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  1. #1156
    Kangaroo
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    Keegan Hipgrave. The former Gold Coast and Nerang Roosters junior was a 2017 mid-season acquisition for the Titans from the arch rival Brisbane Broncos, playing a handful of 2017 NYC and Queensland Cup matches before making his NRL debut in the Titans tough final round loss to the Sydney Roosters in late 2017. Since his arrival Keegan Hipgrave has gone on to play in twenty seven NRL matches in Titans colours with the prospect of plenty more to come in 2020 and beyond.

    The former Australian School boy representative and Palm Beach Currumbin student had an outstanding NRL debut for the Titans in 2017 running for 123 metres on thirteen hit-ups for a 9.5 metre per carry average and he also made 23 tackles to cap off the young firebrand’s debut.

    In 2019 Keegan Hipgrave played just seven NRL matches for the Titans with his first match being against Souths Sydney in Round Three and his last in Round Thirteen against the Broncos. Keegan Hipgrave played his first four NRL matches in 2019 off the bench and his final three starting in the second row with his first 2019 NRL start coming in Round Eleven against Manly.

    In total in the NRL in 2019 Keegan Hipgrave played a total of 275 minutes (out of a possible 560), ran for 459 metres (113.1 post contact), broke twelve tackles, had an offload and made 128 tackles at an 82.4% tackling efficiency.

    Keegan Hipgrave’s 2019 per game NRL averages included playing 37.3 minutes, running for 65.6 metres and making 19.3 tackles. Thus per eighty minutes, Keegan Hipgrave, in 2019, ran for 140.7 metres and made 41.39 tackles.

    In Round Eight against North Queensland Keegan Hipgrave ran for 101 metres and in Rounds Twelve and Thirteen against North Queensland and Brisbane respectively Keegan Hipgrave made twenty eight tackles.

    In 2018 Keegan Hipgrave made nineteen appearance in the NRL for the Titans, in those matches running for 1 168 metres (397 post contact), broke nineteen tackles, offloaded the ball on three occasions and made 413 tackles at a tackling efficiency of 87.5%.

    Keegan Hipgrave’s 2018 per game NRL averages included running for 61.48 metres and making 24.84 tackles.

    The table below compares Keegan Hipgrave’s 2017, 2018 and 2019 NRL per game averages:

    2017 NRL 2018 NRL 2019 NRL

    Games played 1 19 7

    Minutes per game 54 45.3 37.3

    Metres made per game 123 61.48 65.6

    Tackles per game 23 24.84 19.3

    In 2017 along with his NRL debut Keegan Hipgrave played seven matches in the Queensland Cup competition for the Tweed Heads Seagulls and was also awarded the 2017 Players Player award at their Presentation night. Keegan Hipgrave made his Queensland Cup debut for Tweed Heads in Round Sixteen against the Townsville Blackhawks when he came of the inter change bench. In that match Keegan Hipgrave played 67 minutes, ran for 78 metres and made fourteen tackles for a solid Queensland Cup debut.

    Of his seven matches in the Queensland Cup in 2017 season Keegan Hipgrave started four at lock and the remaining three from the inter change bench. In total in the Queensland Cup in 2017 Keegan Hipgrave played 370 minutes, ran for 687 metres and made 165 tackles.

    Keegan Hipgrave’s per match 2017 Queensland Cup averages included playing 53 minutes, running for 98 metres and making 24 tackles. On four occasions Keegan Hipgrave ran for in excess of 100 metres in a match including a 135 metre performance in Round Twenty Five against the PNG Hunters. On three occasions Keegan Hipgrave made more than 20 tackles in a match including in Round Twenty Two against the Easts Tigers when he made 40 tackles in just 53 minutes of playing time.

    When he joined the Titans mid-season in 2017, Keegan Hipgrave played in four NYC matches prior to his elevation to the Tweed Heads Queensland Cup side and then onto his NRL debut. Keegan Hipgrave made his Titans NYC debut against the North Queensland Cowboys in Round Thirteen including scoring after starting from the interchange bench. Keegan Hipgrave started the following week at lock and scored this time against the Warriors.

    Prior to moving to the Titans Keegan Hipgrave played in five NYC matches for the Broncos in 2017. Earlier in the 2017 season Keegan Hipgrave was part of the Brisbane Broncos Auckland Nines squad playing in three of their four matches I believe.

    Combining his statistics from both the Titans and the Broncos NYC sides in 2017 Keegan Hipgrave played in nine matches, ran for 907 metres, ran the ball 87 times and made 183 tackles at a tackling efficiency of 95%. His 2017 NYC per game averages included running for 101 metres from 10 carries and 20 tackles.

    Keegan Hipgrave had an injury interrupted 2016 NYC season with the Broncos playing in only nine matches scoring three tries which came against the Penrith Panthers in Round Three and a double against the Titans in Round Five. In total in the 2016 NYC competition Keegan Hipgrave ran for 980 metres from 91 hit-ups, made four line breaks and 184 tackles. His per game averages included 109 metres from ten runs and twenty tackles.

    In 2015 for the Broncos NYC side even though he was still eligible for U18’s Keegan Hipgrave played in twenty five matches running for 2 755 metres and made 536 tackles. He averaged 110 metres and 23 tackles across those twenty five matches.

    Keegan Hipgrave has had an outstanding representative rugby league career to date including earlier this season captaining the Queensland U20 State of Origin side, he also made the side in 2016. In 2015 Keegan Hipgrave captained the Queensland U18 side and in 2014 from PBC State High School was an Australian School boy representative. In 2015 Keegan Hipgrave was the joint winner of the Brisbane Broncos Players Player award.

    Keegan Hipgrave has also played in both the MM and CC Cups for Gold Coast based sides and also represented the Gold Coast in multiple Vikings under age representative sides over the course of his junior rugby league career.

    The 182cm 101kg former Australian Schoolboy is a powerful aggressive ball runner who is adept at using late and quick footwork just prior to contact line which he hits with power and force in absolutely every hit up that he makes dropping his shoulder into the first defender that is looking to make the initial contact. His ability to get low to engage the defenders with his shoulder rather than allowing them to get in and under his ribs and also a substantial leg drive means that he drives defenders backwards even after they had engaged him with significant force rather than allowing them to impact on his momentum.

    In terms of ball skills, Keegan Hipgrave was able to regularly get his right hand free to deliver offloads when engaged with the defensive line especially when he was running one pass up the ruck and deliver some very good offloads to his support runners.

    Once he is in space, Keegan Hipgrave actually has very good speed, I would consider it above average when analysing his speed from a rugby league forward’s perspective, to add to the difficulties for the defensive line, he runs with a high knee lift and also has a powerful fend.

    Whilst his ball running skills are the first thing that you will likely notice when seeing Keegan Hipgrave his defence is equally effective even though it may not be as noticeable at first glance. Defensively Keegan Hipgrave has a hard edge to his play and his initial contact is more than sufficient to redirect the momentum of the ball carrier either in the centres or when defending in the forwards. Keegan Hipgrave sets a very good base which he uses to explode into the ball carrier looking to use their own momentum against them.

    Defensively Keegan Hipgrave hits very hard 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 carriers momentum.

    Defensively the most impressive aspect of Keegan Hipgrave’s play is his ability to make effective tackle after effective tackle. For the Titans over the last two NRL seasons he continually made up to three and four tackles in a row on multiple occasions and still back up looking to take a hit up the next set of six tackles.

    Whilst his stamina is impressive, so is his initial contact, he uses his strength and leverage to hit the ball carrier hard forcing momentum changes to the ball carrier. Keegan Hipgrave is also adept at wrapping up the ball and preventing offloads as he uses his functional strength to engage ball carriers. Defensively in a covering role he is also very effective as even though he is a big strong forward he has very good catch up speed and a solid low tackling technique from a side aspect.

    Keegan Hipgrave good situation awareness also enables him to be well positioned when he is defending against smaller quicker players and he endeavours to minimise the time available for the opposing attacker to generate speed and to utilise their footwork.

    Keegan Hipgrave is also able to change direction quickly to adjust to the directional changes of the attacker especially when he is marking up against multiple attackers running in his direction where he will hold his ground to let the play to develop in front of him before committing to a specific defensive course of action.

    Keegan Hipgrave will immediately come into NRL calculations in 2020 in Round One away to the Canberra under new coach Justin Holbrook.

    Keegan Hipgrave has essentially played in the front row or at lock for the majority of his career to date outside of three matches in the second row for the Titans in 2019, but I would much prefer the 182cm 101kg power house play a touch more on the fringes of the ruck where he can use his speed and foot work more to his team advantage. Regardless he is a powerful intense aggressive Gold Coast local junior who looms as an outstanding member of the Titans 2020 NRL squad.

  2. #1157
    Kangaroo
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    Eli Morgan. (Revised) The Titans linked forward started from the interchange bench for the Burleigh MM Cup side in their 2019 Round One match with the Norths Devils with Eli Morgan contributing a try in in Burleigh’s great second half comeback to draw 38 all with the Devils.

    In total in the 2019 MM Cup competition Eli Morgan played in all six matches spending time both in the second row and in the centres as well as coming off the interchange bench in Round One against Norths. Eli Morgan played four matches in the centres with first of which was in Round two against Ipswich and started in the second row in Round Six against Wynnum Manly.

    In his six 2019 MM Cup matches Eli Morgan scored three tries which came in Rounds One, Four and Five against Norths, Townsville and Souths Logan respectively.

    In Round Four against Townsville Eli Morgan scored his second MM Cup try of the 2019 season when he dived over in the left corner. Playing left centre Eli Morgan was on hand to receive a pass from left winger Trey Peni who had taken a bomb on the full a few metres out from the Blackhawks try line and was able to off-load to his left to Eli Morgan who had looped around.

    Almost immediately after the competition of the 2019 MM Cup competition, Eli Morgan moved to the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts side making his debut off the bench in Round Nine against Redcliffe. Eli Morgan moved into the starting line-up in Round Twelve against the Sunshine Coast Falcons starting in the second row.

    Eli Morgan’s 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts season came to an end when he started on the interchange bench for Burleigh as they went down 23 – 16 to Sunshine Coast in the Preliminary Final.

    In total in the 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition Eli Morgan played in nine matches two of which were finals. Eli Morgan made two starts in the second row, his second coming against Souths Logan in Round Sixteen with the remaining seven of his matches from the bench.

    Eli Morgan also played four matches in the 2019 GCRL U18 Division One regular season competition, mostly off the bench for Burleigh and scoring his sole try against Ormeau.

    Eli Morgan made his 2019 GCRL U20 debut in Round Nineteen when he started at lock for Burleigh against Helensvale for his sole match in that competition in 2019.

    The strong tough hard running young Titans linked second rower was part of the Burleigh MM Cup in 2018 season as well as part of the Keebra Park rugby league side in their various schoolboy competitions including the GIO Cup. In 2017 Eli Morgan started from the interchange bench in Keebra Park’s National GIO Cup triumph.

    In the MM Cup competition for Burleigh this season Eli Morgan was involved in three matches. He started Round One in the second row against the Sunshine Coast Falcons, in Round Three against Tweed Heads and in Round Four Eli Morgan started in the second row against Souths Logan.

    Eli Morgan only played two matches for Burleigh this season in the Gold Coast Rugby League competition, one in the U17 Division One competition against Helensvale and one in the U19 competition against Bilambil.

    In 2017 Eli Morgan was named in the 2017 Gold Coast Green U16 Vikings side for the 2017 season as well as playing for Burleigh in the GCJRL U16 Division One competition and performing strongly for the Keebra Park GIO Cup side including starting the Queensland Final on the wing. Eli Morgan also represented the Queensland U16 side in their tough 22 – 16 loss to New South Wales in a State of Origin curtain raiser.

    Eli Morgan started off the 2017 season representing Gold Coast Vikings Green in the South East Queensland U16 pre-season competition scoring against Brisbane Blue. From there Eli Morgan was selected in the South East Queensland U16 side for the Queensland Age Championships. Eli Morgan was a standout scoring a double on Day One against Central, Day Two against Northern, Day Three against South East Queensland White and Eli Morgan also scored in the final in a 42 – 30 loss to SEQ White.

    Eli Morgan played for Burleigh in the GCJRL U16 Division One competition, playing eleven matches in total, scoring six tries, including a double in the first match of the season against Helensvale, in Round Two Eli Morgan also scored against Runaway Bay. In a three game span in May Eli Morgan scored in every matches with those matches being against Ormeau, Runaway Bay and Ormeau once again.

    From an attacking perspective, Eli Morgan 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 if the need arises either.

    His determination is one aspect that enables him to be in the right place at the right time. 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’ with the ball in his hands.

    For Burleigh, Eli Morgan defended both in the edge of the ruck and well as through the middle. Eli Morgan was quietly effective in both situations from both a quality and quantity perspective. 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.

    While Eli Morgan 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 Eli Morgan’s 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 Eli Morgan will do a lot of work and will likely always finish at or near the top of the tackle count regardless of the level and standard of football he is playing.

    Eli Morgan will play the 2020 with the Burleigh Bears Hastings Deering’s Colts squad and will also be eligible for the Colts competition again in 2021.

    I would also anticipate that Eli Morgan will also get an opportunity to play for Burleigh in the GCRL First Grade competition in 2020 a circumstance that the Titans have utilised on a number of occasions in recent seasons to great effect to acclimatise young players to the next level of competition.

    Even though Eli Morgan played a couple of matches in the wing for Keebra Park in years past and in the centres in 2019 for Burleigh in both the MM Cup and Colts competitions, I can see no reason that Eli Morgan will move away from the second row position which is where he has played in recent seasons.

    From a player comparison perspective for Eli Morgan, 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 which is becoming an increasingly rare commodity

  3. #1158
    Kangaroo
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    Trey Peni. (Revised) The Titans contracted Keebra Park student originally from the Rockingham Sharks in Western Australia is a classic example of why you should not be concerned about where a young player comes from but be only concerned about their ability on a football field and whether they can reach their full potential, Trey Peni has both area’s covered in spades and the proof is on display each weekend on Gold Coast Rugby League fields.

    In late 2018 Trey Peni started in the centres and scored for the Titans U16’s as they defeated PNG 60 – 10 at Pizzey Park and in January of 2019 was part of the Titans U18 squad that played a trial in Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights U18 SG Ball squad.

    Trey Peni started the 2019 season as part of the Burleigh Bears MM Cup side coming in to the side on the left wing in Round Three. In the Round Three match against local rivals the Tweed Heads Seagulls Trey Peni scored his first MM Cup try when he pounced on an inch perfect kick from Tweed Heads five eight Brodyn Gudgeon to score close to the left touch line in goal line.

    In Round Four against the Townsville Blackhawks Trey Peni recorded a try assist when he took a cross field bomb to his left wing on the full a few metres out from the Townsville line and then under pressure was able to off-load to Eli Morgan who had looped around the back of him to score in the left corner.

    In total for Burleigh in the 2019 MM Cup competition, Trey Peni played in four matches starting three on the wing and one, being Round Six in the centres against Wynnum Manly with Burleigh finishing their 2019 MM Cup season off on a high after beating the previously undefeated Seagulls 23 - 22.

    Post the 2019 MM Cup competition, Trey Peni played Round One of the 2019 GCRL U18 Division One competition for Nerang scoring in that match as well.

    Trey Peni received a deserved call-up to the Burleigh Colts Hastings Deering’s Cup side for their 2019 Round Nine match against Redcliffe and had an outstanding debut scoring a double from the right wing.

    In relation to both of his tries, Trey Peni scored by positioning himself well by staying on the side line outside of his direct opponent and as a result having a direct path to the try line. Trey Peni was certainly happy to score his first try, pumping his fist even before crossing the try line. Trey Peni could have had a hat trick but the ball went to Jayden Campbell to score when it could have quite easily have gone to Trey Peni instead.

    Trey Peni came back into the Burleigh Colts side starting on the right wing and scoring in Round Twenty against the Western Mustangs when he scored an easy try in the right corner after good work inside by the Burleigh playmakers including Cameron Brown and Jayden Campbell.

    In total in the 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts regular season competition for Burleigh Trey Peni played in four matches starting all on the right wing scoring the three tries noted in the paragraph’s noted above.

    Trey Peni’s 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts season came to an end when he started on the left wing for Burleigh as they went down 23 – 16 to Sunshine Coast in the Preliminary Final.

    Trey Peni also performed well for Keebra Park in 2019, including scoring a double in their Round Two Langer Cup victory over Ipswich State High School and started on the right wing in the Langer Cup derby against PBC also scoring a double in the match with both tries coming in the second half.

    Trey Peni’s first try came when he retrieved a chip kick and stepped inside the fullback to score and for his second try Trey Peni flew down the right touch line executing a dive to place the ball down in his right hand in the right corner of the field.

    Trey Peni also started on the right wing for Keebra Park in their Queensland GIO Cup quarter final win over Coombabah State High School 42 – 12 and also started on the right wing in their tough loss to Wavell State High School in the their Queensland GIO Cup semi-final.

    Trey Peni also represented South Coast at the 2019 U18 QSSRL Championships playing on the right wing at the Championships. Trey Peni scored on Day One against Northern in the right corner after outstanding lead up work by fellow Titan James Torrens on his inside.

    South Coast went through the Championships undefeated including coming from behind to defeat Northern in the final 22 – 16. Trey Peni was subsequently named in the 2019 Queensland School boy’s side for the Australian U18 School boy Championships.
    At the 2019 ASSRL U18 Championships Trey Peni started all of Queensland matches, including the Championship Final on the right wing, scoring in the 10th minute of the second half in Queensland’s second match of the Championships against New South Wales Combined High Schools.

    Trey Peni played the 2018 season with the Nerang Roosters in the GCRL U16 Division One competition after moving in the off season from the Coomera Cutters and has started in the centres in all bar one of their matches, scoring five tries and kicking three goals to finish the season with an individual point’s haul of twenty six.

    In Round One Trey Peni had an outstanding match scoring four tries and kicking two goals against Runaway Bay and in Round Four also scored a try against Burleigh.

    Trey Peni started in the centres in both of Nerang’s 2018 Finals matches being in Week Two when Nerang defeated Currumbin 32 – 22 with Trey Peni converting one of Nerang’s five tries and the Grand Final which Nerang won defeating Currumbin again 24 – 8.

    At the start of the 2017 season Trey Peni moved over to the Gold Coast to continue his flourishing rugby league career with Coomera Cutters in the GCRL U15 Division One competition and in 2018 played for the Gold Coast Vikings U16 white squad. In previous years Trey Peni has represented Western Australia at the U12 National Championships and has been a member of the West Coast Pirates Development Squad for a number of seasons.

    For the Cutters in the U15 Division Once competition in 2017 Trey Peni played a number of positions including centre and fullback playing in ten matches scoring eight tries and kicking seven goals to finish with 46 points on the season.

    Trey Peni had an outstanding start to the 2017 season, scoring seven of his eight tries in a three game stretch from late April to early May, in that span scoring a hat trick against Helensvale and doubles against Currumbin and Burleigh. Five of his seven goals also came in that period. Trey Peni’s other try came late in the season against Nerang.

    The thing that stands out to me is that whilst he may not seem to be moving quickly Trey Peni clearly is, I cannot recall a game in any competition where he has either been run down by defenders or has been unable to support a team mate who has made a break and believe me some of the young backs at Logan Brothers have absolutely outstanding pace.

    Receiving the ball early in the back line is where Trey Peni is best suited, when he receives the ball early with space to work with, he is adept at straightening the attack and then skipping to the outside of his opposite number of use his speed to break open the opposing defensive line.

    Like his speed his lateral movement is exceptional. I am also impressed by the fact that he will get into dummy half regularly and even though he is running in the centre of the ruck, Trey Peni uses his quick twitch feet to get in between defending forwards and make more ground then you would think possible.

    From a defensive perspective, his timing and anticipation are Trey Peni’s best attributes, he has developed an effective tackling technique in terms of coming out of the line to negate the opposition attack, Trey Peni will not aim of the big hit but he is effective at wrapping out the ball and preventing the play from developing further, his natural strength is a key attribute here.

    Incredibly Trey Peni is still MM Cup eligible in 2020 and whilst he has been named in the Burleigh MM Cup squad it would not surprise if he bypasses that competition all together and starts the 2020 season with Burleigh in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition.

    Trey Peni’s ultimately position is a bit of an interesting one, he played a fair bit of second row in Western Australia and also when he initially arrived on the Gold Coast. The last couple of seasons however Trey Peni has played almost exclusively on the wing (bar one match in the centres in the 2019 MM Cup competition) and has been absolutely outstanding there. It is for that reason that in the end that wing seems where Trey Peni will stay for the duration of his rugby league career.

    From a player comparison perspective for Trey Peni, think of someone along the lines of the South Sydney Rabbitoh and Queensland State of Origin centre or winger back Dane Gagai as a smooth moving player with a try scoring knack who is elusive and difficult to defend against as a result.

    Trey Peni is one of a number of young players who have moved over from Western Australia to try their luck on the Gold Coast in recent seasons, including former Titans NYC half back Josh Rogers and 2018 Titans U18 winger Leevai Sutton and Trey Peni has been an outstanding addition to the Junior Rugby league ranks on the Gold Coast and at Keebra Park and has deservedly received NRL recognition from the Titans in their JTS Program as a result of his impressive on field performances over the last two seasons on the Gold Coast.

  4. #1159
    Kangaroo
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    Harvey Moase. The young Cudgen Hornets half represented the Group 18 U14 side in 2018 in the New South Wales Country Age Championships and post those Championships was selected as part of the Titans 2018/19 Group 18 U15 Development Squad.

    In February 2019 Harvey Moase started at half back for one of the Titans two U15 sides in their round robin matches against each other and the Western Mustangs with the youngster leading his Titans side around well in very hot conditions.

    Harvey Moase also started at half back for the Titans U15 side that defeated a Balmain U15 side 34 – 16 in early October producing an outstanding performance in Titans colours.

    In September 2019 Harvey Moase was named the Group 18 U15 Player of the year after an outstanding season with the Cudgen Hornets U15 side and was also named the Group 18 Representative Player of the Year.

    Late in the 2019 season Harvey Moase represented Group 18 at the U15 New South Wales Country Age Championships in Port Macquarie starting at half.

    In 2019 Harvey Moase also represented the Northern region NSW CCC U15 rugby league side at their trials held in May in Sydney after the Kingscliff High School student stood out for the Far North Coast side in the Northern Trials.

    In the 2018 U14 New South Wales Country Age Championships for Group 18 Harvey Moase started at half in all three of Group 18’s matches which were against Group’s 21, Four and Two kicking conversion against Group Two.

    Harvey Moase has above average speed both off the mark which I would consider in the plus category and top end speed. Harvey Moase with his speed is able to exploit gaps in the defensive line with a very good step off either foot and incredible acceleration as well as outstanding body control.

    Harvey Moase has very good timing on his passes and is able to weight them perfectly as well and can do so from either side of his body. Harvey Moase also runs with the ball in both hands which is another reason why the defensive line is unable to determine exactly what Harvey Moase is going to do.

    Harvey Moase has a very good kick on him and also has good accuracy to go with the power that he generates. His kicking game suggests he will be a real 40/20 threat as he matures and progresses. Harvey Moase also gets his kicks away quickly thus not allowing the defenders to put an undue amount of pressure on him.

    Harvey Moase 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.

    Defensively Harvey Moase is a very strong young man with solid functional strength to go along with an innate understanding of the attacking strategies of rugby league thus he is able to anticipate what an attacking side is looking to do with the ball and then be in the best position to negate it. Harvey Moase also has a very good low tackling technique which is simple and effective against all size opponents.

    Harvey Moase will play the 2020 season with the Cudgen Hornets in the Group 18 U16 competition and will be in line to represent the 2020 Northern Rivers Titans U16 Andrew Johns Cup squad that should once again be a very impressive side.

    With his ability to see the entire field as if he has a bird eye view of it and his ability to guide and direct his side around the field, adhering precisely to the game plan, Harvey Moase is ideally to controlling a side from the half back position.

    Harvey Moase definitely reminds me of Sydney Roosters five eight Brock Lamb. Like Lamb, Harvey Moase is composed under pressure, with an above average kicking game, both tactical and attacking and underrated running and passing skills

  5. #1160
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    Carsil Vaikai. (Revised) The big strong young Titans contracted Runaway Bay Seagull second rower or lock continues to develop his game at an exceptional rate over the course of the 2018 rugby league season. From a trivia perspective Carsil Vaikai was earlier this year selected in the Australian Mixed Netball side highlighting his stamina and athleticism.

    Carsil Vaikai is contracted to the Titans until the end of the 2021 season and will be part of the Titans Rookie Squad that will play the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup side in early February.

    In January of 2019 Carsil Vaikai started at lock for the Titans U18 side in their Coffs Harbour match against Newcastle and scored an outstanding first half try when he barged over carrying two or three Knights forwards with him from around ten metres out.

    Carsil Vaikai also started at lock for the Titans U18 side in their big win over PNG at Pizzey Park in early October.

    In May 2019 Carsil Vaikai was selected in the Queensland U18 side for their annual match against their New South Wales counter parts in a State or Origin curtain raiser where he started from the bench coming on late in the first half playing in the backrow.

    In the Interstate U18 match Carsil Vaikai played twenty five minutes, running for ten metres and made ten tackles at a 90.9% tackling efficiency.

    Carsil Vaikai started at lock in Round One of the 2019 MM Cup competition as Tweed Heads smashed the Western Mustangs 58 – 18 in a one sided affair with Carsil Vaikai being particularly effective defensively.

    In total in the 2019 MM Cup competition, Carsil Vaikai captained all eight of Tweed Heads matches starting all in at lock in all including both their semi-final against Souths Logan and Grand Final victory over Wynnum Manly. In the 2019 MM Cup Player of the season voting Carsil Vaikai finished with three votes.

    In the Grand Final Carsil Vaikai was simply outstanding leading from the front as he was in the National U18 Grand Final leading Tweed Heads to a big win against the Illawarra Steelers.

    Carsil Vaikai played fifty seven minutes in the National Final, running for 145 metres (forty seven post contact), broke two tackles, played the ball at an average speed of 3.64 seconds and made fourteen tackles at a tackling efficiency of 73.7%.

    Carsil Vaikai made his Hastings Deering’s Colts debut in Round Eleven of 2019 for the Tweed Heads Seagulls against the Northern Pride. After originally being named on the bench, Carsil Vaikai in fact started the match at hooker, acquitting himself well in that role for the first twenty minutes before reverting to the backrow for the remainder of the match.

    Unfortunately for Carsil Vaikai the match was his only Hastings Deering’s Colts match of the 2019 season.

    Carsil Vaikai played for the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup side in 2018 playing in six of their seven matches, including their semi-final loss to eventual champions South’s Logan. Carsil Vaikai started at lock in the Seagulls first four matches, before missing Round Six. Carsil Vaikai came back into the side in Round Seven off the bench and also came off the bench against Souths Logan in Tweed Heads semi-final loss.

    Carsil Vaikai scored one try in the MM Cup competition which came in Round Three against the Burleigh Bears. On that occasion, Carsil Vaikai received the ball from the dummy half to the left of the play the ball and crashed over from around ten metres out carrying two Burleigh defenders across the line with him.

    Post the MM Cup competition, Carsil Vaikai played for Runaway Bay in the Gold Coast Rugby League U17 Division One completion.

    In total in the U17 Division One competition in 2018 Carsil Vaikai played in ten matches four of which were finals matches. Carsil Vaikai started all ten of his U17 Division One matches at lock.

    In Week One of the Finals series Runaway Bay defeated Tweed Heads 42 -14 and won again in Week Two 24 – 18 against Ormeau with Carsil Vaikai starting both of those finals at lock.

    Carsil Vaikai picked a great time to scored his first and only try of the U17 Division One season when he scored in Runaway Bay’s 34 – 22 Preliminary Final victory over Burleigh.

    Unfortunately for Carsil Vaikai and Runaway Bay they ran into a red hot Currumbin side in the U17 Division One Grand Final going down 30 – 10 to an Eagles side that contained amongst others fellow Titans contracted 17 year old Noah Gafa.

    Carsil Vaikai was also part of the Coombabah State High School Opens side that made the Queensland Cup Quarter Finals after a one point win over fellow Gold Coast School Marymount College 17 - 16.

    Carsil Vaikai moved to Runaway Bay from Helensvale at the start of the 2017 season, and played the majority of the 2017 season with Runaway Bay in the U16 Division One competition, but also played four matches in the U17 Division One competition where he made an immediate impact.

    In the U16 Division One competition in 2017 Carsil Vaikai played in fourteen matches scoring his sole try against his former club in July and in the last regular season round Carsil Vaikai converted a late Runaway Bay try.

    Carsil Vaikai also played four matches in the 2017 U17 Division One competition and across those four matches scored three tries including a try on debut against Burleigh and also tries against Ormeau and Helensvale. On all four occasions that Carsil Vaikai played in the U17 competition he was backing up after playing in the U16 competition earlier in the night.

    Carsil Vaikai was also part of the Gold Coast Vikings Green U16 side that played in the 2017 U16 pre-season competition, scoring against Ipswich in Week Four in a tough 42 – 6 loss. Carsil Vaikai scored in Week Three when Gold Coast Green defeated Brisbane Grey at North Ipswich Reserve.

    Carsil Vaikai had a solid season in 2016, at club, schoolboy and representative level, including representing the South Coast U15 side at the QSSRL State U15 championships. For his Helensvale Hornets club side he crossed for three tries in eight matches in the U15 Division One competition, with the tries coming against Runaway Bay, Beaudesert and eventual premiers Burleigh. He also played one match up at the U16 Division One level also against eventual premiers Burleigh in May 2016.

    As noted Carsil Vaikai was selected in the 2016 South Coast U15 side that went through the U15 QSSRL competition undefeated through their four matches in the competition. Other Titans linked members of the U15 South Coast side included five eight Jessie Brasslin. Carsil Vaikai also started in the second row when the Titans U15 side were narrowly defeated 22 – 18 by a Balmain Tigers side in a trial game on the Gold Coast.

    Carsil Vaikai runs exceptionally hard but with a degree of subtlety to his running style, and 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 or by a single defender. Due to his speed and size, when he is running on the fringes of the ruck, he as handful and also has a very good fend.

    When playing in the second row, Carsil Vaikai seemed from my perspective to play on the left side of the ruck on the majority of occasions, including in representative matches. Whilst he is also very effective taking hit ups in the centre of the ruck, when you have someone with his size and speed, I think that getting him to run a little wider is a more effective utilisation of his skill set both from an individual and team perspective.

    Carsil Vaikai also has some off-loading skills both in terms of off-loading prior to contact with the defensive line as well as when he is in contact with it.

    In terms of his speed, I would consider it above average for a second rower but it would be considered plus for front rower, in short Carsil Vaikai is a very good athlete, with size, strength, speed and power. If he is not tackled around the legs, Carsil Vaikai’s strength means that he will continue to make ground after contact due to his never say die attitude.

    Defensively Carsil Vaikai 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.

    Carsil Vaikai 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 as a result of his aggressive tackling style.

    Carsil Vaikai really does know how to tackle effectively, as he sets a strong base to create the necessary leverage to defend against larger forwards. Throw in a touch of aggression and you have someone who can dominate a game defensively and is able to seal off one side of the ruck on his own for stretches of a game.

    Carsil Vaikai will play the 2020 season in the Tweed Heads U20 Hastings Deering’s Colts side and potentially get an opportunity or two in the Queensland Cup and is U20 eligible again in 2021.

    From a long term position perspective I believe that Carsil Vaikai ultimately stays at lock. Carsil Vaikai can certainly play in the front row or second row now, and play very well, but I would much prefer for him to play exclusively at lock or in the second row for the near future to take advantage of his speed and hard running on the fringes of the ruck especially the great outside shoulder route that he has in his attacking ****nal.

    I will admit that it was interesting to see Carsil Vaikai play in the dummy half role in his U20 Colts debut against the Northern Pride and whilst not for a second do I believe that he will end up at hooker, if Carsil Vaikai can spend some minutes at hooker over the course of a match, he becomes an even more valuable commodity to the Titans.

    From a player comparison perspective, consider someone along the lines of the former St George Dragon, New South Wales State of Origin and Australian International lock Jack De Bellin as a big strong mobile forward who hits the defensive line hard when running the ball as well as the opposition when they are running the ball.

  6. #1161
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    Noah Gafa. (Revised) The young centre is deservedly part of the Titans JTS program, signing a deal during 2017 and continues to go from strength to strength.

    In January of 2019 Noah Gafa started at right centre for the Tians U18’s in their match against the Newcastle Knights. Midway through the first half however when Will Evans moved to fullback, Noah Gafa moved to right centre where he remained for the duration of the match.

    Noah Gafa also started at left centre for the Titans U18 side in their big win over PNG at Pizzey park in early October and was one of multiple Titans try scorers in the match when he crossed untouched after running an inside shoulder route from close range (ten metres).

    After missing Round One Noah Gafa started Round Two of the 2019 MM Cup competition on the wing for Tweed Heads against the Townsville Blackhawks and certainly made an impact including scoring the final try of the match to ensure that Tweed Heads came away from the game on the winning side.

    In the Round Three MM Cup local derby against Burleigh Noah Gafa scored for the second match in a row. Playing left centre Noah Gafa split the Burleigh defence from about fifty five metres out and was just too quick for the cover defence to score out wide for the Seagulls first try of the match in their close victory over their local rivals.

    Noah Gafa missed the remainder of the MM Cup competition post the Round Three derby.

    After missing a number of weeks through injury Noah Gafa made his way back onto the field in Round Eight of the GCRL U18 Division One competition starting on the bench for Burleigh against Tugun. Noah Gafa made his first start of the season in Round Nine lining up in the centres against Currumbin.

    In total for Burleigh in the 2019 GCRL U18 Division One regular season competition Noah Gafa played in five regular season matches scoring his first try and only try in the regular season rounds in Round Thirteen against Bilambil.

    Noah Gafa started in the centres for Burleigh in their 34 -4 U18 Division One Week Two Finals victory over Southport 34 – 4 to progress directly to the Grand Final.

    Noah Gafa started the Grand Final against Southport at left centres scoring twice in Burleigh’s 28 – 12 win.

    Both of Noah Gafa’s tries came from short range in the second half, on each occasions the Burleigh dummy half’s (Try One – Lachlan Adamson, Try Two – Dakota Whalan) took the ball down a short blind side and passed to Noah Gafa who powered onto the ball on both occasions to score, for the first try Noah Gafa was able to bring the ball all of the way around to score under the posts.

    Noah Gafa made his first Hastings Deering’s Colts appearance of the 2019 season in Round Nineteen when he started in the centres against the Mackay Cutters and also started in the centres in Round Twenty against the Ipswich Jets and in Round Twenty Three against the Northern Pride when he started at right centre.

    Prior to the 2018 Gold Coast Rugby League season proper, Noah Gafa was part of the 2018 Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad playing in all seven of their matches including their final against South’s Logan. Noah Gafa started his first five matches in the centres before starting from the interchange bench in Round Seven against Easts and then again in the semi-final against South’s Logan.

    In the 2018 MM Cup competition Noah Gafa scored two tries, coming against the Victorian Thunderbolts in Round two and against the Townsville Blackhawks in Round Five.

    Noah Gafa made his Hastings Deering’s Colts debut for the Tweed Heads Seagulls in Round Sixteen of the 2018 season against Burleigh starting in the centres and started on the wing in Round Seventeen against Wynnum Manly scoring two tries in an impressive display especially when you are talking about a 17 year old playing against 20 year olds.

    Noah Gafa also started on the wing in Round Eighteen against Souths Logan and in the centres in Round Twenty against the Mackay Cutters in round out his four Colts matches this season.

    For Currumbin in the 2018 Gold Coast Rugby League U17 Division One competition, Noah Gafa made on outstanding start starting in the centres in each of his six matches and scoring a total of nine tries along the way.

    Noah Gafa scored a hat trick against Tweed Heads in Round Five and has also scored against Mudgeeraba, Helensvale, Ormeau and Bilambil in the opening four rounds to lead the U17 Division One try scoring list. Noah Gafa’s other regular season try came against Burleigh in Round Six.

    Noah Gafa was heavily involved in Currumbin’s final’s campaign which culminated with Noah Gafa starting in the second row in the Grand Final with Currumbin prevailing 30 – 10 over a Runaway Bay side which was led by fellow Titans contracted youngster Carsil Vaikai.

    Noah Gafa scored one of his nine tries in the finals crossing in Week Two of the finals in a 32 – 22 Currumbin win over Burleigh.

    Noah Gafa was also in outstanding form for PBC in 2018 including being involved in their matches against Keebra Park 22 – 20 win, Ipswich State High School 24 – 18 win and Marsden State High School 38 – 10 win in the Langer Cup competition when he started at left centre and scored two second half tries.

    Noah Gafa was also involved in PBC’s Queensland GIO Cup Quarter Final and semi-final victories, including scoring a double in the semi-final victory over Ignatius Park. Noah Gafa’s first try came early in the first half when he ran an outside shoulder route close to the try line and received a good ball from hooker Jed Edwards to crash over.

    Noah Gafa’s second try came late in the second half. After a break from PBC half Thomas Dearden, Noah Gafa backed up to receive the pass from Dearden and outpaced the defence to score untouched.

    In the Queensland GIO Cup final against Kirwan State High School Noah Gafa started at left centre, partnering fellow Titans contracted player Will Evans as PBC overcame Kirwan State High School 32 – 26 to qualify for the National GIO Cup Final. In a great sign for the Titans both Noah Gafa and Will Evans scored doubles in the win with one of the tries the two combining for Noah Gafa to cross out wide in the second half.

    Noah Gafa started at left centre for PBC in the GIO Cup National Final against Patrician Brothers College Blacktown with PBC becoming National GIO Cup Championships with a 20 – 12 win.
    Post the National GIO Cup final Noah Gafa was part of the PBC touring side that went to Fiji and was part of the PBC side that defeated a Fijian U18 side, fellow Titan Will Evans was also in the PBC side that won by around thirty odd points.
    In the 2017 U16 GCJRL Division One competition, Noah Gafa scored 38 points for the Currumbin Eagles which has come from eight tries and three goals. All three of Noah Gafa’s goals came in the one match in June against the Ormeau Shearers. From a try scoring perspective, Noah Gafa had a great run of four matches from April 28 to May 26 where he scored in all four matches which, in order, where against Ormeau, Runaway Bay, Helensvale and against Ormeau a second time.

    Noah Gafa also scored a hat trick against Burleigh in August against Burleigh and the match prior to that scored against Helensvale. Currumbin were the deserved Grand Final winners in the 2017 GCJRL U16 Division One competition, with Noah Gafa starting in the second row in their 34 – 4 Grand Final victory over Burleigh.

    In 2017 Noah Gafa was also a key member of the PBC Open Rugby League side that performed so will in the GIO Cup competition and in fact he scored in their tough Queensland GIO Cup semi-final loss to Marsden State High School 22 – 20.

    Earlier in 2017 season, Noah Gafa was selected in the Gold Coast Vikings Green U16 side for their South East Queensland U16 pre-season competition and in 2013 Noah Gafa was selected in the Queensland U12 side with fellow Titan Alofiana Khan-Periera.

    For a centre Noah Gafa is a big strong young man who does not rely just on his size and speed and using his natural running balance to either engage the opposing defenders and off load, run either an inside or outside shoulder route or an in and away to slow the forward momentum of the defender and accelerate on the outside.

    For a player of his size, Noah Gafa also has a very good passing game especially to his left side. When the ball is passed out to the back line, Noah Gafa is very good at straitening up the attacking vector of his team and pass to his outside supports if they have room to move further out wide.

    From a speed perspective has above average to plus speed for both his size and position and when he breaks into open space, he will not be caught from behind other than from only the quickest of opponents and he is also very good at positioning his support players when he gets to the fullback. The only possible question about Noah Gafa’s speed is whether it will stay at or near the plus category as he matures and inevitably fills out.

    Defensively Noah Gafa uses his size to good effect, he drives with his shoulder into his opponent and has very good timing in terms of when to come out of the line and certainly has the speed to readjust and chase if his timing is slightly off and his opposing centre gets on his outside.

    Other defenders key off Noah Gafa in terms of whether to use an up and in methodology and slide to the outside. Noah Gafa on an individual level has the body control to redirect quickly and mirror the movement of the opposing attackers and anticipate what vector the attack comes from and innately understands when to allow the attacking play to develop in from of him and when to come out of the line to disrupt the attacking play prior to its formation.

    Noah Gafa has two years of Colts eligibility starting in 2020 and without a doubt will be one of the first players selected for the Tweed Heads Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts squad.

    From a position perspective, Noah Gafa has played well in the centres in recent seasons including this season for Tweed Heads in the MM Cup competition and Burleigh where he has played left centre, but there is just something about the way that Noah Gafa plays that suggests that he will ultimately end up in the second row but not necessarily for a few years though.

    As a young player Noah Gafa seemingly has it all, size, strength, size and power and uses those attributes to his advantage on a football field. For me a current rugby league player with similar attributes and a similar playing style is Manly’s backrower Joel Thompson, as a big strong player who can transition between centre and second row.

    I think that just like Joel Thompson, Noah Gafa’s skill set will ultimately play better in the second row over the long term but that is definitely not set in stone by any stretch of the imagination that Noah Gafa needs to move from the centres, he has certainly provided that this season.

  7. #1162
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    Ben Liyou. (Revised) He is a young player from the Grafton Ghosts who last year signed a two year deal with the Titans which saw him move to the Gold Coast continue his rugby league career at the start of 2019.

    Ben Liyou is currently training with the Tweed Heads Seagulls and will be part of the Titans Rookie Squad that will play the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup side in early February.

    In early 2019 Ben Liyou started from the bench for the Titans U18’s in their match at Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights U18 SG Ball squad which ended five tries all.

    When he came on mid-way through the first half, Ben Liyou started on the left side of the field but moved over to the right side for the second half.

    Ben Liyou was more than solid defensively in the match, covering across field well and even though he was not the biggest forward on the field, he initial contact was more than impressive.

    With the ball Ben Liyou ran a couple of very good outside shoulder routes when he was operating on the right side of the field in the second half.

    Ben Liyou started in the unfamiliar front row position for the 2019 Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup side in their 58 – 18 Round One victory over the Western Mustangs.

    Ben Liyou’s first 2019 MM Cup try came in Round Three against Burleigh. Tweed Heads five eight Kade Hill put in a grubber kick for Ben Liyou to follow through and dive on to score under the posts with the ball very close to the dead ball line.

    In total in the 2019 MM Cup competition, Ben Liyou played in all nine of Tweed Heads matches starting all in the front row including their semi-final and Grand Final victory over Wynnum Manly and their U18 National Final victory against Illawarra 48 – 12 (no head gear in the National Final however that meant it took a minute for me to pick him out).

    Ben Liyou played thirty nine minutes in the National Final against Illawarra, running for ninety nine metres (forty post contact), played the ball at an average speed of 3.56 seconds and made a team leading nineteen tackles at a tackling efficiency of an impressive 95%.

    Ben Liyou made his Hastings Deering’s Colts debut in Round Eleven against the Northern Pride starting the match in the front row, playing significant minutes in Tweed Head’s 35 – 16 victory and also started in the front row in Round Twelve.

    Ben Liyou also started in the in the front row in Round Thirteen against the Sunshine Coast Falcons, scoring his first try when he ran hard and straight to crash over just to the left of the uprights after receiving the ball around nine metres out from the line.

    In total in the 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition, Ben Liyou played in twelve matches (in a row) including their Elimination Final loss to Mackay, starting all in the front row and as noted above scored in Round Thirteen against Sunshine Coast.

    Impressively Ben Liyou also spent some time training with the Titans NRL side in 2019 which clearly shows the high regard the Titans hold him in. At the 2019 Titans NRL Awards night Ben Liyou was awarded the inaugural Titans TEDS award.

    In late 2018 Ben Liyou was part of the Titans U18 side that won matches against PNG and New South Wales Country U18’s starting in the second row on both occasions and in those matches spent some time playing on the left side of the field instead of playing on the right where he played for the Grafton Ghosts and Northern Rivers earlier in 2018.

    Early in 2018 Ben Liyou was part of the North Coast U18 Laurie Daley Cup side starting in the second row in all four of their matches and scoring one try which came against Northern Rivers in Round Two.

    Ben Liyou was one of the North Coast’s standout players across the Championships constantly challenging the defensive line, normally operating on the right side of the field.

    Ben Liyou had been a Grafton Ghosts player throughout his entire career and that did not change in 2018. Ben Liyou started the season in the U18 Group two competition and at just 17 years old made his Tooheys New Group Two First Grade debut in Round Three against the Macksville Sea Eagles.

    Ben Liyou made his Group two First Grade debut playing left centre even though he has been playing in the second row exclusively over the last couple of seasons.

    Post his debut Ben Liyou made three additional Group Two First Grade appearances and in Round Ten in a big win against Macksville had a try assist late in the first half when he broke through the line and set up half Jake Frame for a try on the cusp of half time.

    In the 2018 U18 Group Two competition, Ben Liyou played in eight matches, scoring six tries and kicking two goals for a points tally on the season to date of 28. Ben Liyou scored a double in Round One against local rivals the South Grafton Rebels, also kicking his season’s two goals in the match. He also scored a double against the Rebels in a 33 – 12 Round Nine win.

    Ben Liyou’s other two tries came against Bellingen in Round Five and in Round Six against the league leaders and previously undefeated Coffs harbour side.

    In October 2017 Ben Liyou was also awarded the Aquinas Titans Sportsperson of the Year award at a gala dinner at the Southport Yacht Club showcasing the esteem that he is held in at the Titans.

    Ben Liyou played the 2017 season at the U16.5 level for the Ghosts as well as playing three matches at the U18 level for Grafton in the Group Two U18 competition. Ben Liyou also attended a Titans Elite Academy session that was held at Lennox Heads late in 2017, another Grafton Ghost in centre Jake Martin was also an attendee.

    Ben Liyou was also part of the East Coast Dolphins U16 side that performed well at the New South Wales Country Championships making the Championship final and as a result was selected for the U16 New South Wales Country side that played two matches in New Zealand as part of a South Island Tour. The NSW Country U16 side won both of their tour matches.

    Previously Ben Liyou has represented the Titans in a number of development squad matches including in 2014 when he came off the bench in a match against a Samoan side playing in the second row.

    With his try and two goals in a Grafton Ghosts 24-4 win over Ballina Ben Liyou finished the U16.5 regular season competition as the leading point’s scorer with 62 points from ten matches. Ben Liyou scored eight tries and kicked fifteen goals. From a try scoring perspective Ben Liyou scored doubles against Casino RSM in June and also against Ballina in July. Ben Liyou also started in the second row in Grafton’s two finals matches against Clarence Coast and the Grand Final against Casino RSM.

    As a 16 year old Ben Liyou also played three matches for the Grafton Ghosts U18 side in the Group Two competition, with his U18 debut coming in April against the Sawtell Panthers. His other two games were against Sawtell again in June and Coffs Harbour in July 2017.

    In the U16 New South Wales Country Championships Ben Liyou scored three tries in their way to the Final where the East Coast Dolphins U16 side lost in extra time to the Western Rams. In that Grand Final Ben Liyou started in the second row and another Titans linked youngster Kade Hill started at half. Ben Liyou scored a double in the East Coast Dolphins 44-0 semi-final win over the Bidgee Bulls and he also scored in Round One against the Central Coast.

    In 2016 Ben Liyou was the U15 Group One’s top try scorer with 18 tries from 12 matches to finish five tries clear of the next highest try scorer. Ben Liyou also started at lock for the Group One U15 representative side that had some good wins over the course of the New South Wales Country Age Championships. Ben Liyou has previous experience in a Titans jersey when he came off the bench in late 2015 in a U14 contest against Samoa.

    For the Ghosts in the U15 competition, Ben Liyou started off the season with a bang scoring seven tries in the first three rounds, including a four try haul against Kyogle and a double against Minor Premiers Clarence Coast. Over the course of the season, Ben Liyou scored five other doubles which came against Ballina on three separate occasions, Lismore Marist Brothers and Kyogle. In April Ben Liyou also played one match at the U16.5 age group against Kyogle backing up after playing in the U15’s earlier in the day.

    Ben Liyou is a tall rangy 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.

    Ben Liyou’s speed is quite good for his height and has the body shape to add additional muscle mass without compromising either his straight line speed or his mobility with or without the ball in his hands.

    In an U13 Titans development squad game against Samoa in late 2015 and considering he 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.

    The only issue for his defence 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. The technique that Ben Liyou showed in that game has only been developed and refined in the subsequent years.

    Ben Liyou will play the 2020 season in a Tweed Heads Seagulls jersey in the Hastings Deering’s Colts jersey and will also be Colts eligible in 2021. I know that it is a big call but I think that in 2020 Ben Liyou is also a realistic chance of playing in the Queensland Cup and I would think that he may also play in some of the Titans 2020 NRL trials as well such is the regard that he is held in by the Titans and the fact that he will likely spend the upcoming off season training with the Titans NRL squad.

    Ben Liyou’s Titans contact expires at the end of the 2020 season but I am sure that he will push for a new contract with his performances come the early rounds of the 2020 season with the Tweed Heads Seagulls in either the Queensland Cup or Hastings Deering’s Colts competitions.

    From a position perspective, as noted Ben Liyou played a significant amount of rugby league at five eight in his junior career, but I can really see him moving to the second row as a permanent one into the future.

    I note that Ben Liyou played the majority of the 2019 season in the front row but I think that his future definitely lies in the second row.

    From a player comparison perspective think along the lines of someone like South Sydney veteran John Sutton as a player who played a lot of their junior football at five eight before transitioning to the back row and developing into 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 as well as defending effectively.

    Make no mistake however Ben Liyou also has the ability to break the defensive line himself through hard running and just as importantly running the correct line including both an inside shoulder and outside shoulder line as was evidenced against the Newcastle Knights in January 2019.

    Ben Liyou also has outstanding leaderships and presents not just as a potential NRL game day captain one day but an NRL overall club or representative level captain as well.

  8. #1163
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    Caleb Hodges. (Revised) Caleb Hodges is currently training with the Titans Rookie Squad as well as training with the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup squad for the 2020 seasonand will be part of the Titans Rookie Squad that will play the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup side in early February.

    The centre who is contracted to the Titans until the end of 2021 is one of a number of Titans players who were outstanding for the highly successful 2019 Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup side.

    Caleb Hodges started at left centre for the 2019 Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup side’s Round One victory over the Western Mustangs 58 – 18 with Caleb Hodges scoring a first half try. Caleb Hodges ran fifty metres down the left touchline to score after receiving a great ball from five eight Toby Sexton and then was able to bring the ball around to near the posts.

    Caleb Hodges scored the winning try in the last minute in Round Three against Burleigh when he pouched on a great grubber kick by Tweed Heads five eight Kade Hill to score out wide to seal a great Seagulls comeback.

    Caleb Hodges also scored a late try in Round Four against the Central Queensland Capra’s when playing at left centre received a cut out lob pass from five eight Kade Hill to score out wide.

    Tweed Heads had to win well in their Round Six match against the Mackay Cutters which they did 72 – 0 with Caleb Hodges crossing once again. Playing left centre, Caleb Hodges ran a good line into a gap and was presented with a great pass from left second rower Brendan Paiakura.

    In the Tweed Heads Seagulls semi-final win against Souths Logan, Caleb Hodges once again crossed. After good inside work from Solomon Torrens Caleb Hodges took the ball on the left with little room to move, but after getting outside his direct opponent was able to streak down the left touchline to somehow get the ball down right in the left corner under heavy pressure.

    Caleb Hodges was also outstanding at left centre in Tweed Heads Grand Final victory over Wynnum Manly, as he was in the National U18 Grand Final against Illawarra when he added another try to his resume. For the try, Caleb Hodges flashed down the left touch line before cutting inside the Illawarra fullback to score out wide on the left of the field.

    Caleb Hodges played the entire seventy minutes in the National Final, running for ninety seven metres (twenty eight post contact) broke a tackle, played the ball at an average speed of 3.33 seconds and made fourteen tackles at a tackling efficiency of 61%.

    Caleb Hodges in 2019 was once again part of the PBC Open A rugby league side including starting at left centre in the Langer Cup derby against Keebra Park in June.

    Caleb Hodges also started at left centre for PBC in their Queensland GIO Cup quarter final win over St Mary’s High School Toowoomba 50 – 6 scoring an outstanding first half try in the match.

    From a set of six after a St Mary’s drop out (Caleb Hodges in fact made the tackle in the in goal to force the drop out) Caleb Hodges ran into a gap around forty metres out with his speed and power far too much for the St Mary’s fullback to handle.

    Caleb Hodges was a solid performer for PBC at left centre in their tough Gold Point loss in the Queensland GIO Cup semi-final loss to Marsden State High School.

    Caleb Hodges made his Hastings Deering’s Colts debut In Round Twenty Three against the Northern Pride starting at left centre and scoring in the 23rd minute of the match as Tweed Heads qualified for the finals on the back of a 36 – 10 win.

    Caleb Hodges ran a straight crash line from his left centre and smashed through one tackle before scoring around five metres from the left corner post. The straight crash line is one of the hardest one to run as it is anticipated that you are going to get hit hard, but Caleb Hodges proved his courage and strength to score on debut.

    Caleb Hodges played his second Hastings Deering’s Colts match for Tweed Heads Week One Elimination Final loss to the Mackay Cutters 23 – 10 starting at left centre.

    In early 2019 Caleb Hodges was part of the Titans U18’s in their match at Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights U18 SG Ball squad which ended five tries all.

    2019 also saw Caleb Hodges start at left centre for the Titans U18 side in their match against North Queensland that was played as the curtain raiser to the Titans/ Warriors NRL match in June.

    Also in 2019 Caleb Hodges was selected in the South Coast U18 side for the QSSRL U18 Championships after playing in the centres in the trials. Caleb Hodges primarily played left centre for South Coast in the U18 QSSRL Championships.

    South Coast went through the Championships undefeated including coming from behind to defeated Northern in the final 22 – 16. Caleb Hodges was subsequently named in the Queensland School boy’s side for the Australian School boy Championships.

    At the 2019 ASSRL U18 Championships, Caleb Hodges started all of Queensland matches on the left wing including the semi-final against New South Wales Combined Independent Schools when he scored a first half try highlighting his speed and evasive qualities.
    The former Group 18 (NSW) centre or winger had an outstanding 2018 season including starting on the wing for the PBC School Boy side that won the GIO Cup National Final against Patrician Brothers College Blacktown.

    Caleb Hodges also started from the bench for PBC in the Queensland GIO Cup Final against Kirwan State High School and also having a hand in the success of the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup side in the 2018 season.

    Caleb Hodges joined the Tweed Heads MM Cup squad and PBC in 2018 with an impressive pedigree including representing the U16 New South Wales Indigenous side in 2017 where he started in the second row and also representing Group 18 on numerous occasions in the junior age levels.

    Caleb Hodges played his club rugby league in the 2017 season for the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the U16 Group 18 competition, with a team mate being Jordan Tauali’i.

    For the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the MM Cup competition in 2018, Caleb Hodges played in four matches scoring for two tries. Caleb Hodges scored his first try in Round Six against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and also scored in Tweed Heads semi-final against Souths Logan.

    Caleb Hodges was named to start on the interchange bench in Round One but did not make the final 17 but came into the Tweed Heads side in Round Five against the Townsville Blackhawks and stayed in the side for the remainder of the season.

    Caleb Hodges started from the interchange bench in Rounds Five and Six and in the centres for Round Seven and the semi-final. Interesting Caleb Hodges was named to start at hooker in Round Six against Wynnum Manly but ended starting from the bench instead in that match.

    Caleb Hodges played his club rugby league on the Gold Coast with the Bilambil Jets and in 2018 played in three grades for the Northern New South Wales based club.

    In the U17 Division One competition, Caleb Hodges played in four matches for Bilambil scoring against Ormeau. Caleb Hodges also made two appearances in the GCRL U19 competition with those matches being against Burleigh and Currumbin.

    Caleb Hodges made his Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade debut in May of 2018 when he came on against Tugun.

    Caleb Hodges was a regular for the PBC Open side’s 2018 GIO Cup campaign starting from the bench in their Queensland GIO Cup final victory over Kirwan State High School and moved to the starting side on the left wing for the GIO Cup National Final against Patrician Brothers College Blacktown with PBC running out 20 – 12 winners to be crowned the 2018 GIO Cup National Champions.

    Caleb Hodges’s style of play is that of a powerful wide running centre or 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 to plus.

    Caleb Hodges is quite 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 which is a plus attribute for such a strong powerful second rower, making it almost impossible for the cover defence to catch him once he is open space.

    Couple those two aspects with a very good fend and you have a big strong powerful young player who can cause nightmares for any defensive line. Caleb Hodges seems to line up on the left side of the field more so than the right, but I have no doubt moving forward that he will be able to play on either side of the field, he seems to be just so skilful.

    For a player of his size, he runs with pace, strength and power every time he touches the ball during a game. For a young player, Caleb Hodges seems to have a good understanding of when to off load the ball, currently most of his off loads occur when he is part way through the defensive line and can get his right arm free to pass to his outside support runners.

    Caleb Hodges 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.

    Caleb Hodges’s 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.

    Defensively Caleb Hodges has a very good low tackling technique, he is by no means a big player but his defensive low tackling technique is very good, he can defend opposing centres one on one, and is one of the better low tacklers I have seen in junior rugby league. Tackling around the legs seems to have become a lost art, but when done right it is in my opinion it is still the most effective way of defending.

    Caleb Hodges signed a recent deal with the Titans that will keep him on the Gold Coast until the end of the 2021 season. Currently Caleb Hodges is training with the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup squad and whilst it is likely that he will start the 2020 season with the Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts squad, it is also likely that Caleb Hodges will make his Queensland Cup debut over the course of the 2020 season.

    Caleb Hodges is perfectly suited to the centres in rugby league and with his speed, elusiveness and positional sense.

    From an NRL player comparison perspective for Caleb Hodges think of someone along the lines of the Newcastle Knights and Queensland State of Origin centre Dane Gagai as a smooth moving centre who is elusive and difficult to defend against as a result.

    Caleb Hodges just seems to have a natural affinity for rugby league.

  9. #1164
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    Xavier Atoa. The outstanding centre or fullback (and on occasion five eight in representative sides) was near unstoppable as you can get earlier this season for the Titans U14 side in their big 32 – 8 victory over the Western Mustangs at Mudgeeraba.

    In the match played in extremely hot conditions, Xavier Atoa started at right centre and scored a hat trick including two outstanding long range tries, one in each half. For his first try, Xavier Atoa had moved to the right due to a scrum being packed near the left touch line. Xavier Atoa took a pass from the Titans five eight Hayden Miller after a scrum win and split the defence to score from about forty metres out in a scintillating effort.

    Xavier Atoa’s try in the second half long range try was one to behold, Xavier Atoa got the ball in space early, slid through the Western Mustangs left side defence about seventy metres away from the try line and then outpaced the defence to score a great try near the right corner post.

    Xavier Atoa’s other try was scored in the first half when he chased through a Titans attacking kick and received a great bounce to crash over from short range, he did have a bit of work to do after retrieving the ball and displayed his strength to score.

    Xavier Atoa’s second match in Titans colours came in October 2019 when he started at fullback for the Titans U14 side as they defeated a Titans NRRRL U14/15 Invitational side 32 – 10. Xavier Atoa played the first half at fullback before moving to left centre in the second half and was outstanding in both positions for the Titans.

    In mid-December was one of a few U14 players who were invited to train with the Titans NRL Squad in a Monday night session. At the session were all of the Titans contracted players from the juniors all of the way through to the NRL squad with a few invited U14 players (players cannot sign until their U15 year), such is the high regard that he is held in by the Titans that Xavier Atoa was on the invite list.

    Xavier Atoa started the 2019 season in outstanding fashion for the Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies and in Round Two was electric starting at fullback, scoring three tries and setting up three more as the Magpies accounted for Redcliffe 38 – 18.

    Xavier Atoa’s first try came mid-way through the first half, the ball was provided to him on the left side of the field, once he received it Xavier Atoa took off at the back peddling Redcliffe defensive line, impressively Xavier Atoa held the ball out in front of his body in both hands, thus the Redcliffe defence was uncertain as to his intentions. At the last moment Xavier Atoa charged between the back peddling Redcliffe right centre and winger to crash over out wide.

    Xavier Atoa’s second try came early in the second half, from a Souths scrum win 20 metres out, Xavier Atoa received the ball this time on the right in space and outpaced the Redcliffe cover defence to score a great try under heavy pressure in the right corner, right in front of the club house for people who know Brandon Park.

    Xavier Atoa’s third try was near a carbon copy of his first in terms of the fact that he received the ball in space on the left, once again holding the ball in two hands in front of his body. The only difference was that as Redcliffe defence back peddled and spread wide, Xavier Atoa was able to slice through to score untouched.

    As noted Xavier Atoa also had three try assists in the match. His first in the first half and his third and final try assist in the second half were mirror images of each other except for the fact that they were on opposite sides of the field, the first on the left and the third on the right.

    On each occasion, Xavier Atoa took the ball right to the line before throwing a beautiful cut out ball to his winger to score untouched. There are few NRL fullbacks who could have thrown those passes let alone one to each side of his body, the passes were simply absolute quality from a player born to play rugby league, you simply cannot teach that type of skill and timing.

    Xavier Atoa’s other try assist came down the right side of the field in the second half, the Souths centre (number 3) made a break before passing inside to Xavier Atoa who whilst in heavy traffic summed up the situation perfectly to get a great short ball away to the Magpies five eight to score under the posts.

    The situation seems simple when explained like that, but it happened right in front of where I was and I can tell you that nothing about the work of Xavier Atoa was simple, in a fraction of a second he had to evade the Redcliffe defence that were converging on his and get an great short ball away in his inside to his five eight.

    Xavier Atoa was also a stand out in Round Five of the GBJRL U14 Division One competition as Souths Acacia Ridge accounted for North Lakes 44 – 10 at Brandon Park. In the contest, Xavier Atoa who started at fullback scored a try (had a second disallowed for a forward pass right on full time), had three try assists and a great cover defending try saving tackle.

    Xavier Atoa’s try was a great individual effort, in the opening three minutes, Souths swung the ball out to their left to Xavier Atoa who ran with the ball in both hands, at the last moment he threw the dummy, splitting the North lakes defence before rounding the fullback to score under the posts.

    Two of Xavier Atoa’s try assists were essentially identical, like his try he received the ball on the left of the field, running with the ball out in front in both hands, but unlike his try, Xavier Atoa threw perfectly timed passes to his support runners putting them into gaps resulting in tries.

    Xavier Atoa’s other try assist was as a result of a great read. There was less than 10 seconds left in the first half and Souths had a backline set to their left. Instead Xavier Atoa called the ball down a VERY short blind, drew the defenders to send his left winger on a 50 metre run to the try line.

    As noted Xavier Atoa produced an outstanding try saving tackle as well, late in the first half, North Lakes made a break down the left touch line, but Xavier Atoa moved across to take the winger into touch with a great one on one low tackle. Xavier Atoa was also on hand early in the second half to prevent a Norths Lakes try when he got his body under one of the giant Norths Lakes front rowers who looked destined to score but ultimately held up.

    I have noted a couple of outstanding skill based attributes of Xavier Atoa above, but a piece of play early in the second half for me optimises the type of player that Xavier Atoa is. With his side under immense pressure early in the second half after conceding two early tries, Xavier Atoa jumped into dummy half with Souths trying to bring the ball off their own try line, he exploded out of dummy half to his left and then fought hard and won a penalty for Souths when he was interfered with when trying for a quick play the ball to relieve the pressure from the resultant kick for touch.

    Xavier Atoa was heavily involved in Souths Acacia Ridge’s U14 GBJRL Finals series including their Preliminary Final victory over Easts and started at fullback in the Grand Final against Carina scoring one of Souths Acacia Ridge’s tries as they defeated Carina 28 - 4.

    In September of 2019 Xavier Atoa was also part of the Stretton State College Year 7/8 side that won the National Touch Championship with a 10 – 4 win over Mercy College in the Championship Final.

    Xavier Atoa was also part of the Stretton College Year 8 mixed Oztag side that won the silver medal at the Oztag Schools Challenge Cup going down in the Final 4 – 2 to Miami State High School with Xavier Atoa named in the Queensland All Stars Merit Team and also MVP of the tournament.

    Xavier Atoa also represented the Brisbane Blue U14 side at the 2019 Hill Stumer Championships playing at right centre. Xavier Atoa did not get too many opportunities over the course of the competition but certainly made the most of them and when the ball was not coming out his way he certainly went inside looking for it including making good ground out of dummy half on a number of occasions, normally running to his left out of dummy half.

    After the completion of the competition, Xavier Atoa was selected in the South East Queensland U14 White squad for the Queensland U14 Age Championships.

    At the Championships Xavier Atoa started at five eight and made an immediate impact scoring in the first half of Game One on Day One against Northern and what a try it was. Xavier Atoa received the ball around forty metres out from his left after a SEQ White scrum win.

    After dumming to his right, Xavier Atoa accelerated through the resultant gap before producing an outstanding stutter step to easily beat the fullback and score under the posts. I do not believe that he was even touched over the course of the electric fifty metre try scoring effort.

    Xavier Atoa was also a standout performer for Stretton College in their run to win the Titans Challenge Grand Final 22 – 18 against Coombabah with Xavier Atoa named Player of the match and also captained the Stretton College side throughout the competition.

    Xavier Atoa also starred for Stretton College in their knock out victories to make the main draw of the Bronco’s Year Nine school boy competition, captaining Stretton College in that competition as well.

    In 2018 Xavier Atoa played for Souths Sunnybank in the GBJRL U13 Premier Division competition playing primarily at fullback and was also selected in the South East Queensland U13 Merit squad.

    In 2017 Xavier Atoa represented Met West at the Queensland U12 Rugby League Championships were he played in the centres for the representative side.

    The Stretton State College student is more than just a rugby league player however, representing Met West in touch in 2018 and also being a standout Oztag player, including being named in the All Schools Queensland U13 Oztag team and being named the Junior Male Oztag Player of the Year at the Brisbane awards late last year.

    Xavier Atoa has very good speed off the mark, which I would consider above average for a centre 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, Xavier Atoa usually is able to maintain his balance and keeps an arm free, looking to offload to either his inside or outside support.

    Xavier Atoa 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.
    Xavier Atoa also has a powerful fend which has served him well over recent seasons including for the Titans U14 side in their match earlier this season against the Western Mustangs. Xavier Atoa’s natural strength is just another impressive attribute in his burgeoning ****nal.

    A real positive for me is that Xavier Atoa can also run a good inside shoulder line due to the fact that he maintains his spacing in the back line and will quickly identify where his direct opponent is ling up to determine whether it is appropriate to run an inside or outside shoulder line or a “crash” line for that matter, he certainly has the courage to run that line regularly which not everybody has.

    As you would expect, due to his size and strength, Xavier Atoa is a very good defender regardless of position. He will not necessarily hit hard but is definitely aggressive and he is very good at mirroring the movement of the opposing centre and wrapping him up ball and all.

    Xavier Atoa 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, Xavier Atoa seems to be very comfortable in a sliding defensive scheme where he can use his speed and body control to their best advantage in though he can be an intimidating presence when he chooses to come out of the line to interrupt the attacking movement immediately prior to its development.

    When playing at fullback, Xavier Atoa’s first movement when he break has been made is to move forward to cut down the time the attacker has to make a decision. Then in a sign of his maturity, Xavier Atoa slows down and sets himself for the tackle and holds his palms together in front of his body to ensure he is properly balanced prior to committing to the tackle.

    Xavier Atoa played the 2019 season with Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies after moving from Sunnybank in the GBJRL U4 Division One competition and is set for a huge year in 2020 including playing for Souths Acacia Ridge in the GBJRL U15 Division One competition as well as playing in the plethora of U15 school bot rugby league competitions from Stretton College and from there in representative school boy sides starting with the Met West U15 school boy representative side.

    Xavier Atoa played fullback in 2019 season for the Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies, but was simply outstanding for the Titans U14’s earlier this year in the centres and ultimately however I believe that in the end Xavier Atoa will become not just an NRL calibre fullback but a representative level one (including International level) as well in future years.

    For completeness I note that Xavier Atoa played five eight for South East Queensland White in the ASSRL U15 Championships this season.

    In saying that I can absolutely understand why Xavier Atoa is playing in the centres in some matches as he can dictate the play when he receives the ball early and can either run or set up his outside support.

    In Round Two of the GBJRL U14 Division One he scored and set up tries on both sides of the field, highlighting just what a ridiculously talented player he is.

    Certainly the Souths Acacia Ridge GBJRL U14 Division One side understandably put a lot of faith in Xavier Atoa in terms of setting up their play. From what saw in 2019 Souths Acacia Ridge work towards one side of the field in their first four tackles before spinning the ball to the other side of the field with Xavier Atoa sitting two passes off the ruck. From there Xavier Atoa has the licence to run the ball himself or look to set up his outside supporters. He does both with a high degree of skill and composure.

    From an NRL player comparison perspective, Xavier Atoa has similar traits to Souths Sydney Rabbitohs, New South Wales State of Origin and Australian International star centre Latrell Mitchell.

    Like Mitchell, Xavier Atoa is a strong powerful young centre or fullback (I note that Latrell Mitchell came into the NRL at fullback before transitioning to a representative level centre) who will not be beaten in a one on one contest in attack or defence but will out point his direct opponent far more often than not.

    Xavier Atoa is just a powerful young man now just learning how to translate and direct that natural strength and power consistently on a rugby league field.

    Xavier Atoa is already an outstanding rugby league player and it is scary to think that he has not even started to scratch the surface his of his outstanding potential. Xavier Atoa is a star in the making, of that there is no doubt.

    It may sound a touch odd but if/when Xavier Atoa graduates to the NRL in four or five years’ time (yes, I am that confident) I think that initially he breaks into the Titans NRL side (Hey I can dream) I think that Xavier Atoa initially breaks in as a centre.

    Once he has found his feet there, and that will not take long, I believe that Xavier Atoa will move to fullback where he will be one of his sides chief play makers and without doubt one of their most dangerous ball runners.

    Whilst Xavier Atoa is an outstanding athlete in general he is an even better rugby league player

  10. #1165
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    Does Erin Clarke have the potential to play Hooker for a few years until someone like Eddie comes through at all or who is a young hooker you would look at to replace Peats ?
    #TitansThruNThru #WeAreReady

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bayside Titan View Post
    Does Erin Clarke have the potential to play Hooker for a few years until someone like Eddie comes through at all or who is a young hooker you would look at to replace Peats ?
    I don’t know a lot about Erin, but have seen a bit of Ediq (I assume that’s who you mean) and Jed Edwards.
    Look they are talented kids. Ediq especially has taken every opportunity and made a fist of it. Was the back up hooker at PBC and Seagulls Mal Meninga until Jed broke his arm, but played well enough to own the spot and get higher honours!
    Are they NRL standard, no not yet. But with a preseason or two, and a bit of development I think they both have an opportunity
    To be great.
    Ediq is probably at least a couple of seasons away (he will play Mal Meninga again this year then probably move to HDC and possibly Q Cup)
    Jed will play HDC and if an opportunity comes up Q Cup.
    Also in the mix, although I don’t know his contract status with the Titans is Cole Geyer. Tough, sharp, smart and from a great RugbyLeague family. Will play for Burleigh HDC and possibly get a crack in Q Cup.
    So yes we have some great talent in our junior hooking ranks. But they will take time.
    Also a few younger boys like Kaden Somerville, and even Bailey Martin that show promise.
    Hope that helps

  12. #1167
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    Great summation mate, I would also add U18’s Oskar Bryant and Caleb Gould-Waiakiri in there as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by ja4220 View Post
    I don’t know a lot about Erin, but have seen a bit of Ediq (I assume that’s who you mean) and Jed Edwards.
    Look they are talented kids. Ediq especially has taken every opportunity and made a fist of it. Was the back up hooker at PBC and Seagulls Mal Meninga until Jed broke his arm, but played well enough to own the spot and get higher honours!
    Are they NRL standard, no not yet. But with a preseason or two, and a bit of development I think they both have an opportunity
    To be great.
    Ediq is probably at least a couple of seasons away (he will play Mal Meninga again this year then probably move to HDC and possibly Q Cup)
    Jed will play HDC and if an opportunity comes up Q Cup.
    Also in the mix, although I don’t know his contract status with the Titans is Cole Geyer. Tough, sharp, smart and from a great RugbyLeague family. Will play for Burleigh HDC and possibly get a crack in Q Cup.
    So yes we have some great talent in our junior hooking ranks. But they will take time.
    Also a few younger boys like Kaden Somerville, and even Bailey Martin that show promise.
    Hope that helps

  13. #1168
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    Lewis Cooper. (Revised) He is a young front rower who moved with his older brother and former Titans junior development squad member Austin “Aussie” Cooper to the Sawtell Panthers from the South Grafton Rebels in the Tooheys New Group Two competition in Northern New South Wales for the 2018 season but after spending time training with the Canterbury Bulldogs Jersey Flegg side in the offseason, including playing in the opening trials found himself back in the Group Two competition playing for the South Grafton Rebels.

    Prior to returning to the New South Wales North Coast, Lewis Cooper played a number of matches for the Moorebank Rams (a Bulldogs feeder club) in the Sydney Shield competition. Lewis Cooper played in the opening four rounds of the Sydney Shield competition starting from the bench in the opening three rounds before starting in the front row in his final match which was against the Asquith Magpies.

    Upon his return from Sydney Lewis Cooper played eight Group Two First Grade matches for the Rebels scoring tries against the Grafton Ghosts, Macksville (when he converted his own try) and Sawtell.

    Lewis Cooper who played a number of U14 matches for the Titans junior development squads was named in the North Coast Dolphins 2018 U18 side starting in the front row (wearing the No. 17 jersey) for Round One of the Laurie Daley Cup competition against the Sydney Roosters aligned Central Coast Centurions being Round Two after having a Round One bye. Lewis Cooper also started in the front row in Round Three against Northern Rivers in Coffs Harbour a match that North Coast won 36 – 6 over their fierce local rivals.

    Lewis Cooper scored a double for the North Coast U18 side in their 40 – 20 win in Round Two against Central Coast, the first try coming inside the first two minutes and the second coming in the 54th minute. In fact Lewis Cooper could have had two more tries but was brought down inches short of the try line directly under the posts in the second half twice just prior to his second try.

    Lewis Cooper did not impact the score board in Round Three against Northern Rivers like he did in Round Two but still had a couple of highlights, including a great right arm off load in the eight minute when he shook off a defender who went to tackling him around the chest, a huge collision with Titans linked Northern Rivers front rower Jordan Tauali’i which shook the entire ground and in the second half made a run of about 20 metres where after smashing through the Northern Rivers defensive line dragged a number of defenders with him as a result of sheer strength and power and the ability to keep his legs pumping even under extreme duress.

    A team mate in the North Coast side is Titans contracted standout second rower Ben Liyou. Lewis Cooper also represented the East Coast Dolphins at the U16 level in 2016 and was named in the U18 East Coast Dolphins 2017 squad but did not play any matches that season.

    For the Sawtell Panthers in the 2018 Toohey’s Group Two competition Lewis Cooper played matches in all three grades.

    In ten regular season Group Two U18 matches, Lewis Cooper finished as the equal leading try scorer with ten tries from nine games in the regular season and he was only kept from scoring in two of those matches. Lewis Cooper scored doubles against the Grafton Ghosts, South Grafton Rebels and Bellingen. Lewis Cooper’s other tries came against Macksville in two separate matches, Coffs Harbour and Grafton.

    Lewis Cooper and his U18 Sawtell Panthers were defeated in the Group Two Grand Final 16 – 12 against Macksville.

    Lewis Cooper also played one Group Two Reserve Grade regular season match this season scoring a double in that match against South Grafton in May.

    Lewis Cooper made his Group Two First Grade debut for Sawtell in in April of this year against his former club the Grafton Ghosts (Lewis Cooper played eight First Grade matches for Grafton in 2017) scoring against his former team mates. Lewis Cooper also scored a late season double against Grafton, clearly Lewis Cooper thrived on playing against his former team mates. Lewis Cooper’s other 2018 Group Two First Grade try came against Nambucca heads in Round Two.

    In total in the 2018 Group Two First Grade regular season, Lewis Cooper played in seven regular season matches scoring the above mentioned four tries.

    Lewis Cooper played the 2017 season with the South Grafton Rebels playing in both the first Grade and U18 competitions and was a key contributor to the success of both sides.

    In the U18 Durbridge Family Trophy competition in 2017, Lewis Cooper scored five tries from as many matches including doubles against Coffs Harbour and Sawtell and in the Group Two Tooheys New Shield Lewis Copper scored a single try from eight matches with the try coming against Orara Valley in early July.

    Lewis Cooper played the 2016 season in the Group One U16.5 competition, playing in nine matches and averaging just under two tries a match to pace the competition from a try scoring perspective. Only in the final game of the season was an opposition side able to keep him try less, that opponent being Casino RSM.

    Lewis Cooper scored four tries in a match against Kyogle in August and he also crossed for a hat trick against Marist Brothers in May 2016. Lewis Cooper also crossed for four doubles being against Kyogle, Clarence Coast, Ballina and Casino RSM.

    Lewis Cooper also played rugby in 2016, including making the Mid North Coast Axemen representative side and from there he was selected in the New South Wales Country Cockatoos U16 side. In rugby he played both centre and No. 8 and apparently even played some fullback as well.

    In 2016 Lewis Cooper was also selected in the New South Wales Combined High School’s Open Schoolboy rugby side that toured South Africa for the St John’s College Annual Easter Rugby Festival, a great achievement considering that he missed the trials with injury.

    On the 2016 South African tour Lewis Cooper played in all four of NSW CHS’s matches, starting the first two from the interchange and coming into the starting line-up for the final two matches, including playing against South African side Paarl Boys High who have not lost a match in four years that includes matches against the top New Zealand School Boy sides.

    From his four matches on the South African tour, Lewis Cooper was named Man of the Match in two and was also named as the NSW CHS Best Back of the tour, an impressive feat as a 16 year old.

    In short Lewis Cooper is a big strong young man with surprising speed for his size both in terms of the initial burst and extended straight line speed. When he runs the ball, and I will mainly refer to play in the forwards as that is where I think that he ultimately ends up, Lewis Cooper is like a wrecking ball, he has a strong upper body which allows him to shrug off tacklers who look to go high and whilst he does not use a great deal of foot work prior to the line has shown enough to suggest that this will be able to be incorporated into his game as he progresses.

    Both of Lewis Cooper’s two tries in Round Two of the Laurie Daley Cup highlighted the strength and power discussed above. On both occasions he took the ball from around ten metres out and just charged through a set defensive to score. In fact Lewis Cooper’s first three runs were all outstanding. His first try scoring run was his first run of the game, his second came from the third hit-up from the kick off from his try and his third was in the next set of six that North Coast had.

    In terms of his speed, once Lewis Cooper gets past the initial contact, he really move and his speed would be considered as plus for a front rower of his size and to be fair it is also at the above average for a centre.

    Defensively defence Lewis Cooper 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 averse 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 Lewis Cooper is more effective in the centre of the ruck, but he has the speed and lateral mobility to defend wider out as well.

    The 2020 season will be an interesting one for Lewis Cooper as he is no longer U20 eligible, post the season. If he stays in Grafton Lewis Cooper is a certainty to play a key role for the South Grafton First Grade side, if he chooses to try his luck in the Queensland Cup with either Tweed Heads or Burleigh it is hard to see that he would not make an impact with his combination of size, strength speed and mobility.

    From an ultimate position perspective, due to his combination of size and speed playing in the front row seems the most plausible position projection for Lewis Cooper.

    The power and intensity of Newcastle Knights, New South Wales State of Origin and Australian International forward David Klemmer is mirrored by Lewis Cooper he is just an intimidating presence on a football field and a young player who will only to continue to get better and better as he gains more experience there is certainly a lot of raw ability and untapped potential to work with.

    If Lewis Cooper can continue to work on his endurance, functional strength and mobility he really does have an extraordinary set of skills both from a physical perspective as well as a rugby league skill attribute perspective.

    Obviously luck is also involved as well, his brother Austin had a similar skill set but unfortunately multiple knee and ankle injuries severely affected his development although he is now fit and performing very well in the Group Two First Grade competition.
    Last edited by mdrew; 31-01-20 at 08:55 PM.

  14. #1169
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    Ji Van Heerwaarden. The big strong young second rower originally from the Glenn Innes Magpies club in the New England Group 19 competition moved up to the Gold Coast for the 2018 season linking with the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the 2018 MM Cup competition.

    In 2019 Ji Van Heerwaarden played primarily for the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the Hastings Deering’s Colt competition, playing in nineteen consecutive matches including their Elimination Final loss to the Mackay Cutters after coming into the side in Round Three against Burleigh.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden as noted above started from the bench in Round Three and moved into the starting side in the front row in Round Five against Wynnum Manly. Ji Van Heerwaarden maintained his starting spot through to Rounds Twenty Two and Twenty Three against Easts and Souths Logan respectively when he started from the bench.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden’s sole 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts try came in Round Sixteen against Wynnum Manly.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden also played one match for Currumbin in the GCRL U20 competition including starting from the bench and scoring a double in Round Seventeen against Southport. Both tries were a result of sheer will power, Ji Van Heerwaarden charged at the line and just wanted to score more than the defence wanted to stop him.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden made in GCRL First Grade debut in May against Bilambil coming off the bench on that occasion.

    In 2018 Ji Van Heerwaarden only played in one MM Cup match last season being in Round One against Norths when he started in the front row.

    In the Gold Coast Rugby League competition he played for the Currumbin Eagles and went his first thirteen U19 matches without scoring in the regular season but chose the perfect time to score when he scored a double in Currumbin’s 34 – 20 Grand Final victory over Southport after starting the match in the front row.

    In 2018 Ji Van Heerwaarden also made his Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade debut coming off the interchange bench for Currumbin and Round Fifteen against Ormeau. He also came off the bench in Round Sixteen against Tugun.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden played the 2017 season in the Group 19 U18 competition where he was one of the standout players. Across the ten matches that he played for Glenn Innes in the U18 competition, Ji Van Heerwaarden scored nine tries including a great end to the season when he scored four tries in his final three matches including a double in Glenn Innes’s final loss.

    In the final two rounds of the regular season U18 competition, Ji Van Heerwaarden also scored against the Moree Boomerangs and the Inverell Hawks. Earlier in the season, Ji Van Heerwaarden scored a double against the Moree Boars and also scored in the first two rounds against the Tingha Tigers and Armidale Rans respectively. In June of 2017 Ji Van Heerwaarden made his Group 19 First Grade debut when he started against the Moree Boars after playing in the U18 clash earlier in the day.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden 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.

    Where Ji Van Heerwaarden’s game has really developed over the last couple of seasons his ability to play wider of the ruck, which is where he is primarily playing for the U18 Glenn Innes side this season. With his size and strength wider of the ruck Ji Van Heerwaarden attracts defenders and thus is in a position to use his ball skills to set up his outside supports early in a match.

    When defences start to try to anticipate that Ji Van Heerwaarden is going to pass then he can use his size and power to cash through the defensive lien as no defender is going to be able to handle him one on one by themselves.

    In defence Ji Van Heerwaarden uses his size and strength to make very solid initial contact and certainly can take on all opposing forwards one on one. Ji Van Heerwaarden 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.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden is Hastings Deering’s Colts eligible once again to 2020 where I would expect that once again he will be a key member of the Tweed Heads side. Based on his maturity and hard work I would also anticipate that in 2020 Ji Van Heerwaarden will also add to the one GCRL First Grade match that he played this year. Ji Van Heerwaarden is training with the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup side over the current off season thus it is certainly conceivable that he is also in the mix to break into the Seagulls Queensland Cup side over the course of the 2020 season.

    Ji Van Heerwaarden has a bit of height to go along with some more than decent speed for a forward and I would anticipate that whilst he will also spend some time in the from row, Ji Van Heerwaarden is for the short to medium term at least, is best suited to staying in the second row.

    A current NRL player with a similar playing style for me is Newcastle Knights rookie second rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon. Like Fitzgibbon Ji Van Heerwaarden shapes as a talented young second rower who just needs the right opportunity to highlight his interesting skill set.
    Last edited by mdrew; 31-01-20 at 08:57 PM.

  15. #1170
    Kangaroo
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    7,279

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    Josh Wilkinson. After a number of seasons with the Canterbury Bulldogs junior representative sides Josh Wilkinson has moved up to the Gold Coast to be part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup squad in 2020.

    In 2019 Josh Wilkinson was part of the Bulldogs U20 Jersey Flegg squad and also played a number of matches in the Ron Massey Shield for the Moorebank Rams.

    In the 2019 Jersey Flegg competition, Josh Wilkinson played in four matches for the Bulldogs after coming into the side in Round Four against Norths Sydney when he scored a double after starting on the wing. Josh Wilkinson also started on the wing in Round Five before starting in the centres in his other two matches with his first start in the centres coming in Round Twelve against the Canberra Raiders.

    In the 2019 Sydney Shield competition, Josh Wilkinson played in six matches for the Moorebank Rams starting all of them in the centres. Josh Wilkinson scored four tries in his six matches including a Round eight doubles against Asquith Magpies and tries in Round Two against Sydney University and Round Seven against the Owls.

    In 2018 Josh Wilkinson, in addition to playing a number of matches for the Bulldogs U20 Jersey Flagg Squad also played for the Moorebank Rams in the Sydney Shield competition. The Sydney Shield is the fourth tier of men’s rugby league in the Sydney Metropolitan area.

    In 2018 Josh Wilkinson made his Jersey Flegg debut in Round Twenty One when he started at half back against St George and also started at half back in Round Twenty Two against Manly.

    In the 2018 Sydney Shield competition, Josh Wilkinson played in eleven matches for the Moorebank Rams coming into the Rams side in Round Four against the Owls starting the matches at fullback. Josh Wilkinson started eight of his eleven matches at fullback and his other three matches in the centres with his first match there in Round Nineteen against the Western Suburbs Magpies. Josh Wilkinson also started in the centres in both of the Rams Finals matches which were against the Saints and EC Eagles.

    In his eleven 2018 Sydney Shield matches Josh Wilkinson recorded a strike rate of 63.64%. Josh Wilkinson scored his first Sydney Shield tries in Round Nine against Blacktown when he recorded a double and also scored 2018 regular season tries in Rounds Fifteen, Sixteen and Twenty against the Owls, Brothers and Blacktown respectively. Josh Wilkinson also scored in both of Moorebank’s finals matches.

    In 2017 Josh Wilkinson moved down to Sydney and played in one and only U18 SG Ball match of the 2017 season in Round Three when he started at fullback against the Western Suburbs Magpies.

    The young fullback was a stand out for Brothers in the U18 Rockhampton junior rugby league competition as well as for the Central Queensland Capra’s Mal Meninga Cup side in 2016. Whilst playing for Brothers White in the 2016 U18 competition, Josh Wilkinson scored nine tries in just five matches, including a hat trick against Yeppoon and doubles against North’s and Yeppoon again. In fact no team was able to keep him from crossing the try line for Rockhampton Brothers White.

    For the Capra’s in the 2016 MM Cup competition, Josh Wilkinson came into the side in Round Three at fullback and had an immediate impact scoring four tries on debut against the Northern Pride and followed that performance up the following match against the Townsville Blackhawks with a double. Josh Wilkinson played the remainder of the season at fullback including the quarter final against the North’s Devils.

    When he runs the ball, Josh Wilkinson is exceptionally quick and explosive, with exceptional speed, both off the mark and when he gets into open space, teams in his age group in the Rockhampton U18 competition just could not handle him when he had the ball in his hands. Josh Wilkinson also can step off both feet exceptionally well and also has a great swerve whilst maintaining top speed.

    On occasions when he made a break, his support could not keep up and thus he used his incredible footwork and speed to beat the opposing fullback by himself. There is nothing that he cannot do running the ball and it is only now about developing his ball playing skills, which to be fair improved exponentially as this season has progressed to make his footwork and running ability even more lethal.

    In addition Josh Wilkinson also has the ball playing skills to set up his support runners and get them lines to run into when defenders came out of the line to negate his time with the ball in hand. 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 with his speed and evasion skills.

    Defensively in the fullback position he does not make a huge amount of tackles but the ones he makes are the ones that need to be made. If an attacker runs directly at him, Josh Wilkinson
    will come forward to cut down the time the attacker has to make a decision and he will hit very hard and does not fall for a dummy in those situations.

    An impressive attribute that Josh Wilkinson does have is ability to force attackers who are in open space to try to beat him down the side line. He will stay inside the attacker and force him in the required direction and then use his timing, closing speed and anticipation to make the tackle, usually forcing the attacker into touch.

    As noted above Josh Wilkinson will be pushing for a spot in the Tweed Heads Seagulls Queensland Cup side when the 2020 season kicks off.

    From a position perspective, Josh Wilkinson is the ideal fullback for the modern game, with game breaking ability when returning the ball and when hunting for off loads through the middle of the field. Also his ball playing ability has increased exponentially as this season has progressed, and there is no reason to suggest that this trend will not continue.

    Whilst he grew up playing fullback in Central Queensland Josh Wilkinson spent a fair portion of the last couple of seasons at the Bulldogs playing in the centres however and certainly made a good fist of the position.

    In relation to a player that you can compare Josh Wilkinson’s skill set and playing style to, you need to look no further than former Titans and current Manly fullback/centre/winger Brendan Elliott.


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