameron. Another new Titans NYC squad member, Kelepi Faukafa was an Ipswich State High team mate.
His calling card when you see him play is his footwork, it is absolutely outstanding. A video has been posted in the 2016 NYC thread which shows some glimpses of his footwork for Easts in MM if you are interested. He can step off both feet effortlessly and put multiple combinations of steps together in a short space of time and a small radius to get out of difficult situations and still make ground. He does not just beat larger forwards with his footwork, he will make the fastest of outside backs and fullbacks look silly on occasion as they are left grasping at thin air. His speed off the mark would have to be considered plus and whilst his top end speed may not necessarily be elite he can sustain it over an extended distance. He also has a solid low centre of gravity type build and also a decent fend complicating the task of defending against him. For Easts he usually lined up on the left side of the field.

Regardless of where he receives the ball he is an exceptional attacking player. If he gets an off load from a forward through the middle he is through the gap before the defence can react, if he gets the ball in space out wide he is make it very difficult for the opposing defender to get a clean shot at him and if he gets the ball from a kick, if the defensive line is not straight in the chase he can make significant ground. Seemingly like all modern day outside backs he has exceptional body control enabling him to score some amazing tries along the touchline.

When lining up at fullback his hands are clean and safe and he will endeavour to get to any kicks on the full. When defending against short kicks, regardless of the position on the field, he will attack the ball rather than letting it come to him, this on occasion does lead to some errors but it has also led to a number of breaks as the defensive line had not had the opportunity to reset. He is not the tallest player and his standing leap is not huge thus he can have trouble when accurate and correctly weighted bombs are put up that allow the attacking players to get to the ball at around the same time as he is looking to defuse it.

To be completely honest, I have not taken a great amount of notice in terms of his defence. He seems solid in that area and clearly has the ability to use his speed to compensate if a player gets around him, based on that attribute alone, I would suggest that he would be better suited to a sliding defensive methodology rather than an up and in style of defence when he is playing in the centres or on the wing and has the speed to cover defend from fullback.

As noted above, he is part of the Titans NYC squad for the 2016 season. If he does not start in NYC he is more than ready to excel in QCup Colts for whatever team he lines up for. He has plenty of competition for an NYC berth with the likes of Greg Lelesiuao at fullback, Brian Kelly, Jed Cartwright, Tyronne Roberts-Davis, David Pritchard and a few more for an outside back position. I must admit however that the thought of side with both Phillip Sami and Greg Lelesiuao in it would be exciting to watch.

The only query is where he will play, is it at fullback, centre or wing. He shows flashes of amazing talent at all three positions but for me his most effective position would be at fullback where he can use his footwork and speed returning kicks against a staggered defensive line or running off passes when forwards have gotten through the initial defensive line and off load. He is absolutely no slouch at either centre or wing and does not necessary play like the new age fullbacks who are like second five eights but he is an exciting player to watch who will wow the crowd who show up early to watch the NYC competition. For me he may well be the 2016 version of Greg Lelesiuao.

From a player comparison perspective I have mentioned Greg Lelesiuao a few times and I will stick with him as a player with a similar playing style as an exciting and naturally gifted player who has the ability to do something special, I would love to see them both in the same side, it would be a nightmare for defences and exciting for supporters to watch.

mdrew
18-12-15, 07:17 AM
Ryan Cameron. He is a young hooker who has played the last two years with the Easts Tigers in the MM competition, including captaining them this year to the MM Cup State grand final, which they unfortunately lost to the Townsville Stingers, who then went on to win the National championship. He also previously captained the Easts Tigers CC side in 2013, captained Met East U18 this year and also Met East U15 in 2012 so he has plenty of leadership experience. He participated in the recent NYC open trial and impressed enough to be added to the squad for the 2016 NYC season.

Where he really stands out in terms of attacking play, is his speed out of dummy half, he is extremely quick and has very good footwork to take advantage of tiring forwards, using a step off both feet. Around the try line he is also very good at making the right decision whether the go himself or pass, where he gets down low and drives with his legs. He scored a lot of tries this season both from running from dummy half close to the line as well as backing up forwards and getting the offload. When in open space he is very quick and can finish off his own breaks all be it over reasonably short distances.

He is solid all round hooker who distributes effectively to both sides of the ruck. He is efficient in his passing and there is little wasted movement as he passes in one motion off the ground rather than two distinct movements like many hookers where they first stand then pass. He passes well from both sides of his body. One thing that he does well in dummy half is not taking his eye off ball until it is in his hands, read that he does not make many handling errors.

Another skill that he has is the ability to kick out of dummy half. He played fly half in rugby at school so this is obviously where he picked up his kicking ability. He is not a long kick, but is effective at finding the ground with his kicks. He was an effective kicker in terms of game management, what I mean by that is that late in games when his team were up or needed a breather he kicked for touch in those instances, which showed a high level of maturity and game management skills. With the ability to kick accurately out of dummy half he is going to be a 40/20 threat if the opposing fullback is not in the correct position or not aware that he has this attribute.

He defends in the middle of the ruck and is an effective low tackler and for his size quite an aggressive defender. He is also very good at getting out of marker quickly to harass the opposition kickers. He is not going to wow you with his defence because you will not see big hits, but you will see an efficient and effective defender and a talker. He constantly seems to be talking and “encouraging” his fellow forwards.

He has very good endurance and I have been told that he played every minute of the MM competition this season, not a bad achievement at all and thus projects as a hooker who will be able to play 80 minutes without interchange at the higher competition levels.

For the 2016 season, I think that he has a real shot at being part of the NYC squad but with the signing of Cory Manicharos and Jordan Scott still eligible for NYC, it will be a battle but whoever wins that spot, which is a good position for Ben Woolf and his coaching staff to be in. His experience in a leadership role will stand him in good stead for that challenge. If he does not start in NYC I would expect him to be a key member for whatever team he plays for in the QCup Colts competition.

From a player comparison perspective think someone along the lines of North Queensland Cowboys hooker Jake Granville as a hard working player with speed out of dummy half, leadership skills, a diverse skill set and someone that his team mates will appreciate playing with. He is probably not as quick as Jake Granville but he has a similar style.

mdrew
18-12-15, 08:04 AM
Tye Barry – He is a young utility back from New South Wales country who played his club football with fellow NYC new comer Cory Manicharos with North Tamworth in the Group Four region. He also has been part of the Farrar Agricultural Colleges GIO Cup side for a number of years. Farrar are probably the strongest schoolboy side in New South Wales Country by a reasonably big margin. This year he also represented the Greater Northern Tigers U18 side in the NSW Country group competition, it was the fourth year in a row that he had represented the Greater Northern tigers across multiple age groups. The Titans have brought in three players from Group Four to the NYC squad for next year, with backrower Bradon Sunderland the third player. He has played both at five eight and centre over the last couple of seasons and even spent some time at half back.

I will preface the comments in relation to the fact, that I have not seen a huge amount of Tye Barry’s games and the ones that I have seen, including on video as well as live, he has primarily played centre, although I am aware that in a number of the U18 representatives games he has played at five eight and for Farrar he played in the centres.

He is a very quick player with decent speed both off the mark and once he gets to top speed and also has a good swerve to beat opposing defenders but he is not the biggest player and thus needs to use guile rather than strength to get on top of the opposition. Where he seems particularly effective is in relation to chasing attacking kicks. I do not recall a game that I saw him involved in where he did not seem to score a try from chasing an attacking kick whether that is a grubber or chip kick. He just seems to have an understanding of how the ball is going to bounce. Once or twice of regathering when the ball is at various angles could be considered luck, but he just seems to be able to pluck the ball out of the air almost every time.

In defence, he is not the strongest player but will certainly look to hold his line defensively. When he plays in the centres, I did not often see him come in when he did not need to, preferring to stay on his opposing centre and trusting his teams inside defenders. From my perspective at least, his skill set in defence is more suited to a sliding defence structure rather than an up and in one where speed and not strength is more of a prerequisite.

Moving forward to next year, he is part of the NYC training squad and time will tell whether he is able to break into the NYC side immediately or will need to bide his time in QCup Colts, likely for Tweed Seagulls. An off season in the weight room will no doubt assist in his development.

If he is considered at in the halves he will be competing with the likes of Josh Fauid, Josh Roger and Braydon McMahon and at centre Jed Cartwright, Brian Kelly etc so the competition is strong for a spot where he will likely be considered. Whilst he can play either five eight or centre, I would think that based on the fact that I have seen very little of his play in the halves, centre would be his long term position, he seems to have good speed and evasion skills and as noted is adept at being in the right place at the right time when attacking kicks are put through.

From a style playing perspective, think of someone along the lines of Dane Gagai of the Newcastle Knights as a reasonably small centre by today’s standards but one with decent speed and evasive skills.

mdrew
18-12-15, 09:10 AM
David Pritchard – He is a winger from South Logan who even though he was still eligible for MM made his QCup debut late in the year. He started the year in MM for South’s Logan, alternating between centre and wing. Upon completion of the MM competition he graduated to the South’s Logan QCup Colts side where he played on the wing, and scored a number of tries including two doubles and he was part of the South’s Logan Colts semi-final campaign. As noted he made his QCup debut and made a good fist of it scoring a double in the game against the Mackay Cutters. He has been selected in the Titans NYC training squad for the 2016 season. One is his team mates in MM and QCup Colts is second rower Justin Fai who is also part of the Titans 2016 NYC training squad.

There is no point trying to come up with a fancy way of describing his style of game, he is a big strong powerful runner who will get back deep and run straight and hard and crashes through his opposing defender. Throw in very good speed for a big man and you have a real handful for a defensive line. With his size and strength he carries defenders with him and continues to pump his legs to gain more ground. He is also a smart player from a position perspective and does stay out on the wing and usually stays back to make sure that he does not overrun the pass. When returning kicks he winds up and just runs straight and hard straight into the defensive line. Someone like David Pritchard must be a godsend for the forwards on his team when he is able to take some of the pressure of making yards is taken off them. A video of his play from a few years ago has been posted on the 2016 NYC thread if people are interested.

Defensively it is a similar story, he uses his size and strength to negate attacking plays by coming in on opposing centres looking to cut off plays before they have time to develop. Clearly when this type of methodology is employed you need to ensure that your timing of when to come in is appropriate, this is something that all players regardless of the standard whether that is NYC, QCup or NRL need to constantly consider to ensure an overlap is not created on the outside, it is all about judgement.

As noted he is part of the 2016 NYC training squad and will be in the mix for a starting spot in the outside backs. Even though he has only the one QCup game under his belt any experience playing against men at that level can only give him a great deal of confidence in his ability even though he will be faced with strong competition for a spot in the NYC starting side. From a long term position perspective, whilst he has a lot of junior experience in the centres it seems that a future as a big strong try scoring winger is the probable progression even though I am sure he would make a more than decent centre.

From a player comparison perspective I would consider someone like the Brisbane Broncos Cory Oakes as having a similar style, that of a big strong hard running and hard tackling outside back who will score a lot of tries over the course of a season due to his strength and power.

mdrew
18-12-15, 12:29 PM
Justin Fai – He is a young forward from South’s Logan and is a former Bob Gilder U17 GBJRL player of the year winner. He started the year in MM for South’s Logan and had a big year playing in the front row, including scoring a hat trick in round two against Victoria. Upon completion of the MM competition he graduated to the South’s Logan QCup Colts side where he played the remainder of the season in the second row, including their elimination semi-final against North’s. The Titans actually have five of the 34 players that took the field in that semi-final in their 2016 NYC squad. For South’s they are Fai, winger David Pritchard, centre Junior Taefu and front rower Simione Fatafehi and halfback Josh Fauid for North’s. He is part of the Titans NYC training squad for 2016 and is a Logan Brothers junior. Of all the new players in our NYC for 2016, this is the player that I am looking forward to see most of all.

I have been fortunate enough to see Justin Fai for the last couple of years for Logan Brothers and South’s Logan at both the CC and MM level. In short he is a big strong fast, aggressive and smart player. I was lucky enough to be at the round two MM clash between South’s Logan and Victoria, that day Justin Fai was basically unstoppable as he continually dominated the Victorian pack both in attack and defence. He scored three tries of his own and could have probably scored one or two more but he off loaded the ball instead of going for the line himself. South’s Logan won the game 70-10 and Justin Fai was a huge part of the reason why.

After stepping up from MM to QCup Colts he quickly became one of the leaders of the South’s Logan forward pack and in a couple of games dominated opposing forward packs also most single-handedly, even against opposition in most cases two years older than him. The pace and power in terms of how he runs the ball is the outstanding feature, he takes the ball to the line with speed, but he does not just put his head down and rush forward. He uses subtle footwork prior to the line and seems to targets the gaps between defenders and will actively seek out opposing forwards who are slow to move up.

When the opposition are on the back foot he will target the smaller defenders on the edge of the ruck and burst through and for a big young bloke he has very good speed over the medium term and has the strength to drag defenders with him. In the game against the Victorian MM side, two of his tries were from runs on the fringes of the ruck and the other when Victoria were back peddling near their own line and could not readjustment before he was through and across the line. Highlights of the game are on YouTube somewhere for people that are interested.

The defensive side of his game is similarly impressive, He does not just charge wildly up looking for a huge hit, but is calculating in where and when to hit. In MM especially quite a few of his tackles resulted in a knock on by the opposition as the ball came loose as a result of the impact of the tackle. He drives hard with his legs and always uses his shoulder and core body strength to drive into his opponent. Obviously as he moves up in age group and quality of opposition increases he will likely not knock as many balls free but with his strength and technique he should likely always be considered a plus defender.

As noted Justin Fai is part of the 2016 NYC training squad and hopefully he will get an early opportunity in the NYC competition because I really think that he can do very well, if not he will obviously play in the QCup Colts competition it will be just a matter of what club is lucky enough to have him play for them.

From a position perspective, I note that in 2015 he played front row in MM but dropped back to second row when he progressed to QCup Colts. Whilst I think long term he may well end up in the front row, I think that a permanent move there is still a while away and the next couple of years playing as a rampaging second rower is the most likely scenario.

From a player comparison perspective, someone that I think that Justin Fai has a similar playing style to is North Queensland Cowboy and New Zealand International Jason Taumalolo as a wrecking ball of a backrower who can break open and dominate a game on his own.

The Titans have seemingly done quite well out of scouting the South’s Logan MM and QCup Colts sides, Justin Fai may just be the best of them all.

lonegull
18-12-15, 12:52 PM
Thanks MDrew for all the updates, looks like we have a good one in Fai

mdrew
20-12-15, 04:26 PM
Apologies, the comments on Phillip Sami omitted that he graduated to Qcup colts for Easts Tigers after MM competition, where he played exclusively on the wing. Poor form I should have gotten it correct.


Phillip Sami – He is a young utility back from Ipswich who played a variety of positions this season between club, representative and schoolboy football. He played in the centres and on the wing for the Easts Tigers in the MM competition, fullback for Ipswich State High, including their GIO Cup and Super Six campaigns and half for Met West U18’s in the QSSRL competition. For Easts in MM, he scored eight tries over the course of the season, and his team mates included fellow Titans NYC squad members, centre Daniel Brownbill and hooker Ryan Cameron. Another new Titans NYC squad member, Kelepi Faukafa was an Ipswich State High team mate.
His calling card when you see him play is his footwork, it is absolutely outstanding. A video has been posted in the 2016 NYC thread which shows some glimpses of his footwork for Easts in MM if you are interested. He can step off both feet effortlessly and put multiple combinations of steps together in a short space of time and a small radius to get out of difficult situations and still make ground. He does not just beat larger forwards with his footwork, he will make the fastest of outside backs and fullbacks look silly on occasion as they are left grasping at thin air. His speed off the mark would have to be considered plus and whilst his top end speed may not necessarily be elite he can sustain it over an extended distance. He also has a solid low centre of gravity type build and also a decent fend complicating the task of defending against him. For Easts he usually lined up on the left side of the field.

Regardless of where he receives the ball he is an exceptional attacking player. If he gets an off load from a forward through the middle he is through the gap before the defence can react, if he gets the ball in space out wide he is make it very difficult for the opposing defender to get a clean shot at him and if he gets the ball from a kick, if the defensive line is not straight in the chase he can make significant ground. Seemingly like all modern day outside backs he has exceptional body control enabling him to score some amazing tries along the touchline.

When lining up at fullback his hands are clean and safe and he will endeavour to get to any kicks on the full. When defending against short kicks, regardless of the position on the field, he will attack the ball rather than letting it come to him, this on occasion does lead to some errors but it has also led to a number of breaks as the defensive line had not had the opportunity to reset. He is not the tallest player and his standing leap is not huge thus he can have trouble when accurate and correctly weighted bombs are put up that allow the attacking players to get to the ball at around the same time as he is looking to defuse it.

To be completely honest, I have not taken a great amount of notice in terms of his defence. He seems solid in that area and clearly has the ability to use his speed to compensate if a player gets around him, based on that attribute alone, I would suggest that he would be better suited to a sliding defensive methodology rather than an up and in style of defence when he is playing in the centres or on the wing and has the speed to cover defend from fullback.

As noted above, he is part of the Titans NYC squad for the 2016 season. If he does not start in NYC he is more than ready to excel in QCup Colts for whatever team he lines up for. He has plenty of competition for an NYC berth with the likes of Greg Lelesiuao at fullback, Brian Kelly, Jed Cartwright, Tyronne Roberts-Davis, David Pritchard and a few more for an outside back position. I must admit however that the thought of side with both Phillip Sami and Greg Lelesiuao in it would be exciting to watch.

The only query is where he will play, is it at fullback, centre or wing. He shows flashes of amazing talent at all three positions but for me his most effective position would be at fullback where he can use his footwork and speed returning kicks against a staggered defensive line or running off passes when forwards have gotten through the initial defensive line and off load. He is absolutely no slouch at either centre or wing and does not necessary play like the new age fullbacks who are like second five eights but he is an exciting player to watch who will wow the crowd who show up early to watch the NYC competition. For me he may well be the 2016 version of Greg Lelesiuao.

From a player comparison perspective I have mentioned Greg Lelesiuao a few times and I will stick with him as a player with a similar playing style as an exciting and naturally gifted player who has the ability to do something special, I would love to see them both in the same side, it would be a nightmare for defences and exciting for supporters to watch.

mdrew
04-01-16, 08:28 AM
Ben Liyou – He is a young player from the Grafton Ghosts who played this year at the U14 level for the Ghosts as well as starting from the bench in the U14 development squad match against Samoa. For Grafton in the club season, he played 14 games at the U14 level, including starting at five eight in their 46-6 grand final victory, scoring seven tires and kicking one goal. He also played eight games at the U15 level, scoring one ty in the process. Team mates in the dominant and unbeaten Grafton side were fellow development squad members Hamish Ellem, Caleb Barker and Jacob Harvey.

In relation to representative football, he represented Group One at the U14 level and played his schoolboy football with South Grafton High School. Whilst he played at five eight in the Group One competition and schoolboy and representative football, when he came off the bench in the development squad game, he slotted into the second row.

He is a tall lanky type of player with a solid passing game, which is understandable due to his experience at five eight, from my perspective his passing to his right hand side is a little better than to his left. Where he excels though is his running with the ball, as noted he is a tall young man who really did dominate opposing backline line defences and regularly carried opposing players with him before off-loading to his support players. Even playing up an age group at the u15 level he still was extremely effective in running the ball. He set up a lot of tries for fellow Titans squad members Caleb Barker and Hamish Ellem when he would run the ball and offload once a lot of the defence had converged on him. In the development squad game however he as noted played in the back row and considering him conceded a lot of weight to the opposition, he was very effective and making ground, mainly on the fringes of the ruck, where he used his footwork to get between defenders and make ground. The development squad game was a tough game and even with the step up in overall class of the game, Ben Liyou did well.

I will preface the next comment in the context that I think that his ultimately future lies in the back row, but where I can see that he can be quite effective going forward is as a ball playing forward who can throw a decent short pass to his support players. His speed is quite good for his height but whether it stays that way as he fills out will determine when he transitions full time to the back row as at the moment he is dominating his age group from the five eight position in the Group One junior rugby league.

The only issue for his defence at five eight is that due to his height he needs to make sure he does not let his tackles slip up too high when defending against smaller opposition and in the Group One competition he had no problem at all dealing with opposition forwards running on the fringes of the ruck. In the development squad game, he obviously defended in the centre of the ruck and showed a quite decent low tackling technique and held his own even though he conceded weight to the opposing forward pack.

Moving forward to the 2016 season he will play the year at the U15 level for the Grafton Hosts who should again be the dominate side in the group. He should also be one of the first players selected in the Group One U15 representative side for the NSW Country Rugby League age championships.

From a position perspective, as noted, to date he has played a significant amount of rugby league at five eight, but I can really see a permanent move to the second row in the future, not necessarily immediately due to his play to date. In actual fact the longer that he stays playing five eight for his club and junior representative football in Group One the better his transition will be as he will continue to develop his ball playing skills.

From a player comparison perspective think along the lines of someone like Cronulla Sharks back rower Wade Graham as a player who played a lot of their junior football at five eight before transitioning to the back row and develops as a solid ball playing forward who can pop a short pass to his supports both prior to the line and when engaged with the defensive line.

It is players like Ben Liyou that make the development squad games so important and fascinating to watch. The games bring together the best young players from all around the country. For the young Group One players who played in the U14 game, like Ben Liyou, Hamish Ellem, Caleb Barker and Elijah Winitaria they get to play against superior opposition both in terms of size and skill. The young players, from Queensland and NSW country are invariably the dominate players in their area and they get to test themselves against others. In the U14 game Ben Liyou was quite effective against a representative level forward pack and can take a great deal of confidence from it moving forward.

lonegull
06-01-16, 06:54 PM
I see there has been a queenland academy of sport 20's side named, looking for some help are any contracted to the Titans?

mdrew
06-01-16, 07:00 PM
Josh Fauid and Shane Wright mate


I see there has been a queenland academy of sport 20's side named, looking for some help are any contracted to the Titans?

mdrew
08-01-16, 07:41 AM
It is not the fault of the young players that we can not compete with the money being offered by other clubs.

Caleb Nichols. He is a young centre from just south of the border, who had a stellar year in 2015, making a number of representative sides, including the Group 18 U15 side and the Northern Combined Catholic College (CCC) U15 side from St Joseph’s College Benora Point with fellow Titans linked player Ethan Kane. As a result of his play he has been named in the NSW U16 emerging player’s squad and also has been named in the Gold Coast Green CC side for 2016. Previously he has represented Group 18 at the U14 age group and has been named in the U16 Group 18 representative side for 2016.

He is a quick centre with an effortless running style with a classic centres build with the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the inside or outside. His has used this skill set on multiple occasions on both sides of the field. Even in junior football it is quite rare to see a centre that can play on both sides of the field equally as well and he has a very good dummy that he uses regularly.

When the ball is passed to him early, he straightens the attack up well, meaning he does not run himself or his support out of room. Even though he has decent speed in the centre position, he does look for his outside support when confronting the fullback, even though he is more than capable of beating fullbacks one on one if the need arises.

He clearly is a smart player and will take what the defence gives him, when the defence is sliding he will cut inside and when the defence is playing an up and up style he has the speed and footwork to get on the outside of his direct opponent. He also has more strength that his size would seemingly suggest. On many occasions opposing defenders look to tackle him one on one around the chest area, but he has the strength to shrug them off with little loss to his forward momentum.

Defensively the area that he has impressed me the most is his ability to defend close to his own try line. As noted above he seemingly has more strength that his size would indicate, and he uses this strength to move up off his own try line and hit just under the ribcage, redirecting the momentum of the ball carrier and thus eliminating the attacking threat. Regardless of where he defends he sets a good base and uses his leg strength to direct his strength through the core of his body into his opponent. Purely from a skill and physical attribute perspective he seems more suited to a sliding defensive methodology rather than an up and in style, but this is more conjecture from me rather than a fact based argument.

For the 2016 season, as noted he will be part of the GC Green CC squad where he should be a key part of the side. He has also been named in the Group 18 U16 representative squad and may well captain the side and consequently he should be one of the first named in the East Coast Dolphins U16 representative side which is made up of players from Group 1, 2 and 18. Due to his selection in the U16 emerging NSW side he surely is in contention for both the NSW Country U16 and NSW 16 squads.

So far in his junior career, he has played a number of positions, including fullback, centre and five eight, but in the long term I really feel like he is a natural centre with the speed and strength to make a name for himself in that position.

From a player comparison perspective, think along the lines of Manly centre Jamie Lyon from a style perspective as a classy centre who is just as good at setting up his team mates to make breaks as he is at making them himself.

mdrew
08-01-16, 10:55 AM
Tyrhys Williams. He is a young backrower hailing from Casino in Northern NSW and was part of the Titans development squad based in the area. He was also named in on the bench for the development squad in their recent match against Toowoomba, but unfortunately did not participate in the match. In his club football for Casino RSM he had an amazing year from a try scoring perspective, scoring a staggering 26 tries in 12 matches and the U13 level and he also scored four tries in eight matches playing up an age level in the U14’s. Amazingly even with 26 tries for the season, he only finished second on the try scoring list behind the amazingly talented Julian Torrens.

He is a very calm player on the field even though he plays the game at a very high speed and is most effective on the edge of the ruck. His style of play is that of a wide running back rower with above average to plus speed for the position. He is exceptionally dynamic and quick off the mark, but what makes him even more impressive from a speed perspective is that when he gets into space, he has an extra gear again, making it almost impossible for the cover defence to catch him once he is open space.

Defences had all sorts of trouble trying to contain him in his club football this year, both in terms of him taking the ball up into the centre of the ruck, but he was almost untouchable when he ran on the fringes of the ruck and he used his foot work to beat defenders with a variety of moves, including a step off both feet and a very good in and away. Couple those two aspects with a very strong fend and you have a young player who causes nightmares for a defensive line.

He is not a huge backrower but he runs with pace, strength and power every time he touches the ball. I have not seen a great deal of him off loading the football, but the ball skills that he possess would suggest this particular will develop into a plus skill over time.

He is aggressive defensively whether he is defending in the centre of the ruck or on the fringes, and due to his natural strength is more than capable of defending one on one and can and will stop even the biggest opposing forwards in their tracks and targets the area around where the attackers carry the football. His speed and lateral movement means that he will not be beaten by light stepping halves trying to take advantage of tiring forwards or the opposition running out of dummy half.

Moving forward to the 2016 season, he will play for Casino RSM at the U14 level but may also play some games at the U14 level as well. In SNW country junior rugby league, representative sides start to be picked at the U14 age group and I would suggest that he will be one of the first players picked in the Group One U14 side and hopefully he will be a long term member of our development squad in the area.

From a position perspective, he could quite probably play in the centres as well as the back row, but with his skill set and physical attributes I see no reason to move him from the back row where he has the ability to develop into a damaging wide running backrower.

From a player comparison perspective, I am a little reluctant to say so but the Canterbury Bulldogs version of Sonny Bill Williams springs to mind as an appropriate comparison, when you see the combination of the skill set he possesses and the athletic ability, add in a touch of aggression and you have a young player of immense potential who plays the game seemingly at a different pace to both his team mates and the opposition.

mdrew
11-01-16, 11:18 AM
Hamish Ellem. He is a young fullback/centre from the Grafton Ghosts and part of the Titans junior development squad in the Grafton/Lismore area. He was named on the wing for the recent development squad match but unfortunately did not play in that match. For the Grafton Ghosts he had a very good season, playing all 14 games at the U14 level, scoring 21 tries across the season, including five tries in a match against Lismore Marist Brothers and also including a double in their 46-6 Grand Final victory, where he started the game in the centres. He also kicked a handful of goals across the season but was not his side’s primary goal kicker.

He finished equal top try scorer with fellow Titans development squad member, Caleb Barker across the season, and played five games up at the U15 level and scored three tries in the process. The U14 Grafton Ghosts were unbeaten on the season, scoring 488 points and conceding only 78. Other Titans development squad members in the Ghosts side were centre/lock Caleb Barker, five eight Ben Liyou and second rower Jacob Harvey. He also represented Group One at the U14 age group. In addition to rugby league he has also played AFL and actually was part of the Sydney Swans junior academy, training twice a week with the Swans academy.

He is powerfully built young man who runs with pace and power. It would be unfair to categorise that his game is only built on pace and power though as he has a very good right foot step and right hand fend, he can also draw defenders in to give players outside him room. Due to his strength and fend he regularly gets on the outside of his opposite defender forcing the winger to make a decision as to whether to come in on him or stay with his winger. If they do not come in he will use his exceptional speed to break clear of the defensive line and must be an absolute nightmare for young fullback’s in his own age group to have to confront when he is running directly at them.

From fullback he will either use his speed to get on the outside of any defenders chasing the kick or he is not averse to charging straight at the defensive line once he has retrieved the ball. I will talk about it more later, he his great hands and speed enable him to get to a lot of general field kicks on the full thus giving his team good field position to start their set of six.

He has exceptionally safe hands and will be a factor with his hands both in the attacking and defensive aspects of the game as a result. From an attacking perspective he can get above the pack when an attacking bomb is put up and will hold onto the ball once received. When low attacking kicks are put in, his clean hands enable him to adjust to the bouncing ball and retrieve it cleanly. Similarly he uses the same skill attributes to negate the threat when defending attacking kicks. In short his hands are as good as I have seen on a junior rugby league field.

Defensively he monsters his opposition, whether he is playing at fullback or centre, at fullback he will come forward when a break is made to reduce the decision making time of the attackers and will hit very hard and make the opposition attacker pay for the decision he makes. In the centres, his speed and timing enables him to get up quickly to negate any attacking plays before the play develops too far and he also has the necessary recovery speed if an opposing centre gets in his outside.

For the 2016 season, he will play for the Grafton Ghosts at the U15 level and once again they will be the dominate side in the competition and he will also likely be a key member of the Group One U15 representative side. To date he has played multiple positions, including fullback, centre and wing and has the speed and hands to continue to play in any one of those positions. He is a big powerful young man though and it may be that as he progresses towards senior football he transitions to the back row as having a player with his size and speed attributes in the back row would be tempting for coaches.

From a player comparison perspective, think of a player like the Brisbane Bronco’s Cory Oates and a big strong fast young player. He may actually have a similar career progression in terms of potentially breaking into senior football in the back line but over time ending up in the back row. Where he stands out though from anyone else with his size and strength that I can think of, is his hands, he catches everything, obviously as a result of his junior AFL background.

mdrew
11-01-16, 03:23 PM
Brocco Uhrle. He is a young backrower from Aspley in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane and is part of the Titans Logan based junior development squad. He came off the bench for the Titans U13 development squad in their recent match against a Toowoomba U14 selection at Burleigh. He also made the U13 Stingers Brisbane Red squad where he was named on the bench. The Brisbane Red squad contained an extraordinary amount of talented back rowers, including fellow Titans Logan based development squad members Keegan Vandenberg and Laaiva Pritchard-Malaki (both Aspley) in the starting line-up and Jadye Williams (Redlands) on the bench as well. He has also represented Met North in school boy representative matches and the U11 and U12 age groups in previous years. (It is unbelievable the age that representative teams are now being selected) Whilst he may not have had the greatest impact in the development squad match, he is a very talented all round back row prospect for the future.

His style of play is that of a wide running back rower with what I would consider slightly above average speed for the position he plays and also taking into account his solid build. He is quick off the mark and can maintain his speed over a reasonable distance and also has a good fend and can step off both feet both in space and in tight situations. From what I have seen though his left foot step seems slightly quick and with more deception. The side step he has is not a big step but is quick and effective enough to keep defenders off balance when he is running the ball. Once his momentum is stopped, he will fight for a quick play the ball to maintain his team’s momentum, although on occasion he will rush the play the ball, but that will all come with experience and maturity.

Like a lot of talented U13 players he does not offload the ball too often, but that is more a product of the lack of necessity to do so, rather than an identifiable skills gap which needs to be addressed for him to progress and reach his potential as a player. As he progresses in club, school boy and representative rugby league he will no doubt continue to work on this aspect of his game as much out of necessity as well as a desire to improve as a player. For the dominant young players it is more the need to gain experience against the best opposition possible rather than strict coaching that is the key determinant for their progression as footballers. It is reasons like this why these development squad matches are so important.

He is a naturally aggressive defender whether he is defending in the centre of the ruck or on the fringes, and due to his inherent natural strength is more than capable of defending one on one and can stop the momentum of opposing forwards on initial contact and targets the area around the chest after setting a solid base to project his momentum through his tackles. He also has reasonable lateral mobility and thus will not necessarily be over matched against smaller agile opponents. As noted he is an aggressive defender and looks to come off the defensive line quickly, he just on occasion needs to temper this and ensure that he does move up too early and give away penalties for being inside the ten metres.

In the 2016 season, he will play his football at the U14 level in the GBJRL competition for Aspley and will be hard to keep out of Stingers U14 representative sides, and hopefully he is a long term member of the Titans junior development program. For me, his physical attributes and skill set indicates that he will continue to play in the back row for the foreseeable future with no reason to consider a positional change.

We have a number of very talented young backrowers in our development squads at the U13 and U14 age levels in particular, such as Keegan Vandenberg, Brendan Piakura , Jayde Williams and Laaiva Pritchard-Malaki, Brocco Uhrle is another to keep an eye out for as their careers progress. Hopefully a group can progress together.

From a player comparison perspective, someone with a similar playing style that could be used for a comparison perspective would be the Brisbane Broncos backrower Alex Glenn as a strong hard running, hard tackling aggressive and effective backrower who can play for 80 minutes without the need for a break on the interchange bench.

mdrew
12-01-16, 06:52 AM
Matt Cannings. He is a local young hooker from the Runaway Bay club on the coast and started at hooker for the U14 Titans development squad side in their recent match against Samoa. He also represented the Gold Coast Vikings representative side at the U14 level this year. For Runaway Bay he played eight matches at the U14 Premier level scoring one try and kicked a solitary goal, but also played two games at the U15 Division Two level where he scored two tries and kicked a goal on the season.

He is a talented all be it small all-round hooker, who excels at the critical aspect of distribution of the football and game management out of dummy half. In terms of his distribution out of dummy half, he is efficient and effective in his passing and there is no wasted movement or energy as he passes in one motion off the ground rather than two distinct movements like many hookers where they first stand then pass. There is no discernible difference between his passing from either side of his body, and his passes are crisp and flat. He certainly is not the biggest or fastest hooker but he will look to run from dummy half when the opportunity presents but he is not going to be a big running threat moving forward.

His defence for a hooker is solid, he is certainly on the small side but that is no hindrance to how he currently plays the game, nor to his ability to reach his true long term potential. He does not hit hard from a contact perspective but due to his very good low technique he can defend effectively one on one against far larger forwards, he sets a good base with his lower body to absorb the impact when confronting large forwards. His intensity and constant effort means that he will track the ball across the field and thus is in a good position when the ball is passed back inside as well as tackle all match. He literally looks to tackle everything that moves in the centre of the ruck even though he is always the smallest forward on the field, and I mean always, he is also one of the toughest though.

Moving forward he will play the 2016 season at the U15 level in the Gold Coast Junior Rugby League competition for Runaway Bay. He certainly projects as an 80 minute player, who will be known for his organisational and distribution skills as well as his courage and determination. It is unlikely that he will make many representative sides as his junior career progresses due to his size and the fact that he is not a flashy player but he will undoubtedly be appreciated by his team mates due to his calm and measured approach to how he plays rugby league and the courage he shows in leading by example when taking on much larger opposition continually.

From a player comparison perspective, due to his size and tenacity, a playing style and comparison akin to the Titans own Nathan Friend would be appropriate from a style, courage and determination perspective.

mdrew
12-01-16, 07:30 AM
Matt Kinchin. He is a local young front rower who plays his club rugby league on the coast with Runaway Bay alternating between the U14 and u15 age groups as well as being named on the bench for the Titans in their recent U14 development squad match. He also made a number of U14 representative sides including the Vikings, Kookaburra’s and South East Queensland. For Runaway Bay at the U14 Premier Division level he did not score a try in the seven games he played, but scored three tries across eight games in the U15 age group between U15 Division’s one, two and three.

In attack he is not going to break a large amount of tackles, or off load a miracle pass but he will go about his role which is to make ground in the middle of the ruck in an understated fashion. He does not have quick feet in terms of a step before the line but does use some subtle movement so as not to present himself purely as a straight running target. He just works hard including fighting to get quick play the balls over taking the ball up.

In defence he is not a big hitter, preferring to make sure that the tackle is made and is very effective both in terms of initial contact and also coming in a wrapping up the football, he also covers inside well when balls are turned back inside on the fringe of the ruck, even late in games when he has every right to be worn out, but he somehow wills himself to get there and make the tackle. When at marker he works hard and always gets out of marker quickly to put pressure on the kicker, but then somehow gets back quickly to take his turn to bring the ball out from his own territory. The one thing that will stand out once you have watched him play in a number of games is the amount of defence he does. After watching him in a couple of games, you will just shake your head, because you will notice that it is the Number 8 or 10 making another tackle.

He will probably not stand out as he progresses up the age groups, which has nothing to do with his ability, it is just the way he plays the game. He will take hit ups and tackle all day and do all of the little things necessary to help his team succeed, including working hard out of the marker position. He will play at the U15 level in 2016 for Runaway Bay and it will be interesting to see how many games he plays up an age group at the U16 level as in 2015 he played more games at the U15 level than the U14 level. In terms of position, he is a front rower full stop nothing else needs to be said.

From a player comparison perspective a player with an incredibly similar player style is former Gold Coast and Titans junior and current Brisbane Bronco Jarred Wallace as a front rower who will probably take a little while to develop but will be a hard working player who knows his role within a team and does not deviate from it. He will never be a star but will work hard to a team player and get the most of his ability. Young players with more natural ability will fall by the way side while Matt Kinchen will not due to his professionalism and understanding of his role.

mdrew
12-01-16, 02:17 PM
Brock Ashton. He is a young hooker from the South’s Acacia Ridge club in Brisbane’s South West and he started at hooker for the Titans U13 development squad in their match against a Toowoomba selection. In that game he had his two club team mates in Caleb Esera and Aaron Lafi as his front rowers. The same front row was also the South’s front row in their grand final loss to Logan Brothers in the GBJRL grand final 36-30, fellow Titans Logan development squad team mate Rixon Andrew was the fullback for South’s in that grand final as well. In 2014, he represented Met West in the Queensland U12 Primary School competition, were he received a number of man of the match awards during the competition which Met West won. He attends Cavendish Road State High School and scored two tries against Rochedale State High School in a 30-14 victory in the final of a regional schoolboy competition in 2015.

His best attribute is his passing skills from the dummy half position. His passing is effective from both sides of his body and leads his forwards onto the ball by putting the ball out in front of his runners so that they can maintain momentum. He does not have an overly long pass but his passing is accurate regardless of whether he is passing to a forward running the ball up or the half back looking to get the ball out wider. The stand out feature is the speed in which he gets the ball out of his hands at dummy half.

He is not a huge threat to run the ball out of dummy half but will take what he is given if the defence does not consider him a threat at any particular time. His initial burst off the mark is reasonable and he has decent feet to enable him to create space, but he does not have the top end speed to break clear of the defensive line if he gets through a gap either by accepting an off load or by exploiting a gap in the defensive line. His first thought when coming into dummy half is to distribute the ball effectively to his support players. When close to the line he will dummy and get down low to the line when the opportunity presents but again this is a secondary consideration as he progressively works through his options.

In relation to his defence, he will get in front of opposing forwards and look to slow their momentum. Due to his small size he tackles low on almost every occasion, he just does not have the size to try to take on opposing forwards one on one, but he is tenacious and courageous, because even at the U13 level there are some huge boys running around.

He has very good endurance and projects as a hooker who will be able to play the full 80 minutes without interchange something that he is already used to with his club side. For the 2016 season he will play again for South’s at the U14 level and once again they will compete with the U14 Logan Brothers side to be the best U14 side in the GBJRL. From a position perspective I cannot see anything that would suggest that he will not be anything but a hooker moving forward. Yes he is a smaller player but size is not necessarily everything.

From a player comparison perspective and I note that I have used this player comparison previously, but think of someone along the lines of the recently resigned Nathan Friend as a small hard working hooker with solid distribution skills and a big heart who will give it his best shot every time he walks onto the field. The Titans have a few smaller hookers in their junior ranks such as Ashton, Jackson Keil (U16)and Matthew Cannings (U15) so it will be interesting to see how they progress with the reduction in the number of interchanges allowed hopefully reducing the seemingly endless desire for size. I am sure that the change in interchanges allowed will allow smaller skilful players to have a larger say in the outcomes of games at all levels.

mdrew
13-01-16, 06:54 AM
Noah Leiua. He is a talented young centre who was part of the Titans U14 Logan based development squad and played his club football for the North’s Junior Rugby League club in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane during the 2015 season. He also represented the U14 Stingers Brisbane Red representative side where he was named on the wing but also played some centre throughout the course of the tournament. He started in the centres for the Titans U14 development squad in their match against Samoa which the Titans won 24-10. He did not necessarily stand out in the development squad game but from seeing him play club and Stingers representative football, relying on just the development squad game would be patently unfair to the young player in terms of his overall performance throughout the year and also his future potential.

He terms of his attacking play he is a smooth runner of the ball who has above average to plus top end speed and good evasiveness to get on the outside of his opposing defender with a decent fend that enables him to keep all but the strongest outside backs at a distance and away from his body. When playing at centre he just needs to be aware to straighten up the axis of attack on occasion to ensure his outside supports have room to move and exploit any advantages identified. He has quite a good step, predominately off the right foot, so he certainly has the skills to adjust his running line as he gains more experience and develops a better rapport with his teams play makers.

When playing on the wing he is adept at staying on the touch line to utilise his speed to break clear of his opposing defender when he is given room down the touch line. For the Stingers U14 representative side he scored one or two very good tries where from the wing he got on the outside of his opposite defender and beat the cover defence to the corner with his straight line speed. He is also very effective in making ground from dummy half. Like when Justin Hodges used to go into dummy half, defences know that he is going to run but still have trouble preventing him from making a lot of ground, it really does defy logic in terms of the ground that he makes out of dummy half.

Defensively he really does like to come in and hit very hard and looks to do this on a regular basis throughout a game, and whilst at the moment he has the recovery speed to address any situation where his opposite number gets on his outside, this is something that he will look to work on moving forward as the quality of the opposition continues to improve. At this stage he tackles a lot of the time around the upper body but I am sure that his low tackling technique will develop as he gains experience and exposure to higher calibre opponents as well.

Moving forward he will play at the U15 level in 2016, with the North’s junior rugby league club at Nundah and will look to progress through the Titans junior development system towards the Elite Development Squad. With school boy representative sides being picked from the U15 age group upwards, he will be in line to fight for a Met North U15 berth for the Queensland U15 Secondary Schools championships.

From a final position perspective I think that with his skill set he will have an opportunity to stay in the centres long term even though he has played on the wing in a number of representative sides over the last year. While his speed and evasive running translates well in relation to playing both in the centres and on the wing I would lean towards keeping him in the centres for as long as possible as developing a legitimate strike centre is an extremely difficult task. There are so few in the game at present that it would be prudent to give young players with the potential relevant skill set the best possible opportunities to translate their potential into production in that position.

From a style perspective, think of someone along the lines of Michael Jennings of the Roosters in relation to playing style as a legitimate strike centre with the ability to make breaks from anywhere but also can handle the defensive side of the game.

mdrew
13-01-16, 07:34 AM
Conrad Skelton. He is a young centre/second rower who started in the centres for the Titans U14 development squad against Samoa recently. He is part of the Titans Logan based development squad and played his club football for St Joseph’s which is a club based in the Northern Suburbs of Brisbane. He started in the second row for St Josephs in the GBJRL U14 Division Two grand final against Valleys. In 2012 he represented Metropolitan North in the Queensland U12 Primary Schools tournament. He took a knock in the development squad game which clearly limited his effectiveness but still showed some flashes of ability and untapped potential.

I did not see a great deal of him at all this year as he did not play representative football for either of the two Stingers U14 sides and I only got to see a couple of his club games, but with some good touches in the development squad game he is certainly someone to consider in relation to potential moving forward.

He has played the majority of his football this year in the back row, certainly when playing for his club side and in that position, is a strong runner of the football. Whilst in does not have blinding speed off the mark, he does have decent speed overall but I would not consider it at the plus level and can break tackles by running over his direct opposite defender as well as using a very good fend, when he gets to the outside, this prevents defenders from getting he under his ribs and thus he can maintain his running line under defensive pressure. One skill that he does possess when playing in the centre position is a decent in and away and he will wait until the last possible minute to step to commit the defender before getting on his outside.

When he has played second row previously, he has got very good feet, in terms of not just charging straight at the set defensive line. He uses foot work before and after the defensive line to assist in breaking tackles and he is adept at offloading in traffic. In terms of his attacking skills, he has the skills at this point in time to play either centre or second row.

In terms of his defence, he obviously during the course of this year, defended almost exclusively in the second row but obviously his skill set indicates that defending wider out in the centres does not cause him too many issues. His initial contact is more than solid and is more than enough to stop the momentum of the ball carrier. He is also effective at wrapping the ball up and preventing offloads. Due to his current attributes he is more effective when his team is using an up and in style of defensive strategy rather than a slide methodology.

Moving forward to the 2016 season he will play at the U15 level and it will be interesting to see whether he stays with St Joseph’s or moves to the “parent” club being the North’s junior rugby league club or even Aspley. From a long term position perspective I note that at this early stage of his junior development he is equally effective in both the centres and the back row. If I had to make a decision I would very slightly lean towards second row, purely on the basis that he lacks absolute top end speed even though he is no slouch both off the mark and over intermediate or extended distances. Over the course of the games I have seen he has shown some flashes of potential and it will be interesting to chart his development in the coming seasons.

From a player comparison perspective one current first grade player really does stand out as being an ideal comparison from a playing style perspective and that is Mitch Aubussen of the Sydney Roosters. Like Aubussen he seemingly is equally effective at both centre and second row and that is quite rare. A lot of second rowers can play in the centre adequately but are ultimately less effective and visa versa that does not appear to be the case with Conrad Skelton at least at the present time.

isaiah
13-01-16, 08:50 PM
Has jerome green from pbc ever been part of the titans juniors?

mdrew
14-01-16, 06:53 AM
Isreal Higgins. He is a local young second rower from the Currumbin Eagles junior rugby league club on the Gold Coast who played in the U13 age group in the 2015 season. He started in the second row for the U13 Titans development squad recently scoring a strong try under the posts in that game when he charged through the Toowoomba forward pack from about ten metres out. For Currumbin he scored ten tries across the season to be one of the top forwards on the try scoring list in the U13 competition and also kicked twelve goals for a season tally of 64 points. He also was part of the U13 Gold Coast Vikings representative side and also made the South East Queensland U13 side for the Queensland Age Championships where he was selected on the inter change bench for the Queensland junior age championships.

In attack he is a straight runner of the football and there is little subtly to his game, it is get the ball and run straight ahead to gain as much ground as possible and get a quick play the ball. On occasion he does use some footwork prior to the line but in the main it is head down and run straight. If defences do not target his legs he will drag defenders with him as he continues to pump his legs and continue to fight until the tackle is finished, then he will fight to get a quick play the ball. He just needs to make sure that he maintains his composure when fighting to get to his feet to ensure that he maintains possession.

He can off load the football but usually seems cautious not to make a mistake, which based on the way that he has been asked to play, it is quite a wise choice. His hands are actually more than decent and thus I think that he has some untapped potential to ball play a little more, but he is so young that there is more than enough time for this skill to develop with experience and natural progression.

In defence the critique is simple, he relishes the contact in the centre of the ruck, he hits hard and often and looks to dominate and intimidate his opposition full stop. He tackles hard and is big and strong enough to win the wrestle on the ground and slow the play the ball down. His lateral movement is quite reasonable for a forward, but is not strength and thus he is more effective in defence when he is in the centre of the ruck.

The 2016 season will see him play at the U14 level for the Currumbin Eagles and I am sure that he will be right in the mix for selection for U14 Gold Coast Vikings and South East Queensland representative honours. From a position perspective, there is no doubt in my mind that he will stay in the back row and continue his development towards becoming a damaging runner of the ball who will regularly find his way over the try line. There may be a temptation to play him in the front row but I think that if his ball running passing skills continue to progress at a similar rate to the past year, he should stay in the second row long term, there is a lot to like about this young player.

From a player comparison perspective I would consider someone like former Penrith Panther and Canterbury Bulldog Frank Pritchard as someone with a similar style, being that of a damaging running back rower with underappreciated offloading skills. He really stood out to me this year as one of the better and one of the most improved young forwards in the U13 Gold Coast junior rugby league competition and looks to have a bright future in front of him with continued maturity and development.

mdrew
14-01-16, 07:15 AM
I am quite sure that he played in a couple of development squad games a few years ago


Has jerome green from pbc ever been part of the titans juniors?

mdrew
14-01-16, 12:03 PM
Adrian Arameo. He is a local young centre who played the 2015 season with the Helensvale Hornets in the U13 age group, as well as representing the U13 Gold Coast Vikings and started on the bench of the U13 Titans development squad in their match late last year against Toowoomba. For his U13 Helensvale Division One side he played in ten games over the course of the season and scored 14 tries, including five doubles. He also started in the centres and scored two tries in their grand final victory over the Nerang Roosters 30-12. A team mate in that victory was fellow Titans development squad member, back rower Brendan Paikura who also scored a try in the grand final. He certainly knows his way to the try line which can be evidenced by his statistics this year as well as the fact that in 2014 he scored 25 tries. In the development squad game he did not get a lot of opportunities to showcase his skills handled what he was confronted with well.

He is very quick down the sidelines with a good in and away to beat defenders on the outside and will not get caught from behind if he gets into open space. I would not say that he has blazing speed but he does have decent top end speed and is unlikely to get caught from behind by anyone but the absolute quickest of opponents. His best attribute from an outside back perspective is his ability to keep his width and be available for his team mates, when the opposing defender cheats inside. When the ball is moved out the back line, he stays on his line, and a lot of the tries that he scored for the Hornets were when he was able to beat his opposite defender when they had come in just a fraction. He probably could have scored a few more tries but made sure that his team would score when in open space as he would draw the fullback and pass to his support when he could have easily gone himself, a sign of a smart team player.

When playing in the centres he looked to draw in the winger to try to create space down the touch line for the attackers outside him, but he does have enough pace, when he is able to get outside his opposing defender and make line breaks when the defensive winger stays out. Thus from what I have seen he has very good situational awareness in attack from either the centre or wing positions.

In defence, he is not the strongest player but will certainly look to hold his line defensively. I did not often see him come in when he did not need to, preferring to stay on his oppose number and trusting his teams inside and outside defenders. From my perspective at least, his skill set in defence is more suited to a sliding defence structure rather than an up and in one.

The 2016 season will see him play at the U14 level for the Hornets and again he will likely be in contention for Gold Coast Vikings selection in the U14 age level. From a position perspective, even though he has played the majority of his junior football to date in the centres, I think that his speed and skill set is ideal for a modern day try scoring winger even though I anticipate that he will spend the majority of the next couple of years of his development in the centres certainly in relation to his club football at least.

From a player comparison perspective think of someone along the lines of St George Dragons winger Jason Nightingale as a winger with the speed and elusiveness to regularly find the try line especially in situations where it looked highly likely that he had no chance of getting the ball over the line.

mdrew
14-01-16, 12:42 PM
Sheldon Tairea-Rapana (Rapana). He is a local young second rower and is yet another young player from the Helensvale Hornets club and played the year at the u13 level as well as being part of the Titans Gold Coast based development squad. He was named on the bench for the recent development squad match but unfortunately did not end up taking the field in that game. For the season for the Hornets at the U13 level, he played in 13 matches scoring five tries. The U13 Hornets won their grand final 30-12 against Nerang with Sheldon Rapana starting the grand final in the second row. Other Titans development squad members in the Helensvale grand final winning side were centre Adrian Arameo (two tries) and back rower Brendan Paikua (one try). He also represented the U13 Gold Coast Vikings and started from the bench in the South East Queensland junior championships.

Running with the football, he has good footwork prior to the line and does not often just put his head down and run straight, but uses his solid footwork to try to work the gaps between defenders rather than trying to simply run over them although you can see that when he gets fired up all subtlety and thoughts of self-preservation goes out the window and he becomes a giant wrecking ball.. He does not have great speed off the mark or necessary great high end speed, but he will work hard and make the most of his ability. He actually does have a decent off load usually with his right hand when he has impacted the defensive line as well and regularly showcases this in game situations.

Defensively he can certainly hit very hard, usually aiming for just under the ribs and first intention is to lock up the ball to prevent offloads. He can however on occasion try to tackle too front on which can lead to situations where the opposing forward can bounce off him, but I have no doubt with the good coaches that Helensvale have this is a technical issue which will be corrected. He has quite reasonable lateral mobility for a larger forward and due to the fact that he bends his hips when looking to make a tackle he is usually is able to wrap up the smaller attackers without his tackles slipping up to around the head or neck, and thus giving away penalties. His ability to successfully defend against these types of attackers as well as having the technique to defend against larger forwards is one of a number of reasons that I consider that a future potentially alternating between front row and second row is plausible. He can however get fired up and really cause havoc defensively, he just needs to continue to channel his aggression.

For the 2016 season he will play at the U14 level for the Helensvale Hornets and like this year, it will be hard to keep him out of the U14 Vikings representative squad. From a position perspective I think that he can be equally effective playing in either the front row or second row but if forced I would consider that he is likely to be more effective in the front row based on his current and projected skill set. With continued growth and training he can develop into a talented hard running forward.

From a player comparison perspective, one player with a similar playing style from my perspective is former Titans front rower/second rower and current Titans coaching staff member Anthony Laffranchi, as a solid forward who will may never be a star but will be a solid contributor to a team’s forward pack, but shows flashes of ability which suggests a break out season is on the horizon. Sheldon though has the potential to be a little bigger physically though than Laffranchi when he has stopped growing.