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  1. #1771
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    Vaka Sikahele. The dynamic young New Zealand born hooker has signed with the Titans JTS program and headed over to Australia to be part of the Burleigh Bears 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts squad after an outstanding career in New Zealand including representative honours as well as an outstanding school boy career with St Pauls College and prior to that Wesley College.

    Vaka Sikahele is undertaking the 2021/22 pre-season with the Titans NRL squad as a member of the Titans Rookie Squad looking to impress Justin Holbrook and the other NRL coaches after signing a new two year contract with the Titans in late October 2021 that will keep Vaka Sikahele in Titans colours until the end of the 2023 season. In fact in the 2023 season Vaka Sikahele will be on a Titans NRL Development contract and will train full time with the Titans NRL Top 30 squad.

    Unfortunately for Vaka Sikahele he suffered a serious achilles injury whilst training with the Titans NRL squad during their 2021 Pre-Christmas block of off-season training which will keep him out for an extended period of time in the 2022 season.

    When he returns from injury Vaka Sikahele will get back onto the field with the 2022 Burleigh Bears Hastings Deering’s Colts squad after playing for the Bears Colts side in 2021 as well.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Vaka Sikahele starting the match at hooker in his first match in a Titans jersey.

    After being injured in a 2021 pre-season training mishap, Vaka Sikahele was named on the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts extended bench for the Round Two local derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls but moved onto the bench late in the week and celebrated by scoring in his Hastings Deering’s Colts debut.

    Vaka Sikahele scored one of the stranger tries that you will see from a run out of dummy half in the 54th minute. After Burleigh had kicked off after a Tweed Heads try, the ball hit the right goal post on the full bouncing back into the field. Tristian Powell was able to retrieve the ball on the bounce and get to within eleven metres of the line. Vaka Sikahele got into dummy half and ran to his left with the Tweed Heads defence in disarray to dive over between two defender’s mid-way between the goal posts and corner post on the left side of the field.

    Vaka Sikahele came onto the field late in the first half, with his first run out of dummy half coming just a few minutes later in the 34th minute when ran to his left, breaking the Seagulls line and making twenty metres, beating four defenders along the way to get the ball to within forty metres of the try line.

    In addition to some impressive runs and distribution out of dummy half Vaka Sikahele was also good defensively including in the 44th when he along with Isaac Matalavea-Booth hit and stopped Seagulls front rower Ben Liyou just centre metres out.

    Vaka Sikahele also started from the bench in Round Three against the Western Mustangs coming into the match in the dummy half role towards the end of the first half. Vaka Sikahele was in the action almost immediately running out of dummy half to his right down a blindside and took the ball ten metres to the line before passing to his right to Cole Geyer who then quickly got the ball out to his right for Ronin Rio to dive over in the right corner.

    After missing Round Four due to playing for the Titans U19 side, Vaka Sikahele started Round Five against the Northern Pride from the bench.

    Vaka Sikahele was on the bench once again in Round Six against the Townsville Blackhawks, coming into the match towards the end of the first half in a running forward role before spending time at dummy half in the second half. Vaka Sikahele made the most of both of the roles that he played in the match and in the 51st minute, whilst playing as a running forward made thirteen metres, the majority post contact, to get the ball to the halfway mark.

    Vaka Sikahele was back in the starting side at hooker in Round Seven against the Central Queensland Capra’s before starting from the bench in Round Eight against the Redcliffe Dolphins and in Round Nine against the Mackay Cutters.

    Vaka Sikahele also started at hooker in the Round Eleven local derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls and scored a double with his tries coming in the 16th and 55th minutes. In the 16th minute Vaka Sikahele moved into dummy half seven metres from the line and then darted to his right before stepping back to his left to beat the Seagulls marker before crashing through two more defenders who had stationed themselves on the try line.

    Vaka Sikahele scored his second try in the 59th minute when once again he darted out of dummy half to his right, on this occasion from 32 metres out. After getting around the markers Vaka Sikahele cut back to his left to the area behind the play the ball and then was easily outpace the Seagulls defence to score under the post.

    Vaka Sikahele was also named to start at hooker in the previously postponed Round Ten match against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

    After a Covid 19 enforced hiatus, Vaka Sikahele was named to start at hooker in Round Sixteen against the Ipswich Jets.

    At the conclusion of the 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts season Vaka Sikahele received the Coaches Award for the 2021 Burleigh Bears Hastings Deering’s Colts side.

    At the 2021 Queensland Rugby League Awards Night Vaka Sikahele finished with three votes for the Hastings Deering’s Colts Player of the Season Award.

    Vaka Sikahele started off the 2020 season as part of the New Zealand Warriors U18 SG Ball squad, playing four matches all off the bench before the SG Ball season was terminated due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Vaka Sikahele started from the bench in Round One against the Victorian Thunderbolts, playing thirty two minutes. In that time Vaka Sikahele ran for seventy two metres (twelve post contact), made a line break, broke four tackles and made fourteen tackles at a tackling efficiency of 93.33%.

    Vaka Sikahele also started from the bench in Round Two against the Canberra Raiders and was on the field for thirty three minutes, running for thirty metres (thirteen post contact), broke a tackle and made eleven tackles at a tackling efficiency of 84.62%.

    After missing a number of rounds, Vaka Sikahele was back on the bench in Round Five against the Parramatta Eels but was on the field for just nine minutes, running for sixteen metres (three post contact) and had a 100% tackling efficiency whilst making four tackles.

    In Round Six being the final round prior to the competition shut down, Vaka Sikahele started from the bench against the Illawarra Steelers, playing a total of twenty three minutes. In his twenty three minutes on the field, Vaka Sikahele ran for twelve metres (six post contact), broke a tackle and made sixteen tackles of his own at a 100% tackling efficiency.

    In total in the 2020 U18 SG Ball competition for the Warriors, Vaka Sikahele played a total of ninety seven minutes, made a line break, broke six tackles, ran for 130 metres (thirty four post contact) and made forty five tackles at a tackling efficiency of 93.75%.

    In late 2020 Vaka Sikahele started at hooker for the Auckland U18 representative side against their Southern Zone counterparts and after that match was named as the 2020 New Zealand Schools U18 captain however Vaka Sikahele ended up starting the match against the New Zealand U18 side from the bench. When he came into the match Vaka Sikahele operated in the dummy half role.

    Also late in 2020 Vaka Sikahele played for the New Zealand Warriors U18 side that played a New Zealand Rugby League Development U18 side, with Vaka Sikahele scoring early in the fourth corner under the posts as the Warriors U18 side defeated their New Zealand Rugby League counter parts 42 – 16.

    In Auckland Vaka Sikahele played for the powerful Manurewa Rugby League Club.

    To round out a busy 2020, Vaka Sikahele played school boy rugby league for the St Paul’s College First XIII in the SAS College school boy competition for the second year in a row. Unfortunately like the majority of competitions that competition was cut short with no finals being played.

    St Pauls College however did play a round of rounds of the SAS College First XIII Premier Division school boy rugby league competition with some of their 2020 performances coming in wins against Kelston Boys High 6 – 0, Southern Cross Campus 42 – 4, Papatoetoe High School 26 – 4 and a 30 – 10 win against Manurewa High School.

    To cap off an outstanding 2020, Vaka Sikahele was named the 2020 St Pauls College Sportsman of the Year.

    In 2019 in the school boy rugby league SAS College competition, Vaka Sikahele was part of the Grand Final winning St Paul’s College side scoring in the Grand Final and was in fact named Player of the Match in St Pauls victory as St Pauls College defeated Southern Cross Campus 28 - 6.

    Vaka Sikahele was named at hooker in the 2019 SAS College Premier First XIII Team of the Year.

    In 2019 Vaka Sikahele represented the Auckland School Boys representative side against a New Zealand Warriors U18 selection, scoring a bustling thirty metre try bumping off a number of defenders on the way to the line with the Auckland School Boys winning the match 18 – 10.

    2019 also saw Vaka Sikahele represented the New Zealand U18 side, starting at hooker and scoring as New Zealand defeated Tao Samoa U18’s 30 – 18.

    Late in the 2019 season Vaka Sikahele was named the 2019 New Zealand Warriors Academy Excellence Award winner.

    Vaka Sikahele played his club rugby league in 2019 for the Manurewa rugby league club in the U17/18 Open Auckland rugby league competition, playing in eleven matches, scoring sixty eight points from fifteen tries (136% strike rate) and four conversions.

    Prior to moving to St Pauls College in 2019, Vaka Sikahele attended Wesley College and represented Wesley College at the 2018 New Zealand Secondary Schools Rugby League Tournament, including scoring a hat trick against Whangarei Boys High.

    In 2018 for the Manurewa Chiefs in the Auckland Rugby League U16 Open competition, Vaka Sikahele played in twelve matches scoring four tries. In 2017 in the Auckland Rugby League U15 competition Vaka Sikahele finished the season with ten tries from fourteen matches for the Chiefs.

    Also in 2018 Vaka Sikahele was part of the Tonga U16 side that won the U16 Pasifika Youth Cup Final against Samoa 28 – 10.

    From an attacking stand point, Vaka Sikahele has solid distribution skills in relation to his passing skills to either side of his body and uses a solid, repeatable passing technique to ensure consistency, thus enabling his forwards and play makers have confidence that his passes will find the mark with the appropriate velocity attached on every occasion.

    From a speed perspective I would consider that his speed when running out of dummy half is above average for a hooker but plays faster as he has become adept at running at the right time and focusses heavily when the markers are out of position, thus Vaka Sikahele either makes ground putting his team on the front foot or draws a penalty, in both scenario’s he generates momentum for his side through the skill and intelligence he has.

    The impressive thing about when Vaka Sikahele runs out of dummy half is the fact that he does not run to the same side all of the time, he will make a judgement on where the defence is the weakest and respond accordingly as was evidence in Round Nine of the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition this season when he scored tries by running on both sides of the ruck.

    From a defensive perspective Vaka Sikahele is a very solid tackler who makes good initial contact and is able to generate momentum through his core and drive into his opponent with enough force to redirect the momentum of the ball carrier. Vaka Sikahele has both a solid low tackling technique as well as having the functional strength to make ball and all tackles effectively against the biggest of forwards looking to target him in the defensive line.

    Vaka Sikahele is also very quick out of the marker position and will get to forwards how are running one out before they can generate any momentum. In short he defends like a backrower and certainly if he finds himself on the fringes of the ruck, Vaka Sikahele has the lateral movement and anticipation to also defend against smaller quicker halves looking to exploit a perceived speed advantage.

    Vaka Sikahele made his way over to the Gold Coast for the 2021 season where he started training with the Titans U20 Rookie Squad. In 2022 Vaka Sikahele will play for the Burleigh Bears in the 2022 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition once again.

    It is also possible in 2022 that Vaka Sikahele will play some matches for the Burleigh Bears Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade side to give Vaka Sikahele experience playing against men, including more than a few former Queensland Cup and NRL players.

    Vaka Sikahele is also spending the 2022 season training with the Titans Rookie Squad and will also get a number of opportunities to training with the Titans NRL squad in the upcoming NRL off-season before training full-time with the Titans NRL squad in 2023.

    Vaka Sikahele has had an impressive career at hooker in New Zealand from a club, school boy and representative perspective and there is absolutely no reason why a position change is necessary upon his signing with the Titans and his subsequent arrival in Australia. More to the point, the Titans have obviously signed Vaka Sikhele to add to their already impressive JTS dummy half stocks.

    At 180cm and 85kg the former fullback is a bigger type of hooker, but as noted certainly has the skill set to stay in the dummy half role.

    Vaka Sikhele has indicated that he has modelled his game on Souths Sydney Rabbitohs and New South Wales State of Origin hooker Damien Cook. Whilst Vaka Sikhele does not have the pure speed of Cook and is a touch taller and more solid, like Cook he is judicious in when he runs and Vaka Sikhele is also a consistant and solid ball distributor out of dummy half with a solid repeatable passing technique to both sides of his body.

    Manly and Tongan International hooker, Manase Fainu is probably a good player comparison from a size perspective as well as style as well. Like Fainu, Vaka Sikahele is lightning quick out of dummy half with the added knack of being able to pick the right time to run from the dummy half position.

  2. #1772
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    Xavier Stowers. The powerful former school boy rugby No. 8 from the 2019 and 2020 Ipswich Grammar School GPS Rugby First XV sides and the 2020 Ipswich Jets MM Cup side is a recent Titans signing coup and has the potential to fly through the junior rugby league ranks to the NRL with the Titans in a short space of time.

    It was great to hear that Xavier Stowers had chosen to sign with the Titans over interest from multiple other NRL clubs and Super Rugby outfits including the Queensland Reds for whom Xavier Stowers was a former Academy product.

    In October 2021 Xavier Stowers was named in the 2021 Queensland Maori U18 representative side for the 2021 QPICC Cultural Carnival with Xavier Stowers coming off the bench Queensland Maori’s Match Three against Tonga and Match Four against PNG, a match that saw Xavier Stowers scoring in a tough two point Maori loss.

    2021 saw Xavier Stowers move from Ipswich Grammar School to attend Titans partnered Marsden State High School for his final year of school with the move paying significant dividends for both Xavier Stowers and Marsden SHS.

    Round One of the 2021 Langer Cup School Boy Rugby League competition saw Xavier Stowers start in the front row against Keebra Park producing a number of strong runs in Marsden’s 38 – 0 shutout victory, none better than in the 5th minute when Xavier Stowers made fifteen metres right through the Keebra Park forward pack after cutting back towards the play the ball to get to within twenty five metres out from the line.

    Xavier Stowers showcased his off-loading skills in the 10th minute when after a hard straight run, bumping off one defender, Xavier Stowers was able to get an off-load away to his right.

    As a result of his outstanding performance in the match, Xavier Stowers was awarded one point in the Marsden Man of the Match points tally.

    Xavier Stowers also started in the front row in Round Two against Ipswich State High School and made his first significant contribution in the 4th minute when he made ten metres to get to near centre field before popping a great short off-load to his left for the paly to continue. Xavier Stowers then made a further twelve metres from another strong charge in the 10th minute.

    Xavier Stowers continued his hard charging efforts in the 41st minute with a twelve metre charge that got him to within eight metres of the line after a hit-up to the left of the play the ball and then in the 47th minute, Xavier Stowers rumbled eighteen metres downfield before off-loading to his right to promote the ball further.

    Xavier Stowers started once again in the front row in Round Three against Wavell State High School with the giant young man scoring the opening try of the match in the 8th minute when he crashed over from three metres out on the right side of the field and to the right of the play the ball.

    Xavier Stowers continued his strong ball running in the 50th minute with a twelve metre effort that incorporated a clockwise spin to gain separation from one would be defender.

    Xavier Stowers was equally effective defensively in the match as he was running the ball, including making a big tackle on the Wavell SHS lock in just the 2nd minute, forcing him back four metres and Xavier Stowers smashed the same player again just three minutes later.

    Xavier Stowers continued in the front row in the Round Four blockbuster against PBC State High School recording a great try assist in the 43rd minute when after he had run an underneath route off his halfback, Xavier Stowers whilst in contact with three PBC defenders, was able to get away a right arm offload to his front row partner who rumbled twenty five metres to score directly under the posts.

    Xavier Stowers also produced an outstanding try saving tackle in the 7th minute when he smashed PBC hooker Oskar Bryant less than a metre from the line with Xavier Stower’s tackle forcing the ball loose from Oskar Bryant’s grasp.

    Xavier Stowers once again started in the front row in Round Five against Mabel Park State High School and was one Marsden SHS’s try scorers in their hard fought win with Xavier Stowers scoring in each half.

    Xavier Stowers opening try came inside the first two minutes of the match when from three metres out Xavier Stowers charged onto the ball, receiving a wide pass to the left of the play the ball to score easily next to the right upright.

    In the 36th minute, Xavier Stowers charged onto the ball from close to the line and to the left of the play the ball. Even though he initially contracted the defensive line still and couple of metres from the line, Xavier Stowers continued to fight in the tackle and in fact backed his way to the line for the last metre or two and at the last moment was able to twist his way over the line to get the ball down adjacent to the left upright.

    After the competition was suspended for a number of weeks due to a Covid 19 lock down, Xavier Stowers was named in the front row for Marsden State High School in their semi-final against Ipswich State High School.

    Xavier Stowers put in a Player of the Match performance and Xavier Stowers also scored with literally seconds to go in the match to break a ten all score line when he charged onto the ball to the left of the play the ball with Xavier Stowers reaching out with his left arm to get the ball down adjacent to the right upright.

    Xavier Stowers had almost scored just minutes prior in the in the 48th minute when after a great ten metre charge, Xavier Stowers was held up directly under the posts.

    Xavier Stowers could not have gotten into the match any earlier when he took the opening hit-up of the match from the kick-off and then from the 4th hit-up in the same set of six tackles, after another strong charge Xavier Stowers was able to once again take the line on and then produce the first of a number of good off-loads with still engaged with the defensive line.

    Xavier Stowers continued his strong match in the 3rd minute when after a strong run to the left of the play the ball and beating two tackles, Xavier Stowers was once again produce a great off-load however on that occasion the ball went to ground.

    In the 34th minute Xavier Stowers produced another strong charge from a kick-off after Marsden SHS’s second try bumping off the first Ipswich SHS defender who tried to effect the tackle.

    Then in the 47th minute with the match on the line, Xavier Stowers made a strong fifteen metre run that ended just two metres from the try line and two tackles later Xavier Stowers charged at the line once again, getting away another off-load.

    In the 2021 Langer Cup Grand Final against PBC State High School, Xavier Stowers was named to start in the front row for Marsden SHS and made the opening tackle of the match after Marsden SHS had gotten the game underway. Xavier Stowers took his first hit-up in just the second minute of the match when he rumbled sixteen metres downfield.

    At the 2021 Marsden State High School Rugby League Excellence Awards, Xavier Stowers was named in the front row in the Marsden State High School Team of the Year.

    Post the completion of the 2021 Langer Cup competition, Xavier Stowers was named in the front row in the Courier Mail’s 2021 Langer Cup Team of the Season.

    In January 2021 Xavier Stowers played his first match in a Titans jersey when he started from the bench for the Titans U19 side in their annual match at Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights 40 - 6. When he was in the field, Xavier Stowers played in the centre of the ruck and had some good moments including a late second half offload to his right.

    Xavier Stowers also recorded two huge tackles in a row including one when he caught the Newcastle player from behind, stopping him in his tracks when the Knights player looked odds on to score. It was an impressive effort by Xavier Stowers who refused to give up and through sheer force of will got himself to the right spot to make an outstanding tackle.

    Xavier Stower’s endurance and determination came to the fore in the 25th minute of the second half. Newcastle were on the attack ten metres from the line and sent the ball to the right with the Knights playmaker putting in an attacking kick back behind the play the ball. Xavier Stowers who was initially defending on the opposite side of the ruck, tracked the play across field, was perfectly placed to eliminate the threat. Xavier Stowers however did not just take the tackle, after breaking two tackles, Xavier Stowers off-loaded with his right arm to his right to Thomas Weaver who made an additional twenty metres down field.

    Xavier Stowers desperation was also highlighted earlier in the second half when he held on to the Burleigh hooker with only his right arm, eventually dragging him to the ground. If Xavier Stowers had not held on to the hooker, he would have had a free run to the Titans fullback with plenty of support as well.

    Of all the good moments that I have noted in relation to Xavier Stowers first match in a Titans jersey, another one for me at least optimises who Xavier Stowers is as a player. In the 31st minute of the second half Xavier Stowers took a regulation hit-up mid-field. The Knights defensive line got up quickly, making initial contact with Xavier Stowers just two metres into his run, but through strength and determination, Xavier Stowers was able to make an additional seven metres post contact. Not many players would have been able to maintain their balance and body control after the type of initial contact that he was subject to and still make additional ground, Xavier Stowers however is definitely one of the few that can.

    A week after the match against the Newcastle Knights Xavier Stowers once again lined up for the Titans U19’s as they took on a Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts squad at Burleigh Juniors, coming off the bench with the Titans winning once again, this time 32 – 20 in a match that saw no conversions attempted.

    Xavier Stowers had a huge match when he was on the field producing a number of damaging charges including a great run off the Bears kick off from Reef Sommerville’s second try of the match with the run a great twenty metre surge, with the majority of the metres made post contact.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Xavier Stowers starting the match on the bench for the Titans.

    In Round One of the 2021 MM Cup competition, Xavier Stowers was named to start on the bench for the Ipswich Jets against the Tweed Heads Seagulls but ended up starting the match in the front row and in fact was involved in the first tackle of the match after Ipswich kicked the ball off.

    The 9th minute saw the damage that Xavier Stowers can do running with the ball when he charged onto the ball to the right of the dummy half bustling his way twelve metres before eventually being brought down just ten metres away from the try line.

    Xavier Stowers was at it again just a minute later when he took the ball from a Tweed Heads drop out charging thirty five metres to get inside the Seagulls twenty before being forced to play the ball. The 23rd minute saw yet another strong run from Xavier Stowers shewing up a further twelve metres (eight post contact) to get within five metres of the Tweed Heads line.

    Defensively over the course of the match, Xavier Stowers defence was just as strong as his ball running with probably his best moment from a defensive perspective coming in the 57th minute when he came out of the line and monstered Seagulls five eight Harrydon Wilson. Xavier Stowers had crunched Wilson before he even knew what was going on and with Tweed Heads just ten metres out from the line, Xavier Stowers tackle completely shut down all of the momentum.

    Xavier Stowers was immediately back on his feet at marker and moved to his right to tackle Seagulls front rower Jack Cullen around the legs with a copy book low tackle.

    Xavier Stowers also started in the front row in Round Two against the Burleigh Bears, scoring the Jets first try in their tough loss and had a huge opening few minutes including scoring a powerhouse try in just the 6th minute of the match.

    Xavier Stowers try showcased everything that is good about his game, that being size, strength, speed and power. Ipswich restarted from a penalty ten metres out from the Bears line, just to the left of the uprights. Xavier Stowers received the ball ten metres out, running directly at the defensive line before cutting back towards the uprights, pushing off one Bears defender before spinning counter clockwise to beat two more defenders before carrying three more Burleigh defenders across the line to smash the ball down a metre to the left of the uprights.

    Xavier Stowers first major contribution to the game came in just the 3rd minute with a strong ten metre charge to get Ipswich into the Burleigh forty metre area. Xavier Stowers then made significant ground in just the 5th minute. Xavier Stowers initially ran to the left of the play the ball before offloading to his left. Xavier Stowers then backed up and get the ball back from the Jets player that he had passed to, making fifteen more metres before offloading for the second time in the same movement this time to his hooker who was trailing the play through the centre of the field.

    Xavier Stowers continued to make ground running the ball including in the 39th minute when he made eleven metres to get Ipswich inside the Burleigh twenty metre area.

    It was not just running with the ball that made Xavier Stowers so impressive in the match, defensively he was also very strong, including a heavy tackle where he monstered Syris Schmidt who was taking a hit-up in his own territory. Xavier Stowers literally engulfed Syris Schmidt and forced the fullback backwards a number of metres.

    The in the 64th minute Xavier Stowers put a massive hit on Burleigh second rower Delihia Wigmore twenty metres out from the line with the Burleigh player taking a bit of time to recover from the big hit. Then just two minutes later Xavier Stowers smashed Burleigh Jaxon Yow as he was running across field just outside the Burleigh forty metre area.

    Xavier Stowers was named on the interchange bench in Round Three against the Souths Logan Magpies and in Round Four against the Tweed Heads Seagulls. Xavier Stowers came into the match at half time, wasting no time getting involved by taking the first hit-up of the second half after Tweed Heads kicked off the second half to get the ball out to near the twenty metre mark.

    Only two minutes later in the 38th minute, Xavier Stowers one again broke tackles after making thirteen metres from a hit-up to the left of the dummy half to get two metres over the halfway mark.

    Then in the 43rd minute Xavier Stowers once again ran to the left of the dummy half before cutting back towards the play the ball to make thirteen metres. Xavier Stowers bounced quickly to his feet but was dragged back down and subsequently was awarded a penalty. From the next set of six after the penalty restart, Xavier Stowers was back in the action, getting to within ten metres of the try line before twisting and offloading with his right arm to Josiah Pahulu who got within two metres of the line before finally being stopped.

    Even though Ipswich were out of the match with ten minutes to go, that did not dissuade Xavier Stowers from his task and in the 62nd minute, Xavier Stowers made eleven metres from a hit-up to the right of the play the ball with more than 50% of the metres that he made from the run were post contact.

    Round Five against the Burleigh Bears saw Xavier Stowers named on the Jets extended bench however he ended up starting the match from the bench and he also started from the bench in Round Six against the Souths Logan Magpies.

    At the end of the 2021 season, Xavier Stowers was named at No. 22 in the Courier Mail Top 60 school boys from the GPS Rugby, AIC Rugby and Langer Cup school boy competitions.

    Xavier Stowers started Round One of the 2020 MM Cup competition in the front row for the Ipswich Jets against the Townsville Blackhawks. Unfortunately that Round One match was the only MM Cup match of the 2020 season due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Xavier Stowers started the 2020 GPS school boy rugby season in the Ipswich Grammar School’s First XV squad after making his GPS First XV debut as a 16 year old in 2019.

    When I am noting below the rounds of the 2020 GPS school boy rugby First XV competition, I am more referring to the order of games, as due to Covid 19 issues, what were going to be the opening two rounds of the competition ended up being “official trials”.

    Round One of the 2020 GPS school boy rugby First XV competition saw Xavier Stowers line up at No. 8 against Toowoomba Grammar School and Xavier Stowers continued his run of starts at No. 8 in Round Two against Nudgee College. Xavier Stowers also started at No. 8 in Ipswich Grammar School’s remaining 2020 First XV fixtures, which were against Brisbane Boys College (Round Three), Anglican Church Grammar School (Round Four), Brisbane State High School (Round Five), The Southport School (Round Six) and Gregory Terrace in Round Seven.

    Whilst Xavier Stowers did not score any tries in 2020 he was heavily involved in two tries over the course of the abridged 2020 GPS school boy First XV season. In Round Four against Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie), Xavier Stowers picked the ball up from the back of a scrum three metres out from the Churchie line and ran to his left, throwing a great one armed (right arm) off-load just as he was being tackled (in fact he threw the pass under the body of the defender who had engaged him) to his half who was brought down centremetres short but Ipswich Grammar School scored from the subsequent ruck.

    Xavier Stowers was heavily involved later in the season in Round Six against The Southport School, when once again he picked the ball up from an Ipswich Grammar School scrum win five metres out from the TSS line. Xavier Stowers ran to his right, putting his No. 10 into a gap and he was able to twist over next to the left upright. The speed at which Xavier Stowers had picked up the ball and charged to his right, parallel to the TSS defensive line froze the defenders and enabled Xavier Stowers to put his runner into the gap with a good short pass.

    In the 2020 Courier Mail South East Queensland school boy rugby/rugby Top 30 players of 2020 Xavier Stowers was named at Number 21 where the Courier Mail writers noted his exceptional combination of size, strength, speed and power at such a young age. Xavier Stowers made the same list in 2019 as well when once again his size/speed combination was noted by the articles authors.

    Xavier Stowers made his GPS school boy rugby First XV debut for Ipswich Grammar School in Round One of the 2019 GPS school boy rugby First XV competition against Brisbane State High school when he started at No. 8.

    Xavier Stowers went on to start at No. 8 in all of Ipswich Grammar Schools seven other First XV matches, being against Brisbane Grammar School (Round Two), Toowoomba Grammar School (Round Three), Nudgee College (Round Four), Brisbane Boys College (Round Five), Anglican Church Grammar School (Round Six), The Southport School (Round Eight) and Gregory Terrace in Round Nine.

    Xavier Stowers first GPS school boy First XV rugby try came in Round Eight on the Gold Coast at the Shark Tank against TSS when Xavier Stowers charged at the line from close range after receiving a pass off the back of a ruck that had formed two metres out from the TSS line. Xavier Stowers received the ball to the right of the ruck and under heavy pressure from multiple TSS defenders was able to keep his feet under him and continue to pump his legs to get the ball down right on the goal line midway between the corner post and goal post on the left side of the field.

    In 2019 in addition to playing for the Ipswich Grammar School Boy Rugby First XV, Xavier Stowers represented the Queensland Maroon U16 representative side at the National U16 Rugby Championships, starting for the Maroon side at No. 8 in their series of Championship matches.

    To cap off an exceptional 2019, Xavier Stowers, at just 16 years of age, played one match in the Brisbane Premier Colts III competition, starting at outside centre for Logan City and scoring in Round Fifteen against Southern Suburbs.

    Xavier Stowers already has some representative rugby league experience under his belt, representing his heritage when he represented the Cook Islands U14 side at the 2017 QPIIC Tournament including scoring in an 18 – 4 Cook Island victory over Papua New Guinea.

    The analysis below is more referenced from a rugby perspective as I have seen a lot more of Xavier Stowers playing GPS school boy rugby rather than rugby league, although I have seen probably ten to twelve rugby league matches of Xavier Stowers, that however is compared to twenty odd rugby matches.

    Xavier Stowers is a powerful runner of the ball and once he has generated momentum he is very difficult to stop and regularly has been able to drag defenders with him after initial contact has been made. In the second half against TSS in 2020 even though his team were being beaten Xavier Stowers on one occasion in the second half, he made at least 15 metres carrying a couple of defenders with him when he picked up the ball from the back of a ruck and just charged full stream at the defensive line.

    Once he is in space, Xavier Stowers 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 right hand fend. Against Toowoomba Grammar School in 2019 on one occasion Xavier Stowers shook up two defenders with fends, including the blind side flanker on his way to a run of around 40 metres or so.

    Defensively the most impressive aspect of Xavier Stowers’s play is his ability to make effective tackle after effective tackle. For Ipswich Grammar School in the GPS competition in 2019 and 2020 Xavier Stowers continually made up to three and four tackles in a row on multiple occasions and then clean out in the rucks and mauls and then he was also the first Grammar player to take the ball up.

    Whilst his stamina is impressive, so is Xavier Stowers initial contact, he uses his strength and leverage to hit the ball carrier hard forcing momentum changes to the ball carrier.

    Xavier Stowers 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 Xavier Stowers 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.

    2022 will see Xavier Stowers line-up in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition and Xavier Stowers is Colts eligible once again in 2023.

    Xavier Stowers is an incredibly exceptional and powerful athlete from a speed, power, strength and mobility perspective and also has the stamina to continue to work over the duration of a game, playing long minutes of exceptional quality.

    Due to his size, some observers may pigeon hole Xavier Stowers as a front rower only, but that I think does not truly reflect his diverse skill set. In addition to strong hard running, Xavier Stowers also has the ability to run at pace wider of the ruck, at the same time utilising outstanding footwork to beat defenders and also has the ball playing skills to put runners into holes as well as being a link between the forwards and backs.

    Similarly from a defensive perspective, Xavier Stowers has the lateral movement, balance and body control to mirror the movement of smaller quicker players on the fringes of the ruck that would look to try exploit their perceived speed/mobility advantage when matched up one on one in space with Xavier Stowers.

    Whilst it is possible that Xavier Stowers will ultimately end up in the front row in rugby league, that in my opinion is certainly not an absolute given and playing Xavier Stowers in the second row to take advantage of his diverse skill set may very well be the best way to go in the short to medium term especially his damaging ball running as well as his ability that was honed in rugby to be a ball player on the fringes of the ruck.

    From a player comparison perspective think of an at his prime former South Sydney Rabbitoh and England International Sam Burgess as a big strong powerful hard running and hardworking forward with a touch of class about him and is someone who his team mates will follow as Xavier Stowers leads by example both on and off the field through hard work, intensity and effort.

    For rugby watchers, how Xavier Stowers plays in rugby is not dis-similar to current Queensland Reds and Wallabies International No. 8 Harry Wilson, who like Xavier Stowers came through the GPS school boy First XV rugby competition.

    Now that Xavier Stowers is focussing fully on rugby league and he continues to develop his stamina, speed, power, strength and mobility, literally anything is possible for this talented giant of a young man. Thankfully Xavier Stowers has chosen the Titans to develop with in the next stage of his professional career with the ultimate goal of making it to the NRL.

  3. #1773
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    Nayte Saaga. The young fullback, five eight or halfback has been a stand out player for his age group in the Gold Coast rugby league competition for the last couple of seasons and as a result in early 2021 signed a multi-year contract with the Titans.

    In mid-December 2021 Nayte Saaga had the opportunity to train with the Titans NRL squad in a joint training session between the Titans NRL squad and the Titans JTS Program Squads.

    In October 2021 Nayte Saaga was named in the exceptionally talented Burleigh Bears U16 Cyril Connell Cup squad.

    Nayte Saaga also attended The Southport School (TSS) after previously attending Keebra Park State High School as part of their Titans partnered Elite Rugby League Program. In fact towards the end of 2021 Nayte Saaga moved back to Keebra Park State High School.

    In May 2021 Nayte Saaga was part of the South Coast U15 QSSRL School Boy representative side, starting the Championship Final against Met West at five eight, scoring the 23rd minute. Nayte Saaga scored when he took advantage of a quick play the ball to race at the line after receiving the ball to the left of the play the ball and sprint at the still back peddling defence from twelve metres out. Nayte Saaga only concession to his straight charge was a slight jink of his left foot before crashing over between two defenders who did not have the time to even got off their own line.

    Nayte Saaga also had a try assist in the second half when he received an off-load from his left by Ray Puru who had split the line from thirty metres out. After receiving the off-load ten metres out Nayte Saaga who got to within two metres of the line before he offloaded to his left for Jett Bryce to dive over fifteen metres in from the left corner post.

    Nayte Saaga made a strong start in the Championship Final when in the 6th minute he made a good run after cutting back to his right and off-loading to his front rower to push forward then early in the second half, in the 26th minute, Nayte Saaga made a darting twelve metre run down a side left blindside.

    On Day One against Met West Nayte Saaga started at five eight and was heavily involved in Jett Bryce’s 38th minute try when he put in a chip kick to the left wing which was collected by Izayah Petricevich who off-loaded in one movement to Jett Bryce to run away to score under the posts. Nayte Saaga then converted the try.

    Nayte Saaga produced a smart piece of play in the 11th minute when his kick-off after Met West’s opening try of the match went dead in goal, forcing Met West into a drop out from under the posts, South Coast scored from the subsequent set of six.

    In the 29th minute, Nayte Saaga produced a strong run of eighteen metres to get the ball to near to the halfway mark.

    Day Two saw Nayte Saaga once again start at five eight against Capricornia, kicking two conversions and displayed his enthusiasm in the opening minute when he chased through a Zane Harrison kick to trap the Capricornia fullback in his own in-goal.

    One thing that will stand out when he are watching Nayte Saaga play is his kicking game and in the 16th minute Nayte Saaga kicked a 40/20 that any NRL top level kicked would have been proud off. Nayte Saaga received the ball thirty four metres out from his own line and twenty metres in from the left touchline and put in a hard left foot kick that that he kicked low and hard, going to touch in front of the desperate Capricornia fullback eighteen metres out from the try line.

    Nayte Saaga once again started at five eight on Day Three against Met North recording a line break assist in the opening minute of the match when he took the ball to the line on the left side of the field and double pumped sending a short ball to his left to put Jett Bryce into a gap, with the right second rower running forty metres downfield before off-loading himself to Joseph Tupuse.

    Nayte Saaga had a second try assist in the 31st minute when he took the ball to the line before throwing a cut-out pass to left centre Joseph Tupuse to rumble fifty metres downfield but unfortunately his inside pass went to ground.

    Over the course of the Championships, Nayte Saaga showed that he is an outstanding kicked of the ball whether that be long raking left foot tactical to short chip kicks as well as goal kicking and on Day Two he showed that he can also put in impressive short kick-offs with two short kicks retrieved by team mates. The first short kick-off was from the kick-off to start the second half (it may have been taken by the wind but I will give it to Nayte Saaga) that was retrieved by Zane Harrison and the second was in the 46th minute with Riley Buchanan taking advantage. Nayte Saaga also kicked a conversion in the first half.

    Nayte Saaga’s first official commitment with the TSS U15A side in 2021 being his attendance at a rugby skills day that was held towards the end of May. Nayte Saaga first official appearance in the Red and Blue in late May 2021 when he started at No. 10 (fly half) for the U15A side in TSS’s first full trial against Ipswich Grammar School.

    Nayte Saaga also started at fly half in the TSS U15A second full GPS trial against Nudgee College as well as in the full scale trial against Brisbane Boys College. In TSS’s final trial before the commencement of the 2021 GPS school boy rugby season, Nayte Saaga also started at fly half against the PBC Alleygators. Then with the TSS U15A side having a Round One bye, Nayte Saaga lined up at No. 10 in a trial against a South Coast U15 representative side.

    Round Two away to Anglican Church Grammar School saw Nayte Saaga named at fly half for the TSS U15A side with Nayte Saaga scoring in his TSS debut but unfortunately his side went down 31 -24.

    With the majority of TSS sides having a bye week, Nayte Saaga was named at No. 10 in an away match against Brisbane State High School. Post that round Nayte Saaga returned to Keebra Park State High School for the remainder of 2021.

    In 2021 Nayte Saaga moved from the Ormeau Shearers to the Burleigh Bears in the Gold Coast Rugby League U15 Division One competition, playing for Burleigh White and started at halfback in the 2021 U15 Division One Grand Final, kicking one conversion from two attempts in their loss to Burleigh Maroon with his conversion coming from directly in front of the posts in the 44th minute when he converted Koda Young’s second half try.

    Nayte Saaga was involved in the Grand Final recording a line break assist in the 1st minute of the match when he ran to his right and brought Jac Finnigan underneath him with Jac Finnigan breaking through the Burleigh Maroon line, making forty metres before he was tackled.

    The 8th minute of the Grand Final saw Nayte Saaga record a try assist when from ten metres from the line down a wide left blindside, Nayte Saaga threw a cut-out pass to his left to put Luka Skipps int space with the Burleigh White left centre scoring wide out on the left.

    Nayte Saaga showcased his kicking game in the 46th minute of the Grand Final when he put up a towering mid-field bomb which could not be handled by the Burleigh Maroon fullback to put Burleigh White on the attack.

    Nayte Saaga also had a strong match in Round Ten against the Coomera Cutters when he started at five eight and provided a strong ball playing presence in the Bears 42 – 12 victory including scoring a great solo try late in the second half.

    Nayte Saaga received the ball off the dummy half and to the right of the play the ball and immediately attacked the Cutters left sided defensive line from twenty metres out. Just as he was about to engage the defensive line, Nayte Saaga put in a very short grubber kick for himself which bounced up perfectly for him just through the line with Nayte Saaga then able to dive over five metres to the left of the uprights.

    In addition to his try Nayte Saaga threw the last pass which was an inside ball to put his fullback over near the left corner towards the end of the first half. Nayte Saaga had a further try assist late in the second half when he put in a left foot chip kick back towards the left touchline with Burleigh collecting the ball on the bounce with the Bears left centre diving over in the left corner.

    Nayte Saaga made a line break of his own in the first half when he was able to get away down the left touchline off a good Jac Finnigan pass. After getting through the initial Cutters defensive line, Nayte Saaga cut back towards centre field and before being put to ground was able to off-load to his inside to keep Burleigh on the front foot and will all of the momentum.

    Nayte Saaga continued his strong game when he made a smart play late in the second half when Nayte Saaga put in a great short kick-off which just went the required distance with Burleigh able to retrieve. Sam Stephenson scored later in the same set of six tackles.

    Nayte Saaga also continued his strong form in Round Eleven, once again starting at five eight on that occasion against the Helensvale Hornets with Nayte Saaga scoring in the 15th minute of the match. The play the prior to Nayte Saaga scoring was a long break by the Burleigh fullback who was dragged down from behind ten metres out from the line. Nayte Saaga received the ball from the dummy half and to the right of the play the ball and scooted ten metres to dive over next to the left upright.

    Nayte Saaga also recorded a line break early in the second half against the Hornets when after he received an off-load thirty metres from his own try line, Nayte Saaga burst downfield getting to the halfway mark before a right arm flick off-load found Sam Stephenson who was backing up Nayte Saaga to his right.

    In 2020 Nayte Saaga played for the Ormeau Shearers in the Gold Coast Rugby League U14A Division One competition with the Shearers winning two of their eight matches to finish 5th. Ormeau scored 134 points and conceded 190 to have a -56 points differential.

    In 2019 Nayte Saaga played for the Coomera Cutters in the GCRL U13 Division One competition. In that competition, Nayte Saaga scored an impressive 11 tries from 15 appearances, being a strike rate of 73.33%. Nayte Saaga also kicked six goals to finish the season with 56 points.

    Nayte Saaga scored doubles against Runaway Bay and Burleigh with his remaining seven tries coming in individual matches against Nerang, Southport, Currumbin twice, Runaway Bay and Burleigh.

    With the boot Nayte Saaga’s best performance was against Burleigh in the Preliminary Final when he kicked three goals.

    In addition to being a talented rugby league player Nayte Saaga is also an outstanding Oztag player, including in 2019 being named in the U13 Australian Oztag High Performance Squad.

    In 2020 Nayte Saaga played for the Queensland Rebels in the Queensland U14 Oztag Super Series after being selected for the Rebels after starring for the Miami Raptors.

    In 2019 Nayte Saaga played in the Queensland U13 Oztag Super Series with the Queensland Force after being selected from the City Centurions. Nayte Saaga was in fact named in the Super Series All Star Team and was also named as the U13 Most Valuable Player.

    It is hard to put in words just how talented Nayte Saaga is in terms of running the ball, he has outstanding speed both off the mark which I would consider in the plus plus category and top end speed which must be considered plus regardless of position. Nayte Saaga with his speed is able to exploit even small gaps in the defensive line with an exceptional step off either foot and incredible acceleration as well as outstanding body control.

    It is that speed trait which opens up his incredible ball playing skills as well. Teams start to focus heavily on Nayte Saaga when he has the ball with outside defenders looking to come in to assist that they open up holes wider out in the defensive line that Nayte Saaga can exploit.

    Nayte Saaga has exquisite timing on his passes and is able to weight them perfectly as well and can do so from either side of his body. Adding in this is that Nayte Saaga can stop on a dime even travelling at full speed and pop the short pass, thus it looks for all money that he is going to run the ball thus the defence converges and then the ball is delivered to a support runner who is through a hole before the defensive line can readjust.

    Nayte Saaga also runs with the ball in both hands which is another reason why the defensive line is unable to determine exactly what Nayte Saaga is going to do as he keeps multiple options open to utilise when an opportunity presents itself.

    Like when he has the ball in his hands, there is nothing that Nayte Saaga cannot do in relation to kicking the ball. Nayte Saaga is an exceptional tactical kicker with range and accuracy, he can put up pin point bombs and perfectly weighted grubber kicks into the in goal. In short if you can name a type of rugby league kick, Nayte Saaga can execute it with speed and precision.

    Defensively Nayte Saaga is a very strong young man with exceptional 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.

    Nayte Saaga also has a very good low tackling technique which is simple and repeatable and effective against all size opponents and thus there is no need for a defensive minder on Nayte Saaga’s side of the field. In short just like his attacking play Nayte Saaga is an outstanding defender.

    Nayte Saaga will play the 2022 season with the Burleigh Bear in the GCRL U16 Division One competition as well as with Burleigh in the U16 Cyril Connell Cup South East Queensland representative competition.

    After starting the 2021 at TSS playing in the GPS School Boy rugby competition in the TSS U15A side, Nayte Saaga will be back at Keebra Park in 2022, pushing for immediate playing time in their Open A school boy side for the 2022 Langer Cup competition.

    I am a touch conflicted in terms of where Nayte Saaga’s best position on a rugby league field is (or ultimately will be). I could legitimately make an argument that Nayte Saaga’s best position is at halfback/five eight as the more he has the ball in his hands the better, but also at fullback where Nayte Saaga can see the entire field and pick and choose where and when he should get involved to maximise his impact for his team’s benefit.

    If push comes to shove, I will lean ever so slightly towards Nayte Saaga ending up at halfback or five eight but there is no doubt Nayte Saaga also has immense potential at fullback as well.

    With his speed off the mark, elusiveness and innate play making ability in the halves, Nayte Saaga’s playing style is eerily similar to that of Sydney Roosters boom rookie Sam Walker. Both Nayte Saaga and Walker just seem to have all of the time in the world to make their decisions and just seem to be playing at a speed far in excess to players around them and also a play or two in front of them as well.

    To be fair though, Nayte Saaga does not have the same type of speed off the mark as Walker and is a bigger body shape but my comparison refers to their ability to read and react to defences when they have the ball in their hands.

  4. #1774
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    Zane Harrison. The northern New South Wales youngster is currently a member of the Titans Tweed Heads based junior academy and also the Titans JTS program after signing a multi-year contract with the Titans in early 2021.

    In mid-December Zane Harrison had the opportunity to train with the Titans NRL squad in a joint training session between the Titans NRL squad and the Titans JTS Program Squads.

    Zane Harrison will start the 2022 season as part of the Northern Rivers Titans U16 Andrew Johns Cup squad with Zane Harrison set to be one of the Northern Rivers Titans key play makers.

    In early January 2021 Zane Harrison was part of a small group of Titans 2021 U15 players who after attending a Titans camp, trained with the Titans NRL squad and in mid-February 2021 Zane Harrison played in a Titans U15 Invitational Trial at Burleigh, a trial which included only the best of the 2021 Titans U15 squad members.

    Zane Harrison started the match at halfback for the Titans White side and for me he was the standout player of the match with his ball running and deft kicking skills heavily showcased on multiple occasions, primarily on the left side of the field. Post that U15 Titans trial match, Zane Harrison signed a multi-year contract that binds the talented young man to the Titans for three years.

    In May 2021 Zane Harrison was part of the South Coast U15 QSSRL School Boy representative side, starting the Championship Final against Met West at halfback, scoring one try and setting up another as well as kicking two conversions.

    Zane Harrison scored in the 20th minute after a great solo effort that commenced when Zane Harrison took a pass on the right side of the field twelve metres out from the line. Zane Harrison immediately stepped off his right to beat the initial defender before a left foot step beat a second. As he approached the defence that was situated on the try line, Zane Harrison spun counter clockwise in a tackle and get the ball down ten metres to the right of the goal posts.

    Zane Harrison also displayed his never say die attitude in the 24th minute when he produced a great chase from a Nayte Saaga tactical kick from mid-field to tackle the Met West fullback just five metres out from his own line.

    At the completion of the Championships, Zane Harrison was named at halfback in the 2021 QSSRL U15 School Boy Merit Team. Due to his outstanding Championship performances, Zane Harrison surely was one of the first players chosen in the Merit Team.

    On Day One against Met West Zane Harrison was at his dangerous best in the 30th minute when he ran across field to his left and threw a great bell to put a charging Riley Buchanan into a gap, unfortunately thirty metres downfield, Riley Buchanan’s pass to his left was knocked down by the Met West fullback.

    Day Two saw Zane Harrison shine once again from halfback against Capricornia and continued early with an outstanding fifty five metre kick in the first minute with the Capricornia being trapped in his own in-goal.

    Starting at halfback once again Zane Harrison could not have gotten into the action any quicker on Day Three against Met North when he was required to come forward very quickly to take the kick-off on the full after it fell very short. Zane Harrison really did have to get his skates on and charge forward to take the ball on the full just in front of the onrushing Met North forwards.

    Zane Harrison had another big game on Day Three against Met North with the halfback recording a try assist and a line break amongst other smart pieces of play.

    In the 47th minute, Zane Harrison drifted to his right across field twenty five metres out from the line before throwing a short flat ball to his right to Jac Finnigan who had run a great outside shoulder line.

    Zane Harrison’s first half line break was certainly not your typical one, Met North were attacking the South Coast line and on the 5th tackle took the ball to their right and attempted to put in a short grubber kick. Zane Harrison who was defending on the left, trapped the ball with his left foot just seven metres out from his own line, he quickly picked up the ball and as a result of a winding run was able to get to the halfway mark before he was eventually collared.

    Zane Harrison also made significant metres in the opening minute of the second half when South Coast five eight Nayte Saaga put in a short kick-off to the right, with Zane Harrison taking the ball on the full just after the ball had travelled the required ten metres and stepped his way to twenty metres out from the line.

    Zane Harrison also made a try saving tackle in the first half of the match when he produced a strong tackle on the giant Met North No. 10 just two metres out from the line with Zane Harrison’s tackle forcing the ball loose.

    In 2021 Zane Harrison continued at PBC SHS as part of the school’s Elite Rugby League Program and made a strong impression, showcasing multiple skills from halfback for the PBC Walters Cup side in their Round One 16 all draw against Ipswich State High School.

    Zane Harrison put in an assured display for PBC SHS starting off with an exquisite tactical kick in the opening minute of the match with Zane Harrison executing the kick fifty five metres out from the line from an acute angle with the ball going into touch just eight metres out from the line.

    Zane Harrison’s elite footwork was at the fore in the 36th minute, when after receiving an off-load from Jac Finnigan, he made a stepping run that made twenty metres as he stepped on multiple occasions to his left.

    Zane Harrison also started at halfback in Round Two against Forest Lake State High School and he was once again at his scheming best in PBC’s victory including being heavily involved in PBC’s try in the 41st minute when he laid on a good ball to put right second rower Jac Finnigan into a gap, with Jac Finnigan then off-loading to put his centre over in the right corner.

    Zane Harrison continued at halfback in Round Three against Coombabah State High School, scoring a double in PBC SHS’s impressive victory. Zane Harrison’s opening try came in the 17th minute when he flew into an off-load from his lock to score untouched next to the right upright.

    Zane Harrison’s second try came in the 44th minute when Ray Puru collected the ball ten metres from his own try line and ran to his right and literally ran around the Coombabah SHS left side defence, racing seventy five metres down the right touchline before drawing the fullback and passing to his left to Zane Harrison who raced away to score under the posts.

    Zane Harrison also recorded a try assist in the 8th minute when he floated across the field to his right twenty metres out, dummying to an inside runner to hold the defensive line in place and then he threw a long cut out pass to his right to put his right centre in space and over in the right corner.

    Zane Harrison was also heavily involved in another PBC try in the 47th minute, when Will Saunders darted out of dummy half down a short right blindside ten metres from the line, drawing a defender before getting the ball away to Zane Harrison who threw an out the back pass to Ray Puru who put his right winger in the corner.

    Zane Harrison also had an outstanding match from halfback in Round Four against Marsden State High School including scoring in the 36th minute with a winding effort. Zane Harrison received the ball eighteen metres from the line on the right side of the field, dummying in that direction before straightening up. Zane Harrison was tripped up as he broke through the line, but quickly bounced to his feet to dive over close to the right upright.

    The 24th minute saw Zane Harrison’s kicking game come to the fore when from twenty metres out, he put up a high kick to the right corner with the ball coming down less than a metre from the line with the PBC defence then forcing the Marsden SHS winger back into the in-goal to force a line drop out. Then to highlight that Zane Harrison can execute all types of kicks, he converted PBC’s second try from the right touchline to seal the match.

    Zane Harrison continued at halfback in Round Five against Keebra Park SHS and one was of PBC’s best in their tough loss recording a try assist in the 28th minute with a pin point cross field kick to the right corner for his winger to race through to take the ball on the full and score wide out on the right.

    Zane Harrison continued at halfback in Round Six against Redcliffe State High School with the cerebral halfback having a very good match including recording a try assist in the 55th minute when he put in an attacking grubber kick that hooker Will Saunders dived on the ball under the posts with the referee consequently blowing the whistle to award the try.

    Zane Harrison also started at halfback in the final round after the Covid 19 lockdown, recording a try assist for PBC’s opening try in their victory over Wavell State High School. Zane Harrison could not have made his opening contribution to the match any earlier, being involved in the opening tackle of the match after PBC had kicked off.

    Zane Harrison recorded his try assist in the 15th minute when whilst operating on the right side of the field, he threw a great short ball to put Jac Finnigan through a gap twenty five metres out and get the ball down five metres in from the right corner post.

    Zane Harrison almost had another try assist in the 27th minute when he put up a mid-field bomb that Wavell SHS let bounce and PBC fullback Ray Puru had raced through to retrieve the ball but was tackled just short of the line.

    Zane Harrison also started at halfback in PBC’s semi-final victory over Wavell State High School and produced a great try assist to wrap the match up for PBC.

    In the 42nd minute Zane Harrison, from ten metres out, threw a great cut-out pass after double pumping to his left to put his left winger into space and able to score comfortably in the left corner.

    Zane Harrison also had a 33rd minute try assist when he put right second rower Jac Finnigan through a gap from ten metres out to score on the right side of the field, mid-way between the corner post and goal posts.

    The 2021 Walters Cup Grand Final against Keebra Park SHS saw Zane Harrison named to start at halfback with Zane Harrison directly PBC SHS around the field well in their 30 – 12 Grand Final victory.

    Zane Harrison showed plenty of enthusiasm in the match, including in the 17th minute when he chased back to field a Keebra Park attacking kick in his own in-goal with multiple Keebra Park attackers charging through.

    At the 2021 PBC Sports Awards Presentation Zane Harrison was named the Year Ten Player of the Year.

    Zane Harrison continued to play for the Tweed Heads Seagulls Junior Rugby League Club in 2021 in the U15 Group 18 competition and had some exceptional matches including in Round Five as the Seagulls accounted for Tugun 24 – 14.

    The exciting Titans linked Tweed Heads Seagulls and PBC five eight/fullback was one of the reasons that PBC made it all the way to the 2020 Renouf Cup Grand Final. Unfortunately PBC went down in heart breaking fashion 10 – 8 to Marsden State High School with the Brisbane based school scoring a late try in the left corner saw PBC lose in heart breaking fashion.

    In 2020 Zane Harrison played fullback for the Tweed Heads Seagulls U14 side in the Group 18 junior rugby league competition with the Seagulls going through the ten regular season rounds undefeated, scoring 316 points and conceding just 64 to finish the regular season with +252 points differential from their ten matches to record an average winning margin of just above twenty five points. Post the season Zane Harrison was named the Tweed Heads Seagulls U14 Group 18 Best and Fairest.

    As a result of their outstanding 2020 season the Tweed Heads Seagulls U14 side qualified for the Grand Final against the Tugun Seahawks. Tweed Heads prevailed in the 2020 decider 30 – 4 with Zane Harrison being named Player of the Match.

    Zane Harrison was a deserved Player of the Match in the 2020 Group 18 U14 Grand Final after a three try assist and a long range solo try performance.

    Zane Harrison’s first try assist came early in the first half when he threw a long cut-out pass to his left right onto the chest of his left winger Creedence Donovan who dived over out wide. Zane Harrison’s second try assist came on the same side of the field when he took the ball right into the line before sending a pass to his left to put his left centre over.

    Zane Harrison’s final try assist of the Grand Final came late in the match when once again he threw a perfectly weighted pass to Creedence Donovan who ran twenty metres to score near the left corner. Whilst all three of Zane Harrison’s try assist’s came when he was playing on the left, Zane Harrison also had some good moments whilst operating on the right (Zane Harrison literally moves from side to side to identify the best opportunity) including a great short ball early in the match to his right second rower who almost scored from twenty metres out. Zane Harrison set up a try on the opposite side of the field two play the ball later.

    Zane Harrison put an exclamation mark on the Grand Final with a ninety five metre solo effort. Off a Tweed Heads scrum win ten metres out from their own line, Zane Harrison received the ball on the right side of the field, two passes off the scrum win, producing a great show and go to beat the Tugun defensive line and simply proved too quick for the cover defence running ninety five metres to score.

    As noted above 2020 saw Zane Harrison play for PBC in the 2020 Renouf Cup school boy competition, including starting at five eight and operating on the right side of the field in the Grand Final against Marsden State High School.

    In early October 2020 Zane Harrison was part of the Titans NRRRL U14/U15 Invitational squad that played a match against a Titans Gold Coast based U14 side, with the match being played at Cbus Stadium, giving the young players a great experience and in a Titans jersey as well.

    In 2019 Zane Harrison was part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls Black side that took on Tweed Heads Seagulls White in the Group 18 U13 Grand Final, starting the match at lock.

    Even though is side went down in the decider, Zane Harrison was one of the stand out players on the field.

    Zane Harrison so nearly scored early in the second half of the Grand Final when he got to within a metre of the try line after a winding run. Zane Harrison initially received the ball to the right of the play the ball before cutting back to his left twice. Zane Harrison was initially grabbed by the defence ten metres away from the line but just kept pumping his legs and fighting the tackle to get close before his momentum was eventually stopped.

    Even in the dying minutes with his side eight points down, Zane Harrison would not give up, making forty metres from just outside his own twenty metre area, stepping off his left on two occasions to break a number of tackles.

    Zane Harrison produced an outstanding two try performance in Tweed Heads 2019 Group 18 U13 Preliminary Final victory against the Bilambil Jets.

    Zane Harrison’s opening try of the Preliminary Final came in the 21st minute of the second half. Zane Harrison received the ball two passes off the ruck and to the left thirty metres out from the line. Zane Harrison ran at the line before stepping off his left foot to break through the defensive line before he easily outpaced the cover defence to score next to the right upright.

    Zane Harrison scored again in the 25th minute of the second half when he was on hand to receive a perfect bounce under the posts in the in goal from a Tyler Harper attacking grubber kick.

    Zane Harrison made an early impact in the Grand Final when just in the 3rd minute, he ran the ball from the back of the scrum to his right just twenty metres out from his own line. Zane Harrison’s speed took him straight through a gap before a step off his left put Zane Harrison into more space. Zane Harrison then stepped off his right foot on two occasions to beat additional defenders before he was finally brought down ten metres into Bilambil territory.

    Zane Harrison was not just good running with the ball in the Preliminary Final and probably made the tackle of the match when in just the 5th minute he drove his shoulder into the Bilambil replacement front rower (No. 20), jolting the ball loose to add to the quality of the tackle.

    Late in the 2019 Group 18 U13 regular season, Zane Harrison had a strong match, starting at five eight also against the Bilambil Jets. In the match Zane Harrison scored an outstanding solo try in the 23rd minute of the first half.

    Off the back of a scrum, Zane Harrison ran the ball down a short right blindside bumping off the first defender he encountered before stepping off his left to beat a second before getting the ball down ten metres in from the right corner post.

    Zane Harrison also played for Tweed Heads in the 2018 U12 Group 18 Grand Final and once again was outstanding in the Seagulls Grand Final victory.

    Zane Harrison is just a superb mover seemingly gliding across the field effortlessly with outstanding balance, body control and exquisite hand eye co-ordination which has been aided by playing hockey at a very high level. Seriously Zane Harrison’s running style looks just effortless and perfectly balanced and is undertaken at speed.

    It is hard to put in words just how talented Zane Harrison is in terms of running the ball, he has outstanding speed both off the mark which I would consider in the plus plus category and top end speed which must be considered plus regardless of position.

    Zane Harrison with his pace is able to exploit even the smallest of gaps in the defensive line with an exceptional step off either foot and incredible acceleration as well as outstanding balance and body control. When Zane Harrison steps, regardless of the size of the step or in which direction there is absolutely no loss of speed or momentum as Zane Harrison moves to his new vector and continues on.

    It is that speed trait which opens up his incredible ball playing skills as well. Teams start to focus heavily on Zane Harrison when he has the ball with outside defenders looking to come in to assist that they open up holes wider out in the defensive line that Zane Harrison can exploit.

    Zane Harrison has exquisite timing on his passes and is able to weight them perfectly as well and can do so from either side of his body. Adding in this is that Zane Harrison can stop on a dime even travelling at full speed and pop the short pass, thus it looks for all money that he is going to run the ball thus the defence converges and then the ball is delivered to a support runner who is through a hole before the defensive line can readjust.

    Zane Harrison also runs with the ball in both hands out in front of his body which is another reason why the defensive line is unable to determine exactly what Zane Harrison is going to do with the ball at any given time. By the time that they have figured it out it is usually too late to stop Zane Harrison.

    Zane Harrison just seems to have all of the time in the world to do what he wants on a rugby league field and is just so calm and composed and seemingly always two or three plays ahead of the opposition and his own team mates on occasion to be honest.

    Defensively Zane Harrison is a very strong young man with exceptional 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.

    Zane Harrison has a very good low tackling technique which is simple and repeatable and effective against all size opponents and thus there is no need for a defensive minder on Zane Harrison’s side of the field.

    In 2022 Zane Harrison will move up to the PBC Langer Cup Open A school boy rugby league squad and will also push for a spot in the South Coast school boy QSSRL U18 school boy representative squad, Zane Harrison is that good.

    Zane Harrison will also be likely to play for the Tweed Heads Seagulls in the Group 18 junior rugby league competition, in 2022 in the U16 age group and may also get an opportunity in the NRRRL U18 competition such is Zane Harrison’s level of maturity, skill and toughness.

    2022 will also see Zane Harrison line up for the U16 Andrew Johns Cup Northern Rivers Titans squad where he will be one of their key play makers.

    Zane Harrison spent considerable time in 2020 and 2021 both at five eight and at fullback and he has the speed, body control, elusiveness and ball skills to have an outstanding future at either. If I am forced to make a call I can see Zane Harrison’s skills and athletic ability translate to the fullback position where he would have more room to move and be in a position to be the second receiver when the ball is played out the back by the half or five eight on either side of the field. I think that Zane Harrison has a dynamic future in the custodian role but he also has outstanding potential in the halves.

    For completeness I note that Zane Harrison spent time at lock in 2019 for Tweed Heads Seagulls Black in the Group 18 U13 competition. In those circumstances Zane Harrison played the role both as a ball runner as well as a ball player, mainly on the right side of the field.

    From my perspective, a talented, unselfish attacking player with similar attributes to Zane Harrison is North Queensland Cowboys and former Melbourne Storm half or fullback Scott Drinkwater. Like Drinkwater, Zane Harrison has great acceleration to go along with a wicked sidestep off both feet, and the play making skills to make opposition teams pay if defences look to focus too much on him rather than his support runners or if individual defenders come out of the line too quickly. Personally however, I think that when he reaches is potential, Zane Harrison’s play making skills will definitely eclipse those of Scott Drinkwater by a fair margin.
    Like Drinkwater, Zane Harrison also has an outstanding short attacking kicking game and an above average kicking game in general to be fair. Also like Drinkwater, Zane Harrison has the comprehensive skill set to play multiple positions, such as fullback, five eight and halfback and play them very effectively over the course of a season or match for that matter.

  5. #1775
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    Tony Francis. The powerhouse former Marsden State High School centre, five eight or fullback is a Titans contracted youngster who in May 2021 signed an NRL Development contract with the Titans after joining the Titans JTS program in early 2021 that will take Tony Francis up until the end of the 2023 rugby league season.

    Tony Francis is undertaking the 2021/22 pre-season with the Titans NRL squad as a member of the Titans Rookie Squad looking to impress Justin Holbrook and the other NRL coaches. Tony Francis currently has a full time Titans NRL Development contract and thus will train fulltime with the Titans NRL squad over the course of the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

    Tony Francis started training with the Titans after a number of seasons in the Brisbane Bronco’s junior development system after moving to Brisbane from Sydney where he was part of the Manly Sea Eagles Junior Development Program.

    In January 2021 Tony Francis was part of the Titans U19 squad that took on the Newcastle Knights in their annual match in Coffs Harbour, starting the match at left centre with the Titans recording an impressive victory 40 – 6 against the Knights.

    Tony Francis’s first involvement in the match was when he chased through a Thomas Weaver midfield high kick and crunched the Knights fullback just as he took possession of the ball.

    Tony Francis performed exceptionally well in the match, scoring in the second half when he charged onto a pass from Oskar Bryant down a short blind side, running over a defender before getting the ball down under heavy pressure.

    Tony Francis proved a handful for the Knights right sided defence on multiple occasions in the match including a bustling first up run when he beat two Knights defenders to make his presence in the match felt. Tony Francis was at it again late in the first half when he surged fifteen metres down field, a majority of which was post contact metres when he ran off a good pass from Oskar Bryant who had darted out of dummy half.

    Tony Francis also had some good moments defensively in the match, including a heavy well timed hit on the Knights right centre (No. 3) early in the match. From a Newcastle scrum win the Knights threw the ball out to their right, with a long pass being thrown to the right centre. Tony Francis identified the situation early and come out of the line to hit the Knights centre front on just a fraction after the ball got to the centre. Tony Francis drove his shoulder literally through the centres chest, stopping all of the Knights, and the centres, momentum.

    A week after the match against the Newcastle Knights Tony Francis once again lined up for the Titans U19’s starting once again at left centre as they took on a Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts squad with the Titans winning 32 – 20 with no conversions attempted.

    Tony Francis did not take long to make an impact in the match, taking a strong hit-up in the opening set of six from the kick with a twelve metre surge down the left side of the field.

    Just minutes later, Tony Francis had an even bigger impact on the match when he charged into a gap, receiving a good pass from Jaylan De Groot in the process to charge fifteen minutes to get the ball down five metres in from the left corner after a twelve metre burst.

    Tony Francis was again in the action in the 25th minute of the first half with yet another strong charge down the left of twenty metres after being put into a gap by Thomas Weaver.

    Tony Francis followed up his 25th minute line break with an even more impressive thirty five metre effort just five minutes later when he rumbled downfield, initially bumping off two defenders who had tried to tackle him chest on. Tony Francis then got rid of two further defenders in quick succession with right arm fends.

    Just weeks after Tony Francis suited up for the Titans against Burleigh, Tony Francis was in a Burleigh jersey lining up for the Bears in a Hastings Deering’s Colts trial against the Easts Tigers at Langland’s Park. Starting at left centre, Tony Francis was one of Burleigh’s best, alongside fellow contracted Titan Isaac Matalavea-Booth in the match that ended up in a twenty all draw.

    Tony Francis was one of the Bears try scorers when he crossed for a powerful try late in the first half. Tony Francis came back underneath Cameron Brown who had run to his right and passed back to Tony Francis who received the ball ten metres out charging onto the ball and beating three defenders to score ten metres away from the left upright.

    Tony Francis also had a first half line break assist, when he showed quick hands to catch and pass to his left to put the Burleigh left winger into space down the left touchline for a thirty metre gain.

    Earlier in the match, in the 25th minute to be precise, Tony Francis made a strong ten metre charge when he, like he did for his try, ran on underneath play with Cameron Brown to make a ten metre gain.

    Defensively Tony Francis was also very strong in the match including a big front on tackle in the 27th minute of the first half on his opposing centre which forced the Easts Tigers centre sideways.

    When he came back onto the field late in the second half, Tony Francis showed his versatility, playing right centre.

    The following week in the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts trial against the Tweed Heads Seagulls, Tony Francis was once again in the starting side but this time at right centre and was once again as his damaging best scoring a first half double as Burleigh rounded out their 2021 Hastings Deering’s trial campaign with a solid win.

    It took only four minutes for Tony Francis to score his first try of the match. Tony Francis was able to get on the outside of his direct opponent within ten metres of the try line and from there was able to hold the defender off with his left arm whilst maintaining his balance and running line to score two metres in from the right corner post.

    Tony Francis’s second try of the first half came in the 20th minute when Tony Francis received the ball on is inside from Jacob Hall and once gain got outside of his opposing defender and bumping off another to get the ball down four metres in from the right corner post.

    In the 24th minute Tony Francis continued his outstanding start to the match with a strong twenty metre charge through centre field, breaking three tackles before three additional Tweed Heads had to commit to the tackle to bring Tony Francis down.

    Tony Francis came back onto the field for his second stint in the second half, once again at right centre and it came as no surprise when in the 62nd minute Tony Francis proved exceptionally difficult to stop. Tony Francis made a great bullocking run across field that ultimately made twenty five metres down field breaking four tackles before he was put on the ground.

    Tony Francis’s strength was highlighted in the 64th minute when he came in off the right side to bend back Tweed Heads Ben Liyou who ran the ball to Tony Francis’s side of the field.

    Tony Francis deservedly took the final hit-up of the match with the final siren sounding just as he was going to ground in his own twenty metre area.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Tony Francis starting the match at right centre for the Titans.

    Round One of the 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition saw Tony Francis start at right centres for the Burleigh Bears when they took on the Easts Tigers with Tony Francis scoring for the Bears in their 42 – 24 opening round victory.

    Tony Francis scored in the 30th minute, once again highlighting his speed and power. After some good work on his inside by his forward’s Tony Francis cut to his left to run an underneath route and receive the hand off from TJ Devery. From there Tony Francis literally ran over the Easts fullback to slam the ball down over the line ten metres in from the right corner post.

    Whilst he cannot be put down for a try assist Tony Francis was involved in Will Evans 50 minute try all be it in a unique way. On his inside, Cameron Brown identified that there was space to the right and threw a long cut out pass. The ball was not going to reach Tony Francis on the full so in an effort to retain possession Tony Francis tried to trap the ball with his left foot, but instead to stopping the ball dead, the ball spun of his foot to the left and directly into the path of Will Evans who picked up the ball ten metres out and was able to dive over between defenders to score near the right corner.

    In the 29th Tony Francis highlighted his explosiveness when he took the tap kick from a Burleigh twenty metre restart, bursting twelve metres downfield with three Easts forwards trying to drag him to the ground.

    Tony Francis showed his wide ranging skill set in the 64th minute with a run that started near the left wing and finished on the opposite side of the field. Initially when he received the ball Tony Francis was forty metres out and hemmed in on three sides, Tony Francis pulled back and cut back towards the centre of the field twice, when he was confronted a third time Tony Francis exquisitely put in a left foot chip that he followed through a retrieved on the first bounce before offloading to his left.

    Whilst his effort did not produce a try or line break it was just a little window to how much skill this young man has.

    Tony Francis produced a more traditional run in the 76th minute when after dummying to his right, Tony Francis put the ball under his arm on the halfway mark and after getting on the outside of his direct opponent made fifteen metres of valuable ground.

    Tony Francis made a statement defensively in the 34th minute when he along with TJ Devery made a heavy driving tackle in the East forward unlucky enough to run the ball towards them from a Burleigh kick-off. Tony Francis added to his defensive credentials in the 42nd minute when he made the correct decision to come out of the line when he was facing an overlap to smash the Easts halfback just as he was about to pass to his right and spring the overlap.

    The 77th minute saw Tony Francis continue to be strong defensively when a great one on one wrapping tackle on the East left centre nullified a promising Tigers attacking raid.

    Tony Francis also started at right centre in the Round Two local derby against the Tweed heads Seagulls and in the 16th minute with Burleigh under pressure, took some of that pressure off coming infield to take a hit-out of his own twenty metre area, with the ten metres that Tony Francis made all hard metres.

    Tony Francis made additional hard earned ground in the 25th minute when he broke two tackles on the way to making ten metres down the right side of the field.

    Tony Francis moved to left centre for Round Three against the Western Mustangs, scoring in the second half in Burleigh’s thirty point victory. Toby Francis moved into dummy half in the 66th minute five metres out from the try line and five metres in from the left touchline. After picking up the ball Tony Francis ran to his left, down the short blind side and powered his way over in the left corner.

    After missing Round Four due to playing for the Titans U19 side, Tony Francis was named to start Round Five against the Northern Pride at left centre however he was a late scratching from the match.

    Round Six against the Townsville Blackhawks saw Tony Francis return to the Burleigh side at left centre and he was at his destructive best in the 20th minute with a hard fought eleven metre run to get to forty metres out from his own line, with the majority of the metres that he made being post contact.

    Tony Francis made an even better run in the 39th minute when he burst thirty two metres down the left touchline, leaving a number of defenders in his wake and then in the 49th minute Tony Francis made another hard fought twelve metres to the forty metre mark after taking a hit-up to the left of the dummy half.

    Tony Francis came desperately close to scoring in the 57th minute after getting down low and running out of dummy half to his left from close range. Somehow the Townsville stopped his centremetres short of the left near the left corner.

    After missing a number of weeks, Tony Francis was back at left centre for Round Nine against the Mackay Cutters and was the Bears sole try scorer in their loss. The match saw Tony Francis score Burleigh’s only try of the match in the 41st minute when after receiving the ball twelve metres from the line, he got on the outside of his direct opponent to get the ball down five metres in from the left corner post.

    Tony Francis started the previously postponed Round Ten match against Wynnum Manly on the wing.

    After a Covid 19 enforced hiatus, Tony Francis was named to start at left centre in Round Sixteen against the Ipswich Jets however Tony Francis started the match at left centre, scoring a try and kicking three conversions from as many attempts including two outstanding left foot conversions from the left touchline including the conversion of his own try.

    Tony Francis scored in the 71st minute after a line break by Blake Campbell. Blake Campbell was in fact over the line when he passed to Tony Francis to score in the left corner.

    Tony Francis also had a 48th minute line break when from right on his own try line, he intercepted an attempted cut-out pass and was able to make seventy metres down the left touchline before being tackled from behind by the Ipswich cover defence.

    Tony Francis’s solid match included a strong run in the 44th minute with a strong sixteen metre effort that got Tony Francis to within two metres of the line.

    Tony Francis was also named to start on the left wing in the rescheduled Round Thirteen match against the Sunshine Coast Falcons with Tony Francis converting Damon Somerville’s try in the 24th minute.

    Tony Francis continued on the left wing in Round Fourteen against the Northern Pride and scored in the 12th minute from six metres out after good work on his inside by Damon Somerville from a Burleigh scrum win with Damon Somerville giving Tony Francis an easy run to the line.

    The match also saw Tony Francis do some good work running the ball out of Burleigh territory including in the 31st minute when he made a strong run from one side of the field to the other making twenty five metres and breaking four tackles.

    Then in the 48th minute, Tony Francis made a strong run of fifteen metres after running out of dummy half.

    At the 2021 Queensland Rugby League Awards Night Tony Francis finished with three votes for the Hastings Deering’s Colts Player of the Season Award.

    In 2020 Tony Francis was part of the Marsden State High School Langer Cup Open A school boy side spending time at both five eight and left centre for the Mako’s.

    Tony Francis started Round One of the 2020 Langer Cup at five eight for Marsden State High School against St Mary’s College Toowoomba and also started at five eight in Round Two against Keebra Park. Round Three of the 2020 Langer Cup against Wavell State High School saw Tony Francis line up at five eight once again and in Round Five against PBC.

    Tony Francis was also part of the Marsden State High School boy rugby league program in 2019, including playing in the Queensland GIO Cup School Boy Grand Final against Townsville’s Kirwan State High School, with Tony Francis making one memorable line break in the second half down the left side of the field which ultimately led to a try to TC Robati. Unfortunately Marsden SHS went down in the Grand Final to their North Queensland opponents.

    Tony Francis was simply dominating over the course of the 2019 school boy season in both the GIO Cup and the Langer Cup school boy cup competitions and a description of some of his multiple impressive moments are noted below:

    Playing left centre against PBC, Tony Francis chased through a short stab kick towards the PBC right corner post, Tony Francis wanted the ball more than the three PBC defenders trying to defuse the kick but Tony Francis bustled this way through the take the ball off a head high bounce and after flipping over a PBC defender was able to get the ball down three metres in from the left corner post.

    Tony Francis recorded an outstanding try assist against Wavell State High School when he produced an outstanding flick pass off load out of the back of his left arm to his unmarked left winger to score in the left corner.

    Against Ipswich State High School, Tony Francis produced in of the most outstanding pieces of play that I saw in school boy rugby league in 2019. Playing at left centre, Tony Francis split the Ipswich SHS right sided defence twenty metres out from his own line with the cover defence coming from everywhere. Tony Francis was initially dragged down just over the halfway mark but the tackler fell off Tony Francis, who smartly get back to his feet whilst surrounded by defenders to continue his run. Tony Francis then drew the Ipswich SHS fullback to send his left winger away untouched to the try line.

    One of the first occasions that Tony Francis wore a Marsden jersey was in early 2019 when a Marsden Open side played a trial against a Wests Tigers Development U17 side. Tony Francis had an outstanding match, including a superb long range line break. Tony Francis, playing left centre, took a pass fifty five metres out above his head. Tony Francis produced an outstanding left arm fend to beat the initial attempted tackle before cutting back to his right to beat another. IT was only a last ditch effort that dragged Tony Francis down just short of the line.

    2019 also saw Tony Francis represent Met East at the QSSRL U18 Championships where he was impressive with his hard charging runs and one handed off loads, alternating between starting and coming off the bench.

    In 2019 Tony Francis also represented Tonga U18’s at the QPIIC Carnival scoring an outstanding try against Samoa. Tony Francis charged onto the ball from a pass from the dummy half to the left of the play the ball from fifteen metres out, dragging two Samoan defenders with him with those two defenders still trying to hold on even as Tony Francis crashed over the line.

    Tony Francis has also played some club rugby since his move from Sydney, playing for the Colleges Knights in the Gold Coast District Rugby competition, primarily at outside centre. Some of his tries in club rugby for Colleges Knights when he terrorised the Helensvale Hogs are noted below.

    Playing outside centre (No. 13) Tony Francis was operating on the left side of the field when he took receipt of the ball seventy five metres out from the try line in space. Tony Francis highlighted his impressive speed to outpace the sliding defensive line before producing a strong right arm palm to get rid of the Hornets fullback and bring the ball around under the posts to make the conversion a simple one.

    Tony Francis was defending on the left side of the field when the Helensvale fullback kicked to try to clear the ball away from his own territory. Tony Francis took the clearing kick on the full forty two metres out from the Hogs line and brushed past two defenders, one with a fend and another with a shoulder into the defender to score in the left corner.

    Probably Tony Francis’s best try of the three against Helensvale came once again when he was on the left side of the field. Tony Francis received the ball forty five metres out from the Hogs line whilst he was standing still after it appeared that the attacking play had broken down. Tony Francis exploded off the mark, cutting to his right to beat the first defender, stepping off his right foot to beat the second to break into open space before outpacing the Hogs fullback to dive over to score in the left corner.

    Tony Francis moved to Brisbane in early 2019 after playing for the Manly Sea Eagles in the U16 Harold Matthews Cup in 2018 including starting in the Harold Matthews Cup Grand Final against the Parramatta at five eight and scoring as the Sea Eagles won the premiership decider 26 – 18.

    Tony Francis’s first match in the 2018 Harold Matthews Cup competition for Manly came in Round Two when he started at left centre against the Parramatta Eels. Tony Francis maintained his place at left centre in Round Two against the Bulldogs and also started there in Round Three against the Central Coast Roosters, a match which saw Tony Francis score his first points of the competition, kicking three conversions.

    Tony Francis had a big match in Round Five against the Illawarra Steelers in Round Five from left centre scoring two tries and kicking three conversions for a fourteen point individual haul. Tony Francis then eclipsed that in Round Six against the Canberra Raiders scoring eighteen points from a try and seven conversions and added eight points from a try and two goals against the Balmain Tigers in Round Seven.

    Tony Francis moved to five eight for Round Eight against St George kicking a conversions and in Round Eight started at half against the Western Suburbs Magpies adding a try and a conversions to his 2018 points haul.

    In Week One of the finals against the Parramatta Eels Tony Francis started at half before moving to five eight for Week Three of the Finals against the Penrith Panthers and as noted above Tony Francis started the Grand Final at five eight.

    In total in the 2018 U16 Harold Matthews Cup for the Manly Sea Eagles, Tony Francis played in eleven matches and scored fifty eight points from six tries and seventeen conversions.

    Tony Francis’s try against the Balmain Tigers in Round Seven came when after he received the ball in a reasonable amount of space, Tony Francis stepped off his right foot and produced a sild fend to break through the Tigers defensive line and then it was a twenty metre surge to the try line for the left centre.

    As noted above Tony Francis also scored in the 2018 Harold Matthews Grand Final. Tony Francis received the ball two passes to the left of the play the ball just to the right of the goal posts twelve metres out. Tony Francis immediately broke two tackles and dragged three other Eels defenders over the line to get the ball down under heavy pressure two metres from the right goal post.

    Tony Francis is a powerfully built hard running left centre (and occasional five eight) who seems to have a preference to run over an opponent rather than beating them with speed and guile. Tony Francis however does have the size, strength and power to achieve his goal. Tony Francis runs straight and hard and drops his shoulder into his opposing defender making him difficult to tackle one on one.

    In terms of speed for a centre Tony Francis, I would argue that it is above average for a centre in relation to Tony Francis but it plays faster than that as a result of the strength and power that he runs with as well as the fact that for his size Tony Francis has a very good initial burst once he receives the ball.

    Tony Francis can beat a defender on the outside or use a step to create an overlap but his most outstanding feature from an attacking perspective is his power and hard straight running and to be fair that is the trait that he uses more often than not.

    Defensively Tony Francis is certainly a hard hitter and often looks to come out of the line in an attempt to hit the ball carrier around the same time as they are receiving the ball, consequently he seems more comfortable defending with an up and in methodology but Tony Francis does have the recovery speed if an attacker beats him for pace and gets on his outside, however his plus lateral movement as well as his speed negates some of the concern about an opposing centre getting on his outside, Tony Francis is a able to mirror the movement of his opponent and commit to the tackle at the appropriate moment.

    Tony Francis will play the 2022 season in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition with the Burleigh Bears for the second season in a row and will also push for playing time in the Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade competition as well as potentially a Queensland Cup debut in late 2022 for Tony Francis.

    2022 will also see Tony Francis continue to train fulltime with the Titans NRL squad as a result of his NRL Development contract with Tony Francis’s NRL Development contract going through until the end of the 2023 season.

    Even though Tony Francis has played in the halves, mainly five eight and at fullback on occasion in both Sydney for Manly and in Brisbane for Marsden State High School, Tony Francis has played his best rugby league at left centre, and at times on the right, including for the Titans U19 side and Burleigh Colts on 2021 where he can use his size, power and strong right fend to cause havoc wide out on the left or right side of the field, and thus the Titans will give Tony Francis an extended look at centre before even remotely contemplating any positional switch to either the wing or potentially even the second row.

    For me with his penchant for looking to run over his direct opponent if necessary and physically intimidating them at every opportunity, Tony Francis has a playing style akin to that of a bigger faster version of Titan and former New Zealand Warrior Patrick Herbert with a touch of former Titan and current English Super League centre Konrad Hurrell added in from a pure physicality perspective.

    Tony Francis plays with a real mean streak and on occasion can sail close to the wind but when he controls it and channels that aggression in the correct manner, Tony Francis is as close to unstoppable and damaging as a 20 year old centre can be.

  6. #1776
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    Ryan Foran. The outstanding left second rower is part of a cohort of young northern New South Wales juniors coming through the ranks together who are rapidly making a name for themselves in the Titans outstanding JTS program run by Jamie McCormack. The above mentioned cohort also includes Thomas Weaver, Oskar Bryant, Reef Sommerville and Jack Cullen.

    Impressively Ryan Foran in November 2021 commenced the NRL pre-season training with the Titans main NRL squad after signing a two year deal to train with the Titans NRL squad in October 2021. Ryan Foran will also be part of the Titans Rookie Squad over the next two seasons.

    In late 2021 it was confirmed that Ryan Foran would play the 2022 season as part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts squad and Ryan Foran is also Colts eligible in 2023.

    Also in late 2021 Ryan Foran was part of the Titans NRL squad that undertook a joint training session with ninety members of the Titans JTS Program.

    In early January 2021 Ryan Foran started at left second row for the Titans U19 side in their annual match against the Newcastle Knights in Coffs Harbour with Ryan Foran scoring in the first half in the Titans impressive 40 – 6 victory on a shockingly hot and muggy afternoon.

    From a play the ball a metre out from the Newcastle line, Ryan Foran charged onto the ball, cutting back towards the play the ball and receiving a pass from hooker Ediq Ambrosyev who had darted out of dummy half to the left side of the field. Ryan Foran was immediately confronted by two Knights defenders but as soon as he made contact, Ryan Foran Spun 360 degree clockwise to break contact and then was able to dive over to score around mid-way between the goal post and corner post on the left side of the field.

    Ryan Foran was in the action almost immediately after the kick-off, being involved in a solid hit in the third tackle after the Titans kicked off, with the tackle driving the Newcastle opponent sideways. Also involved in the tackle was Jack Cullen.

    Ryan Foran’s first touch of the ball in attack came a minute or so later when he came back underneath Thomas Weaver, running directly over one Knights defender before being brought down by two more after a twelve metre charge.

    A week after the match against the Newcastle Knights Ryan Foran once again lined up for the Titans U19’s starting at left second row as the Titans took on a Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts squad with the Titans winning 32 – 20 with no conversions attempted.

    It did not take long for Ryan Foran in make an impact in the match when he produced a strong fifteen surge down the left side of the field on the second tackle of the set of six after the Titans first try.

    Ryan Foran was one of the Titans first half try scorers in the 32 – 20 victory, when he dived over from close range near the left corner in the 20th minute of the match after receiving a long pass out of dummy half from Thomas Weaver with the pass finding Ryan Foran outside the widest Burleigh defender on that side of the field.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Ryan Foran starting the match on the bench for the Titans.

    In November 2020 Ryan Foran was named in the Tweed Heads Seagulls 2021 MM Cup squad.

    Ryan Foran started from the bench for the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup side in their first 2021 trial which was against the Easts Tigers at Langland’s Park and was one of the Seagulls best in their 28 – 12 first up victory.

    In the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup sides second trial against Burleigh, Ryan Foran started the second half at left second row recording an impressive late match line break and a subsequent try assist.

    Mid-way through the second half Ryan Foran steamed onto the ball forty eight metres out from the line, utilising a slight step off his left foot to break through the Burleigh defensive line and then Ryan Foran positioned his support in Keano Kini perfectly to draw the fullback and pass to his left for Kini to sprint twenty five metres to put the ball down under the posts.

    Ryan Foran was involved early in the set of six from the kick restart of the second half, taking two hit-ups including a twenty five metre burst down the left side of the field that included breaking two tackles. Later in the second half, Ryan Foran once again proved difficult to stop for the Burleigh right sided defence when he charged eighteen metres before three defenders eventually brought him to ground.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row in Tweed Heads final 2021 MM Cup final against the Souths Logan Magpies at Civic Park in Logan in Brisbane’s south.

    Ran Foran was immediately in the match, taking part in the first tackle of the match along with Jack Cullen when the two Titans contracted forwards brought down Souths Logan front rower and fellow Titans contracted player Sione Fotuaika who had taken the hit-up from the kick-off.

    Ryan Foran was also part of an impressive Tweed Heads Seagulls attacking sequence in the second minute of the third quarter. Keano Kini produced a great right arm around the corner off-load to Ryan Foran who charged fifteen metres downfield before drawing a defender and passing to his left to Kaleb Ngamanu who raced thirty metres downfield before being bundled into touch just metres short of the left corner post.

    Late in the third quarter, Ryan Foran charged into the Souths Logan Magpies defence from a penalty restart making an impressive twenty metres, at least half of which post contact, with the run finishing inside the Souths Logan Magpies twenty metre area.

    In Round One of the 2021 MM Cup competition, Ryan Foran started at left second row against the Ipswich Jets and was in the action on just the third hit-up of the match when he came back underneath Thomas Weaver, pushing the Ipswich defensive line back a couple of metres.

    Ryan Foran highlighted how difficult he is to get to the ground in the 13th minute when he burst twelve metres down the left side of the field with the majority of those metres post contact and made his way to within eight metres of the line being stopped.

    Ryan Foran is also a strong defender and the Ipswich Jets halfback found that out in the 31st minute of the match when Ryan Foran flew out of the line to monster him just as he was trying to pass to his right. After the tackle Ryan Foran certainly let him know about it.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row in Round Two against the Souths Logan Magpies scoring late in the first half (31st minute) when he received the ball in the left thirteen metres out, bumping off one defender to cross the line out wide and then Ryan Foran was able to bring the ball around closer to the posts.

    Ryan Foran made another strong surge in the 41st minute, making thirteen metres down the left side of the field dragging a Souths Logan defender along for the ride.

    Ryan Foran showed his desperation in defence in the 55th minute when he along with Oskar Bryant both got underneath the Souths Logan hooker to hold him up over the line after he had tried to sneak over from dummy half to the right of the play the ball.

    Ryan Foran once again started at left second row in the Round Three Gold Coast derby against the Burleigh Bears making an early contribution with a run that made twelve metres in the 12th minute of the match from a penalty restart.

    Ryan Foran added to his strong match in the 23rd minute with a run that accounted for twenty valuable metres from the kick-off after Blake Mozer had scored. After receiving the ball on the ten metre mark, Ryan Foran was able to get the ball thirty seven metres away from his own line before eventually being wrestled to the ground by multiple Bears defenders.

    Late in the first half Ryan Foran was on hand to continue to put pressure on Burleigh when he along with Kaleb Ngamanu was on hand to drag the Burleigh right winger into touch just out from his own line after he took a bomb on the field in the left corner.

    In the 57th minute Ryan Foran produced probably his best run of the match with a twenty metre hit-up which including a left foot step to get out of the Seagulls won twenty metre area.

    Ryan Foran was also named to start at left second row for Round Four match against the Ipswich Jets and produced a strong performance on the left side of the field, with the first of his multiple contributions coming in just the 5th minute with a run down a short left blindside of twelve metres that to take Tweed Heads across the halfway mark. Later in the same set of six, Ryan Foran made a further fifteen metres to get the Seagulls into their attacking twenty metre zone.

    Ryan Foran recorded a try assist in the 19th minute, when he received a pass from Thomas Weaver down a short left blindside and ran downfield before passing to his left to Kruz Remine who once again crossed in the left corner.

    Ryan Foran’s slick hands were on display in the 29th minute when he reacted quickly to get his hands down low and to his right to cleanly take an Ipswich grubber kick and then Ryan Foran was able to bring the ball back towards the twenty metre mark.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row in Round Five against the Souths Logan Magpies and was one of the Seagulls try scorers in the 38 – 14 victory.

    After being rested in Round Six, Ryan Foran was named at left second row for the Seagulls Semi-final against Wynnum Manly and was in the match early, being involved in the Seagulls first tackle of the match when he chased through a Thomas Weaver kick into the left corner.

    Ryan Foran made a strong run in the 31st minute, making twelve metres and getting to within twenty five metres of the Wynnum Manly line.

    Ryan Foran recorded a try assist in the 45th minute when backed up a Seagulls break down the left touchline and was on hand to retrieve an inside kick from left winger Elijah Lui and passed to his right to Jaylan De Groot who dived over under the posts.

    In the 2021 MM Cup Queensland Grand Final against the Townsville Blackhawks, Ryan Foran once again started at left second row as the Seagulls defeated Townsville 30 – 24 to claim back to back MM Cup Championships.

    Ryan Foran was in the match early, making a strong run that accounted for twelve metres in the 7th minute to get Tweed Heads inside the attacking twenty metre area. Ryan Foran then made a start play in the 8th minute when he chased through a Thomas Weaver grubber kick and got to the Townsville fullback who had made it out of the in-goal. Ryan Foran however was able to hold the fullback off the ground and then force him back into the in-goal.

    Post the 2021 MM Cup competition, Ryan Foran was back playing for the Murwillumbah Mustangs in the NRRRL U18 competition, with his first appearance coming in Round Six when he started at left second row in the U18 competition as the Mustangs took on the Kyogle Turkeys.

    To say that Ryan Foran was outstanding in the match would be an understatement. In addition to scoring a hat trick, Ryan Foran recorded two try assists, two line breaks and two line break assists just to round off a Man of the Match performance.

    Ryan Foran’s opening try of his hat trick performance came in the 13th minute when he received the ball on the left forty metres from the line, easily bumping off the initial defender who attempted to engage him before using his right arm to palm off the second. From there Ryan Foran produced a right foot step to easily round the fullback and bring the ball around to put it down under the posts.

    Ryan Foran’s second try came in the 26th minute when he ran a great outside shoulder line from eighteen metres out, breaking three tackles on his run to the line and once again was able to bring the ball around to put it down under the posts.

    Ryan Foran completed his hat trick in the 48th minute when Riley Lack put up a huge bomb from near midfield which the Kyogle defence could not handle, Ryan Foran charged through to dive on the loose ball in the in-goal.

    Ryan Foran recorded the first of his two try assists in the match in the 3rd minute when after receiving the ball forty seven metres out he kept running to his left, using a right arm fend to gain separation from two defenders before getting a pass away to his left for his fullback to dive over in the left corner.

    Ryan Foran added a second try assist in the 41st minute when after he was put into a gap by a great ball from Byron Jones on halfway, Ryan Foran ran thirty metres downfield before passing to his left to put the Mustangs replacement left centre over in the left corner.

    The 45th minute saw Ryan Foran record a line break assist when the ball was passed in his direction thirty metres out from his own line, Ryan Foran had to reach forward and down low to take receipt of the ball before passing the ball to his left in one motion to put his support runner away on a thirty five metre run down the left touchline.

    Ryan Foran broke the line himself in the 51st minute with a twenty metre line break before off-loading to his left with three would be tacklers on the ground in his wake.

    After Murwillumbah’s Round Nine match against the Tweed Coast Raiders was postponed, Ryan Foran was named to come off the bench for Round Ten against the Cudgen Hornets.

    Round Seven of the NRRRL First Grade competition saw Ryan Foran come off the bench for Murwillumbah and play in the left second row position in their big 60 – 6 victory over Byron Bay.

    Ryan Foran also was named to start from the bench in Round Eight against Northern United and was also named on the bench in Round Twelve against Northern United once again when he scored in the 78th minute when he followed through a break, receiving the ball twenty metres out and crossing the line untouched.

    Round Thirteen against the Ballina Seagulls saw Ryan Foran named to start at right second row.

    In mid-February 2021 Ryan Foran was named at left second row in the school boy Oceanic Opens side for the South Coast school boy QSSRL U18 trial against Broadwater. Following the final round of trials, Ryan Foran was named in the 2021 South Coast U18 school boy QSSRL squad in the left second row position.

    Ryan Foran started at left second row in South Coast’s Day One match against Met North getting into the action in just the 2nd minute he took South Coast’s first hit-up of the match after team mate Kaleb Ngamanu had taken a Met North clearing kick on the full inside his own territory.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row on Day Two as South Coast took on Met East and scored in the 10th minute when he ran twenty metres off a Nicholas Hilton off-load and was able to bring the ball around to put it down near the goal posts.

    On Day Three against Capricornia Ryan Foran once again start at left second row and had a line break assist when he was able to get a great ball away to his left to Kaleb Ngamanu who made a forty metre line break down the left touchline, then as he was confronted by the cover defence, Kaleb Ngamanu got the ball back inside to Ryan Foran.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row in the Championship Final against Met North, scoring in the 22nd minute when after great work on his inside by Thomas Weaver who had picked up a wickedly bouncing ball and threw a cut-out ball to his left in one motion. Subsequently Ryan Foran ran into space to score wide out on the left.

    Ryan Foran also made some strong defensive efforts in the match including in the 16th minute when he along with Thomas Weaver forced Met North back five metres to just out from his own line.

    At the completion of the Championships, Ryan Foran was named at left second row in the 2021 QSSRL U18 School Boy Merit Team.

    In late August 2021 Ryan Foran was also named at left second row in the 2021 Australian School Boys U18 Merit Team alongside fellow Titans contracted players, Thomas Weaver and Jack Cullen.

    2021 also saw Ryan Foran line up once again for PBC State High School in the South East Queensland School Boy Langer Cup competition starting Round One at left second row against Ipswich State High School.

    Ryan Foran scored a key try in the match after PBC SHS had fallen behind early. Ryan Foran ran the ball down the left channel in the 24th minute, receiving the ball ten metres out and through sheer strength and determination, Ryan Foran pushed through three defenders to get the ball down with defenders still hanging off him three metres out from the left upright.

    In addition to his try, Ryan Foran also made a number of telling runs, firstly in the 11th minute when his strong run made fourteen metres to get within thirty metres of the line, then in the 48th minute, a Ryan Foran jink to the left saw him get to within eight metres of the line after his run started twenty metres out.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row in Round Two against St Mary’s College Toowoomba and was easily the best player on the field in PBC’s big win, scoring a double as well as recording a try assist.

    Ryan Foran’s opening try of the match came in just the 8th minute when from twelve metres out from the line on the left side of the field he ran an outside shoulder route and after receiving the pass from Thomas Weaver, Ryan Foran charged through a gap to get the ball down three metres in from the left corner post.

    Ryan Foran completed his try scoring double in the 31st minute when after earlier good work from Thomas Weaver and Hunter Plogema, Ryan Foran ran thirty metres untouched to put the ball down next to the left upright.

    Ryan Foran recorded his try assist in the 44th minute when he threw a hard flat cut-out pass to his left from just ten metres from the line to put Hunter Plogema into space down the touchline with the PBC left winger getting the ball down in the left corner.

    Ryan Foran also made a line break in the 43rd minute when he burst away down the left, charging twenty metres before getting a pass away to his left.

    Ryan Foran continued at left second row in Round Three against Coombabah State High School and took the second hit-up of the match and in the 58th minute added a twenty metre run down the left channel to easily get over the halfway mark.

    Ryan Foran continued at left second row in the Round Four blockbuster against Marsden State High School with Ryan Foran scoring in the 48th minute when he ran an underneath route down a short left blindside from four metres out after Oskar Bryant had darted to his left out of dummy half and get the ball inside to Ryan Foran.

    Ryan Foran’s first key contribution of the match came in the 14th minute when he executed a great ball and all tackle down a short blindside to prevent the Marsden SHS right centre from scoring with Ryan Foran’s tackle stopping his opponent dead a metre from the try line.

    Ryan Foran produced another outstanding tackle in the 36th minute when as the Marsden SHS fullback was bringing the ball off his own line, Ryan Foran flew out of marker to his right to smash the fullback and force the ball loose.

    Ryan Foran continued at left second row for the much anticipated Round Five local derby against Keebra Park State High School as well as in Round Six against Mabel Park State high School.

    After the competition was suspended for a number of weeks due to a Covid 19 lock down, Ryan Foran was named at left second row for PBC State High School in their semi-final against Keebra Park State High School with Ryan Foran taking the second hit-up of the match.

    Ryan Foran was on hand in the 12th minute to help prevent a Keebra Park when he along with Thomas Weaver and Keano Kini held up one of the Keebra Park front rowers over the line.

    Ryan Foran also produced a smart piece of play in the 49th minute when with Keebra Park on the attack, Ryan Foran produced a great one on one steal. Ryan Foran was not content with that and broke away down field on a sixty metre run where he was eventually brought to ground from behind then metres from the try line. Ryan Foran then got to his feet quickly to affect a quick play the ball with Keano Kini scoring from the resulting play on the opposite side of the field.

    In the 2021 Langer Cup Grand Final against Marsden State High School, Ryan Foran was named to start at left second row for PBC and scored a second half double to lead PBC to an impressive 22 – 18 victory.

    The first of Ryan Foran’s two tries came in the 42nd minute when Ryan Foran ran out of dummy half down a short left blindside from close to the line. Initially Ryan Foran was held up short of the line but was able to twist clockwise and get the ball down in the left corner.

    Ryan Foran completed his double in the 47th minute when he charged over down the left channel from twelve metres out to score seven metres in from the left corner post.

    Ryan Foran was also solid defensively in the match, including in the 32nd minute when he stopped the Marsden SHS hooker from scoring with a great try saving tackle.

    Post the completion of the 2021 Langer Cup competition, Ryan Foran was named in the second row in the Courier Mail’s 2021 Langer Cup Team of the Season.

    Ryan Foran was then named at left second row for PBC SHS in the Queensland Open School Boys Final (Phil Hall Cup) against St Brendan’s College Yeppoon with Ryan Foran scoring one of PBC’s tries in their massive 62 – 0 Grand Final victory.

    Ryan Foran scored in the 46th minute when he ran off a Thomas Weaver pass just five metres out from the line and crashed over eight metres in from the left corner post.

    Ryan Foran almost had a double but in the 32nd minute he was held up over the line and the ball stripped.

    Ryan Foran’s initial contribution in the match came in the 5th minute when he made a twenty metre line break down the left side of the field, getting the ball to the halfway mark before he was put to ground.

    At the 2021 PBC Sports Awards Presentation Ryan Foran was awarded the Craig Weston Medal for the PBC State High School Open A Player of the Year.

    At the end of the 2021 school boy season, Ryan Foran was named at No. 16 in the Courier Mail Top 60 school boys from the GPS Rugby, AIC Rugby and Langer Cup competitions.

    After returning from a long term injury Ryan Foran was named on the Northern Rivers Titans extended bench for Round Three of the 2020 U18 Laurie Daley Cup competition against the Central Coast Roosters. Ryan Foran however ended up starting the match at left second row scoring a double with both tries coming off passes from fellow Titan Thomas Weaver.

    Ryan Foran and Thomas Weaver have developed a great understanding on the left over the last couple of seasons and that combination was on display multiple times once again in the 2020 U18 Laurie Daley Cup competition for the Northern Rivers Titans as it was for the 2019 Northern Rivers Titans U16 Andrew Johns Cup Grand Final winning side.

    Ryan Foran’s first try in Round Three resulted when he ran an outside shoulder route close to the Central Coast Roosters line to crash over. Ryan Foran scored his second try in the second half when he backed up a Thomas Weaver break to take the pass when Thomas Weaver drew the fullback to run twenty metres to score near the left corner.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row in Round Four against the Greater Northern Tigers and in the Round Five local derby against North Coast scoring the Titans first try when he followed through a Thomas Weaver stab kick to pouch on the ball when the North Coast defence could not handle the bouncing ball.

    Also in 2020 Ryan Foran was part of the PBC Langer Cup Open A school boy rugby league squad however due to injury Ryan Foran was not able to take the field for PBC when the competition commenced.

    After missing the opening rounds of the competition Ryan Foran was named to start from the bench for the Round Three local derby against Keebra Park and started at left second row in rounds four and five against Keebra Park and Marsden State High Schools respectively.

    Ryan Foran started the 2020 Langer Cup Grand Final from the interchange bench for PBC as they defeated Keebra Park 16 – 8 in a high quality match, playing on the left side of the field when he came on.

    In the Queensland School Boys Final against Kirwan State High School Ryan Foran was named to start on the bench as PBC travelled to take on their North Queensland based opponents but came in the starting side at left centre late on the day of the match in PBC’s tough 24 – 20 loss.

    Ryan Foran played the 2020 club season with Murwillumbah, making his NRRRL First Grade debut in Round Eight when he came off the bench in Round Eight against the Bilambil Jets. Ryan Foran also came off the bench in the 2020 NRRRL First Grade Major Semi-final against the Tweed Coast Raiders, spending time on both sides of the field.

    Ryan Foran started from the bench and made some telling second half surges through the centre of the ruck as Murwillumbah prevailed 20 – 18 to earn a spot in the Grand Final. Ryan Foran also came off the bench in the Grand Final against the Tweed Coast Raiders. In the Mustangs 24 – 18 loss, Ryan Foran played in the left second row position when he came on and could have scored a late try when he ran into space from around twenty metres out, instead of just running straight to the line, Ryan Foran guaranteed the Mustangs scored when he passed to left to his left centre.

    Ryan Foran was also a key member of the Murwillumbah U18 NRRRL side in 2020 leading them to the Grand Final. Ryan Foran started at right second row and was prominent throughout as the Mustangs went down 28 – 16 to the Cudgen Hornets in a bad tempered Grand Final.

    The young Murwillumbah Colts and Titans contracted second rower donned a Titans jersey early in 2019 when he started for the Titans U16 side in their match against the Newcastle Knights Harold Matthews squad in Coffs Harbour in January.

    Ryan Foran started the match at left second row and played on the left side of the field for the entire match and in fact was named as the Titans best in incredibly hot conditions.

    Ryan Foran was also part of the Titans U15 side that defeated the Western Mustangs six tries to three in March 2018 at Nerang. Just like in this seasons match against the Knights, Ryan Foran started in the second row playing on the left side of the ruck in the first half but then switched to the right side when he came back on in the second highlighting his versatility.

    Ryan Foran also started at left second row for the Titans U15’s late in 2018 year when they defeated a Balmain Tigers U15 touring side 16 – 10 at Cudgen.

    Along with fellow Murwillumbah High School student Riley Lack, Ryan Foran signed a Titans contract in 2018.

    In Round One of the 2019 U18 Andrew Johns Cup competition Ryan Foran started in his usual left second row position for the Northern Rivers Titans in their match against the Newcastle Knights Development Squad and scored a great first half try when he ran a great outside shoulder route and received a good short ball from Thomas Weaver to run thirty metres to score basically untouched.

    Round Two of the 2019 Andrew Johns Cup competition saw Ryan Foran once again line up in the left second row position in their match against Parramatta and scored a similar try to what he scored in Round One, once again running a good outside shoulder route and receiving a good pass from half Thomas Weaver.

    Round Three against the North Coast Bulldogs saw Ryan Foran start at left second row for the third match in a row but in the first minute took a knock and it looked like his match was over early. Thankfully Ryan Foran was able to come back onto the field later in the first half and scored a typical try of his when he combined on the left with half Thomas Weaver to score. In all three rounds so far to two have combined for tries in very similar fashion.

    Ryan Foran also scored in the second half when he charged forty metres down the left touch line to score after receiving a great offload from lock Bailey Cox. Ryan Foran could have scored four in the match, after just failing to handle a difficult pass with the line open and late in the second half was denied a try when he was held up over the North Coast line.

    As usual in Round Four against the Central Coast Roosters Ryan Foran started at left second row and scored a first half double. Both tries were similar in nature, with Ryan Foran running an outside shoulder route and being provided with a pass from half Thomas Weaver.

    For his first try Ryan Foran crashed over from around five metres out and the second was scored from a Titans scrum win around twenty metres out from the Central Coast line when Ryan Foran split the defensive line and won the race to the try line.

    For the fifth round in a row Ryan Foran started at left second row in Round Five against the Greater Northern Tigers and scored once again when he ran off a pass from the dummy half Jordan Gallagher to crash over in the left corner from around four metres out.

    Ryan Foran almost had a second, when from a Titans fed scrum ten metres out from his own line, Ryan Foran took the ball first off the scrum, bursting through the defence on an eighty seven metre run only to be dragged down two metres out. The Northern Rivers Titans scored two plays later through front rower Noah Johannssen.

    Once again Ryan Foran was outstanding at left second row for the Titans in their 26 – 14 semi-final victory over Penrith especially defensive on the left side of the ruck. In attack Ryan Foran scored yet again and the try again was as a result of his great understanding of the field with Thomas Weaver. The Titans half took the ball to the line and pop a good shot ball to Ryan Foran who ran a good outside shoulder route to crash over from short range.

    In the 2019 U16 Andrew Johns Cup Grand Final against the Western Rams Ryan Foran started in the left second row position in the Northern Rivers Titans 18 – 6 victory.

    Post the victory Ryan Foran was named on the second row for the New South Wales Country U16 side for their November 2019 three match tour of the United Kingdom and was also named in the New South Wales U16 36 man train on squad and was one of only four New South Wales Country players in the squad, two others being fellow Titans Thomas Weaver and Riley Lack.

    The New South Wales Country U16 side played a New South Wales U16 Harold Matthews squad as a curtain raiser to the Penrith/Warriors NRL match on a Friday night at Penrith Park in May. Ryan Foran started the match at left second row.

    Impressively less than 48 hours later Ryan Foran lined up for Murwillumbah in their 25 – 24 NRRRL U18 Round Seven win over Byron Bay.

    After that match, Ryan Foran was selected in the New South Wales U16 side that defeated a U16 Pasifika team 36 – 6 at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday 9 June with Ryan Foran starting the match from the bench and came very close to scoring in the second half when he ran onto a pass from Thomas Weaver only to be dragged down just short of the line.

    The week after being part of the 2019 U16 Northern Rivers Titans side that won the Andrew Johns Cup Ryan Foran made his U18 NRRRL debut when he came on for Murwillumbah in their 36 – 0 loss to Cudgen in Round Three of the 2019 NRRRL competition.

    Ryan Foran scored his first tries in the U18 NRRRL competition in Round Eight against the Tweed Heads Seagulls, scoring a double as Murwillumbah won 28 – 14.

    In total in the U18 NRRRL regular season Ryan Foran played in ten matches scoring three tries. In addition to his Round Eight double Ryan Foran also scored in Round Twelve against Lower Clarence.

    Ryan Foran’s 2019 NRRRL U18 season ended when his Murwillumbah side were defeated 26 – 10 by Byron Bay in the U18 Elimination Final.

    In 2019 Ryan Foran was named joint Player of the Year for the Group 18 U16 Junior Rugby League competition with fellow Titan Thomas Weaver. Considering how the two of them combined on the field it was fitting that they shared the award.

    After the completion of the 2018 season Ryan Foran and fellow Group 18 U15 team mates headed overseas to play in the Battlefield Challenge to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, a competition that the side won including victories against Emory Moor 12 – 6 and Leigh East 18 – 12.

    In a warm up match in England prior to the Tournament they defeated a Hemel Stags U16 side and post the Tournament defeated French side Aude Cathare. A number of other Titans players will also be involved in the tour including Keegan Pace, Jack Cullen, Ryan Foran, Reef Sommerville, Keegan Pace and Byron Jones.

    To cap off an impressive junior representative year in2018, Ryan Foran was selected in the New South Wales Combined High Schools (CHS) U15 side for the U15 ASSRL Championships and lined up against a number of Titans boys in the two Queensland sides being Queensland Maroon and Queensland White and the New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges side which contained Titans contracted half back Thomas Weaver amongst other Titans linked players. Titans contracted fullback or centre Rowan Mansfield was a team mate in the NSW CHS U15 side as is fellow Murwillumbah High School student Riley Lack.

    Ryan Foran was one of ten Titans contracted U15 players that were involved in the 2018 U15 ASSRL Championships.

    At the 2018 Championships Ryan Foran played in four matches being against Queensland Maroon, New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges twice and New South Wales Combined Independent Colleges, scoring against NSW CCC in his third match of the Championships.

    In 2017 Ryan Foran started in the second row for the Group 18 U14 side that competed in the New South Wales Country Rugby League U14 Championships playing three matches against Maitland, Group One and Newcastle in the Northern Plate Final.

    Fellow Titans linked youngsters in the 2017 Group 18 U14 side was outstanding Titans contracted half back Thomas Weaver who was also a team mate of Ryan Foran when he played for the Titans U15 Invitational side against the Western Mustangs in early 2018.

    For his age group Ryan Foran is a tall athlete and this can be seen when be he is running with the ball. In his hit ups Ryan Foran carries the ball with pace and is very good at running on the fringes of the ruck especially on the left side.

    Ryan Foran uses foot work prior to the line to look to break through as well as cutting either cutting back in behind the play the ball or cutting out towards the smaller defenders on the fringes of the ruck.

    One trait that stands out every time that you see him play is that Ryan Foran runs with speed into the defensive line and his foot work prior to the line enables him to get partly through the line on a number of occasions. Ryan Foran does not try to run over defenders, but he runs at the gaps between defenders and uses his running speed to break through if defenders only use their arms in the tackle.

    In relation to the defensive aspects of his game Ryan Foran is an exceptional cover defender. With his above average to plus speed for his position he is able to track the ball across the field and be in a position to make the cover defending tackle if breaks are made.

    From a front on tackling perspective Ryan Foran has a solid repeatable technique which he can use against attackers of any size. The keys to his technique are his timing and anticipation as well as correct head placement. So many defenders in either rugby or rugby league have no idea about head placement but Ryan Foran is not one of them.

    Another impressive aspect from a defensive stand point for Ryan Foran is the fact that he came make multiple tackles one after another and then still be in position to track the ball across the field, he has exceptional stamina from an aerobic capacity stand point including the ability to consistently sprint short distances time and again in a short time span whilst maintaining his positioning on the field.

    Ryan Foran moved to PBC in 2020 and was a key piece in their Langer Cup and GIO Cup school boy rugby league campaign in 2021 as well and in 2021 Ryan Foran was part of the hugely successful 2021 Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad.

    In 2022 Ryan Foran will move up to the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition, playing for the Tweed Heads Seagulls and will also be Colts eligible in 2023. Ryan Foran will also train with the Titans Rookie Squad over the course of the 2022 season.

    Ryan Foran has a bit of height about him and the frame to add muscle mass over the coming seasons without compromising his speed or lateral mobility, to that end it is likely that he will stay in the second row for the coming seasons and one that is comfortable operating on either side of the ruck.

    Ryan Foran has a similar playing style to that of Sydney Roosters and New South Wales State of Origin second rower Angus Creighton who like Ryan Foran normally plays on the left side of the field and who can defend either in the centre of the ruck or a little wider out as a foil for his half and five eight. Also like Creighton, Ryan Foran is a long striding runner of the ball who also has a strong fend and well above average speed for a second rower meaning that he is difficult to bring down and regularly makes multiple metres post contact.

    Ryan Foran is an outstanding prospect who appears set to have a long and productive NRL career ahead of him in the left second row position.

  7. #1777
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    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy. The Brisbane Based Easts Tigers (GBJRL) flyer early in 2020 signed a formal playing contract with the Titans for the next couple of seasons after his outstanding 2019 and 2020 performances for the Tigers, school boy (Alexandra Hills State High School) and in Brisbane junior age representative sides.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was also involved in the Titans U15 Academy matches at Burleigh in early 2020 and post those round robin matches, which he dominated, signed his formal contract with the Titans which will see him part of the Titans JTS program for the next couple of seasons.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy’s natural talent and outstanding potential cannot be understated and thus the Titans should be congratulated for signing such a talented young player who still has a lot of untapped potential even though Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is already one of the best juniors for his age running around in Queensland.

    In mid-December 2021 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was one of the Titans JTS Program players that took part in a joint training session with the Titans NRL squad.

    In October 2021 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was named in the 2022 Easts Tigers U18 MM Cup squad and Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy will also be MM Cup eligible in 2023.

    In 2021 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was part of the Easts Tigers U16 Cyril Connell Cup squad and was part of their 28 – 12 trial victory over the Ipswich Jets.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy started Round One of the 2021 Cyril Connell Cup competition at left centre against the Redcliffe Dolphins and after missing Round Three, also started in the centres in Round Five against the Norths Devils, kicking a conversion in the Tigers big win.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herhihy played for the Easts Tigers once again in 2021 in the GBJRL U16 Division One competition spending time at both centre and fullback having some impressive matches along the way, including in a 14 – 4 Round Two victory over Logan Brothers where his pace was simply too much for the defence to handle on multiple occasions.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herhihy’s 2021 school boy rugby league season kicked off when he started for the Alexandra Hills State High School side in their Langer Cup play-off match against Redcliffe State High School. Whilst his side went down Zyroam Taurawa-Herhihy was outstanding in the match, scoring a great try when he chased through a kick from a scrum win to easily outpace the Redcliffe SHS defence to score.

    In Round Two of the 2021 Langer Cup Reserve competition, Zyroam Taurawa-Herhihy was part of the Alexandra Hill State High School side that took on Wavell State High School.

    At the completion of the rugby league season Zyroam Taurawa-Herhihy was named the Alexandra Hills State High School Open’s Best and Fairest and was also named at fullback in the 2021 Alexandra Hills State High School Rugby League Team of the Year.

    In early 2020, prior to the Covid 19 enforced close down Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was selected in the Bayside District U15 school boy representative rugby league representative side.

    In 2020 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy and his Alexandra Hills State High School team mates also completed in the Devere Cup school boy competition defeating Coombabah State High School in the semi-final to make the final against Forest Lake State High School.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy started the 2020 Devere Cup Grand Final at fullback as Alexandra SHS defeated Forest Lake SHS 7 – 6.

    In early December 2020 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was named at fullback in the 2020 Alexandra Hills School Boy Rugby League Team of the Year. Fellow Titans contracted player Gary Whare-Herlihy was named at hooker in the side as well.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy played the 2020 club rugby league season with the Easts Tigers in the GBJRL U15 Division One competition and was part of their Grand Final winning side that defeated Souths 30 – 18 in the decider after beating Redcliffe 38 – 10 in their opening semi-final to qualify for the Grand Final.

    In the 2020 GBJRL U15 Division One regular season, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy and his Easts Tigers team mates finished second on the table winning six matches, losing two and drew another. The Easts Tigers scored 216 points and conceded 156 to finish the 2020 season with a points differential of +60.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy also played for Alexandra Hills State High School in 2019 including one outstanding long range try which optimised this skill set. Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy received the ball down a short left blind side seventy five metres out from the line, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy used his speed to get on the outside of the defensive line, exploding down the left touch line. As he was being corralled by the defence, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy put in a grubber kick past the fullback and he burst past the fullback taking the ball on the fly and bringing the ball around to put it down under the goal posts.

    In 2019 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy played for the Easts Tigers in the GBJRL U14 Division One competition alongside fellow Titans contracted player Gary Whare- Herlihy. Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy played fifteen matches for the Tigers scoring fifty six points from twelve tries and kicking four conversions, playing primarily played in the centres.

    Only a very few others in the high standard GBJRL U14 Division One competition could match Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy from a speed, elusiveness or try scoring perspective.

    In 2019 Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was also a stand out for his Alexandra Hills State High School Boy’s side starting all of their matches. For Alexandra Hills Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy operated primarily in the centres and was probably the stand out player in their Year Ten school boy side.

    2019 also saw Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy selected on the wing in the Brisbane Blue side for the U14 South East Queensland Hill Stumer Championships that were held in Ipswich. Post those Championships Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was selected in the South East Queensland U14 White side for the Queensland Age Championships.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is a powerfully built young man who runs with pace and power. It would be unfair to categorise that his game is only built on pace and power though as he has a very good right foot step and right hand fend, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy can also draw defenders in to give players outside him room.

    Due to his strength and fend Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy regularly gets on the outside of his opposite defender forcing the winger to make a decision as to whether to come in on him or stay with his winger. If he comes in, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy has the quick hands to get the pass away prior to contact, but also is big and strong enough as well as having very good core body strength and balance to absorb the contact and still get the pass to his winger.

    In those situations Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihyis adept at timing (and weighting) his pass to the outside to enable his outside support to run onto the ball with no loss of momentum. Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy then has the speed to back up on the inside to potentially get the ball back up his winger is in a position to draw the fullback.

    I personally think that Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy’s closing speed when running at defenders puts them in significant doubt and thus they become prone to defensive errors and incorrect reads as their decision making processes are rushed.

    If the opposing winger or centre stays out, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is definitely quick enough to break into open space, I would say that he has plus speed, and he is quick enough to gain separate from the cover defence. When you look at his build Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy may not look like he has a lot of speed, but he definitely does and more importantly Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy knows how to use it.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is not necessarily the quickest off the mark (although he is definitely NOT slow off the mark by any measurement) but has very good acceleration once Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is moving and can sustain his top pace over an extended period of time and thus distance.

    Put simply Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is just smooth mover on a rugby league field and is one of those athletes that look effortless when he is running, even at top pace.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy’s speed is definitely in the plus category if not even higher. I am talking Josh Addo-Carr type speed when referring to Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy, he is literally that quick and as Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy develops muscle mass he has the capacity to get even quicker still.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy’s defensive game is one built on intimidation he will come out of the line when the opportunity presents itself and hit very hard around the chest and drive through is lower body and continue until the tackle is well and truly finished.

    For Carina in their match against Logan Brothers in the 2019 GBJRL U14 Division One competition opposing attackers seemed to be looking for him in the defensive line when they were running the ball towards Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy’s side of the field.

    A particular positive for Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is that he does not purely rely on speed, strength and power to hit in defence, timing is also a key attribute to ensure that he arrives at the attacker at around the same time that the ball does, and this also reduces the likelihood of injury to Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy or the defender getting on his outside and exploiting the resultant space that was created.

    In saying all of that Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy certainly has the speed and agility to rotate his hips quickly to turn and chase (and definitely catch the attacker) if the situation plays out like that. To be fair to Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy, that situation does not occur too often, regardless of the level of competition he has been involved in.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy was set to play the 2020 season with the Easts Tigers in the GBJRL U15 Division One competition, Alexandra Hills in their various school boy competitions and seemed to be a better than good bet to make the Met East U15 QSSRL school boy representative side before the rugby league environment radically changed.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy will play the 2022 season with the Easts Tigers in the GBJRL U17 Division One competition and will once again line up for Alexandra Hills State High School in their various 2021 school boy rugby league competitions including their push for inclusion in the Langer Cup Open A competition. Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy will also play for the Easts Tigers in the 2022 MM Cup competition and is also MM Cup eligible in 2023.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy played on the wing for the Brisbane Blue U14 representative side in 2019 but with his size, speed and tackle breaking ability, not to mention that fact that he knows where the try line is, I think that Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy will get every opportunity to stay in the centres or at fullback long term. Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy can certainly move to the wing if necessary in the future and be an outstanding one as well but I believe that his skill set is better utilised at either fullback or in the centres.

    I acknowledge that Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy had a number of outstanding matches for Alexandra Hills State High School at fullback in 2020 and 2021 and I must admit, that prior to those matches, I had pegged Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy as a long term left centre, now I am not so sure.

    Fullback is definitely a long term option for the talented Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy where he can float around behind the play the ball and wait for a gap or an off load to exploit with his explosive speed, and mean explosive speed, whether that be out wide or through the centre of the ruck.

    With his size, speed and tackle breaking ability Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy has a playing style reminiscent to former New Zealand Warriors centre (and winger) David Fusitu’a. Like Fusitu’a, Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy is an exceptionally quick, hard running, explosive outside back who just has the innate, natural ability to make the right decision in terms of timing, positioning and decision making when a try is in the offing and will put it all on the line to get the ball across the strip every time he has the opportunity to do so.

    All of the evidence you need to verify this was on display from Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy in 2019 for Carina in the GBJRL U14 Division One competition when he scored twelve tries from just fifteen matches in the high quality competition as well as for his Alexandra Hills school boy rugby league side and in representative sides in South East Queensland.

    Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy has an incredibly high ceiling and also an incredibly high floor. I will certainly be watching Zyroam Taurawa-Herlihy’s career develop over the coming seasons with a great deal of interest, that’s for sure.

  8. #1778
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    Isaac Matalavea-Booth. The young New Zealand born front rower, in October 2020 signed a one year extension with the Titans that takes his contract with the Titans up until the end of the 2022 rugby league season and see him training with the Titans Rookie Squad over the course of the 2022 season.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth is undertaking the 2021/22 pre-season with the Titans NRL squad as a member of the Titans Rookie Squad looking to impress Justin Holbrook and the other NRL coaches, then in 2023 Isaac Matalavea-Booth will move onto a full-time Titans NRL Development contract after signing a new two year contract with the Titans in late October 2021 that will keep Isaac Matalavea-Booth in Titans colours until the end of the 2023 season. In fact in the 2023 season Isaac Matalavea-Booth will be on a Titans NRL Development contract.

    Also in late 2021 Isaac Matalavea-Booth was part of the Titans NRL squad that undertook a joint training session with ninety members of the Titans JTS Program.

    In late 2021 it was confirmed that Isaac Matalavea-Booth will play the 2022 season with the Burleigh Bears Hastings Deering’s Colts squad for the second season in a row although it is hard not to see any circumstance that Isaac Matalavea-Booth will not make his Queensland Cup debut for the Bears some time in 2022, and possibly earlier than people think.

    Such was Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s early 2021 form for both the Titans U19 side in two trials and for Burleigh in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition, in early June 2021 Isaac Matalavea-Booth started training one day a week with the Titans NRL squad.

    In early January 2021 Isaac Matalavea-Booth started in the front row for the Titans U19 side in their annual match against the Newcastle Knights in Coffs Harbour as the Titans ran away with the match in the second half to record an impressive 40 – 6 victory after leading 16 – 6 at half time.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was in the action almost immediately, being involved in a solid hit in the second tackle after the Titans kicked off. Also involved in the tackle were Samuel Shannon and Ediq Ambrosyev. Isaac Matalavea-Booth was involved in a further heavy tackle just two minutes later when he and Brock Priestley belted the Knight left winger who had come off his wing forcing him five metres backwards before driving him into the ground.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth and Brock Priestley combined once again in a heavy tackle early in the second half when they combined to heavily tackle a Knights player from a twenty metre restart, with the initial contact forcing the ball loose.

    It was not just in the centre of the ruck where Isaac Matalavea-Booth was effective defensively, early in the second half, Isaac Matalavea-Booth found himself on the fringes of the ruck on the Titans left side of the field with the Knights attacking the line from close range. The Newcastle five eight identified that Isaac Matalavea-Booth was on a one on one situation with him and tried to beat him on the outside. Isaac Matalavea-Booth however tracked across the field and hit the Knights five eight around the shoulders, knocking him down immediately, which was in fact only a metre out from the Titans line.

    Over the course of his stints on the field Isaac Matalavea-Booth was particularly effective in forcing the Knights forward pack to use multiple resources to bring him down and with his quick play the balls, the Titans play makers were regularly able to exploit the additional space that Isaac Matalavea-Booth afforded them.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was deservedly the Titans first try scorer of the match when he charged onto an Ediq Ambrosyev pass out of dummy half to the left of the play the ball from ten metres out. When Isaac Matalavea-Booth caught sight of the try line, literally no-one on earth was going to stop him from scoring as he planted the ball down adjacent to the right upright.

    Over the course of the match Isaac Matalavea-Booth was a difficult for the Knights defensive to stop and that was highlighted when Isaac Matalavea-Booth charged into the Newcastle defensive line when he returned the second half kick-off and made twenty five metres through sheer size and power. A quick play the ball from Isaac Matalavea-Booth led to more metres being gained by Samuel Shannon.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was at it again in the 8th minute of the second half making eighteen metres, the majority of which were post contact metres with Isaac Matalavea-Booth twisting and turning and bullocking his way downfield, eventually being brought down only after four Knights defenders had to commit themselves to the tackle.

    Unbelievably for a big front rower Isaac Matalavea-Booth was still charging at the Knights defensive line in the last couple of minutes, including a big charge and subsequent off-load to Xavier Stowers who then got the ball away to TJ Devery who was held up. Make no mistake however if Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s stamina was not as impressive as it was the Titans would not have had that late match opportunity.

    A week after the match against the Newcastle Knights Isaac Matalavea-Booth once again lined up for the Titans U19’s starting in the front row as the Titans took on a Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts squad with the Titans winning 32 – 20 with no conversions attempted.

    Like against Newcastle Isaac Matalavea-Booth was exceptional for the Titans both in attack and defence including a late first half try assist and he almost had a second just minutes later after making his initial impact in the match making a strong hit-up, being the third of the match after the Knights kicked off.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s try assist come in the 37th minute of the first half. Isaac Matalavea-Booth charged onto the ball to the right of the play the ball from thirteen metres out for the Bears line, heading directly at the posts. After initially being held, Isaac Matalavea-Booth was able to get his right arm free and was able to get a great flick pass away to Oskar Bryant who was backing up on the inside from dummy half who was able to dive over next to the left upright after rounding one Burleigh defender.

    Just minutes later Isaac Matalavea-Booth charged into space, getting a strong one armed (right arm) offload away across his body to his left to Thomas Weaver for what seemed was going to be another Titans try but a desperate knock down of a Titans pass by a Burleigh defender put paid to the Titans attacking play.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also had a number of kick return metres in the match. Late in the first half, Isaac Matalavea-Booth got his hands down low and cleanly took possession when Burleigh grubber kicked not far out from the Titans line, Isaac Matalavea-Booth took possession and then rumbled four metres down field.

    Defensively Isaac Matalavea-Booth produced one of the best tackles in the first half when he crunched one of the Burleigh forwards late in the half. Isaac Matalavea-Booth hit him from the left side around chest high and driving his opponent diagonally backwards for at least five metres.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Isaac Matalavea-Booth starting the match in the front row for the Titans.

    Just weeks after Isaac Matalavea-Booth suited up for the Titans against Burleigh, Isaac Matalavea-Booth was in a Burleigh jersey lining up for the Bears in a 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts trial against the Easts Tigers at Langland’s Park. Starting in the front row in the second half Isaac Matalavea-Booth was one of Burleigh’s best, alongside fellow contracted Titan Tony Francis in the match that ended up in a twenty all draw.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was outstanding in his two second half stints but it was a hit-up in the 71st minute of the match in his second stint in the half that summed up not just Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s match but his 2021 season to date.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth charged onto the ball to the right of the play the ball and surged an incredible thirty five metres up field, breaking eight tackles in the process. It looked as if on at least two occasions that Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s momentum would be stopped but on each occasion Isaac Matalavea-Booth produced another effort to keep the run going. Isaac Matalavea-Booth received the ball on his own twenty metre line and was eventually stopped five metres into Easts territory.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth the first of his many second half hit-ups in the opening minutes of the second half when he took a hit-up to the right of the play the ball, jinking off his left foot prior to contact with the line and making ten metres before three defenders had to commit to the tackle to bring him to the ground.

    Just a few minutes later, Isaac Matalavea-Booth made another strong surge, making a further ten metres and once again it took three Tigers defenders to get him under control, even those three defenders however could not get Isaac Matalavea-Booth to the ground.

    Once again in the 15th minute, Isaac Matalavea-Booth took the ball into the Tigers defensive line, this time making fifteen metres from a hit-up that started in his own twenty metre area.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth made his presence felt in defence with some huge hits in the second half, the first of which came in the 9th minute of the second half when he came in from the left side of the Easts Tigers giant left winger, dropping him to the ground immediately contact was made.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth did not leave it too long to make another strong tackle, this time on the Easts Tigers right centre (No. 4) when he got in under his ribs and drove him back three metres before driving the centre into the ground.

    The following week in the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts trial against the Tweed Heads Seagulls, Isaac Matalavea-Booth was once again in the starting side in the front row. Isaac Matalavea-Booth was into the match early taking the second hit-up of the match after Burleigh had received the ball from the kick-off and then backed up to take the fourth hit-up in the same set of six.

    In his second stint of the match in the second half Isaac Matalavea-Booth threw his weight around including in the 65th minute when he monstered Tweed Heads and Titans front rower Solomon Torrens in a tackle and that I can assure people is not an easy thing to do.

    Round One of the 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth named on the interchange bench for the Burleigh Bears when they took on the Easts Tigers with Isaac Matalavea-Booth coming on in the 23rd minute to play in the front row.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s first hit-up occurred just a minute later making fifteen metres to get the ball forty metres away from his own line. The in the 25th minute, Isaac Matalavea-Booth picked up an Easts dropped ball to get within ten metres of the try line and two tackles later rumbled to get to just a metre out from the line.

    In the 27th Isaac Matalavea-Booth continued his hectic start to his time on the field, making an additional twelve metres to get the ball to just over the halfway mark.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth showed off his off-loading skills in the 29th minute when he cut to his left on an underneath route off Blake Campbell. After hitting the line, Isaac Matalavea-Booth spun and was able to offload back to Blake Campbell who had an additional twenty metres downfield.

    In the 43rd minute Isaac Matalavea-Booth showed off his impressive mobility for such a big unit when he moved deftly low to his left to dive onto a loose bouncing ball that had come off multiple feet.

    The 57th minute saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s strength come to the fore when he was hit early and hard by multiple defenders when running the ball into the Easts line in the 53rd minute. Isaac Matalavea-Booth was hit just metres into his run but fought and fought and was able to make ten metres before he was finally forced to the ground.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth continued on the interchange bench in the Round Two local derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls coming into the match in the 19th minute and almost immediately along with Samuel Shannon was in on a big first tackle on Tweed Heads front rower Ben Liyou.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth proved how difficult he is to bring down in the 18th minute when he surged through the centre of the defence getting the ball to thirty three metres out from his own line before four defenders were eventually able to get him to the ground.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was at his hard stopping best again in the 34th minute when it took three Tweed Heads forwards to stop his forward momentum and get him to the ground after a ten metre run by the big front rower.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s second half continued as strongly as his first half ended when he made twelve metres from the third hit-up after Tweed Heads kicked off, getting the ball over the forty metre line.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also saved a try when late in the first half he along with Cameron Brown he held Seagulls replacement hooker Jed Edwards up over the line after he had run from dummy half from ten metres out looking to score under the posts.

    The 44th minute saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth make another strong try saving tackle, when he along with Vaka Sikahele hit and stopped Seagulls front rower Ben Liyou just centre metres out. Isaac Matalavea-Booth recorded another good tackle in the 62nd minute when Tweed Heads half Taine Udjur-Berghan tried to dummy his way past him but Isaac Matalavea-Booth did not fall for it and monstered the half forcing him back four metres before driving him into the ground.

    In the 65th minute Isaac Matalavea-Booth produced a smart piece of play when he was able to trap a Seagulls attempted grubber kick with his right foot two metres out from the try line and then he had the fore sight to dive on the ball before Tweed Heads. Then in the 66th minute Isaac Matalavea-Booth produced a try saving front one tackle when he stopped Ben Liyou in his tracks just short of the try line.

    The derby saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth just work all day and in the 70th minute after Burleigh winger Lofi Khan-Pereira scored, Isaac Matalavea-Booth put his hand up to run the ball back from the subsequent kick-off to get the ball to his own twenty metre mark.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also started from the bench in Round Three against the Western Mustangs.

    After missing Round Four due to playing for the Titans U19 side, Isaac Matalavea-Booth started Round Five against the Northern Pride from the bench.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth made his starting debut in the front row in Round Six against the Townsville Blackhawks and was in the action immediately, taking the hit-up from the kick-off and then backing that run up by then hitting the ball up on the fourth tackle of the same set of six.

    The match also saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth score a good try in the 58th minute when after he received the ball seventeen metres out from the line to the left of the play the ball, Isaac Matalavea-Booth ran diagonally towards the defensive line, dummying to his left before bursting through the line to crash over five metres from the left upright.

    Isaac Matalaevea-Booth certainly made the best of his opportunity to start and that continued in the 15th minute with a twelve metres run that brought the ball out to his own forty metre mark. The in the 17th minute, Isaac Matalaevea-Booth charged head long into the Townsville defence from a Blackhawks drop out.

    Isaac Matalaevea-Booth made another strong run in the 70th minute, making fourteen metres to the halfway, with 60% of the metres made post contact.

    Isaac Matalaevea-Booth was still going strong in the 75th minute making a further ten metres from the set of six after Cameron Brown’s second intercept try of the match and then he took another hit-up just two tackles later.

    In total in the Round Six match, in his fifty five minutes on the field, Isaac Matalavea-Booth ran the ball twenty times, making 246 metres and made eighteen tackles as well as scoring a try which is described above.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also started in the front row in Round Seven against the Central Queensland Capra’s and scored the Bears second try in their big victory and also recorded a try assist.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth scored in the 12th minute of the match from approximately twelve metres out. Burleigh worked the ball back to the right after initially moving the ball to the left, with Isaac Matalavea-Booth receiving the ball whilst stationary. As soon as he took possession, Isaac Matalavea-Booth ran to his right, before stepping off his right foot just prior to engaging defensive line, beating two defenders as a result of his change of direction. Isaac Matalavea-Booth rumbled towards the line with one Capra’s trying in vain to stop him from scoring by holding his jersey. That proved to be an impossible task with Isaac Matalavea-Booth getting the ball down adjacent to the right upright.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth recorded his try assist in just the 6th minute when after receiving the ball thirty metres out he ran at the defensive line but just prior to engaging the line, Isaac Matalavea-Booth subtly adjusted to his right and threw a great short ball to his right to a rampaging Samuel Shannon who flew through a gap to score untouched from twenty five metres out.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth continued in the front row in Round Eight against the Redcliffe Dolphins and in Round Nine against the Mackay Cutters.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth continued his run of starts in the Round Eleven local derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls with Isaac Matalavea-Booth scoring in the 78th minutes of Burleigh’s 38 – 22 loss. Isaac Matalavea-Booth received the ball from the dummy half to the right of the play the ball twenty two metres from the line and initially shaped to pass to his right before cutting of his right foot and then shrugged off one defender to get through the Seagulls line before also pushing off the Seagulls fullback to score next to the left upright.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also started in the front row in the previously postponed Round Ten match against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls recording a try assist in the 33rd minute when after receiving the ball ten metres from the line to the right of the dummy half, Isaac Matalavea-Booth moved to his right and threw a good short ball in the same direction to a charging TJ Devery who crashed over under the posts. The match also saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth lead Burleigh in metres gained with 169 metres.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was also named to start in the front row in Round Twelve against the Souths Logan Magpies however the match was postponed due to a Covid 19 snap lock down.

    After a Covid 19 enforced hiatus, Isaac Matalavea-Booth was named to start in the front row in Round Sixteen against the Ipswich Jets with Isaac Matalavea-Booth scoring a double in Burleigh’s big 78 – 20 victory. Isaac Matalavea-Booth was in the match from the opening minute after taking the opening tackle of the match in conjunction with Sam McIntyre.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s opening try came in just the 9th minute of the match when he rumbled onto a pass from his left from Blake Campbell. Just prior to the try line, Isaac Matalavea-Booth spun counter clockwise to gain separation from defenders to get the ball down next to the left upright.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth scored his second try of the match in the 68th minute when he ran off a good short ball from his left from TJ Devery ten metres out to easily get the ball down five metres from the right upright.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth recorded his try assist in the 62nd minute when after charging forward and making fourteen metres Isaac Matalavea-Booth was able to off-load to Lachlan Adamson who was able to dive over from close range.

    It was not just the two tries and his try assist that highlighted Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s performance in the match, he was simply outstanding all around the ground, including a strong run in the 4th minute of the match, with Isaac Matalavea-Booth getting away a right arm flick off-load near halfway to keep Burleigh in the front foot early in the match.

    Impressively Isaac Matalavea-Booth led Burleigh in metres gained with an outstanding total of 179 metres.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was also named to start in the front row in the rescheduled Round Thirteen match against the Sunshine Coast Falcons as well as in Round Fourteen against the Northern Pride.

    Against the Northern Pride however, Isaac Matalavea-Booth dropped back to come off the bench but still was one of the Bears try scorers in their 46 – 0 victory.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth scored in the 32nd minute when he ran onto the ball from nine metres out, beating one defender to get the ball down next to the left upright.

    Interestingly the match against the Northern Pride saw Isaac Matalavea-Booth kick for touch for Burleigh when they received a penalty and heck he has a big boot on him!

    At the conclusion of the 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts season Isaac Matalavea-Booth was named the 2021 Burleigh Bears Hastings Deering’s Colts Best and Fairest Player.

    The giant young front rower from originally Auckland New Zealand headed over to the Gold Coast in early November 2019 chasing his rugby league dream and to play for the Burleigh Bears MM Cup side in 2020 and well as attend Keebra Park for his senior year of school and be part of their open A Langer Cup school boy rugby league squad that ultimately lost the Grand Final against PBC.

    Not long after arriving in Australia Isaac Matalavea-Booth signed a one year contract with the Titans to immediately become part of the impressive Junior Titans system (JTS) and in mid-December 2019 was part of the Titans contracted junior players squad that undertook a training session with the Titans NRL squad. In the post training session photo Isaac Matalavea-Booth towered over most if not all of even the Titans NRL squad members, highlighting his size attribute.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth’s first match in a Titans jersey came against the Newcastle Knights SG Ball (U18) side in January 2020 in Coffs Harbour when he came off the bench in the Titans 24 – 10 loss, however when he was on the field Isaac Matalavea-Booth proved difficult for the Knights defenders to get onto the ground. The only hope that the Knights had to get Isaac Matalavea-Booth to the ground was to gang tackle him and chop his legs out from under him.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth started Round One of the 2020 MM Cup competition for the Burleigh Bears in the front row as the Bears went down to the Wynnum Manly Seagulls once again proving difficult to put on the deck until multiple defenders were allocated to the tackle each time that he ran the ball at the Seagulls defensive line.

    After the 2020 Round One MM Cup match Isaac Matalavea-Booth headed back to New Zealand for the Covid 19 lock down but returned to Australia in early June 2020 to continuing his schooling at Keebra Park and his training as part of the Titans JTS program.

    Also in 2020 Isaac Matalavea-Booth was part of the Keebra Park Langer Cup Open A school boy squad, where he operated in the front row including starting Round One of the competition in the front row against Wavell State High School.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also started in the front row in Keebra Park’s Round Two match against Marsden State High School and scored his first try on Australian soil. Late in the match, Isaac Matalavea-Booth ran a good outside shoulder route to receive the ball twenty metres out and rumbled to the try line crashing over mid-way between the corner post and goal posts on the left side of the field with two Marsden defenders hanging off him.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth continued his run of front row starts in a Round Three 22 – 16 win over Ipswich State High School, in the Round Four local derby against PBC as well as in Round Five against St Mary’s Toowoomba.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also started in the front row as Keebra Park qualified for the 2020 Langer Cup Grand Final on the back of a big win over Wavell State High School.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth started the 2020 Langer Cup Grand Final in the front row for Keebra Park as they went down 16 – 8 to PBC in a high quality match producing one or two impressive one armed off loads in his two stints on the field.

    When Community Rugby League re-commenced on the Gold Coast Isaac Matalavea-Booth played for Burleigh in the Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition, starting in the front row in the Bears matches, including in the 2020 GCRL U18 Division One Grand Final against the Currumbin Eagles.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also played a number of matches for Burleigh in the Gold Coast Rugby League U20 competition including coming off the bench in Round Nine against Currumbin and he was on the bench for the Burleigh U20 sides Preliminary Final against Helensvale, which the Bears lost 26 – 24 on the last play of the match, to fall agonising short of a Grand Final appearance.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth was outstanding in 2019 for Auckland’s Pakuranga College and at the 2019 SAS College Rugby League Awards Night was named in the front row in the 2019 Premier First XIII Team of the Year which was a deserved acknowledgement of his performances for Pakuranga College and even more meritorious considering Isaac Matalavea-Booth was just 17 years old throughout the season.

    From a club rugby league perspective in 2019 in New Zealand, Isaac Matalavea-Booth played for the Manurewa Club in the Auckland U17/18 Open competition playing in thirteen matches scoring five tries and kicking a conversion to finish the 2019 season with twenty two points.

    One of his thirteen games one was the 2019 Auckland Rugby League U17/18 Grand Final with Isaac Matalavea-Booth starting in the front row for Manurewa, but unfortunately they went down 22 – 14 to the Marist Saints in a high quality physical (very) encounter.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth also represented the Tao Samoa U18 side in 2019 in their annual match against the New Zealand U18’s starting in the front row and also started in the front row for the Tao Samoa U16’s against New Zealand U16’s in 2018. In fact the first time that Isaac Matalavea-Booth represented Tao Samoa was at the U13 level in 2014 and also represented Tao Samoa at the U15 level in 2016 I believe.

    In 2019 Isaac Matalavea-Booth who previously was part of the New Zealand Warriors Development Academy represented the Auckland based Counties Manukau Stingrays representative side in the New Zealand National Youth U17 Tournament starting in the front row in all five of their matches including their semi-final victory over the Akarana Falcons and the U17 National Youth Final victory 24 – 20 against the South Island Scorpions.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth scored two tries in the pool portion of the 2019 U17 National Youth Tournament with those tries coming in Match One against the Wellington Orcas and Match Three against the Northern Swords.

    In 2017 Isaac Matalavea-Booth represented Counties Manukau at the U15 National Youth Tournament starting in the front row in his two matches for the Stingrays.

    The tall strong young front rower runs hard and straight and does not take a backward step, for example for the Tao Samoa U18 late this season, Isaac Matalavea-Booth constantly ran into the heart of the New Zealand U18 forward pack who were huge and were hitting very hard in the tackle. One thing that did impress me was that he did not just put his head down and run into the first defender he saw.

    On a number of occasions Isaac Matalavea-Booth cut back behind the play the ball to take advantage of defenders who were slow to get back into the defensive line, similarly he also ran wider on occasion to target the smaller New Zealand U18 defenders, when New Zealand started to compress their defensive line when Tao Samoa had the momentum on their side.

    With his size and height Isaac Matalavea-Booth has an outstanding ability to off-load the ball particularly when he is running to his left. Isaac Matalavea-Booth is able to regularly get his right arm free and get it out in front and above his head and pop the ball to runners coming through on his left.

    On a number of occasions when he was playing for the Tao Samoa U18 side this season against New Zealand U18’s Isaac Matalavea-Booth used the skill set noted above to producing outstanding offloads, including one leading directly to a Tao Samoa try and another when the support runner was dragged down just short. Both of the offloads noted occurred around forth metres out from the New Zealand line.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth continually put his hand up all day to take the ball up and has a very quick play the ball so that his team can maintain the momentum he is able to generate.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth has continued to get bigger and stronger over the last few years and impressively has also been able to maintain has above average speed for his position, in fact I would consider his speed for a front rower of his height and size to be impressively nearing the plus category, certainly above average.

    Defensively Isaac Matalavea-Booth regularly is the first player up to target the ball carriers, even though he is one of the bigger forwards in his team and will make solid initial contact as well as having the ability of defending one on one.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth is not averse to looking for the big hit but also does have a good front on defensive technique and decent agility and lateral movement when looking to tackle smaller opponents. Isaac Matalavea-Booth has the size, strength and power to seal off sections of the field in defence and impressively can sustain that dominance for the majority of a match on a regular basis.

    As noted Isaac Matalavea-Booth started the 2020 season playing for the Burleigh Bears MM Cup side. Isaac Matalavea-Booth was also part of the Keebra Park State High School Langer Cup Open A school boy rugby league campaign. Isaac Matalavea-Booth played for Burleigh Bears in the 2020 GCRL U18 Division One competition and the GCRL U20 competition both of which were very strong competitions.

    In 2022 Isaac Matalavea-Booth will continue with the Burleigh Bears U20 Hastings Deering’s Colts squad as well as train with the Titans U20 squad. It is also likely that Isaac Matalavea-Booth will get an opportunity to play for Burleigh in the Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade competition and it is also possible that Isaac Matalavea-Booth will make his Queensland Cup debut for the Bears over the course of the 2022 season.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth should also get a number of opportunities to continue to train with the Titans NRL squad over the off-season before moving onto a full time NRL Development contract with the Titans for the 2023 NRL season.

    For a young player Isaac Matalavea-Booth already has garnered a fair bit of representative rugby league experience at a high level through representing Tao Samoa at the U16 and U18 levels as well as playing for Counties Manukau in multiple New Zealand National Youth Competitions, specifically in the U15 and U17 age groups.

    It is players like Isaac Matalavea-Booth and the other young Titans players who have come through Keebra Park that should make the recent association between the Titans and Keebra Park so exciting for Titans fans both now and into the future. There is no doubt that the association between the two entities will help to “future proof” the Titans and help get some of the best juniors on the Gold Coast to continue to link with the Titans.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth has spent his entire rugby league career in New Zealand encompassing club, school boy and representative rugby league in the front row and that did not change when the 198cm, 110kg powerhouse of a young man played on the Gold Coast in 2020 for the Titans, Burleigh and Keebra Park.

    From an NRL playing comparison style perspective for Isaac Matalavea-Booth, think along the lines of a larger version, yes larger version of Melbourne Storm and New Zeland International front rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona as a big, tall front rower with good footwork both in attack and defence.

    Like Asofa-Solomona, Isaac Matalavea-Booth is also a leader on the field who can set the direction and tempo for his team by leading from the front through his powerful hit-up or a big crunching tackle in the most demanding position on a football field with a calmness and assurance that belies his age.

    Young players like Isaac Matalavea-Booth take a leap of faith when they move countries and back their ability to break into an NRL sides Development System and already Isaac Matalavea-Booth has been able to attract the attention of the Titans who have gotten in and signed Isaac Matalavea-Booth before he gets a lot more attention from other NRL clubs when the 2021 Hastings Deerings Colts competition in done and dusted.

    When people see Isaac Matalavea-Booth for the first time up close, they will see a giant of a young man but they will be even be more impressed with just how good he is when they see him on a rugby league field from a skill and mobility perspective.

    I thought that Isaac-Matalavea-Booth was very good in 2020 but in 2021 he has taken a giant leap forward in relation to both the quality of his play as well as his overall speed, dexterity and mobility. With the speed of rugby league now with the multiple rule changes continuing to encourage a quicker and quicker game, big strong front rowers are in danger of being forced out of the game.

    Isaac Matalavea-Booth however has transformed not just the way he plays with his strong running, quick play the ball and exceptional off-loading but also his speed and mobility. The result being that Isaac Matalavea-Booth is going to be one heck of a rugby league player regardless of how the rules change now and into the future for a player of his size.

  9. #1779
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    Off Instagram today Immanuel Kalekale has signed for another two years. . Sounds like a good prospect.
    #TitansThruNThru #WeAreReady

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    Alofiana (Lofi) Khan-Periera. (Revised) The young Burleigh Bears winger and former Keebra Park High School student signed a contract with the Titans as a fifteen year old in 2016 after also spending time in the Brisbane Broncos Junior Development System at the same time he was part of the Titans Junior Development Program.

    In 2018 Lofi Khan-Periera signed a new three year NRL Development contract with the Titans after the expiration of his initial two year contract and then in 2021 Lofi Khan-Pereira signed a further contract with the Titans that will see him as part of the Titans Top 30 in 2022.

    After spending the 2020/21 off-season training with the Titans NRL squad Lofi Khan-Periera’s first 2021 hit-up came in mid-February when he started on the right wing for the Titans in their first trial against the Burleigh Bears putting in an impressive performance.

    In fact Lofi Khan-Pereira should have had his name on the try scoring list when Tremain Spry produced a piece of individual brilliance midway through the first half when he threw a beautiful right arm flick pass to put Lofi Khan-Pereira over in the corner but somehow the pass was ruled forward.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s first line break came early in the first half when he was put away down the right touch line by Tremain Spry, after a forty metre run Lofi Khan-Periera passed back inside to his left to an unmarked Jayden Campbell but the pass could not be taken.

    In an impressive sign, in the fourteen minute, Lofi Khan-Periera tracked back to retrieve a kick and when he took possession was confronted by a straight line of Burleigh kick chasers. Lofi Khan-Periera just put his head down and charged straight at the oncoming defenders making fifteen valuable metres to get over the twenty metre line.

    In the third minute of the second half, Lofi Khan-Pereira came off his wing and took a solid hit-up, bringing the ball out of his own territory making twelve metres through centre field.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also showcased his express pace in the first half when he had to stop, turn and chase and still caught Burleigh speedster Troy Leo within forty metres.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira showed safe hands in the 28th minute when he leapt high to take a Tannah Boyd on the full in heavy traffic just short of the try line but was held up on the sixth tackle.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira was named to make his Queensland Cup debut for Burleigh in Round Seven against the Ipswich Jets, starting the match on the right wing and playing all eighty minutes, running for fifty five metres (five post contact), played the ball at an average speed of 3.244 seconds and made six tackles at a 100% tackling efficiency.

    A week playing for the Titans in a trial match, Lofi Khan-Pereira started from the bench for Burleigh in their Queensland Cup trial against the Easts Tigers.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira then started on the wing for Burleigh Second’s side in their final 2021 Queensland Cup trial against the Tweed Heads Seagulls and was one of the best players on the field on the way to scoring two spectacular second half tries.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira’s first try resulted from a kick to Lofi Khan-Pereira’s right wing with the ball sitting up perfectly for him to streak away to score. Lofi Khan-Pereira’s second try also came from a kick, this time from Ngangarra Barker who grubbered to the right wing with the ball once again sitting up perfectly for Lofi Khan-Pereira to run onto it in full flight to cross for his second try of the half.

    Burleigh, in the 72nd minute of the match went to Lofi Khan-Pereira’s right wing once again with a kick but even though the Tweed Heads left winger got to the ball first Lofi Khan-Pereira was able to get hold of him and drag him into touch.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira in fact could have had a second half hat trick when he almost grabbed an intercept off Jack Cook but he could not quite get to the ball, if he had it was shut the gate for try number three.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira showcased his leaping ability in the opening minutes of the match when he leapt high to take a Tweed Heads attacking bomb to his wing on the full to defuse a dangerous situation.

    In Mid-March 2021 Lofi Khan-Pereira was part of the Burleigh Bears Nine’s squad that won the Gold Coast Nine’s Annual Competition with a 22 – 20 Final victory.

    Round One of the 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition saw Lofi Khan-Pereira start on the left wing for the Burleigh Bears when they took on the Easts Tigers with Lofi Khan-Pereira scoring in the Bears opening round victory.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira’s try came in the 14th minute of the match when after receiving a cut out pass from Cameron Brown ten metres out, he flew down the left wing to dive over in the left corner.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira added a try assist and a line break to his match statistics in the 56th minute. After receiving a cut-out pass from Cameron Brown, Lofi Khan-Pereira took off down the left touchline. When confronted by the East fullback, Lofi Khan-Pereira drew the fullback towards him then passed the ball inside to Zane Prophert who scored in the left corner.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira was also heavily involved in Burleigh’s final try of the match, after some outstanding stepping by Cameron Brown the halfback passed to Lofi Khan-Pereira fifteen metres away from the line in confined space near the left touchline. Initially Lofi Khan-Pereira juggled the pass but was able to haul it in and then break an attempted jersey grab be running to his left before he offloaded the ball back to Cameron Brown who then beat two defenders to score wide out on the left.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira’s extensive impact of the match came in just the second minute when he tracked back when Easts were awarded a penalty and kicked for touch. The ball did not go out and Lofi Khan-Pereira was on hand to take the ball on the full on his own twenty metre line and he was able to get the ball back to his own forty metre mark.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira’s first line break of the match came in the 7th minute when he was on the end of a passing movement to exploit a small amount of space down the left wing. Lofi Khan-Pereira flew down the left wing making thirty five metres before he was able to draw the Easts fullback and pass to his inside to a backing up Cameron Brown.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira made another line break in the 44th minute when he flew sixty metre down the left touch line after getting outside his direct opponent after receiving a cut out pass from Cameron Brown. As the Easts fullback came across in cover defence Lofi Khan-Pereira passed back inside to his right, but the pass when to ground but was retrieved by Will Evans who offloaded to Sam McIntyre who got to within five metres of the try line.

    In the match, Lofi Khan-Pereira proved that he was not all about the flash but substance as well, coming off is wing on multiple occasions to run the ball out of his own territory including in the 14th minute when Lofi Khan-Pereira made thirteen metres after receiving the ball from the dummy half to get Burleigh to near thirty metres away from his own line.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira took his turn brining the ball out of Burleigh territory once again in the 66th minute when he came off his left wing to run the ball mid-field over the twenty metre mark.

    Speed is Lofi Khan-Pereira’s calling card and there was no better example of that in the 33rd minute when the Easts right centre made a clean break from a Tigers scrum win eighty metres out from the try line. Lofi Khan-Pereira who was up in the line at the time turned and chased and easily ran him down on the forty metre mark even after giving him a fifteen metre start.

    Even when he missed a tackle Lofi Khan-Pereira could still contribute for Burleigh, it was just that sort of game for him. In the 78th minute Lofi Khan-Pereira came off his wing to stop an overlap and whilst he was initially bumped off, bounced to his feet to intercept the subsequent pass that was intended to take advantage of Lofi Khan-Pereira coming off his wing. Lofi Khan-Pereira took the intercept five metres out from his own line but was still able to get the ball over his own twenty.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also started on the left wing in the Round Two local derby against the Tweed heads Seagulls and scored his second try from as many rounds in the Bears tough 32 – 24 loss to their closest rivals.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira scored in the 70th minute with his speed being a key factor in the long range solo try. With Tweed Heads on the attack just fifteen metres out, they put a cross field kick towards Lofi Khan-Pereira’s wing who jumped up to take the kick on the full and as soon as his feet hit the ground Lofi Khan-Pereira exploded infield before stepping off his right and then it was shut the game as no one got near him as he ran eighty five metres to score under the posts.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira is best known as a real speedster but his first major impact against Tweed Heads when the Seagulls had engineered an overlap to Lofi Khan-Pereira’s side of the field, but he sensed the threat and came flying out of the line to tackle Seagulls fullback Brenton Daley-Holten just as the fullback received the ball to end the movement there and then.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira went looking for the ball in the 12th minute of the match, coming off his left wing to make eight metres through the centre of the ruck and after being awarded a penalty for a strip with more than one person in the tackle, Lofi Khan-Pereira took a quick tap with Tweed Heads still back peddling and burst downfield making twenty five metres before finally being brought to the ground.

    The quick tap that Lofi Khan-Pereira took in the 12th minute, showed his rugby league intelligence and Lofi Khan-Pereira proved that was no fluke in the 14th minute when the Seagulls sent a high bomb in his direction. Lofi Khan-Pereira did not panic, letting his opposite winger Troy Duckett take the ball on the full with Lofi Khan-Periera immediately wrapping up Troy Duckett ball and all and then dragging the Seagulls winger into touch in the left corner.

    In the 27th minute Lofi khan-Pereira was well positioned to take a Seagulls clearing kick on the full just inside his own half and then he was able to get the ball back to thirty five metres out from the line.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira took another catch on the full in the 36th minute, but the circumstances were very different. In this occasion Lofi Khan-Pereira jumped high to look to take a bomb to his wing on the full which was heavily contested by Tweed Heads. Lofi Khan-Pereira tapped the ball up in the air and after falling onto his back, had the composure to take the ball on the way down whilst still lying on his back.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira showed that he is calm under pressure when Tweed Heads kicked short from the second half kick-off. Lofi Khan-Pereira stood under the ball knowing that the defence was charging through but he held in place taking the ball comfortably.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira made another line break in the 76th minute when he flew down the left touchline after receiving a cut-out pass from his inside on the halfway but and it was only a desperate diving jersey tackle that prevented Lofi Khan-Pereira from scoring.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also started on the left wing in Round Three against the Western Mustangs, scoring a double in the Seagulls thirty point victory.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira’s first try came in the 9th minute, when Cameron Brown saw the Mustangs fullback was out of position and even though he was just five metres out from his own line, kicked long downfield aiming towards the left wing. After the ball had bounced three times, left winger Lofi khan-Pereira flew through the retrieve the ball at full speed just in front of the Western Mustangs fullback and race away to dive over under the posts.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira completed his double in the 60th minute when he was on hand to retrieve a grubber kick to his left wing from Cameron Brown. Just as the ball was coming towards him it bounced high above his head, but Lofi Khan-Pereira had the hand eye co-ordination to adjust his hands, taking the ball cleanly and getting the ball down quickly as Western Mustangs defenders looked to prevent him from doing so.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also recorded a try assist when in the 7th minute, he made a break of thirty metres down the left touchline and drew the Western Mustangs fullback and passed inside to his right to Cameron Brown who scored ten metres in from the left corner post. It as in fact Cameron Brown that threw the cut-out pass that put Lofi Khan-Pereira away down the left touchline line to get the try scoring move under way.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also started on the left win in Round Four against the Norths Devils, scoring once again in the second half when once again he used his speed to his advantage.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also started on the left wing in Round Six against the Townsville Blackhawks with the ball simply not getting to him often but when it did Lofi Khan-Pereira made the most of the opportunity including in the first minute of the second half in Burleigh opening set of six in the half.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira continued on the right wing in Round Seven against the Central Queensland Capra’s and was heavily involved in Burleigh’s 53rd minute try when Cameron Brown chipped to the left wing for Lofi Khan-Pereira who took possession and off-loading inside with Jakob Hall scoring under the posts later in the movement.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira continued on the left wing in Round Eight against the Redcliffe Dolphins, scoring a double in the Bears tough two point last minute loss and also started on the left wing in Round Nine against the Mackay Cutters.

    The Round Eleven local derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls saw Lofi Khan-Pereira move to left centre.

    At the 2021 Queensland Rugby League Awards Night Lofi Khan-Pereira finished with three votes for the Hastings Deering’s Colts Player of the Season Award.

    With the Burleigh Colts side having a bye week, Lofi Khan-Pereira lined up in the right wing in Round Eleven of the Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade side against the Mudgeeraba Redbacks and scored an impressive hat trick in Burleigh’s victory.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira scored his first try of the match in the opening minute of the match when he backed up a Burleigh break through centre field to receive the ball sixteen metres and he raced away to score near the right corner untouched.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira added a second try in the 55th minute when he dived over from close range, being about two metres down a very short right blindside from a pass from the Burleigh dummy half.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira completed his hat trick in the 69th minute he received a long cut out pass from his left from Taine Tuaupiki to race ten metres to dive over in the right corner.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also started on the right wing in the previously postponed Round Eight match against the Tugun Seahawks and for the second round in a row scored a hat trick for the Bears.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira scored his opening try in the 10th minute in the right corner after good work on his inside from a scrum move from Taine Tuaupiki.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira added his second try in the 25th minute when he backed up a Burleigh break down the right to score one again in the right corner from fifteen metres out.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira completed his hat trick in the 34th minute when he was on the spot to receive an offload after Tugun failed to defuse a Burleigh kick down field.

    Understandably Lofi Khan-Pereira continued on the right wing in Round Eleven against the Runaway Bay Seagulls.

    After the Covid 19 enforced lock down, Lofi Khan-Pereira was named on the right wing for Round Eleven against the Southport Tigers and also lined up on the right wing in Round Twelve against Runaway Bay.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira then continued on the right wing in Round Fourteen against the Currumbin Eagles with Lofi Khan-Pereira scoring a first half double in the Bears 32 – 6 victory.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira scored his first try in the 3rd minute. Burleigh put up a mid-field bomb which Tuvalli Khan-Pereira took on the full around forty metres out, pushing off one defender and then cutting to his right and after he had initiated contact with the defensive line, Tuvalli Khan-Pereira threw a great right arm flick off-load to his brother Lofi Khan-Pereira who raced twenty five metres to score.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira added a second try in the 19th minute when after good work on his inside once again from younger brother Tuvalli Khan-Pereira off a scrum near halfway, Lofi Khan-Pereira flew forty five metres down the right touchline to score untouched.

    After finishing the 2021 Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade competition as Minor Premiers, Burleigh played the Tugun Seahawks in Week Two of the Finals with Lofi Khan-Pereira starting the final on the right wing and scoring a double in Burleigh’s 46 – 16 victory.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira opening try of the match came in the 30th minute when he was on hand to pick up a dropped ball by Tugun with Lofi Khan-Pereira racing eighty metres to get the ball down ten metres to the right of the goal posts.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira added his second try in the 55th minute of the match when he chased through a grubber kick towards his side of the field by Taine Tuaupiki with Lofi Khan-Pereira diving on the ball just a metre from the dead goal line.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira also started on the right wing for Burleigh in the 2021 Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade Grand Final against the Tugun Seahawks with Lofi Khan-Pereira scoring in the Bears Premiership success when he dived over in the right corner from close range in the 24th minute of the Grand Final.

    It took less than two minutes of the Grand Final for Lofi khan-Pereira to highlight his speed when he burst away down the right touchline after some good work by Taine Tuaupiki with Lofi Khan-Pereira making forty metres before being tackled by the Tugun cover defence.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira, in the 10th minute showed that he is as much substance as flash when he charged into the Tugun defensive line from a Burleigh scrum win, making twelve metres after receiving the ball from the back of the scrum just ten metres out from his own line.

    It was the same again in the 51st minute when Lofi Khan-Pereira came off his wing to take a hit-up through centre field from deep inside his own territory making fifteen metres with his run starting on his own twenty metre mark.

    Lofi Khan-Periera spent at least part of the 2019/20 off-season training with the Titans NRL squad where his speed caught the attention of seasoned NRL players such as Ryan James who commented at the time that Lofi Khan-Periera was easily the fastest player in the Titans 2020 NRL pre-season training squad.

    Ryan James’s comments on Lofi Khan-Periera’s speed were backed up on multiple occasions with him regularly being the fastest player in the Titans NRL pre-season timed speed sessions. Lofi Khan-Periera has been timed (with proper equipment) at an impressive speed of 36.5 km/hour which would make him the second fastest player even in the NRL, just 0.4 km/hour behind the Bronco’s Xavier Coates.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s best timed speed during a match was 36.5km per hour in Round One of the 2020 Gold Coast Rugby League First Grade competition for the Burleigh Bears against the Southport Tigers.

    Lofi Khan-Periera started from the bench in the Titans first NRL trial of the 2020 season against Burleigh at Pizzey Park with the young flyer getting a touch or two under his belt in his first official senior game of rugby league.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also started on the left wing for the Burleigh A Grade side in their late February 2020 trial against the Tweed Heads Seagulls.

    Lofi Khan-Periera started Round One of the 2020 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition for the Burleigh Bears at right centre against the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and scoring a scintillating try down the right touch line showcasing his plus speed and evasion skills as Burleigh started their campaign with a first up victory.

    When the 2020 Gold Coast rugby league competition started in August Lofi Khan-Periera was part of the Burleigh First Grade squad starting Round One against Southport on the right wing.

    Burleigh defeated Southport 32 – 4 with Lofi Khan-Periera scoring a try in each half to finish the match with a double. Lofi Khan-Periera’s first try was in fact the first try of the match, he received a long cut out pass from Jayden Campbell, taking the ball five metres out from the Southport try line. When he received the ball Lofi Khan-Periera was stationary and had about two metres to move from a touch line perspective. Lofi Khan-Periera looked like he was going to step inside but in fact ended up beating the defender on the outside with a subtle effective move.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s second half try was the polar opposite of his first try. Southport were attacking the Burleigh line but an errant pass went to ground and Lofi Khan-Periera was on hand to retrieve the ball and sprint seventy five metres to score under the posts untouched.

    After an impressive performance in Round One, Lofi Khan-Periera maintained his place on the right wing in Round Two against the Currumbin Eagles and scored his second double in as many matches. Lofi Khan-Periera’s first try came when he stayed on his wing to take a long pass to cross out wide. Lofi Khan-Periera’s second try was a long range seventy five metres intercept when he outpaced the cover defence after jumping up to take the intercept well above his head.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also started on the right wing in Round Three against the Ormeau Shearers scoring a double for the third week in a row. One of Lofi Khan-Periera’s tries was a long range effort when he backed up a break by the Burleigh right centre with Lofi Khan-Periera looming up on the inside to take the pass and run fifty metres to score.

    Round Four against Tugun saw Lofi Khan-Periera once again start on the right wing for Burleigh and he added a hat trick to his unbelievable start to the 2020 GCRL First Grade season. Lofi Khan-Periera’s first try was a long range team effort. Tugun were on the attack but lost the ball ten metres out from the Burleigh line, Bears half back Josh Rogers ran the ball back down the field before throwing a long pass to his right to find Lofi Khan-Periera in space and he ran forty metres before producing a big dive to score.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s second try was a ninety metres intercept effort early in the second half, with the Tugun defence no chance to catch him as he easily scored under the posts. Lofi Khan-Periera’s third and final try was one of the easier ones that he will ever score when he crossed after a Burleigh back line movement to the right. The Burleigh right centre could have scored but instead made sure that Lofi Khan-Periera got his hat trick.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also started on the right wing in Round Five against the Mudgeeraba Redbacks and whilst he did not score in the Bears 20 – 18 loss did record a try assist when the ball came in his direction from a Burleigh scrum win. After breaking down the right touch line, Lofi Khan-Periera put in a right foot kick just as he was about to be taken into touch for Dallas Wells to retrieve and score.

    After Burleigh had a Round Six bye, Lofi Khan-Periera started Round Seven against Runaway Bay on the bench for Burleigh coming onto the right wing.

    Lofi Khan-Periera started for the Titans U18 side in their match at Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights SG Ball side in January 2019 and was also part of the Titans side that easily accounted for PNG in October 2019 at Pizzey Park. The Titans side were just too big, strong and fast for their opponents that Friday night.

    Lofi Khan-Periera was in late 2018 selected in the 2019 U18 Queensland Emerging Origin Squad with fellow Titans Will Evans, Tristian Powell and Juwan Compain all of whom also training with the Titans 2020 off-season NRL squad.

    Subsequently Lofi Khan-Periera was selected in the 2019 Queensland U18 side for their annual match against their New South Wales U18 counter parts in a Game One State or Origin curtain raiser starting on the left wing and scoring Queensland’s second try of the match.

    The ball was moved out to the left to Lofi Khan-Periera who had to jump up to take the ball well above his head in both hands before sprinting the twelve metres to the left corner, diving the last couple of metres to score. Interestingly Lofi Khan-Periera dived with the ball in his right hand instead of his left (very similar to how Corey Oates scored later in the night in the State of Origin match).

    In the 2019 Interstate match against New South Wales, Lofi Khan-Periera played the entire seventy minutes of the match on the left wing, running for 77.9 metres (nine post contact), broke three tackles, made a line break which resulted in his try and had a 100% tackling efficiency.

    Lofi Khan-Periera started the 2019 MM Cup season for Burleigh on the wing but moved to fullback for Round Three against the Tweed Heads Seagulls where he stayed for Round Four against the Townsville Blackhawks. In total in the 2019 MM Cup competition Lofi Khan-Periera played in four matches for Burleigh starting two on the wing and two at fullback.

    Post the 2019 MM Cup Lofi Khan-Periera was named on an extended bench for the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts side for their Round Ten match against the Northern Pride. In fact Lofi Khan-Periera ended up starting the match on the right wing and almost scored with his first touch, when he took a great cut out pass from Jayden Campbell to flash down the right touch line only to be brought down three metres out from the right corner.

    Lofi Khan-Periera switched sides in Round Eleven starting on the left wing against the Central Queensland Capra’s scoring his first try in the Colts competition. Lofi Khan-Periera’s first Colts try will be one of the easier ones that he scores when he was able to dive over untouched after receiving a pass from Reece Tapine around two metres out from the Capra’s line.

    Lofi Khan-Periera continued on the left wing in Round Fifteen against Ipswich, including a great run of around fifty metres down the left touch line, showing great hands to take the pass but unfortunately his pass inside just could not reach Jayden Campbell.

    Lofi Khan-Periera scored his second Colts try in Round Sixteen against Souths Logan when he scooted out from dummy half to the left of the play the ball from around three metres out to dive over.

    Lofi Khan-Periera scored his third Hastings Deering’s Colts try of the 2019 season in the Round Seventeen local derby against Tweed Heads when he stayed on his left wing and after receiving the ball streaked past his opposite winger who was defending a couple of metres inside him and outpaced the cover defence to score in the left corner in an impressive piece of running.

    Lofi Khan-Periera scored his first Hastings Deering’s Colts double in Round Nineteen scoring Burleigh’s first two tries against Redcliffe.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s first try was an opportunist one, Cameron Brown put up a midfield and when it was mishandled by the Redcliffe fullback, Lofi Khan-Periera was on hand to scoop the ball up and run thirty five metres untouched to score.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s second try spanned 110 metres, Jayden Campbell retrieved the ball literally on the dead goal line, before exploding down field and then off loaded to Lofi Khan-Periera who had backed up on the inside to run fifty metres to score once again untouched.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also had a try assist in the match in the second half when after he made a break down the left wing, put in a deft banana kick back inside with his right foot into the in-goal area for Jayden Campbell to dive on it to score.

    Lofi Khan-Periera maintained his try scoring purple patch in Round Twenty against the Western Mustangs when he was on hand to dive on a Cameron Brown kick into the in goal for the Bears first try of many in the match.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s purple patch hit a new high in Round Twenty One against the Northern Pride when he scored a hat trick.

    For his first try which came in the first half Lofi Khan-Periera was on the end of a chain of short passes by Burleigh and he raced over in the left corner after a ten metre run to score under pressure from the Northern Pride fullback.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s second try and first of the second half resulted from him using his speed to back up a break from Will Evans who was able to off-load for Lofi Khan-Periera to score in the corner untouched.

    Lofi Khan-Periera’s third try was also scored in the left corner, Lofi Khan-Periera received the ball in an overlap situation and came inside a fraction as the Easts fullback was coming over in cover defence, Lofi Khan-Periera’s movement was enough to slow the fullback, once that occurred Lofi Khan-Periera swerved back to the outside to score highlighting his outstanding speed and acceleration.

    Lofi Khan-Periera almost scored four tries in the match. He made a long break after taking the ball for what looked like a hit up to bring the ball out of their own territory but he used his speed and footwork to split the defence through the middle going on a sixty metre run before being brought down.

    Lofi Khan-Periera scored once again in Round Twenty Two against the Sunshine Coast Falcons to maintain his unbelievable try scoring streak. After a chain of passing that ended with Lofi Khan-Periera is space down the left touchline, Lofi Khan-Periera put in a grubber kick to prevent going into touch and then showed outstanding speed to get to the ball around the Falcons fullback who was trying to shield the ball just as it was about to go touch in goal.

    In total in the 2019 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition for Burleigh Lofi Khan-Periera played in nine matches, starting all on the wing scoring eleven tries for a strike rate of 122%.

    To cap off an outstanding 2019 season Lofi Khan-Periera, in late December was named in the 2020 Queensland U20 Emerging Origin Squad.

    Lofi Khan-Periera started on the wing for the Titans U18 side in their late 2018 victory over the PNG U18 side at Burleigh and also started there and scored one of the Titans three tries as they defeated NSW Country U18’s the flowing week at Cudgen.

    In the match against New South Wales Country U18’s Lofi Khan-Periera started on the right wing with his try being an intercept try which covered approximately 98 metres.

    Lofi Khan-Periera represented South Coast at the QSSRL U18 Championships in Toowoomba in 2018 scoring a number of long range tries from the left wing and was in my eyes an unlucky omission from the Queensland U18 QSSRL side.

    Lofi Khan-Periera played a number of matches for Keebra Park in 2018 season including matches against PBC which they lost by two, points, and in wins over Wavell State High School and St Mary’s College who Keebra Park defeated 24 – 18. Keebra Park were knocked out at the Queensland Quarter Final stage by Marsden State High School in a bit of an upset.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also played one or two matches for the Keebra Park B side and was awarded one point in the Open B Best Player Award race.

    Lofi Khan-Periera started the 2018 season off in the MM Cup competition with the Burleigh Bears, playing in all six of Burleigh’s matches, starting four on the wing and two at fullback. Lofi Khan-Periera started the Bears first four matches on the wing before moving to fullback for the Round Six match against the Western Mustangs.

    In his six matches Lofi Khan-Periera scored five tries including a Round Six double against the Western Mustangs. Lofi Khan-Periera also scored tries in Rounds One, Three and Four against the Sunshine Coast, Tweed Heads and South’s Logan respectively.

    Post the MM Cup, Lofi Khan-Periera played in one match for the Burleigh U17 Division One side this season and made the most of it by scoring a hat trick against Helensvale.

    In 2017 Lofi Khan-Periera was one of multiple standouts for the Keebra Park Open Rugby League side in their great GIO Cup run. Lofi Khan-Periera started on the left wing for Keebra Park in their Queensland GIO Cup Final win over Marsden State High School and also starting on the left wing in Keebra Park’s 25 – 12 National GIO Cup Final victory over Westfield Sports High.

    Lofi Khan-Periera had an outstanding National GIO Cup Final scoring Keebra Park’s first try in just the third minute when after the ball was swept wide to the left by Keebra Park. When the ball came to Lofi Khan-Periera he found himself in space and was able to outpace the Westfield Sports High cover defence on a ten metre run to the line to put the ball down just inside the left corner post after beating his direct opponent with a right arm fend.

    Lofi Khan-Periera also produced a bit of brilliance in the lead up to Keebra Parks second try in the National Final in the 6th minute, when immediately after receiving he flicked the ball back inside with his right arm to his centre who broke into space who ultimately scored after putting through a grubber kick when he got to the fullback.

    Lofi Khan-Periera had a great 2017 season representing Queensland Murri U16’s in their annual clash against New South Wales Kurri with former Titans linked hooker Jesse Brasslin being a team mate in the match.

    In the interstate clash held in Newcastle Lofi Khan-Periera scored a double as Queensland Murri went down 16 – 14 in a tight clash. 2017 also saw Lofi Khan-Periera as part of the 2017 U16 Queensland Academy of Sport squad and he also won the Keebra Park 2017 Year 11 Sport Specialisation student of the year award.

    In 2017 Lofi Khan-Periera finished on top of the try scoring list in the U16 Division One competition in 2017, finishing with eight tries from twelve matches. Unfortunately for Lofi Khan-Periera he missed the U16 Division One Grand Final with injury as Burleigh were defeated 34 – 4.

    Lofi Khan-Periera had a great start to the U16 Division One season scoring all eight of his tries through the first five rounds including four tries in a match against Ormeau and a Round One double against Helensvale.

    At the commencement of the 2017 season Lofi Khan-Periera represented the Gold Coast Vikings in the U16 South East Queensland pre-season competition and from there made the South East Queensland White U16 side for the Queensland Age Championships.

    In those Championships, Lofi Khan-Periera had an outstanding campaign, scoring a double on Day Two against Centre and a try on Day Three against South East Queensland Green. Lofi Khan-Periera also scored in each of SEQ Whites finals, including against Northern in a semi-final and against SEQ Green in the final which White won 42 – 30.

    As a result of his play over the last couple of seasons Lofi Khan-Periera was identified by both the Titans and the Broncos but has signed a deal with the Titans after being in both NRL team’s development squads.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira has also represented Samoa on multiple occasions including being named Samoan U14 player of the tournament in 2015 at the QPICC championships.

    Lofi Khan-Periera was also named in the Queensland Murri Probable’s side after the 2016 Queensland Murri championships.
    One of the reasons Lofi Khan-Pereira is so successful on a football field is his exceptional speed and elusiveness, he is the fastest player I have ever seen on a field and when you add in his elusiveness, he is a nightmare for opposing defences. In relation to his elusiveness the thing that makes it play even better is his ability to change direction with no loss of speed, this enables him to use the sideline exceptionally well with an in and away, all three of his first half tries against Ipswich in Round Thirteen last weekend are a testament to this skill.
    When the opposing defender’s momentum slows just for a split second, Lofi Khan-Pereira is away down the sideline and will not get caught and also regularly also beats the fullback who no matter how fast they are cannot recover the ground.
    Lofi Khan-Pereira is also adept at making ground out of dummy half. Once he has picked the ball up he simply explodes out of there and targets a gap between opposing forwards and looks to accelerate through it. If the defenders look to jersey grab or make an arm tackle, Lofi Khan-Pereira simply bursts through it and into the space behind the ruck.
    Lofi Khan-Pereira is not a big player at all and the obvious question is whether he is strong enough to handle the defensive side of rugby league at the higher levels, I would argue that the answer is absolutely yes. In defence against the bigger outside backs running around, Lofi Khan-Pereira looks to cut down the time that they have to gain momentum thus eliminating the size differential as a defensive aspect to take into consideration.
    At the opposite end of the spectrum when opposing a quick winger, Lofi Khan-Pereira will show them the side line and use his speed advantage to force the opponent towards the touch line, with their only real option to slow and try to come back inside towards Lofi Khan-Pereira and the cover defence.
    From a courage stand point Lofi Khan-Pereira also passes any objective measurement that can be considered when evaluating this criterion. He will stand his ground under the high ball and is one of the first players to take a run out of dummy half when the ball needs to be brought out of his side’s own end.
    Lofi Khan-Pereira also has the speed to show his opponent the sideline and cut him down and has the recovery speed to turn and chase if a break is made either on his side of the field or for that matter the other side.


    Lofi Khan-Pereira is part of the Titans NRL Top 30 in 2022 and no doubt will get an opportunity in the 2022 NRL trials with the Titans. It is unlikely that Lofi Khan-Pereira will start the 2022 season in the Titans NRL side. It is probably however that Lofi Khan-Pereira will play the entire 2022 season with the Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup but it is not out of the realms of possibility that Lofi Khan-Pereira makes his NRL debut for the Titans late in the 2022 NRL season.


    Whilst I have no doubt that Lofi Khan-Periera, who is 182cm and weighs 80kg, could also play in the centres and fullback, but his straight line speed, elusiveness and power does project well on the wing and that is where I think that he ultimately ends up even if Lofi Khan-Periera does spend some time in the centres or at fullback over the course of the next couple of seasons in competitions under the NRL.

    Impressively Lofi Khan-Periera can play on both the left and right side of the field. Interestingly Lofi Khan-Periera spent a significant portion of the 2020 NRL pre-season with the Titans NRL squad positioned at fullback in the ball work sessions.

    I note that Lofi Khan-Periera played a number of matches in 2017 at fullback for Burleigh in the U16 Division One competition and one match in the MM Cup in 2019 for Burleigh and I can understand why coaches would want him there to bring the ball back in relation to returning kicks with speed and flair or hunting around the centre of the ruck for offloads from his forwards, in those instances he certainly could use his dash and foot work to great advantage.

    At 182cm and 80kg Lofi Khan-Pereira is not the biggest winger running around but with his elite speed and intensity Lofi Khan-Pereira is unlikely to be overmatched by bigger and stronger NRL wingers.

    Valentine Holmes of the North Queensland Cowboys, Queensland State of Origin and Australian International sides (and for a time on the practice squad of the New York Jets NFL side) is a very good playing comparison for Lofi Khan-Pereira in terms of a straight running exceptionally quick winger who is difficult to tackle every time he takes possession of the ball and from both a technical and positional perspective is solid defensively as well, if anything a touch underrated.

    Like Holmes, Lofi Khan-Pereira is just exciting to watch when he is running with the ball in relation to flying down the side line and also like Holmes, Lofi Khan-Periera will score plenty of highlight reel tries which will be played over and over again before his career is done and dusted.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira just attacks every aspect of rugby league with vigour, skill courage and confidence, the last of which is an extremely underrated quality for a young rugby league player. I am talking confidence but definitely not over confidence or cockiness from Lofi Khan-Pereira.

    Lofi Khan-Pereira does not wait for the game to come to him, Lofi Khan-Pereira just attacks it full force invariably coming out on top on the vast majority of occasions due to the confidence that he has in himself.

  11. #1781
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    Kaleb Ngamanu. (Revised). The exciting fullback, centre or winger originally signed with the Titans as a 15 year old back in 2018 and since has signed a contract extension to ensure that the Titans have one of the most outstanding strike players in Queensland regardless of whether you are talking about rugby league or rugby in their outstanding JTS program.

    Multiple NRL clubs as well as the Queensland Reds Super Rugby side were chasing Kaleb Ngamanu so it is certainly a mark of confidence that Kaleb Ngamanu extended his deal with the Titans in the face of so many rival offers from both codes.

    From a trivia perspective Kaleb Ngamanu is the younger brother of former Queensland Reds Super Rugby and Brisbane Boys College First XV stand outs Jayden and Cullen Ngamanu. The fact that is older brothers played at BBC meant that it was I am sure bitter sweet when Kaleb Ngamanu was part of the TSS First XV that knocked BBC out of the GPS School Boy First XV title race in late 2019 at BBC’s Toowong campus in an outstanding game of school boy rugby that was in the balance until the final minute of the match. Unfortunately Kaleb Ngamanu was not able to see out the match as a result of a jaw injury that he suffered near half time.

    Kaleb Ngamanu is undertaking the 2021/22 pre-season with the Titans NRL squad as a member of the Titans Rookie Squad looking to impress Justin Holbrook and the other NRL coaches in the pre-Christmas portion of the 2021/22 off-season. It is an absolute coup that the Titans have kept Kaleb Ngamanu in rugby league and away from the clutches of the likes of the Queensland Reds.

    Also in late 2021 Kaleb Ngamanu was part of the Titans NRL squad that undertook a joint training session with ninety members of the Titans JTS Program.

    In late 2021 it was confirmed that Kaleb Ngamanu would play the 2022 season as part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts squad and Kaleb Ngamanu is also Colts eligible in 2023.

    In early January 2021 Kaleb Ngamanu started on the right wing for the Titans U19 side in their annual match against the Newcastle Knights in Coffs Harbour, a match which the Titans dominated, especially in the second half to record an impressive 40 – 6 victory in shockingly hot and humid conditions.

    Whilst the ball did not get to his wing often in general play, Kaleb Ngamanu was still very effective in the match through multiple kick returns with Kaleb Ngamanu fielding a lot of the kicks in his direction on the full and he was also very effective running out of dummy half when bringing the ball out of his own territory.

    Two instances late in the match highlighted the hard work that Kaleb Ngamanu undertook bringing the ball upfield. In the 23rd minute of the second half, Kaleb Ngamanu came off his wing and charged into the Knights set defensive line, taking the first defender on front on, bumping him off in a twenty metre run that had started when Kaleb Ngamanu received the ball less than ten metres out from his own line.

    Just two minutes later in the 25th minute, Kaleb Ngamanu was at it again when he looped around to the other side of the field to once again start his hit-up from less than twenty metres out from his own line and through sheer hard running and leg drive got to the forty metre line before his forward momentum was eventually stopped and he was forced to play the ball.

    A week after the match against the Newcastle Knights Kaleb Ngamanu once again lined up for the Titans U19’s starting on the right wing as they took on a Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts squad with the Titans winning 32 – 20 with no conversions attempted.

    Kaleb Ngamanu had a more than solid match against the Bears including an outstanding thirty metre run that started just ten metres out from his own line early in the first half. From a Titans scrum win deep in their own half, Kaleb Ngamanu took the ball from Ediq Ambrosyev who had packed in at lock, producing an outstanding right foot step to beat the first defender, with Kaleb Ngamanu beating a second defender with a second right foot step. Kaleb Ngamanu then burst downfield before he was dragged down from behind on the forty metre mark just as he was winding up to get to his top speed.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also a key player in one of the Titans first half tries. Dummy half Oskar Bryant kicked out of dummy half, with the weighting being ideal, forcing the Burleigh fullback to go back into his in-goal. As he was trying to bring the ball back into the field of play, he was hit by Kaleb Ngamanu with the contact forcing the ball loose for Reef Sommerville to simply put his hand on the ball to be awarded a try.

    After a more than solid first half on the right wing, Kaleb Ngamanu moved to left centre in the second half and produced some real moments of class from there for the Titans including a 19th minute (of the second half) try assist. Kaleb Ngamanu, playing left centre flew into a gap just thirty metres from his own line, receiving a good ball from Thomas Weaver.

    After getting through the Bears line Kaleb Ngamanu accelerated away from any potential Bears cover defenders. After a forty metre run, Kaleb Ngamanu expertly drew the Burleigh fullback, then passing to his right to Jaylan De Groot who had loomed up on his inside.

    Kaleb Ngamanu then showcased his positioning skills in the final minute of the match. Even though they were on the wrong end of the scoreboard, Burleigh were still desperately trying to score up until the final siren and thus in the final minute the Bears half put in a grubber kick to the Titans left corner. Kaleb Ngamanu turned and chased the kick back, knocking the ball dead literally out of the clutches of the Bears right winger.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started on the right wing in Tweed Heads final 2021 MM Cup final against the Souths Logan Magpies at Logan. Kaleb Ngamanu moved to left centre early in the second quarter after a Campbell Watchairs ankle injury forced him off the field.

    It was from that left centre position where Kaleb Ngamanu threw the last pass to Keano Kini for him to score. The pass that Kaleb Ngamanu threw was to his left and covered around twenty metres and found Keano Kini in full stride and right on his chest. As a result Keano Kini was able to step inside the cover defence to score.

    Early in the third quarter Kaleb Ngamanu raced thirty metres down the left touchline after good work on his inside from Keano Kini and Ryan Foran, unfortunately Kaleb Ngamanu was taken into touch just metres away from the left corner post.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Kaleb Ngamanu starting the match at left centre for the Titans.

    In November 2020 Kaleb Ngamanu was named in the powerful Tweed Heads Seagulls 2021 MM Cup squad and in Round One Kaleb Ngamanu started at left centre against the Ipswich Jets.

    It was an interesting game for Kaleb Ngamanu, for the first sixty five minutes the ball and play always seemed to be on the opposite side of the field, but with the game on the line in the final five minutes with Tweed Heads holding onto a two point lead, all of a sudden the ball and play was everywhere where Kaleb Ngamanu was.

    In the 65th minute with the Seagulls defending their own line, Kaleb Ngamanu produced an outstanding tackle on the Jets tearaway left second rower. The Jets second rower had space to build his momentum and charged at the line but Kaleb Ngamanu put him on the ground with a superb low tackle.

    The Jets No. 11 second rower felt the power of Kaleb Ngamanu once again just three minutes later in the 68th minute. The Jets had an overlap but Kaleb Ngamanu came out of the line to hit the second rower around the chest just as he was looking up after taking possession of the ball.

    Interspersed between those two outstanding tackles was a strong hard run brining the ball out of his own twenty metre area by Kaleb Ngamanu who received the ball off Oskar Bryant to the left of the play the ball making ten valuable metres. The last five metres of the run were on his hands and knees after Kaleb Ngamanu was tripped up not long into his run but Kaleb Ngamanu just kept forcing his way forward.

    Such was Kaleb Ngamanu’s performance that he was named as the Seagulls best in the Round One match.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at left centre in Round Two against the Souths Logan Magpies and was outstanding once again in both attack and defence.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s impressive match started to just the 7th minute with a line break of twenty five metres down the left touch line after he was put away by great work on his inside by Keano Kini. Kaleb Ngamanu made another strong run down the left touchline in the 31st minute, making twelve metres before Kaleb Ngamanu was eventually stopped just centremetres short of the line in the left corner.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also had some strong runs through the centre of the field, as good as any of those runs was in the 19th minute when from his own territory, Kaleb Ngamanu made eleven metres through the centre of the ruck to give the Seagulls some room to move. Kaleb Ngamanu made a further fifteen metres in the 34th minute of the first half when once again brining the ball out of his own territory.

    The half time break did not slow Kaleb Ngamanu down as in the 36th minute he took the second hit up of the second half after the kick-off. The play the ball was only ten metres out from the line but Kaleb Ngamanu was able to bring the ball out to the Twenty metre line after taking on the centre of the Souths Logan defensive line.

    With the game in the balance, Kaleb Ngamanu continued to press Tweed Heads case with a strong effort from a tap restart from a penalty, making thirteen metres to get the Seagulls into the Magpies twenty metre area and then in the 67th minute, Kaleb Ngamanu darted out of dummy half to his right making twelve hard fought metres to get Tweed Heads within ten metres of the Souths Logan try line.

    Defensively Kaleb Ngamanu was also very strong in the match with a number of tackles standing out including a front on tackle in the 37th minute on his opposite number with Kaleb Ngamanu’s strong initial contact forcing the ball out and putting Tweed Heads back on the attack.

    Kaleb Ngamanu almost got himself on the scoreboard in the 51st minute when he took a Souths Logan cross kick on the bounce and looked set to streak away on an eighty metre runaway try but the play was called back for interference on the Souths Logan kicker.

    Kaleb Ngamanu once again started at left centre in the Round Three Gold Coast derby against the Burleigh Bears and once again was one of the Seagulls best in their strong derby victory.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s impressive afternoon got underway in just the 6th minute with a perfectly timed and executed driving low tackle after coming out of the line on Burleigh second rower Seth Nikotemo which forced the much bigger player back three metres.

    Kaleb Ngamanu added a further great low tackle to his highlight reel in the match with a beautifully executed tackle in the 56th minute of the match when he moved up from a Burleigh scrum win to take down the Burleigh centre less than ten metres out from the Burleigh line and then backed up to make the next tackle.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was outstanding defensively against Burleigh but also had some strong runs with the ball with the first of many coming in the 9th minute of the match when he took the ball from the dummy half just a metre out from his own line. Kaleb Ngamanu was able to get the ball out to the ten metre mark with the Burleigh defence rushing at him. Then just four minutes later Kaleb Ngamanu produced another ten metre effort to get the ball away from the try line.

    Kaleb Ngamanu continued to show up when his team needed him including in the 34th minute when with Tweed Heads under pressure in their own territory Kaleb Ngamanu surged sixteen metres through the centre of the ruck to get the ball just into Burleigh’s territory.

    Late in the first half Kaleb Ngamanu was on hand to continue to put pressure on Burleigh when he along with Ryan Foran was on hand to drag the Burleigh right winger into touch just out from his own line after he took a bomb on the field in the left corner.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also named to start at left centre for Round Four match against the Ipswich Jets and was close to if not the Seagulls best in their big 28 – 24 victory.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was into the action early in the match in just the second minute with a strong run to the right of the dummy half before cutting back into the area behind the play the ball to make eleven metres to bring the ball out of the Seagulls twenty metre area.

    Kaleb Ngamanu continued his strong start to the match in the 3rd minute with a run that made ten metres to get Tweed Heads within twenty metres of the try line. Just two minutes later, in the 5th minute, Kaleb Ngamanu charged onto the ball to the right of the play the ball before cutting off his right foot to gain sixteen metres.

    Late in the first half in the 27th minute Kaleb Ngamanu once again was key in getting Tweed Heads out of their own territory, on that occasion Kaleb Ngamanu made eighteen metres to get the ball across the halfway mark.

    Even with the game well and truly won, Kaleb Ngamanu’s effort did not drop off as was evidenced in the 67th minute, when he took a hit-up to the right of the dummy half with the run starting one metre out from his own line and Kaleb Ngamanu bringing the ball out to seventeen metres out from his own line.

    It was not just off the play the ball that Kaleb Ngamanu was able to make ground as in the 23rd minute, Kaleb Ngamanu made fifteen metres down a wide left blindside off a Tweed Heads scrum win, with Kaleb Ngamanu then making a further ten metres more to get to the Ipswich forty metre mark later in the same set of six.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also heavily involved in a Tweed Heads try in the 12th minute when Thomas Weaver threw a long pass to his left to find Kaleb Ngamanu who went into the line before passing to his left also to Kuuz Remine who dived over in the left corner. It was the exact same combination of players and essentially the exact same movement in the 32nd minute that led to another Kruz Remine try.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also strong defensively in the match including a sithing low tackle on the Ipswich right second rower (No. 11), cutting him down expertly.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s calmness under pressure was also on display in the match in the 7th minute when he left high to take a cross field bomb on the full under heavy pressure.

    Late in the match in the 61st minute Kaleb Ngamanu almost produced a try out of nothing. Ipswich were attacking the Tweed Heads line down their right side but the ball went to ground, Kaleb Ngamanu got to the ball first and toe’d it through and then around the halfway mark kicked the ball off the ground for the second time, unfortunately in the subsequent foot race the ball was knocked forward just ten metres out from the try line.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at left centre in Round Five against the Souths Logan Magpies.

    After being rested in Round Six, Kaleb Ngamanu was named at left centre for the Seagulls Semi-final against Wynnum Manly and was in the match early, being involved in the Seagulls first tackle of the match when he chased through a Thomas Weaver kick into the left corner.

    The ball did not get out to Kaleb Ngamanu’s side of the field through ball movement but Kaleb Ngamanu was still very effective in the match, especially in terms of running out of dummy half. in the 15th minute, Kaleb Ngamanu ran out of dummy half to his right making twenty metres before once again running out of dummy half to his right once again in the 21st minute, on that occasion making fourteen metres to get into Wynnum Manly territory.

    Kaleb Ngamanu ran to his right out of dummy half once again in the 25th minute, making a further twelve metres with approximately 60% of those metres made post contact.

    Kaleb Ngamanu made a further run out of dummy half in the 33rd minute making thirteen metres to near halfway after going to his right.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also recorded two line break assists in the match with the first coming in the 49th minute when after receiving the ball from the base of a scrum ran to his right, putting on a stutter step to get outside one defender and draw the Wynnum Manly right winger to put Elijah Lui away down the left touchline, with the Seagulls left winger eventually being tackled less than ten metres out.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s second line break assist came in the 45th minute when a great short quick pass to his left put Elijah Lui away down the left touchline who then kicked inside for Ryan Foran to retrieve the ball and pass to his right to Jaylan De Groot who dived over under the posts.

    Kaleb Ngamanu then produced another strong run of sixteen metres in the 58th minute, which was the third hit-up from the kick off after Elijah Lui’s long range try.

    In the 2021 MM Cup Queensland Grand Final against the Townsville Blackhawks, Kaleb Ngamanu once again started at left centre as the Tweed Heads Seagulls made in back to back MM Cup successes by beating Townsville 30 – 24 with Kaleb Ngamanu scoring in the final minute of the match to ensure victory.

    With just seconds to go in the match and ten metres out from their own line, Townsville tried to run back a Thomas Weaver grubber but Kaleb Ngamanu got hold of his opponent and stripped the ball in a one on one tackle and ran ten metres to dive over near the left corner to get the Seagulls celebrations under way.

    In addition to his try Kaleb Ngamanu also recorded a line break when in the 13th minute from a hit-up from his own twenty he bumped off two would be defenders to get to near the halfway mark before he was brought down.

    In the 30th minute Kaleb Ngamanu pulled off a smart piece of play when he charged down a Blackhawks clearing kick to get the ball back for Tweed Heads and in good field position as well.

    In February 2021 Kaleb Ngamanu took part in the U18 South Coast Open school boy trials and was named in the centres for the South Coast Open A school boy side as a result of his trial performances. Kaleb Ngamanu was one of two Titans contracted 2021 TSS School Boy Rugby First XV players in the South Coast Squad with the other being Nicholas Hilton.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started at left centre for South Coast’s Day One match against Met North and made his initial contribution in the opening minute when he ran back to take a Met North clearing kick on the full when still running back towards his own goal line. Then Kaleb Ngamanu took the third hit-up in that same set.

    The in the 5th minute, Kaleb Ngamanu made a run of ten metres from a South Coast scrum win, getting the ball to within twenty metres of the try line and then was awarded a penalty after the Met North defenders held on for too long in the tackle.

    Kaleb Ngamanu continued his strong start to the Championships in the 13th minute when he was able to make fifteen metres after he had picked the ball up at dummy half and run to his right. Also in the 24th minute, a stepping Kaleb Ngamanu accounted for twelve more valuable metres.

    Defensively Kaleb Ngamanu also had a strong Day One match including in the 16th minute when facing an overlap he came out of the line and drove the Met North half backwards, hitting him just as he received the ball.

    Kaleb Ngamanu came out of the line once again in the 37th minute producing a great low tackle on the Met North 14 who had tried to get on his outside.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at left centre on Day Two as South Coast took on Met East and almost immediately made thirteen metres out of his own twenty metre area in just the second minute of the match.

    On Day Three against Capricornia Kaleb Ngamanu once again start at left centre and made a forty metre line break down the left touchline after being put into space by Ryan Foran, then as he was confronted by the cover defence, Kaleb Ngamanu got the ball back inside to Ryan Foran.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started the Championship Final against Met North at left centre and whilst the ball did not get out to his side of the field too often more than held his own defensively including in the 32nd minute when he defused a Met North bomb under immense pressure.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was part of the TSS school boy rugby First XV once again in 2021, playing the season as a full colours player in what was Kaleb Ngamanu’s third season in the TSS First XV. Kaleb Ngamanu was also the 2021 TSS First XV captain.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was named as a stand by player in TSS’s opening GPS trials, being a set of round robin trials against Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie) and Gregory Terrace.

    Kaleb Ngamanu made his first appearance for TSS in late May 2021 for the First XV in TSS’s first full trial against Ipswich Grammar School when he started at inside centre (No. 12).

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at inside centre in TSS’s second 2021 First XV trial against Nudgee College on the Gold Coast and also started in the same position in the final full scale GPS First XV trial against Brisbane Boys College (BBC).

    In TSS’s final trial before the commencement of the 2021 GPS First XV school boy rugby season, Kaleb Ngamanu started at inside centre against the TSS Second XV.

    Round One of the 2021 GPS school boy rugby First XV competition saw Kaleb Ngamanu line up at inside centre (No. 12) for TSS as they took on Brisbane Grammar School at home with Kaleb Ngamanu contributing two try assists.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s first try assist came in the 10th minute when after he made a long fifty five metre break down the left touchline, Kaleb Ngamanu drew the Brisbane Grammar School fullback and passed to his right to Jye Gray who raced away to score under posts.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s second try assist came in the 58th minute when from twenty seven metres out he put in a chip kick to his left which was perfectly weighted for his left winger to take the ball on the full whilst running at full speed to score comfortably.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also outstanding in others aspects general play in TSS’s 71 – 5 victory with his initial contribution coming inside the opening minute of the match, when he combined from a TSS scrum win with Syris Schmidt to put fullback Jye Gray into space down the left side of the field who then was able to put his winger over in the corner.

    Then in the 30th minute Kaleb Ngamanu combined in for all intents and purposes exactly the same way for another TSS try with the only difference being that the move was executed on the right side of the field as opposed to the opening minute when the moved was executed on the left.

    As a result of his performance in the match Kaleb Ngamanu was named at inside centre in the Courier Mail GPS First XV Team of Round One and also received a TSS coaches honourable mention.

    Round Two away to Anglican Church Grammar School saw Kaleb Ngamanu named at inside centre for the TSS First XV side with Kaleb Ngamanu proving to be a difficult proposition for the Churchie defence on the way to recording two try assists.

    The first of Kaleb Ngamanu’s try assists came in the 23rd minute when after slicing through the defence on the right side of the field from thirty metres out, Kaleb Ngamanu then drew the Churchie fullback and passed to his left to Jye Gray who ran away to score under the posts.

    Kaleb Ngamanu added his second try assist when in the 67th minute he threw a good cut out ball to Nicholas Hilton who ran a good inside shoulder route to score next to the right upright. Just five minutes earlier in the 62nd minute Kalbe Nagamnu had also broken the line on the right once again and was able to off-load to Nicholas Hilton.

    As a result of his performance in the match Kaleb Ngamanu was named at inside centre in the Courier Mail GPS First XV Team of Round Two and also was awarded three points from the TSS First XV coaches for their weekly awards.

    After the GPS school boy rugby competition was suspended for a number of weeks, Kaleb Ngamanu started at inside centre for the TSS First XV side that played an internal TSS trial in late August in preparation for the restart of the competition also in late August against Toowoomba Grammar School.

    When the 2021 GPS First XV rugby season recommenced in late August, Kaleb Ngamanu started at No. 12 (inside centre) in Round Six against Toowoomba Grammar School making a line break in the 38th minute of TSS’s victory. After receiving the ball on the left side of the field, Kaleb Ngamanu made a fifty metre line break into Toowoomba Grammar School territory. Unfortunately Kaleb Ngamanu was hurt in the tackle and was unable to take any further part in the match.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at No. 12 (inside centre) in Round Eight against Nudgee College with Kaleb Ngamanu also setting up a try for TSS in the 45th minute when he was able to get halfway through the Nudgee College line and was able to get a good ball away to his left however the ball was knocked down by a Nudgee College defender ten metres from the line, directly in front of the goal posts.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also produced a great front one tackle in the 8th minute of the match when he drove his left shoulder into his Nudgee College opponent with Kaleb Ngamanu’s initial contact forcing the ball loose.

    Kaleb Ngamanu played his last First XV game for TSS in Round Nine against Gregory Terrace with Kaleb Ngamanu leading the TSS First XV side onto the field as captain and starting the match at outside centre.

    The match saw Kelab Ngamanu record a try assist in the 59th minute when after Gregory Terrace lost the ball, Kaleb Ngamanu tracked back to swoop on it and after racing twelve metres downfield Kelab Ngamanu put TSS fullback Jye Gray into a gap to race away to score the match sealing try.

    After a tough opening thirty minutes, Kaleb Ngamanu came into his own in the 35th minute with a surging twenty metre on the right side of the field to get the ball into Gregory Terrace territory.

    Then in the 39th minute Kaleb Ngamanu was at it again with another run that accounted for twenty metres with Kaleb Ngamanu beating three tackles. Kaleb Ngamanu added another strong run in the 41st minute with the run starting from inside his own in-goal area with Kaleb Ngamanu getting the ball fifteen metres into the field of play with the combination of left foot and right footsteps of Kaleb Ngamanu’s beating four would be defenders.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was always been known as an outstanding defender and his final match reinforced that when he made a great low tackle in the 49th minute near mid-field on the charging Gregory Terrace No. 8.

    Post the final round of the 2021 GPS First XV competition, Kaleb Ngamanu was named on the bench in the Courier Mail Team of the Season.

    At the end of the 2021 season, Kaleb Ngamanu was named at No. 29 in the Courier Mail Top 60 school boys from the GPS Rugby, AIC Rugby and Langer Cup competitions.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started Round One of the 2020 MM Cup competition for the Tweed Heads Seagulls on the left wing against the Northern Pride scoring in the 14th minute of the first half as the Seagulls recorded a big first up victory. Unfortunately the Seagulls chase for repeat Queensland and National U18 success in 2020 was hamstrung by the Covid 19 pandemic.

    In early July 2020 Kaleb Ngamanu was part of the TSS Senior Squad that undertook a three day rugby camp prior to the commencement of the 2020 GPS School Boy Rugby First XV competition and played the 2020 GPS school boy First XV season as a full colours TSS rugby representative.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started at No. 12 (inside centre) as well as being named vice captain for the TSS First XV in their internal trial in mid-July 2020 and also started at inside centre against Nudgee College being the first trial TSS had against another GPS school. Kaleb Ngamanu was also the TSS vice-captain for that trial as well.

    Against Nudgee Kaleb Ngamanu had some very good moments including putting in the kick that resulted in the try that put TSS in front for good with two minutes to go. Kaleb Ngamanu received the ball to the right of the break down on around the half way mark and put in a right foot kick along the ground into space behind the Nudgee line, after the ball was retrieved by TSS, Jojo Fifita dived over out wide to seal a TSS 24 – 21 victory.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at No. 12 and was also vice-captain in the TSS First XV’s final trial against Anglican Church Grammar School on the Gold Coast. Kelab Ngamanu made numerous line breaks in the match, including one in the first half off a TSS line out win when he split the Churchie defence running forty metres but he could not quite set up his support runner, being Jojo Fifita.

    Also in the first half, Kaleb Ngamanu produced an outstanding series of plays which ended in a TSS try. With Churchie on the attack, Kaleb Ngamanu ripped the ball away from a Churchie attacker, retrieved it and went on a fifty metre run down the left touch line. When he was eventually tackled, Kaleb Ngamanu recycled the ball quickly for Jye Gray to grubber through the disorganised Churchie line to score under the posts.

    Round One of the GPS school boy rugby First XV competition proper saw Kaleb Nagmanu start at No. 12 and run on as TSS vice-captain against Brisbane State High School. Round Two against Toowoomba Grammar School saw Kaleb Ngamanu move to outside centre (No. 13), scoring his first try of the season when he backed up on the inside after a one on one steal by Syris Schmidt to run forty metres to score. Kaleb Ngamanu laos made a thirty metre break early in the match which generated momentum for TSS eventually leading to Syris Schmidt slicing through the Toowoomba Grammar School defence to score.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started at outside centre and vice-captain once again in Round Three against Brisbane Grammar School recording a critical try assist late in the match when he burst through two defenders down a short blind side charging thirty metres before offloading to his right to his winger to score a key try in a 20 – 15 TSS victory.

    In the pivotal 2020 GPS school boy rugby First XV Round Four match against Brisbane Boys College Kaleb Ngamanu moved back to inside centre. In Round Four against Gregory Terrace Kaleb Ngamanu moved back to No. 13 (outside centre) for the home match making a critical break down the right touch line in the dying moments of the match. TSS received a penalty from the next phase which Syris Schmidt kicked after the final siren to secure a 23 – 22 victory. Kaleb Ngamanu received one vote by the TSS coaches in the TSS First XV 2020 Player of the Season voting.

    Kaleb Ngamanu continued at outside centre (No. 13) for Round Five against Ipswich Grammar School.

    TSS had a Round Six bye but the TSS First XV side played a “trial” against Downlands College with Kaleb Ngamanu starting at No. 13 and was vice-captain once again and was on the winning side as TSS finished their 2020 season with a 50 – 24 victory.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also represented TSS in the 2020 GPS schools Athletics Competition as part of the TSS 4 x 100 metre Open Relay team. Kaleb Ngamanu ran the third leg of the relay for TSS who finished 7th in a time of 44.69 seconds.

    Kaleb Ngamanu is originally from Western Australia where he played two years of rugby league for the Joondalup Giants who moved over to the Gold Coast at the start of 2016 season, making every post a winner since that time in his junior rugby league career and for that matter in school boy rugby for the Southport School (TSS) including the First XV side and in 2019 signed a new contract with the Titans which will keep him with the club for the next couple of seasons.

    One of Kaleb Ngamanu’s most recent matches for the Titans was when he started at fullback for the Titans U16 squad in their early October 2019 match against PNG at Pizzey Park and made a great fist of the fullback role regularly chiming into the Titans back line as they easily accounted for the PNG U16 side 44 – 12.

    In January 2019 Kaleb Ngamanu started on the left wing for the Titans U16 side against the Newcastle Knights U16 Harold Matthews squad in Coffs Harbour and was very unlucky not to be awarded a second half try. To be honest I am still unsure why the try was disallowed, Kaleb Ngamanu flashed into the back line from the fullback position on the left hand side of the field and broke through two Knights defenders to seemingly score but the try was disallowed I assume for a lost ball but to be honest, from my vantage point it seemed like a certain try.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started the match on the left wing but spent some time at fullback midway through the first half when he swapped positions with Rowan Mansfield for a few minutes. In the second half with Rowan Mansfield injured, Kaleb Ngamanu played the entire half at fullback and showed his outstanding speed when he backed up a long break from Joseph Shannon (who had been put into a hole as a result of a great Bailey Martin pass).

    In the first half Kaleb Ngamanu produced three outstanding pieces of play including two try saving tackles, the first when the Knights winger burst through the centre of the ruck and Kaleb Ngamanu tracked back and caught him from behind. His second try saving tackle was made in the left corner when he stopped the Knights winger in his tracks about a metre from the try line when the winger looked certain to score.

    With the ball Kaleb Ngamanu made an outstanding break down the left touch line when he got outside his direct opponent as a result of a great ball from half Thomas Weaver whilst playing on the left wing in the first half.

    On top of all that Kaleb Ngamanu forced at least three errors that I can recall as a result of sheer hard work and effort.

    Kaleb Ngamanu signed a multi-year deal with the Titans in early 2018 after a starring on the left wing for the Titans U15 side in their six tries to three win over the Western Mustangs in March 2018 and late in the 2018 season started on the wing for the Titans U15 as they defeated a U15 Balmain Tigers touring side 16 – 10 with Kaleb Ngamanu scoring an outstanding try in the match.

    Kaleb Ngamanu scored in around the 6th minute when he flashed down the left touch line untouched and was able to bring the ball around under the posts. For the try Kaleb Ngamanu kept his width and exploded onto a great cut out ball from Thomas Weaver to score from around 30 metres out showcasing his speed.

    In the match Kaleb Ngamanu also had some other highlights including an outstanding fifty metre second half run when he expertly fielded a low kick and split the defence from his own line, but unfortunately just could not find Thomas Weaver with the inside pass.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also involved in the final Titans try scored by Rowan Mansfield. At the time Kaleb Ngamanu was playing right centre, he took a pass from Jye Gray before drawing the Balmain winger and popping a great ball to Rowan Mansfield to send him down the touch line.

    Early in 2019, Kaleb Ngamanu was part of the Gold Coast Vikings U16 side that played in the South East Queensland U16 Challenge and post that championship was named in the South East Queensland U16 train on squad.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started on the left wing for the Queensland City U16 side in their match against Queensland Country U16’s, playing the entire seventy minutes. Kaleb Ngamanu ran for 45.1 metres in the match and made three tackles at a 75% tackling efficiency. It was just one of those frustrating matches for a winger as the ball just did not go out Kaleb Ngamanu’s way but credit to him, Kaleb Ngamanu certainly went looking to get involved as often as possible.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started the 2019 season for the Coomera Cutters in the GCRL U16 Division One competition, starting in the centres in Round One against Burleigh and scoring in the match which was his one and only GCRL match of the season.

    Kaleb Ngamanu kicked off his 2019 school boy rugby campaign for The Southport School (TSS) in late April 2019 when he was part of the TSS Second XV side that defeated the touring New Zealand School New Plymouth Boys High 36 – 0, starting the match at inside centre. Kaleb Ngamanu then was on the bench for the TSS First XV side that went down 31 – 29 also against New Plymouth Boys High.

    Kaleb Ngamanu made his TSS First XV run on debut in a trial against Brisbane State High School in May 2019 with TSS winning 57 – 12.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was once against part of the TSS First XV squad for the next set of GPS rugby trials against Brisbane State High School (BSHS) and Gregory Terrace at the TSS campus on the Gold Coast, in late May 2019 with Kaleb Ngamanu named on the bench. TSS won the trial against Gregory Terrace but went down against BSHS in the second match.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started TSS’s next trial against Nudgee College in the right wing (No. 14) for the TSS First XV. Kaleb Ngamanu moved to the left wing (No. 11) for the TSS First XV’s next trial against Ipswich Grammar School at Ipswich.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started at outside centre for the TSS First XV in their final GPS rugby trial prior to their Round One fixture against Nudgee College with TSS winning 10 - 5 away to Sunshine Coast Grammar School.

    In Round One of the 2019 GPS school boy rugby competition season proper, Kaleb Ngamanu started on the right wing for TSS against Nudgee College and was outstanding defensively, both in terms of his initial contact and cover defence.

    In the match the ball did not get out to his right wing a great deal but Kaleb Ngamanu did have an outstanding run late in the second half where he dragged a number of Nudgee defenders five or six metres. Kaleb Ngamanu actually crossed the line in the second half but the final pass was called back for being forward. To be fair it was only two or three metres forward.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also showcased his hands in Round One taking producing a great contest catch of a TSS box kick under extreme pressure to maintain TSS’s momentum in a pivotal moment of the first half.

    Kaleb Ngamanu was also outstanding in Round Two as TSS thrashed Churchie 64 – 7 with Kaleb Ngamanu starting on the right wing but moving into inside centre around the 10 minute mark after an injury.

    From that position Kaleb Ngamanu scored his first First XV try of the career. At a set piece about fifteen metres out from the Churchie line, Kaleb Ngamanu originally lined up in the left of the piece but rotated around to the right receiving the ball in space.

    Kaleb Ngamanu ran at the opposition defensive line which started to back pedal holding the ball in both hands and after shaping to pass the ball to his right Kaleb Ngamanu ran through the resultant gap in the line to score mid-way between the touch line and goal post on the right hand side of the field.

    After finishing Round Two at inside centre, Kaleb Ngamanu started there in Round Three against Brisbane State High School. In the first half Kaleb Ngamanu focussed primarily on ball playing for his outside backs but in the second half ran the ball more and came close to scoring twice.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also started at inside centre in Round Four against Toowoomba Grammar School in Toowoomba scoring his second try of the season as well as recording a try assist and also being heavily involved in a few others.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s try assist came in the second half and was as a result of a great sleight of hand from a set play. From a TSS scrum win on the Toowoomba Grammar School twenty metre line Kaleb Ngamanu received the ball to the right of the scrum and produced an outstanding no look pop up pass to his right as the TSS left winger looped around to charge through the resultant gap to score adjacent to the left upright.

    Kaleb Ngamanu’s try (his second of the season) came late in the match, Kaleb Ngamanu picked up the ball on from the back of a ruck and drove to his left to score from close range to round out a 62 – 3 TSS route.

    Round Five against Brisbane Grammar School saw Kaleb Ngamanu continue at inside centre scoring for the second week in a row and third for the season. Kaleb Ngamanu’s try can only be considered a superb effort. In the 16th minute of the first half, Kaleb Ngamanu received the ball to the right of the ruck and ran diagonally to his right and used a great fend which literally knocked the Brisbane Grammar School fly half (now at Keebra Park), being Connor Te Kani off his feet.

    Once that occurred Kaleb Ngamanu ran through the resultant gap to score mid-way between the goal posts and the right corner flag under pressure from two more BGS defenders for a simply outstanding individual try.

    In Round Six Kaleb Ngamanu started once again at inside centre against fellow unbeaten school Brisbane Boys College at Toowong in Brisbane in essentially what was the GPS First XV Premiership decider between the only remaining unbeaten schools.

    Unfortunately Kaleb Ngamanu was forced off the field with a cheek bone injury in the early minutes of the second half in TSS’s 23 – 20 victory in front of a massive crowd at Toowong in Brisbane’s west that knocked BBC out of the GPS First XV Premiership race.

    The win ensured that TSS were the 2019 GPS School Boy rugby First XV Champions and it is a touch ironic that it came against BBC which was the school that Kaleb Ngamanu’s two older brothers starred for being Cullen and Jayden Ngamanu.

    Kaleb Ngamanu in 2019 was also part of the Queensland U18 Reds Academy Rugby side that defeated Victoria 46 – 18 with Kaleb Ngamanu coming off the bench to play on the right wing and mid-way through the second half set up a try when he drew the Rebels fullback and passed back inside to the Reds outside centre to score after a long run down the right touch line.

    2018 saw Kaleb Ngamanu’s selection in the South Coast U15 QSSRL side at the completion of the South Coast Trials. Kaleb Ngamanu was subsequently selected in the Queensland Maroon U15 side for the U15 ASSRL Championships.

    Other Titans linked boys to make the 2018 U15 South Coast QSSRL squad included front rower Brody Smitka, centre/second rower Ezra Ubaldino and outstanding backrower Bailey Martin.

    As a result of his performance at those Championships Kaleb Ngamanu was selected in one of the two Queensland sides for the Australian Championships. Unfortunately Kaleb Ngamanu was injured in the camp just prior to the U15 ASSRL Championships and was unable to take his place in the Queensland Maroon side.

    In late 2018 Kaleb Ngamanu was named in the Gold Coast Vikings U16 Training Squad for the 2019 U16 South East Queensland Challenge.

    Kaleb Ngamanu is also part of the 2019 U16 Queensland Emerging Origin squad and in their opposed session was on the same side as fellow Titans Bailey Martin and Orlando Swain.

    When he moved over to the Gold Coast, Kaleb Ngamanu started attending Keebra Park State High School making a big impression in their U13 side even though he missed portions of the 2016 season with an injury. Kaleb Ngamanu however was identified by The Southport School (TSS) and for 2017 transferred there standing out in their U14A GPS rugby side in 2017 in Term Three.

    In 2018 Kaleb Ngamanu played club rugby league for the Coomera Cutters and obviously for TSS in terms of school boy rugby and for Queensland II in the Australian U16 Rugby Championships.

    For Coomera in the U15 Division One competition in 2018 Kaleb Ngamanu has played in six matches scoring three tries. Kaleb Ngamanu scored a Round One double against the Mudgeeraba Redbacks and scored against Runaway Bay in Round Four.

    Kaleb Ngamanu played for the TSS U15A side in 2018 playing in four GPS matches and one match against Downlands College. Kaleb Ngamanu started Round One at outside centre against Anglican Church Grammar School and then missed a number of matches before returning once again at outside centre in Round Six against Gregory Terrace.

    In Round Seven against Brisbane Boys College Kaleb Ngamanu moved to the open side flanker position before returning to outside centre for Round Nine against Nudgee College. Kaleb Ngamanu also started at outside centre against Downlands College in TSS’s Round Eight bye week.

    Prior to the GPS school boy rugby season proper, Kaleb Ngamanu played in a number of trial matches for TSS. Kaleb Ngamanu started on the bench for the first two trials which were against Far North Coast and Toowoomba Grammar School before moving into the starting side at outside centre for the last four trials against Nudgee, Ipswich Grammar School Ambrose Treacy College and Sunshine Coast Grammar School. In those four appearances in the starting trial sides Kaleb Ngamanu has been partnered in the centres with rugby league youngster Syris Schmidt.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also played club rugby on the Gold Coast in 2018 season at the U15 level for the Griffith University Colleges side and started at outside centre in the Grand Final which they won 47 – 19 against the Helensvale Hogs and Cbus stadium as a curtain raiser to the 2018 Rugby International between Argentina and the Wallabies.

    Kaleb Ngamanu played in nine matches for the Griffith University Colleges starting two at outside centre (No. 13) including the Grand Final, one at inside centre (No. 12) and the remainder from the interchange bench. In Round Two against the PBC Alleygators Kaleb Ngamanu kicked three conversions in a big win for Griffith University Colleges.

    In October 2018 Kaleb Ngamanu was part of the Queensland II side for the Australian U16 Championships. In Round One Kaleb Ngamanu started on the left wing for Qld II in their big 57 – 5 win over Western Australia.

    Round Two against Victoria saw Kaleb Ngamanu once again start on the left wing for Queensland II and scored one of Queensland II’s three tries when he flew down the left touch line as Queensland II went down 19 – 17 in a tight encounter.

    For the Round Three clash against New South Wales I Kaleb Ngamanu swapped to the right wing but unfortunately Queensland II went down 29 – 17.

    The 2017 season Gold Coast Junior Rugby League season saw Kaleb Ngamanu play up an age group in the U15 Division One competition after transferring from Southport to the Coomera Cutters. In the U15 Division One competition, Kaleb Ngamanu played in eight matches scoring 28 points in total from three tries and eight goals, with the tries coming against Southport, Helensvale and Nerang. In the match that he scored against his former club Southport, Kaleb Ngamanu also kicked six goals for a sixteen point haul on the night.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also played one match for Coomera in the 2017 U14 Division Two competition (his regular age group) which was against the Robina Raptors, he then backed up to play for his “regular” U15 Division One side later that Friday night.

    2017 also saw Kaleb Ngamanu represent the Gold Coast Vikings at the U14 level and from there going on to make the South East Queensland Green U14 side for the Queensland Age Championships that were held in Toowoomba in July last year. In those Championships, Kaleb Ngamanu scored on each of the first four days, in order against Central, Northern South East Queensland White and Central again.

    In 2017 Kaleb Ngamanu played for TSS in the GPS U14A competition, starting all eight of TSS’s matches at outside centre except for Round Nine when he started at fullback against Nudgee College. In those eight matches he scored six tries and was awarded the best back award on three occasions, being against Brisbane State High School in Round One, against Ipswich Grammar School in Round Three and against Gregory Terrace in Round Five.

    Kaleb Ngamanu scored a Round Six double against Brisbane Grammar School and also scored against Ipswich Grammar School in Round Three, against Brisbane Boys College in Round Four, against Gregory Terrace in Round Five and against Nudgee College in Round Nine.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also scored against Downlands College in a “trial” match when TSS had a GPS Round Seven bye.

    Kaleb Ngamanu played the 2016 season for the Southport Tigers at the U14 level splitting time between the U14 Division One and Division Two competitions even though he was still eligible to play in the U13 competition.

    Kaleb Ngamanu started off his rugby league journey on the Gold Coast with a bang by making the 2016 U13 Vikings squad after impressing in the trials held in the weekend of 16-17 April 2016 where Kaleb Ngamanu played the majority of the trials in the centres after playing almost exclusively at five eight in the Western Australian junior rugby league competition.

    Kaleb Ngamanu is a smooth powerful runner of the ball who seems to glide across the field effortlessly and certainly has an extra gear in relation to the speed he possesses as well as plus speed off the mark. In the centre position, he has the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the outside, something that is becoming increasingly rare in the modern game.

    When he gets the ball early from his inside play makers, Kaleb Ngamanu is incredibly difficult to deal with one on one, as whilst his speed has already been noted, he is also a powerful runner who has the power to also break tackles through sheer power and not just rely on his speed to beat his opponent.

    Kaleb Ngamanu had a very solid match for the Titans U15 side at Nerang in March 2018 playing on the left wing outside of JT Manuofetoa who was also outstanding on the day. In fact their combination was responsible for Kaleb Ngamanu’s try that Sunday when they used their numbers perfectly to send Kaleb Ngamanu down the left touch line in the second half for him to score in the corner to open up the Titans lead.

    For the Titans I would really have liked to see Kaleb Ngamanu operate in the centres but on the day the exceptionally talented Rowan Mansfield and the a fore mentioned JT Manuofetoa started in the centres and excelled so you can understand Kaleb Ngamanu operating on the wing in the match.

    That Sunday morning against the Western Mustangs at Nerang I was also impressed by the amount of runs Kaleb Ngamanu took from dummy half helping the Titans bring the ball out of their own end. The outstanding feature of his paly however for the Titans was his spacing out wide. Kaleb Ngamanu stayed on the touch line and was regularly able to exploit room down the touch line when space was created by JT Manuofetoa and halves, Jed Bignell and Thomas Weaver on his inside.

    In terms of chasing attacking kicks Kaleb Ngamanu has a very good leap and uses his forward momentum well to get above defenders, where the majority of the time he looks to catch the ball rather than hit it back to his team’s advantage, in my opinion that is not a bad thing at all.

    Kaleb Ngamanu also has very good hands low to the ground on grubber kicks or when defenders drop bombs and uses his reach to get to the ball quickly before defenders. Kaleb Ngamanu will also chase general play kicks with vigour trying to improve the effectiveness of his teams kicking game.

    Like all well coached youngsters Kaleb Ngamanu displays a sound defensive technique and a disciplined approach both from an individual and team perspective. From a defensive technique perspective Kaleb Ngamanu uses his shoulder well to disrupt the momentum of the ball carrier and does not “jumper” grab but rather drives through the tackle with his shoulder both in regards to a front on tackle or a side on tackle

    In 2022 Kaleb Ngamanu will line-up for the Tweed Heads Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts side and is also Colts eligible in 2023. Kaleb Ngamanu will also train with the Titans Rookie Squad over the course of the 2022 season.

    From a position perspective, even though Kaleb Ngamanu spent the majority of his formative years in Western Australia playing five eight for me I believe that he will play in the centres long term and develop into a smooth moving elusive runner of the ball and quite an efficient and effective defender as well.

    Obviously the time spent at five eight in Western Australia will only enhance his ball skills and assist in creating space for his support players wider out. I just think that Kaleb Ngamanu’s running skills will be better suited to playing in the centres or on the wing rather than imposing added pressure to be a play maker at fullback where it does not necessarily come as naturally as when Kaleb Ngamanu is running the ball out wider of the ruck.

    I really am a proponent of youngsters playing multiple different sports, in this case in relation to Kaleb Ngamanu rugby at a high level in the GPS school boy rugby First XV competition and there is absolutely no doubt Kaleb Ngamanu’s multiple seasons in that competition has accelerated his development exponentially.

    The “second” sport whether it is touch or rugby assists in the skill set development of the player and provides exposure to different critical skill sets, tactical game situations and coaching philosophies amongst other benefits.

    From a player comparison perspective, consider the game of North Queensland Cowboy and former Cronulla Sharks fullback and Queensland State of Origin and Australian International winger Valentine Holmes in relation to Kaleb Ngamanu as a player who attacks the game full on and has the speed, timing, anticipation, skill and confidence to make things happen with or without the ball in his hands.

  12. #1782
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    Arama Hau. The exceptionally talented left second rower or lock (and occasional five eight for the Nerang Roosters) resigned with the Titans in November 2020 in a coup that will pay huge dividends in coming seasons for the Titans all of the way up to and including the NRL level I am sure and of course for Arama Hau himself.

    The powerful second rower or lock initially signed a multi-year contact with the Titans in 2019 and all he has done since is dominate opposing sides every time that he takes the field whether than be in representative sides, school boy rugby league sides for Keebra Park State High School or for the Nerang Roosters in the Gold Coast Rugby League junior age competitions.

    In mid-December Arama Hau had the opportunity to train with the Titans NRL squad in a joint training session between the Titans NRL squad and the Titans JTS Program Squads.

    In late October 2021 Arama Hau was named in the Burleigh Bears 2022 U18 MM Cup squad for the second season in a row.

    In January 2021 Arama Hau started from the bench for the Titans U17 side in their annual match at Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights and was outstanding when he came on with a number of powerful charges as the Titans came away with an impressive 32 – 20 victory with no conversions take and the match played in hot and steamy conditions.

    In his time on the field Arama Hau worked on both the left and right sides of the ruck and as noted above produced some outstanding charges, none more impressive one than late in the first half when from the left second row position Arama Hau surged twenty metres downfield with most of the ground that he made being accounted for post contact with the Knights defensive line. Late in the second half, Arama Hau produced another outstanding run, charging fifteen metres downfield after receiving a before the line short off-load from Joseph Shannon.

    Early in the second half Arama Hau showcased his own off-loading skills when he produced an outstanding one armed (right arm) off load to Shane Davis-Caldwell with three defenders trying to get him onto the ground. Late in the match, Arama Hau produced another outstanding one armed off-load this left with his left arm when he was able to offload to Shane Davis-Caldwell once again.

    Arama Hau put an exclamation mark on his attacking performance with a great twenty metre charge from the Titans set of six after Keano Kini’s try when he knocked Newcastle forwards backwards as he steamed through the centre of the ruck.

    Defensively Arama Hau was also very effective, including a try saving tackle mid-way through the second half. The Knights attacker actually got over the Titans line right under the posts, but before he could get the ball down, Arama Hau literally just lifted him off the ground and drove him back and then crunching him into the ground back in the field of play in a display of immense power and strength.

    Even late in the match, Arama Hau continued to work hard and with Newcastle looking to bring the ball off their own line, Arama Hau made three impressive tackles in a row to force the Knights to kick from deep inside their own twenty metre area. Arama Hau’s first tackle in the three tackle sequence was a huge front on hit on the Knights second rower No. 11 which stopped him in his tracks. Whipping his head back in the process.

    From the subsequent play the ball, Arama Hau monstered the Knights No. 17, rag dolling him backwards and then to complete the sequence Arama Hau took the legs out from under the No. 20 before he had made any ground at all to mean that in the three tackle sequence, Newcastle had not made any ground at all and were definitely on the back foot as a result.

    In June 2021 Arama Hau had a distinction of captaining the Titans U17 JTS squad that played at Cbus Stadium against a Titans Northern Rivers U18 selection, with the match being played as a curtain raiser to the Titans Round Fourteen NRL match against the Sydney Roosters.

    Arama Hau had an outstanding match including a great off-load after he charged downfield thirty metres before getting his right arm free and offloading to his left to Keano Kini who raced away from forty five metres out to score a spectacular try untouched.

    Arama Hau’s first hit-out with the 2021 Burleigh Bears MM Cup side came when he started at lock in the Bears second trial against the Easts Tigers.

    Arama Hau had a very impressive trial building into the match in the opening minutes with a great charge in just the 2nd minute of the match, making eight metre post contact. Arama Hau was at it again in the 12th minute of the match when another powerful charge from inside his own territory netted sixteen hard fought metres. As he tried to get to his feet after the strong run Arama Hau was held down thus winning the Titans well deserved penalty.

    Arama Hau continued his great running game in the 33rd minute with another strong carry, making a further twelve metres, plenty of which was post contact. Arama Hau impressively in the final minute was still running as hard as he had in the opening minutes, making a further twelve metres in his last hit-out of the match even though the match had been well and truly won by the Titans.

    Arama Hau was just as effective defensively in the match including a huge front on tackle on the Easts No. 20 in the 25th minute just saw the ball jolted lose such was the force of Arama Hau’s initial contact on the ball carrier.

    Also in the 50th minute, Arama Hau came out of the line when defending on the right of the ruck to smash his opposite number dropping him on the spot as he was trying to bring the ball out of his own territory.

    After missing Round One of the 2021 MM Cup competition Arama Hau was named to start at lock for Round Two against the Ipswich Jets and was one of the Bears try scorers in their impressive 44 – 16 victory.

    Arama Hau had a strong first half with his try coming in the 10th minute of the match. Arama Hau ran the ball to the right, starting his run from eleven metres out. Arama Hau cut back off his left foot on two occasions getting Arama Hau in the area behind the play the ball and once there Arama Hau straightened out to burst through and score three metres from the left upright.

    A minute prior to scoring, Arama Hau was also part of a long Burleigh break down the left side of the field. Arama Hau took the ball off Caleb Gould-Waiariki who was the dummy half and after a bustling ten metre, run off-loaded to Caleb Gould Waiariki who darted thirty metres down field with Arama Hau scoring just two tackles later.

    Arama Hau continued his powerful running post his try, including in the 13th minute when he charged to his right, making ten metres before offloading to his right to Tuvalli Khan-Pereira to keep the movement going in the Ipswich Jets twenty metre area.

    In the 46th minute, Arama Hau continued to be almost unstoppable with a seventeen metre run from a play the ball restart with at least eleven of those metres post contact as he fought with the Jets defenders who found it difficult to get Arama Hau to the ground.

    Arama Hau was at it again in the 63rd minute with a skilful display of his hand/eye co-ordination. With Ipswich on the attack close to the line, the Jets five eight put in a hard grubber kick, Arama Hau got low and scooped the ball up from around ankle height cleanly five metres out and immediately accelerated to get the ball to near the twenty metre mark and take all of the pressure of the Burleigh defence.

    Arama Hau just could not be kept out of the match and in the 66th minute, produced a winding run that made ten metres, breaking two tackles along the way to get the ball to the Ipswich twenty metre mark.

    Even with the match won, Arama Hau just kept going and in the 69th minute, Arama Hau made twelve more metres to add to his impressive match total, with the effort bringing the ball out to the twenty metre mark.

    Arama Hau once again started at lock in the Round Three Gold Coast derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls and for me was the best player on the field on the way to recording a try assist and at least two line break assists.

    Arama Hau’s first contribution of the match came in the opening tackle of the match when he monstered Tweed Heads lock Jordan Lewis after Burleigh were penalised for being offside from the kick-off. Arama Hau backed that tackle up by then tackling Jack Cullen who took the next hit-up.

    Over the course of the match against the Seagulls Arama Hau provided extremely difficult to get to the ground and that was the case in the 6th minute when Arama Hau was able to get a great one handed off-load for Brody Smitka to promote the ball forward.

    Just three minutes later in the 9th minute Arama Hau produced a big run of eighteen metres. Arama Hau was initially hit by the defence after just eight metres but he just kept fighting forward to gain ten post contact metres.

    Arama Hau’s huge match continued in the 12th minute with a ten metre charge before a right arm off-load by Arama Hau to Kaden Somerville enabled Burleigh to continue to make ground.

    Just five minutes later in the 17th minute saw Arama Hau once again make significant metres, this time twenty metres, breaking three tackles along the journey to get Burleigh just over the halfway mark.

    The halftime break did not slow Arama Hau down as in the 41st minute of the match he charged onto the ball to the left of the dummy half for all intents and purposes looking like he was going to take the ball into the defensive line but at the last moment before contact Arama Hau threw a great short ball to his left to C****n Patu in space to record a line break assist.

    After Patu was brought down Arama Hau flew onto the ball from Patu’s play the ball engaging the Seagulls defensive line before throwing a great left arm offload to his left to put Travis May into a big gap (another line break assist for Arama Hau) with the Burleigh five eight getting to within ten metres of the try line.

    Then in the 53rd minute Arama Hau produced another strong run to the left of the play the ball breaking four tackles on the way to making eighteen metres to get the ball close to the twenty metre mark.

    After that exceptional sequence of events most players would have sat back for a couple of minutes but not Arama Hau as in the 57th minute he charged onto the ball on the left side of the field, surging twenty metres including a clockwise spin to break one tackle then Arama Hau threw a great right arm off-load to an unmarked Jeremaiah Temapo to run fifteen metres to score in the left corner.

    Arama Hau followed his try assist up in the 63rd minute with yet another strong run on the left before cutting back to the right side of the field and offloading to Tuvalli Khan-Pereira who as able to get the ball to within fifteen metres of the try line. Arama Hau’s run gaining fifteen metres.

    Arama Hau was also named to start at lock for Round Four match against the Souths Logan Magpies.

    Arama Hau also started at lock in Round Five against the Ipswich Jets. Burleigh were immediately under pressure in the opening moments of the match and but for Arama Hau and team mates, Seth Nikotemo and Tuvalli Khan-Pereira, Ipswich would have opened the scoring in the 4th minute when the Ipswich No. 10 was held up over the line.

    Arama then rocked the entire Cbus stadium with a huge hit on the Ipswich lock early in the first half who had run an underneath route running right into the shoulder of Arama Hau who certainly did not miss.

    Arama Hau was involved in an even bigger earth trembling collision when in the 58th minute he smashed into Ipswich front rower and fellow Titan Josiah Pahulu after a Burleigh kick-off with the contact stopping both players in their tracks, it was great to see and let’s call the outcome a draw!

    In the 51st Arama Hau contribution to the Bears comeback victory moved to his running game when he produced a strong run into the defensive before he spun around and got away a right arm offload to Delahia Wigmore who was able to get to within five metres of the try line.

    Arama Hau then backed that effort up by taking the hit-up after Wigmore had played the ball, offloading once again, this time to his right, two further passes to the right later, Burleigh scored near the right corner.

    Round Six being the final regular season round of the 2021 MM Cup competition saw Arama Hau once again named at lock in the local derby against the Tweed Heads Seagulls however he was a late scratching from the match.

    In the Queensland Rugby League 2021 MM Cup Player of the Year Award Arama Hau was awarded three votes.

    Post the 2021 MM Cup competition, Arama Hau once again played for the Nerang Roosters in the Gold Coast Rugby League competition with his first appearance coming in Round Two of the U18 Division One competition when he interestingly started at five eight against the Currumbin Eagles.

    I am not sure whether Arama Hau has ever played at five eight before but he had an outstanding match from the position and could not have started the match any better including fielding the kick off in his own in-goal and then he backed that up by taking the second hit-up of the match to get the ball thirty metres away from his own line.

    Arama Hau recorded a try assist in the match in the 42nd minute when he drifted across field to his right and put his right centre Taniela Lotaki into a gap sixteen metres out.

    One of the key features of Arama Hau’s match was his off-loading, the Eagles just could not handle it. Arama Hau’s first off-load came in the 7th minute when after taking the line on, Arama Hau was able to get the ball away to his hooker. The in the 12th minute, Arama Hau once again charged at the line to get within two metres before he was able to get his right arm free and off-load to Dorian Lotaki.

    Another Arama Hau off-load came in the 29th minute when he ran the ball into the Currumbin defensive line and then was able to get his right arm free to offload to his fullback, Arama Hau stayed alive subsequently getting the ball back from the fullback and then Arama Hau burst through two tackles and once again producing a right arm off-load to get the play going.

    Arama Hau took another hit-up in the 42nd minute to the left of the dummy half out to the thirty metre line before once again producing a right arm offload to his fullback to back a further ten metres.

    In the 25th minute Arama Hau once again took the Currumbin line on with his effort starting just four metres out from his own line with Arama Hau getting the ball out to the twenty metre line before he was tackled. Arama Hau was subsequently awarded a penalty when he was prevented from getting to his feet. Arama Hau took a quick tap, making a further ten metres, before you guessed it, he offloaded once again with his right arm.

    Just three minutes later in the 38th minute, Arama Hau one again produced a right arm offload after engaging the defensive line, on that occasions inside the attacking twenty metre area. In the 48th minute a right arm flock pass from Arama Hau after he had engaged the line from a Nerang scrum win enabled his right centre to make ten metres.

    Arama Hau put an exclamation mark on his match in the 57th minute when he charged at the defensive line, making twelve metres before offloading to one of his front rowers with the pass coming less than ten metres from the try line.

    Arama Hau started at halfback in Round Three against Runaway Bay and scored as the Roosters recorded a 22- 4 win.

    Arama Hau scored once again in Round Four after moving to five eight as his Roosters side defeated the Ormeau Shearers 30 – 14.

    In Round Five against the Southport Tigers, Arama Hau came off the bench in the Roosters 34 – 12 victory and also come off the bench in Round Six against the Helensvale Hornets, before moving back into the starting side at five eight in Round Seven against Mudgeeraba.

    Arama Hau also continued at five eight in Round Nine against the Currumbin Eagles and scored a double in Nerang’s hard fought loss.

    Round Ten against the Runaway Bay Seagulls saw Arama Hau start at right centre and score one of the individual tries of the year to date in the 50th minute.

    Arama Hau originally received the ball forty five metres from the line to the right of the play the ball and initially shaped to pass to his right before cutting back to his left. Subsequent left and right foot steps saw Arama Hau beat two defenders and then he produced a great right arm flick offload to his trailing fullback. Arama Hau then kept alive to get the ball back from the fullback ten metres out. Aram Hau then proceeded to beat four defenders to crash over adjacent to the left upright to score a try few others would have even come close to scoring.

    Arama Hau moved to halfback against the Burleigh Bears and had a very solid game and almost got his name on the try scoring list in the 15th minute when he charged into the ball from fifteen metres out but he was eventually held up under the posts.

    The Burleigh match also saw Arama Hau record a 36th minute try assist when he ran to his right before throwing a no look short pass to his right second rower to run into a gap to score near the posts.

    Arama Hau showed his intelligence in the 20th minute when after finding himself in dummy half on the final tackle close to the line, put in a short right foot grubber kick to force Burleigh to restart from a goal line drop out.

    When rugby league recommenced on the Gold Coast in late August 2021 after the Covid 19 lockdown, Arama Hau was named to start at halfback for Nerang in Round Eleven against the Ormeau Shearers.

    Round Twelve against the Southport Tigers saw Arama Hau moved to five eight with Arama Hau putting on a dominating display especially in relation to off-loading the ball with Southport simply unable to stop Arama Hau from getting the ball away.

    Arama Hau recorded a try assist in the 14th minute of Nerang’s 46 – 6 victory when he took the ball to the line whilst operating on the right side of the field less than ten metres from the line before popping a good short ball to his right to put his lock forward over to score.

    Arama Hau was also heavily involved in Immanuel Kalekale’s 44th minute try. The movement started 100 metres downfield with Southport on the attack. After Southport put in a short grubber kick, Arama Hau picked up the ball on the bounce on his own goal line and raced sixty metres downfield before positioning Jeremaiah Temapo in his inside after he had cut in off his right wing.

    After receiving Arama Hau’s inside pass, Jeremaiah Temapo passed to his left to Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki as three Southport defenders converged on him. Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki then ran twenty five metres to cross the line on the right side of the field before bringing the ball around to under the posts and then waiting for Immanuel Kalekale to get there.

    The first of many off-loads from Arama Hau came in just the 3rd minute of the match when after making twenty metres from a strong charge through the centre of the ruck to the halfway mark which included a strong left arm fend, Arama Hau produced a good right arm off-load with the ball going to the left side of the field.

    Arama Hau added another right arm off-load in the 9th minute after a hit-up on the left side of the field accounted for twenty more metres before getting the off-load away. Then just two minutes later in the 11th minute Arama Hau ran to the left side of the field, breaking the line from fifteen metres out before he was able to produce a great right arm flick off-load to traffic to his lock who got to within a metre of the line. The 13th minute saw Arama Hau off-load once again after he made fifteen metres running to his right.

    Then in the 24th minute, Arama Hau made a line break down the left touchline with his run commencing just inside his own territory. When he was confronted by the Southport fullback Arama Hau put in a left foot kick back towards centre field which was retrieved by the Nerang left centre.

    Arama Hau produced a smart effort in the 38th minute when after a Southport kick went dead in goal, Arama Hau raced out to the twenty metre line for a quick restart making fifteen metres with the Southport defence still back peddling.

    Arama Hau added another off-load in the 40th minute when he took the defensive line on from twenty five metres out, getting to within ten metres of the line before Arama Hau was able to off-load to his right to his lock.

    Arama Hau continued at five eight and captain in Round Thirteen against the Helensvale Hornets, recording two try assists as well as kicking a conversion for Nerang’s final try of the match with a solid left foot strike from just to the right of the uprights.

    Arama Hau’s opening try assist came in the 18th minute when he moved into dummy half eight metres from the line. After moving subtly to his right he passed in the same direction to put one of his second rowers over next to the right upright.

    Arama Hau added a second try assist in the 25th minute when he received the ball still eighty five metres out from the try line to the right of a Roosters scrum win. Arama Hau initially stepped off his right foot and then dummied in the same direction before stepping off his right foot once again to beat two defenders as break through the Helensvale line before drawing the Helensvale fullback and pass to his right to put Taniela Lotaki over in the right corner.

    Arama Hau also made a line break in the 28th minute when he ran the ball down a short right blindside making forty metres before once again off-loading to send Taniela Lotaki forty metres further upfield.

    Arama Hau made yet another line break in the 53rd minute when he made a winding twenty five metre run that included four dummies and four tackle breaks to get the ball to ten metres inside Helensvale territory.

    Arama Hau’s strong match kicked off in the 13th minute when he made fifteen metres after running to the left after a Roosters scrum before off-loading to his left near the halfway mark.

    Arama Hau off-loaded once again in the 44th minute when he ran down the left side of the field before producing a right arm off-load whilst in contact with two defenders.

    Arama Hau was really showcasing all of his skills against Helensvale and showed off another in the 28th minute when he put in a left foot grubber kick from twenty metres out into the in-goal to his left with the Helensvale fullback subsequently being trapped in-goal.

    Arama Hau then started the 2021 GCRL U18 Division One Preliminary Final at five eight and captain for the Roosters against the Ormeau Shearers and scored one of the Roosters tries as they qualified for the 2021 GCRL U18 Division One Grand Final on the back of an 18 – 16 victory.

    Arama Hau scored in the 43rd minute when after receiving the ball on the right side of the field twenty metres out from the line, Arama Hau ran diagonally at the line with the ball out of in front of his body in two hands, shaping to pass back inside and also to his outside on a number of occasions. As he approached the defensive line, Aram Hau pulled the ball back in and broke three tackles to score wide out on the right side of the field.

    The Preliminary Final also recorded a try assist in the 54th minute. Aram Hau ran onto the ball fifty five metres out from the line and to the left of the play the ball. Upon receipt of the ball Aram Hau cut to his left before straightening up and beating two defenders to break through the line. Arama Hau then ran thirty metres before drawing the Ormeau fullback and passing inside to his right to put Hasley McDonald over under the posts for what was ultimately the match winning try.

    Early in the match, in the 7th minute to be exact, Arama Hau was also involved in the Roosters opening try when he threw the final pass on the left side of the field, twenty metres out for his right second rower to score wide out.

    In the 2021 Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One Grand Final Arama Hau started at five eight and captained the Roosters side against the Helensvale Hornets and made an immediate impact on the Helensvale side with a monster hit in the opening minutes of the match on the Helensvale left winger who was trying to bring the ball off his own try line.

    Arama Hau also recorded an impressive Grand Final try assist in the 45th minute when after receiving the ball on the halfway mark to the left of the play the ball, Arama Hau stepped off his left foot just after receipt of the ball to beat the initial defender before a left arm palm eliminated a second. Arama Hau then burst between two defenders to break into space and as he approached the Helensvale fullback, Arama Ahu stepped off his left and then stepped off his right to position Delahia Wigmore who ran thirty metres to score.

    Arama Hau added a second Grand Final try assist in the 50th minute when he burst onto a pass from Dorian Lotaki just ten metres from his own line after the hooker had retrieved a Hornets attacking kick. Arama Hau beat two defenders to break into space and charged downfield. Near the forty metre line Arama Hau was surrounded by three defenders but had the foresight to put in a left foot grubber kick towards the right side of the field which was perfectly weighted for Kyen Murphy to run onto and score a great try.

    Arama Hau then recorded a line break assist in the 58th minute when after receiving the ball on the left side of the field, he ran parallel to the Helensvale defensive line, drawing one defender out of the line before throwing a good short ball to his left to put Delahia Wigmore through a big gap.

    Arama Hau was also involved in Kyen Murphy’s 35th minute try. Nerang spun the ball to the right with Arama Hau having to dive forward full length to take the ball, half Josh Lynn looped around behind the prone Arama Hau receiving the ball and then Josh Lynn threw a cut out pass to his right to Kyen Murphy in space with the fullback then able to beat three tackles to dive over in the right corner.

    The 42nd minute of the Grand Final saw Arama Hau add a line break assist to his impressive match when after charging onto the ball to the left of the dummy half sixty metres from the try line, Arama Hau engaged one defender who tried to tackle him low but Arama Hau was able to maintain his balance and throw a great right arm off-load around the corner to his left to put Delahia Wigmore away with the second rower eventually off-loading for Jeremaiah Temapo to score near the left corner post.

    The Grand Final saw Arama Hau make a lot of ground on his own from five eight, including in the 20th minute when he broke five tackles in a weaving run to get the ball inside Helensvale’s twenty metre area before off-loading to his right.

    In the 6th minute, after a strong hit-up and off-load by Jeremaiah Temapo, Arama Hau received the ball on the left side of the field from Dorian Mapausua-Lotaki. After receipt of the ball around twenty metres from the line, Arama Hau drew the Helensvale right winger to send Delahia Wigmore away on an eighty metre run down the left touchline to score an outstanding Roosters team try.

    In February 2021 Arama Hau took part in the South Coast Open school boy trials and was named on the bench for the South Coast Open A school boy side as a result of his trial performances, however he did not end up playing for South Coast in the Championships.

    2021 also saw Arama Hau line up for Keebra Park PBC State High School in the South East Queensland School Boy Langer Cup competition starting Round One at lock against Marsden State High School.

    Arama Hau could barely have gotten involved earlier in the match as in just the 2nd minute of the match, Arama Hau charged onto the ball, making twelve metres before getting his right arm free and getting away on off-load ten metres out directly in front of the posts. Arama Hau then took another hit-up just two tackles later.

    With Keebra Park under intense pressure in the 8th minute, Arama Hau produced a try saving tackle on Marsden second rower Jieye Mauai who had charged at the try line from close range.

    Arama Hau also started at lock in Round Two against Mabel Park State High School, making a strong twelve metre run from the fourth hit-up of the match and then in the 56th minute, Arama Hau made a big run on the left side of the field making fifteen metres before producing a sublime right arm off-load with three defenders on him.

    Arama Hau continued at lock in Round Three against Ipswich State High School and had a big match including an initial contribution in the 10th minute when he made a strong fifteen metres over the halfway mark and then was able to off-load. Arama Hau made a further strong run in the 14th minute when he made twelve metres with at least 60% of those metres post contact.

    Arama Hau continued his strong match in the second half, including in the 47th minute when he charged through a gap near halfway before off-loading to his left. Keebra Park scored later in the same play when De’ontae Perese received an off-load six metres from the line and put the ball down under the posts.

    From the set of six from the above mentioned try, Arama Hau made a further twenty five metres and once again was able to off-load, on that occasion to Blake Mozer.

    Arama Hau continued at lock in Round Four against St Mary’s College Toowoomba and also started at lock in the Round Five local derby against PBC.

    After the competition was suspended for a number of weeks due to a Covid 19 lock down, Arama Hau was named at lock for Keebra Park State High School in their semi-final against PBC State High School with Arama Hau taking Keebra Park’s opening hit-up of the match.

    Arama Hau was outstanding for Keebra Park in the match and came close to scoring in the 21st minute when a strong charge resulted in Arama Hau being held up over the line, directly under the posts.

    Arama Hau added a line break to his impressive match with a great thirty metre effort through centre field.

    At the 2021 Keebra Park State High School Sports Awards Night Arama Hau was named at lock in the 2021 Keebra Park Team of the Year.

    In late August 2021, Arama Hau was named in the Queensland City U17 squad for a two match series against a Queensland U17 Country squad with Arama Hau starting the match from the bench.

    Playing twenty five minutes Arama Hau ran for ninety eight metres (thirty two post contact), made a line break, broke four tackles and made eleven tackles at a 100% tackling efficiency.

    Arama Hau took the field for the Titans in February 2019 for one of their two U15 sides at Mudgeeraba that played round robin matches against each other and the Western Mustangs.

    As a result of his performance in that game and over recent seasons, Arama Hau, in early 2019 deservedly signed a contract with the Titans which will keep him with the club for the next couple of seasons at least.

    In January 2020 Arama Hau started in the second row for the Titans U16 side that defeated the Newcastle Knights U16 Harold Matthews side in Coffs Harbour in January 2020 18 -14 in wet and slippery conditions.

    In February 2020 Arama Hau was named in the Gold Coast Vikings U16 Training Squad but unfortunately the South East Queensland U16 pre-season Challenge was cancelled just days before the Challenge was set to start in Ipswich.

    Arama Hau played the 2020 school boy rugby league season as part of the Keebra Park Year Ten Walters Cup side, including starting at left second row in their 14 – 12 semi-final 14 – 12 loss to Marsden State High School. A match that saw Arama Hau score a double with both tries coming in the second half.

    Arama Hau’s first try came when he ran down a short blind side, breaking four tackles whilst maintaining his balance to slam the ball down one handed a metre in from the left corner post. In relation to his second try, Arama Hau had initially came back underneath a Keebra Park play to the left but did not get the ball, Arama Hau reset himself to take the hit up from the subsequent play the ball, taking the ball to the right off the dummy half, before cutting back behind the play the ball to charge over to bring Keebra Park within two points late.

    Arama Hau also had an outstanding match earlier in the year in the Walters Cup regular rounds against St Mary’s in Round Five, scoring an outstanding try and well as one of the best hit-ups I have seen by a rugby league forward.

    Arama Hau’s try came in the second half of Keebra Park’s big 52 – 0 victory. Arama Hau took the ball three passes off the ruck on the left side of the field, bursting through the St Mary’s line and charging seventy metres down the left touch line, easily beating the St Mary’s fullback with pace and was even able to bring the ball around to put it down under the posts.

    As noted, in the match Arama Hau also made one of the best runs that I have seen. In the opening minutes of the match from a tap restart from a Keebra Park penalty, Arama Hau took the ball off the penalty restart charging onto the ball from forty metres out, powering through the initial defensive line and dragging four defenders to within ten metres of the try line. Keebra Park scoring from the ensuing play the ball.

    Arama Hau played the 2020 club season with the Nerang Roosters in the Gold Coast Rugby League U16 Division One competition including an outstanding display at lock in Round Nine against Runaway Bay and was the Roosters sole try scorer in the match when he dived to ground the ball with his right hand from a kick from the Nerang dummy half that had rebounded into the in goal area. Arama Hau was in the thick of what was an intense forward battle in the har fought 10 – 4 loss.

    Arama Hau also started at lock as Nerang took on Runaway Bay in the 2020 U16 Division One Major semi-final and scored as well as recording a try assist as Nerang defeated Runaway Bay 36 – 4. Arama Hau’s try assist came early in the first half. Arama Hau took a hit up to the right of the play the ball, cutting back into the area behind the play the ball and offloading a pass out of the back of his left arm to his support runner to score.

    Arama Hau’s try also came in the first half when he charged onto a pass from the dummy half to the left and the play the ball, bursting through two defenders at the defensive line to score, fifteen metres in from the left corner post.

    In late October 2020, Arama Hau was named in the 2021 Burleigh MM Cup squad.

    In late 2019 Arama Hau was part of the Titans U15 side that defeated a touring Balmain Tigers U15 side 38 – 14 with Arama Hau starting the match from the bench, coming on to play in the left second row position.

    Over the 2018-19 off season Arama Hau transferred from Helensvale to the Nerang Roosters, starting from the bench in their U15 Division One Round One match against Ormeau but coming into the starting side in Round Two in the second row and maintaining his place in the Roosters starting side for the remainder of the 2019 season.

    In total in the 2019 GCRL U15 Division One regular season competition in 2019 Arama Hau played in eleven matches for the Roosters playing the vast majority in the second row scoring three tries, with those tries coming against Helensvale in two separate matches and Ormeau.

    In Week Two of the 2019 GCRL U15 Division One Finals series Arama Hau started in the second row against Runaway Bay and also started in the second row in the Preliminary Final as Nerang defeated Helensvale 22 – 18.

    In the 2019 GCRL U15 Division One Grand Final Arama Hau was simply outstanding starting at left second row scoring two tries as Runaway Bay prevailed in a hard 36 – 22 win over Runaway Bay. For me Arama Hau was clearly the best player on the field in the Grand Final.

    Arama Hau’s first try came in the first half after he received the ball as Nerang threw the ball out to the left, Arama Hau cut back inside as the Runaway Bay defence slid across but they could not stop a great charge from Arama Hau who scored under the posts dragging two defenders over the line with him.

    Arama Hau scored his second try in the second half, after he made a long break down the right touchline passing back inside before going into touch. Arama Hau moved into dummy half from the resultant play the ball to dive over down a short blind side from about a metre out to the right of the play the ball.

    2019 also saw Arama Hau represent South Coast at the QSSRL U15 Championships in Ipswich with South Coast going through undefeated, with Arama Hau scoring against Met East on Day Three of the Championships when he was able to score under the posts after a typically powerful hit-up which saw Arama Hau drag a number of defenders over the line with him once again.

    Arama Hau was also a stand-out performer for Coombabah State High School in their various schoolboy rugby league competitions in 2019 which resulted in his selection in the South Coast school boy U15 representative side for the U15 QSSRL Championships.

    In 2018 Arama Hau started in the front row in the Gold Coast Rugby League U14 Division One Grand Final and was on the victorious side as the Hornets defeated Coomera 29 – 12 along with a number of others Titans players.

    In the 2018 U14 Division One competition in total, Arama Hau played in eleven matches, scoring his sole try in Round One against Beaudesert and kicked two goals, including one in the match against Beaudesert (converting his own try from memory) to finish the season with eight points.

    In 2018 Arama Hau was part of the Helensvale Hornets U14 side that took part in the Tassell Trophy competition in Northern Queensland and scored a try in the final as Helensvale won the competition courtesy of a 40 – 6 win over the Western Lions in the final.

    Arama Hau also made a number of representative sides in 2018, including playing for the Gold Coast Vikings U14 side in the South East Queensland Age Championships where he played primarily in the second row and scored against the Ipswich Diggers.

    Arama Hau scored one try in the 2018 U14 Championships scoring on Day One as SEQ Green defeated SEQ White 20 – 14, fellow Titans that also scored in that match were Joseph Shannon and Nicholas Hilton.

    That was the second occasion Arama Hau had represented the Vikings after being part of the U13 squad in 2017.

    Arama Hau was also part of the Helensvale Hornets U14 side that won the Tassell Trophy in 2018 scoring in the Hornets 40 – 6 Tournament final victory over the Western Lions.

    Post the South East Queensland U13 Championships in 2017, Arama Hau was selected in the South East Queensland Green side for the Queensland Age Championships and played four matches from the bench including the final against South East Queensland White.
    Arama Hau is a powerful runner of the ball who runs with a slight jink, usually off his right foot, in his step prior to impacting the defensive line and from when he receives the ball until he hits the defensive line Arama Hau is able to build up significant momentum.
    Arama Hau shows some more than reasonable pace when in the clear for a player his size and certainly in terms of his speed off the mark Arama Hau has some decent speed for a front rower. Also when he has impacted the defensive line he continues to pump his legs and gain extra metres after contact.
    As noted he is a solidly built young second rower with outstanding footwork Arama Hau and also shows will show flashes of the ability to off load the ball and with experience this attribute will continue to develop both in terms of when he has impacted the defensive line and prior to contact.
    Arama Hau’s lateral movement is outstanding for a big second rower and he is powerful enough to combat the largest of opponents looking to run through the centre of the ruck yet has the mobility to be an effective defender on the fringes of the ruck as well.

    Another impressive aspect of Arama Hau’s play from a defensive stand point is the speed at which he gets around the field, for a player of his size, Arama Hau has more than decent speed and mobility.

    For the 2022 Gold Coast Rugby League season Arama Hau will play for Burleigh in the MM Cup competition for the second season in a row and post that competition will line up for Nerang Roosters in the Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition. It would also not surprise if Arama Hau also plays a number of matches for the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts side once the 2022 MM Cup competition reaches its conclusion.

    Arama Hau will also be at short odds to continue in the Keebra Park Open A rugby league side for the 2022 Langer Cup school boy competitions.

    Arama Hau spent time in the front row in 2018 at the U14 representative level but even though I am sure that he will continue to be able to play well in the front row over the next couple of seasons, I am of the opinion that Arama Hua’s ultimate future lies in the second row.

    From an NRL player comparison perspective for Arama Hau I would consider a player comparison with Penrith Panthers destructive left second rower Viliame Kikau as more than appropriate. Both are exceptionally destructive on the fringes of the ruck on the left side and take a power of stopping by defences.

  13. #1783
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    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa. In early 2020 the Gold Coast local junior (Southport Tigers) signed a contract with the Titans that will see him in Titans colours for the next three seasons at least after being a member of the Titans JTS program for the last season or two.

    In mid-December Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa had the opportunity to train with the Titans NRL squad in a joint training session between the Titans NRL squad and the Titans JTS Program Squads.

    In early November 2021 Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named in the 2022 Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad with Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa surely immediately becoming one of the Seagulls key players in their 2022 campaign.

    In October 2021 Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was part of the South Coast Maori side that were successful in the Queensland Maori U16 Tournament with Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa being named Player of the Tournament and subsequently Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named in the Queensland Maori U16 side for the 2021 QPICC cultural carnival.

    At the Carnival Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started all four of his matches at the Carnival in the front row being Match One against the Cook Islands, Match Two against PNG, Match Three against Tonga and Match Four against Samoa with Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa scoring in Match Three against Tonga.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa scored in the 27th minute against Tonga when he ran at the line to the right of the dummy half, receiving the ball ten metres from the line. After impacting the Tongan defensive line, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa spun clockwise to break contact with two defenders before crashing over under the posts.

    In January 2021 Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started from the bench for the Titans U17 side in their annual match at Coffs Harbour against the Newcastle Knights even though he was still U16 eligible in 2021. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa had some very good moments in the deserved 32 – 20 Titans victory.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made an immediate impression when he can onto the field, making a great first hit-up when he took the ball to the right of the play the ball, throwing a subtle dummy to his right prior to confronting the defensive line and making a number of post contact metres.

    In a sign of how highly that he is thought of by the Titans Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was used almost like a five eight on a number of occasions in the second half, including deep inside the Knights territory when he was a link between the Titans forwards and backline.

    In June 2021 Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was part of a Titans U17 squad that played a Titans U18 Northern Rivers squad at Cbus Stadium as a curtain raiser to the Round Fourteen NRL match between the Titans and the Sydney Roosters.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made some strong runs in the match with none better than mid-way through the second half when he made twenty five metres through the centre of the ruck and then with defenders draped on him, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was still able to get away a right arm off-load.

    In late October 2020, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named in the Gold Coast Rugby League U16 Cyril Connell Cup Academy Squad and when the split occurred Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named in the Tweed Heads Cyril Connell Cup squad.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started in the front row in the first two quarters for the Seagulls in their final 2021 trial against the Souths Logan Magpies before coming back onto the field in the fourth quarter to line up in the front row once again.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made an immediate impression in the match with a superb front on tackle in the first set of six after the kick off and also in his first run which came when he returned a goal line drop up knocking the initial Magpies defender five metres backwards after initial contact.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started Round One of the 2021 Cyril Connell Cup in the front row as the Bears took on the Ipswich Jets and also started in the front row in the Round Three local derby against the Burleigh Bears, leading from the front as the Seagulls prevailed 33 - 6.

    In the Round Three local derby Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa took the third hit-up of the match running an underneath line to the right of the play the ball making nine metres before following that run up with a hit-up on the 5th tackle of the same set of six.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made a further ten metres in the 10th minute when he took the hit-up from a Tweed Heads penalty restart. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa contributed a further thirteen metres to the metres that Tweed Heads gained in the match in the 60th minute when he got to within three metres of the try line before four Bears defenders finally stopped his forward progress.

    Even though he was heavily marked every time that he ran the ball it did not stop Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa from making ground with a good example of that being in the 65th minute of the match when Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa ran onto the ball to the right of the play the ball and even though he as confronted by three Burleigh defenders, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was still able to rumble fourteen metres, the majority of which were post contact, to take the ball into Burleigh’s territory.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was also on his game defensively against Burleigh including recording a crunching tackle in the early match on Burleigh winger Andrew Brennan. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa backed that up in the 6th minute when he engulfed one of the Burleigh front rowers front on knocking the Bears player onto his back.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was involved in another big tackle in the 11th minute, along with Jonah Beaven crunched the Burleigh fullback as he was trying to dart through the centre of the ruck, a run that he paid dearly for.

    Round Five against the Souths Logan Magpies saw Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa once against start in the front row and scoring in the last minute of the match to seal an impressive victory for the Seagulls.

    2021 saw Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa once again play for Marsden State High School, and he was named on the Marsden State High School extended bench for Round One of the Langer Cup School Boy Rugby League competition against Keebra Park however he dropped off the bench on the day of the match.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa came into the Marsden SHS side for Round Three against Wavell State High School, coming off the bench and in the second half was the game’s biggest halfback when he regularly feed the scrum for Marsden SHS.

    Even though he was two years younger than the majority of his opponents, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made a big impact in both attack and defence with his defence coming to the fore in the with a crunching tackle in the dying minutes of the match when he came over the top to smash Wavell SHS second rower Will Curran less than a metre from the line.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made a number of telling runs including in the 25th minute with a strong first charge after he had come onto the field, with Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa making eighteen metres through centre field and then in the opening set of six in the second half, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made a further eighteen metres on the fifth tackle.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa continued on the bench in the Round Four blockbuster against PBC State High School before being named at hooker for Round Five against Mabel Park State High School. Even though he initially was named at hooker, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa spent a lot of the time that he was on the field in a first receiver role where he excelled to highlight what a diverse skill set this exceptional talent has.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was also named to start at halfback in Round Six against Coombabah State High School.

    After the competition was suspended for a number of weeks due to a Covid 19 lock down, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named on the bench for Marsden State High School in their semi-final against Ipswich State High School.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa came off the bench mid-way through the first half and in the 20th minute came close to scoring with a strong run and was only brought down less than a metre short, winning a penalty for a shoulder charge.

    In the 2021 Langer Cup Grand Final against PBC State High School, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named on the bench for Marsden SHS however he ended up starting the match at the left second row position and Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was in the match early making his first hit-up in just the second minute of the match, making ten metres in the process.

    At the 2021 Marsden State High School Rugby League Excellence Awards, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named on the bench in the Marsden State High School Team of the Year. The fact that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named on the bench in the 2021 Marsden SHS Team of the Year is the perfect indicator of the extraordinary quality and depth of the Titans Partnered Marsden State High School’s Rugby League Excellence Program.

    Post the completion of the 2021 Langer Cup competition, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named on the bench in the Courier Mail’s 2021 Langer Cup Team of the Season.

    At the end of the 2021 season, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named at No. 11 in the Courier Mail Top 60 school boys from the GPS Rugby, AIC Rugby and Langer Cup competitions.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started Round One of the Langer Cup School Boy Reserve Grade competition at lock against Keebra Park putting in a solid performance especially in defence.

    In 2020 Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa attended Marsden State High School as part of their Rugby League Excellence Program playing in the Marsden State High School Hancock Cup side starting all matches at lock and to say he was simply outstanding across the competition would be a massive understatement. A 2020 Hancock Cup team mate was William Semu who was a fellow Titans contracted player.

    In Round One of the 2020 Hancock Cup against PBC Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started at lock, playing the entire sixty minutes of the match and was dominant throughout including an incredible sixty metre run in the second half where he brushed aside multiple PBC defenders.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also contributed a second half try assist to Marsden’s big win. In the second half with Marsden on the attack on the last tackle, Marsden threw the ball to the right and a long pass found Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa. Instead of just trying something unconventional Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa got on the outside of his opposing PBC defender before drawing the PBC left winger to give his Marsden State High School team mate an unimpeded run to the try line.

    In Round Two against Forest Lake State High School Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was even more dominant contributing two tries to another big Marsden State High School big win. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s first try which came in the first half was impressive. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa chased a Marsden tactical kick down field, the PBC fullback tried to beat him with footwork but Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa got hold of him and stripped the ball in a one on one tackle racing twenty metres to score.

    Whilst his first try may have had some subtlety about it, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s second half try did not. From a tap from a penalty twenty metres out from the Forest Lake line, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa took the hit up and smashed through the PBC forward pack to smash the ball down with his right arm just to the right of the uprights to score a try few players, regardless of age level or quality of the opposition ever could even contemplate scoring.

    Round Four against Wavell State High School saw Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa start once again at lock and he had a huge match scoring a try (and came close to scoring two others) and recording a try assist as Marsden scored a big win against their fellow Brisbane based school.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s try came in the first half, with Marsden State High School on the attack, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa took a pass off the dummy half to the left of the play the ball around ten metres out and charged straight through the Wavell defence to score.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s try assist also came in the first half when on the last tackle he took the ball to the line and threw a well-timed short pass to his left to fellow Titan contracted player William Semu who ran straight into a gap to score to the left of the uprights.

    In a sign of Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s confidence and skill set, the first half saw Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa take the ball to the line and just prior to contact, put in a perfectly weighted chip kick which he regathered before off-loading to his right. Whilst a try did not result from the play (it almost did) the sequence highlights the extraordinary skill set of this young man with the promise of a lot more to come.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was also prominent in Round Five against Coombabah State High School and early in the first half was held up over the try line after a strong surge from ten metres out. The match also saw Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa kick one conversion from two attempts. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa comfortably kicked his first attempt at goal from around fifteen metres to the left of the up rights before just missing his second attempt from the left touch line.

    In the second half Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa executed one of the most outstanding tackles that I have ever seen. Coombabah kicked into touch from a penalty, taking the tap restart on the half way mark passing twice to a forward to take a hit up, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa hit with a superb right shoulder tackle just after the Coombabah forward received the ball. It was a great tackle.

    In the 2020 Hancock Cup Grand Final Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started at lock and played the entire match as Marsden prevailed 26 – 24 as a result of an after the siren penalty goal. In the match Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa played a fair bit of first receiver, primarily on the left looking to link with fellow Titan William Semu but also operated in the first receiver role on the right as well.

    It was from the first receiver role on the right that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was involved in Marsden’s second try of the match when he threw a long pass to his right to create space for the Marsden right side outside backs.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also produced a smart piece of play to score Marsden’s first try of the match. With PBC trying to bring the ball off their own try line Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa darted out of marker to the right of the play the ball as the PBC runner ran in that direction. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa grabbed hold of the PBC runner, ripping the ball free on a one on one strip to then spin counter clock wise and crash over five metres to the left of the uprights.

    After the competition of the preliminary rounds of the Hancock Cup and prior to the final Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa made the move to the Marsden State High School Walters Cup side coming off the bench in their 14 – 12 semi-final victory over Keebra Park to progress to the Grand Final against PBC.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa had in fact started earlier in the Walters Cup season when he started at lock against Wavell State High School.

    At the 2020 Marsden State High School Rugby League Awards presentation, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa received a number of awards including being named in the 2020 Marsden State high School Rugby League Team of the Year.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was also part of the Marsden State High School rugby league program in 2019 playing in their Renouf Cup side and dominated in a number of matches including a dominant performance against PBC including charging down the right touch line to score after beating multiple PBC defenders on the way to the line.

    The big strong young local Southport front rower was in devastating form for the Tigers in the GCRL U14 Division One competition in 2019 producing a number of performances across the season that were as dominating as I have ever seen from a junior front rower.

    For Southport in the 2019 GCRL U14 Division One regular season competition Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa played in nine matches scoring eleven tries (122% strike rate) including a Round Three hat trick against Currumbin and doubles in Round Ten and Round Twelve against Ormeau and Mudgeeraba respectively.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also scored in matches against Runaway Bay on two separate occasions, Helensvale and Beaudesert to account for his eleven tries.

    In Week One of the 2019 GCRL U14 Division One Finals series Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started in the front row in Southport’s 26 - 22 loss to Runaway Bay.

    In Week two of the 2019 U14 Division One Finals series, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started in the front row and scored a hat trick against the Mudgeeraba Redbacks as Southport progressed to the Preliminary Final.

    In the Preliminary Final against Runaway Bay, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa once again started in the front row and scored a double as Southport fell 22 – 16 to Runaway Bay to end their season one win short of the Grand Final.

    After performing well for the Gold Coast Vikings U14 side at the 2019 Hill Stumer Championships held at Ipswich this season, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started in the front row for the South East Queensland White side at the Queensland U14 Age Championships where he was a handful for opposing defences in each of South East Queensland Whites matches.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa started all four of South East Queensland White’s matches in the front row and scored when he crashed over after an outstanding powerful charge against Central on Day Two of the Championships.

    In early October 2019 Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was named on the bench for the 2019 Nga Hau e Wha Maori Tournament U14 Boys Merit Team at the completion of that tournament with Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa once again prominent.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also plays Oztag and early in 2020 was named U14 Most Valuable Player for the 2019/20 Oztag season for the Labrador Rabbits. Not a bad effort at all for a big strong rugby league front rower, but one with impressive footwork and mobility as is evidenced by his performances in Oztag. Continuing to play Oztag will only continue to enhance Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s mobility and use of footwork.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa is a hard straight running big strong front rower who is very good at running the right line including both and inside shoulder and outside shoulder line and consistently hits the pass off either the dummy half or play maker flat thus generating his best possible speed and momentum to hit the defensive line at full speed.

    Where Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa really excels though is as noted above, his footwork, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa has very good late and quick foot work which enables him to change direction quickly allowing him to readjust where he is running to take advantage of either a late developing hole in the defensive line or where the defensive line is repositioning late.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa is adept at cutting back behind the play the ball area when the markers do not work hard and make ground as a result. When the Southport side were in the attacking area, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa was regularly used to draw the defence into the centre of the ruck thus stretching the defensive line out wide to allow the backline more room to move.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also accepted the responsibility of regularly taking the first hit-up from kick offs and was regularly the first forward to take a hit-up after an opposition tactical kick.

    Even when he is taking a hit up in the centre of the ruck, Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa ’s feet are always moving and he is constantly making slight corrections to his running vector and he is also able to maintain his speed regardless of those multiple directional changes.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa ’s speed is probably a bit above average but it is the speed that he is able to generate from only a few paces which makes it play faster from a defenders perspective.

    Defensively Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa hits very hard and had one of the better defensive technique s in the GCRL U14 Division One competition this season. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa ’s technique revolves around timing and execution.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa ’s head is almost always correctly positioned and he always drives with his shoulder and never just jersey grabs at an opponent. From the matches that I have seen Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also tackles with both shoulders equally effectively and equally as hard.

    The impressive thing for me also is that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa never seems to bounce off the ball (or the man) when he makes a front on tackle meaning his target area and the ability to hit the area on a regular basis is quite exceptional for a reasonably inexperienced forward. That aspect of his play means that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa has a solid and repeatable defensive technique.

    Another defensive aspect that I noted during the 2019 season was that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa does not just make one tackle at a time, he makes a series of tackles one after another all as clinical and effective as the one before. For a big strong young front rower Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa has outstanding stamina.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa’s lateral speed is quite good for a front row prospect (I would argue it is in a plus range for a front rower) due to his quick twitch feet and thus he is effective at defending against smaller dynamic runners out of dummy half as well as half backs and five eights running of the fringes looking to isolate forwards.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa will play the 2021 season with Southport in the GCRL U15 Division One competition as well as continue to play school boy rugby league.

    2022 will see Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa continue to be a key member of the Marsden State High School Langer Cup school boy rugby league campaign. 2022 will also see Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa play for the Southport Tigers in the Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition and Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa will be part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad and is MM Cup eligible in 2023 as well.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa is a big strong powerful young man with outstanding mobility for his size, who has been a standout lock in both club and representative sides over the last two or three years on the Gold Coast and at Marsden State High School and seems destined to be an NRL calibre, if not higher, front rower or lock in coming years.

    I would argue that even though there is little difference between lock and front row the way that rugby league is currently played, although I note that the 2020 new rules may just bring back the traditional lock forward, that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa is better suited to playing lock and that would enable him to move to either side of the ruck to involve himself when he sees an opportunity and thus is less constrained to relation to where and when he involves himself.

    The more that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa can involve himself in the play when he sees an opportunity to exploit the better for him and his team.

    Like most middle forwards Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also has a touch of aggression in his game and looks to dominate opposing forward packs both physically and mentally on every occasion in both attack and defence.

    From a player comparison perspective, someone that I think that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa has a similar playing style to is North Queensland Cowboy and New Zealand International lock Jason Taumalolo as a wrecking ball of a forward who can break open and dominate a game on his own. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa also has outstanding ball skills both before the defensive line, whilst engaged with it and once he has broken through it.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa just oozes class and the scary thing is that I do not think that he has even come close to realising his potential and likely will not until Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa plays at a higher level on a regular basis a scary thought indeed for opposition sides in coming years. Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa just looks like a long term representative level front rower/lock.

    Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa is an outstanding signing for the Titans and is a player with an almost limitless ceiling as well as having a very high floor. The fact that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa is a local Gold Coast junior who chose to sign with the Titans after knocking back other offers from a number of other NRL clubs only adds to the excitement around this talented young front rower/lock with an incredibly diverse and well-rounded skill set.

    Make no mistake players with the type of skill, size and potential that Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa has, end up being the corner stone of NRL and representative level forward packs, they are that impressive and well developed.

    Few young front rowers or locks in the modern day get to the NRL at a young age as traditionally it takes a bit longer for the players playing in that position to physically and mentally mature enough to cope with the demands of playing in the front row but Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa may very well be the rare exception to that long standing rule.

  14. #1784
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    Sasefo (Jojo) Fifita. (Revised) The exceptionally talented centre signed with the Titans on a three year contract commencing in 2021 and will continue training in the 2021/22 offseason training with the Titans NRL squad now that Jojo Fifita is fully fit. From a trivia perspective, Jojo Fifita is the second cousin of David Fifita.

    I try not to get too intrigued when I see talented young players at the U14 level but sometimes you see a player that just stands out not just from a skill perspective but from also from the perspective of a young player who just seems to innately understand how to play the game, whether it be rugby or rugby league, a natural if you will. That is what I saw when I first saw Jojo Fifita play school boy rugby for the first time when he was 14 years of age a few seasons ago at TSS’s home ground.

    I would argue that I have seen only very few players at that young an age that you would put into this category, but I was dragged along early to a 2017 TSS match, in time to see the U14A side play and by the end of that season I was making sure to get there early to see an amazingly talented young TSS centre play named Jojo Fifita.

    Obviously you cannot get too carried away as a spectator as so much will change as young players progress such as injuries, schooling competing priorities etc. but Jojo Fifita was a real handful every match that I was lucky enough to see him play for TSS and for that matter has in the multiple TSS matches I have seen in subsequent seasons, including in the GPS First XV school boy rugby competition over the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

    In early May 2021 a Titans U19 side travelled to North Queensland to play an U19 Cowboys selection in a curtain raiser to a Cowboys v Broncos NRL match with Jojo Fifita starting the match on the left wing in his first match in a Titans jersey.

    Jojo Fifita made his rugby league debut in Round One of the 2021 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition when he started on the right wing for the Tweed Heads Seagulls against the Souths Logan Magpies.

    Jojo Fifita’s first hit-up in rugby league came in just the 2nd minute of the match when he took the ball one metre out of his own line to the right of the dummy half, making thirteen metres up field.

    Jojo Fifita made his first rugby league line break in the 12th minute when he flew onto a cut-out pass to his right wing, with Jojo Fifita taking the ball on the halfway mark and literally flying down the right wing, running over one defender and easily outpacing the cover defence. When he got to the fullback, Jojo Fifita was able to position is inside support well to get the ball away to Klese Hass on around the twenty metre mark.

    In the 25th minute, Jojo Fifita showed that he is willing to do the hard work of bringing the ball out of his own territory when he made twelve metres from a hit-up off to the left of the dummy half to get the ball out to the thirty metre mark.

    When the second half started Jojo Fifita was back in the action almost immediately with a bullocking run of twenty metres out of dummy half, with at least 60% of those metres post contact with Jojo Fifita not stopped until he got fifteen metres inside Magpies territory.

    In the 45th minute, Jojo Fifita took the second hit-up off the kick-off to Ediq Ambrosyev’s try and was even under heavy pressure able to get the ball out to the twenty metre mark, breaking three tackles and making nine metres.

    Late in the match with Tweed Heads chasing the match, Jojo Fifita almost scored a late try. Souths Logan were bringing the ball out of their own territory when Charlie Murray produced a one on one steal and was able to find space to throw a long pass to his right that found Jojo Fifita is space and but for a diving tackle that halted Jojo Fifita by just one leg, he would have dived over in the corner to record his first rugby league try.

    Jojo Fifita moved to the left wing in the Round Two local derby against Burleigh with Jojo Fifita scoring his first ever rugby league try in the 3rd minute of the Seagulls 32 – 24 victory.

    As noted Jojo Fifita’s try came in the 3rd minute and it was worth the wait. Taine Udjur-Berghan put up a bomb to his left wing and Jojo Fifita came through and jumped above Ronin Rio to take the ball on the full three metres out from the line and he was able to scramble over to get the ball down in the left corner from there.

    Jojo Fifita went looking for the ball in the 16th minute when he came off his wing to take a hit-up off the dummy half through the centre of the field, making thirteen metres before he was dragged down on his own twenty metre mark.

    Jojo Fifita showed that the skill of a quick (and accurate) catch and pass is transferrable between rugby and rugby league when in the 27th minute whilst under intense pressure caught and passed in the same motion, getting the ball away to his left to Caleb Hodges.

    A sequence of efforts in the 37th minute highlighted that Jojo Fifita took to rugby league easily and quickly. First off, Jojo Fifita made a heavy well executed front on tackle on tackle on Blake Campbell that knocked the ball loose with Burleigh on the attack and then from the subsequent set of six, Jojo Fifita came off his left wing to take a hit-up and make fifteen metres, breaking five tackles along the way. The Jojo Fifita went all of the way over to the right side of the field to make fifteen metres more running with the ball.

    It was interesting to see that early in the second half Jojo Fifita spent time at left centre, alternating with Caleb Hodges and it was from left centre in the 42nd minute where Jojo Fifita made a hard working seven metres to get the ball more than twenty metres away from his own try line.

    Jojo Fifita’s plus speed was on display for all to see with the 50th minute when he turned and chased the Burleigh right winger forty metres before making a big tackle ten metres out from the line. Jojo Fifita gave him a fair start but caught him easily.

    Once again in the 59th minute Jojo Fifita displayed that he is not afraid to get his hands dirty when he took the second hit-up from a changeover running through the centre of the field, making ten metres, six of which were post contact.

    Jojo Fifita was also heavily involved in Glenn McGradey’s 71st minute try with Jojo Fifita starting the movement on the left which ended with Glenn McGradey scoring on the right. After receiving the ball Jojo Fifita cut back towards centre field, breaking the line there before offloading to Ediq Ambrosyev who then got the ball away to his right to Jaylan To’O who then found Glenn McGradey who scored on the right side of the field.

    Jojo Fifita also was named to start on the left wing in Round Three against the Redcliffe Dolphins however he was a late scratching due to injury.

    In his last season of school boy rugby in 2020 for the TSS First XV side, Jojo Fifita was once again dominant across multiple matches in the Covid 19 interrupted season. Post the 2020 GPS First XV season, Jojo Fifita was named at Number Six in the 2020 Courier Mail Top 30 South East Queensland School Boy rugby/rugby league players and that was after missing half of the 2020 GPS First XV season with a lower leg injury.

    With the 2020 competition in turmoil due to Covid Nineteen the season started with two “Official GPS First XV Trials”, the first being against Nudgee College where Jojo Fifita had a huge match starting at outside centre for the TSS First XV side, including gaining three votes in the 2020 Player of the Year voting.

    In the match against Nudgee College Jojo Fifita started the 2020 season off with a bang scoring a double as TSS came from behind to beat Nudgee 24 – 21 in wet and slippery conditions in Brisbane’s north.

    Jojo Fifita showcased his speed for his first try when he swooped on an errant Nudgee pass to sprint eighty metres to score. Even in the wet and muddy conditions and holding the ball, Jojo Fifita actually ran away from the Nudgee defenders who were chasing vainly in his wake.

    Titans contracted Kaleb Ngamanu was heavily involved in Jojo Fifita’s second try of the match, Kaleb Ngamanu put in a kick from just inside his own territory into space, the TSS right winger was the first to the ball and whilst on his back threw a two handed pass to Jojo Fifita who had also chased through the kick. One he took possession Jojo Fifita was not going to be stopped and he dived over in the right corner to put TSS in front late in the match.

    In the second official trial of the 2020 season against Churchie Jojo Fifita also started at outside centre, dominating once again as TSS won for the second straight match 31 – 19. Jojo Fifita may not have scored in the match but some of his ball running was impressive, as was his initial contact in defence.

    In Round One of the 2020 GPS First XV competition proper Jojo Fifita, from outside centre scored four tries as TSS ran out 49 – 19 winners against Brisbane State High School and also recorded two votes in the Player of the Year voting. The Australian Rugby coach attended the match and spoke glowingly after the match to the press about just how good Jojo Fifita was, highlighting what a coup it is for the Titans to get Jojo Fifita signed.

    Jojo Fifita’s first try of the match came from a quick release of the ball from a ruck with Jojo Fifita receiving the ball fifteen metres out to score in the corner untouched. Jojo Fifita’s second try was just as easy having a simple ten metre run to the line after good work from TSS at the break down.

    Jojo Fifita had a lot more work to do for his third try that came from an exciting forty metre run to the line with three BSHS defenders in his wake. Jojo Fifita scored his fourth try when he exploded seventy metres down a very short blind side, rounding the BSHS fullback to score an impressive long range try.

    Due to injury Jojo Fifita only played in one more match in 2020, with that coming in Round Four against BBC when he had a great battle with Melbourne Storms Jack Howarth, being awarded three votes in the TSS Player of the Year voting.

    Whilst TSS may have lost the match, Jojo Fifita did nothing but enhance his already impressive reputation as a result of his outstanding match against BBC, where he was once again pitted against Melbourne Storm signing jack Howarth. That particular individual battle was worth the trip to the ground alone and for me at least ended in a draw with both players showing that they are talented young players with enormous futures.

    At the conclusion of the final round of the 2020 GPS First XV school boy rugby competition, Jojo Fifita was named the TSS First XV Best and Fairest player, which was especially impressive as he had missed a number of matches due to a lower leg injury.

    The 2020 TSS First XV coach came out in the local Gold Coast media noting that Jojo Fifita will go down as one of the best players ever to don a TSS First XV jersey.

    In 2019 Jojo Fifita commenced the GPS school boy season in the TSS First XV squad, starting TSS’s first trial of the season against Toowoomba Grammar School on the bench. Jojo Fifita came into the starting line at outside centre in TSS’s second trial against touring New Zealand school, New Plymouth Boys High.

    Jojo Fifita also started at outside centre (No. 13) in the remainder of TSS’s other First XV trials in 2019 against Brisbane State High School, Nudgee College and Ipswich Grammar School.

    Jojo Fifita made his official First XV debut for TSS when he started Round One of the 2019 GPS First XV school boy rugby competition against Nudgee College with an after the siren penalty goal by Hamish Roberts giving Jojo Fifita a winning start to his First XV career as a result of the 21 – 20 victory.

    Jojo Fifita started at outside centre once again in Round Two and scored his first career First XV try when he scored in a TSS 64 – 7 victory over Churchie. Jojo Fifita’s first career try came late in the second half when he backed up a break by the TSS left winger and he was on hand to take an inside pass ten metres out and was able to put the ball down in the left corner for what turned out to be the final try of the match.

    Starting at outside centre once again in Round Three against Brisbane State High School, Jojo Fifita scored two tries as TSS recorded a 52 – 7 victory and also gaining three votes in the Player of the Year voting.

    Both of Jojo Fifita’s tries came in the second half, the first coming when Jojo Fifita was on hand to gather a ball that was dropped by Brisbane State High School. Jojo Fifita scooped the ball up twelve metres out from the line and was immediately engaged by the defence. Jojo Fifita just kept pumping his legs and forced his way over to get the ball down with three defenders hanging off him.

    Jojo Fifita’s second try of the match resulted when he backed up a break by the TSS left winger through the centre of the ruck from his own territory. As he came to the fullback the TSS winger put in a short grubber kick, Jojo Fifita who had been backing up on the right sped through to retrieve the ball on the fly to score untouched next to the right goal post.

    In Round Four against Toowoomba Grammar School, Jojo Fifita, starting at outside centre added another double to his impressive production including gaining two votes in the Player of the Year voting. Jojo Fifita was also heavily involved in one of TSS’s second half tries when he threw the final pass to his left to Deon Samuela to score in the left corner as TSS cruised to a 65 – 7 victory.

    Both of Jojo Fifita’s tries came in the first half, the first being an exceptional individual effort. The ball was spun out to the right and Jojo Fifita flew onto the ball seventy five metres out from the line, bursting through the attempted tackle of two defenders, Jojo Fifita used a left foot step to beat the initial cover defence before a superb left arm fend eliminated the threat of the Toowoomba Grammar School fullback and he was able to easily cover the remainder of the ground to the try line for one the best individual tries that I have seen, regardless of code.

    Jojo Fifita’s second try of the match came when he backed up a break by the TSS loose head prop, receiving an inside pass from the front rower for Jojo Fifita to ran the remaining thirty five metres to the try line unopposed.

    Jojo Fifita continued his run of starts at outside centre in Round Five against Brisbane Grammar School and continued his run of try scoring matches when he sprinted fifty metres to score in a TSS 78 – 0 victory. Jojo Fifita also provided two try assists to winger Hamish Roberts in the big win as well.

    In the pivotal Round Six match at Toowong against Brisbane Boys College, I was one of a crowd of around 5 000 to see TSS surge back from a first half deficit on the back of some incredible Jojo Fifita charges, including one dominating run that led to a try in the second half as TSS defeated BBC 23 – 20 to effectively win the 2109 GPS school boy rugby First XV Championship.

    The run I referred to above came early in the second half, initially Jojo Fifita was used as a decoy runner as TSS threw the ball out to the right. Jojo Fifita kept running and made himself available to take an off load after a TSS break back on the inside around fifteen metres out. It would be more than fair to say that BBC defenders were everywhere, but Jojo Fifita set sail for the line and was able to crash over adjacent to the right upright under heavy pressure from three BBC defenders,

    Jojo Fifita scored the try right in front of where I was standing and the sound of the impact of the collusion had to be heard to believe.

    Jojo Fifita started at outside centre once again in Round Seven against Gregory Terrace scoring from a set play as TSS left Graceville with a 54 – 24 win. From a TSS scrum five metres out from the Gregory Terrace line and set just to the left of the uprights, TSS spun the ball out to the right before the ball was cut back to the left for Jojo Fifita to run a crash line, bursting through the Gregory Terrace to score under the posts.

    TSS needed a draw or a win in the final round, being Round Eight against Ipswich Grammar School and in an exciting match where Jojo Fifita started at outside centre TSS held on to draw 29 all against the Ipswich School that was led by Sydney Rooster half Sam Walker. TSS were down 29 – 17 with just minutes to go but scored late to tie the match.

    After the completion of the 2019 GPS First XV competition, Jojo Fifita was named in the centres in the 2019 Courier Mail GPS First XV team of the year.

    In 2019 Jojo Fifita played for the Queensland Reds U18 Academy (Jojo Fifita was still U16 eligible at the time) in a match at Nudgee College against the New South Wales U18 Gen Blue Academy and earlier in 2019 Jojo Fifita was part of the Queensland Maroon U16 side that played in the U16 Junior Gold Cup National Championships. Jojo Fifita started all of Queensland Maroons matches in the centres.

    In 2018 for the TSS U15A side, Jojo Fifita started on the bench for the first two trials which were against Far North Coast and Toowoomba Grammar School before moving into the starting side at fullback for the last three trials against Nudgee, Ipswich Grammar School and Ambrose Treacy College.

    In the 2018 GPS school boy U15A season proper, Jojo Fifita started all eight matches at fullback and in Round Five against BBC scored an outstanding 50 metre try splitting the defence to score under the posts.

    As a consequence of his outstanding play I went to watch a number of his matches for Sunnybank Blue in the Brisbane Rugby U15 competition in 2018. In that competition, which was split into two, Jojo Fifita played in a total of seven matches and scored an impressive thirteen tries.

    In the first half of the season, Jojo Fifita scored a hat trick in Round One against Souths Black and four tries in the first week of the finals against Souths Black as well.

    In the second half of the season, Jojo Fifita was just a prolific scoring a hat trick against Easts Gold in Round Three, a double in Round One against Redlands and he also scored against Sunnybank Green.

    In his seven matches for Sunnybank Blue in 2018 Jojo Fifita started three at fullback, two at outside centre and two from the bench.

    From a representative rugby perspective in 2018 Jojo Fifita was selected in the City U16 side at fullback after starring for Brisbane Green in the preceding Championships.

    In 2017, Jojo Fifita started in all eight Rounds of the GPS U14A competition, starting the first three rounds at inside centre before switching to fullback for the remainder of the season. In his eight matches Jojo Fifita scored an incredible fourteen tries, crossing in every match.

    Jojo Fifita scored a hat trick in Round two against Toowoomba Grammar School and four doubles which came against Ipswich Grammar School, Brisbane Boys College, Brisbane Grammar School and Churchie, in Rounds Three, Four, Six and Nine respectively.

    Jojo Fifita also scored in Round One against Brisbane State High School, Round Five against Gregory Terrace and in Round Eight against Nudgee College.

    Jojo Fifita is not just a try scorer and on four occasions last school boy rugby season, he was named at the TSS U14A best back. He was awarded the honour against Toowoomba Grammar School, Brisbane Boys College and Churchie in Rounds Tow, Four and Nine respectively as well as against Downlands College.

    To cap off an incredible 2018 U15A season for TSS, Jojo Fifita started at outside centre for TSS when they played a “trial” against Downlands College during their Round Seven bye. In that match, Jojo Fifita scored a staggering seven tries.

    The 2015 Gold Coast Academy of Sport Rugby participant and TSS outside centre represented the U13 Brisbane Green side at the 2016 Queensland Age Rugby championships and from there was selected in the City side for their annual clash against a Country U13 side in a curtain raiser to a Queensland Reds Super Rugby clash which the City side won.

    In 2016 for the TSS U13A side Jojo Fifita was deservedly nominated for the TSS Best Junior Footballer of the year award after the 2016 GPS season where he scored four tries, including a hat trick against Brisbane Grammar School in Round Five in a comprehensive 52 – 24 victory and also scored in the final match, being Round Nine against Brisbane State High School in a tough loss for TSS. I was lucky enough to also see him play in Round Eight against Anglican Church Grammar School where he was a handful for the Churchie defence every time that he touched the ball.

    Jojo Fifita has not been just an outstanding rugby player for TSS but has also been a star in the TSS GPS Track and Field Athletics Team.

    In the 2020 GPS Athletics Championships, Jojo Fifita competed in three Open Events included running a time of 10.94 seconds in the 100 metre sprint to finish second, running 21.94 seconds to finish third in the 200 metre sprint and ran the opening leg for TSS in the 4 x 100 metre sprint relay with the team finishing seventh in a time of 44.69 seconds. Fellow Titans Kaleb Ngamanu and Syris Schmidt were also part of the TSS 4 x 100 metre relay team.

    In 2019 in the 16 years age group for TSS, Jojo Fifita completed in four events including finishing second in both the 100 metre and 200 metre sprint events. Jojo Fifita ran the 100 metres in 10.85 seconds and ran 22.2 seconds in the 200 metres.

    Jojo Fifita also ran the first leg in the 16 Years 4 x 100 metre TSS relay team that finished 6th in a time of 45.18 seconds, Syris Schmidt and Kaleb Ngamanu were also part of the relay team as they were in 2020. Jojo Fifita also finished 5th in the shot put with a best throw of 13.14 metres.

    Jojo Fifita had an outstanding Track and Field Carnival in 2018 in the 15 Years age group winning both the 100 metre and 200 metres sprint events in times of 11.06 seconds and 22.37 seconds respectively. At the 2018 Championships Jojo Fifita also ran the first leg of the 4 x 100 metre relay with the TSS side finishing third in a time of 44.83 seconds.

    Jojo Fifita was no less impressive in 2017 in the 14 Years competition winning four events and finishing 4th in the shot put competition with a best throw of 12.36 metres.

    Jojo Fifita won the 100 metres sprint in a time of 11.59 seconds, ran 22.99 seconds to win the 200 metre sprint, ran the first leg of the 4 x 100 metre relay team that won in a time of 46.68 seconds and also won the long jump with a best jump of 6.17 metres to win that event by in excess of centimetres.

    In attack one of the positives in rugby compared to league is the space that centres have, when the ball is given to them early they seem to have a lot more room to move and this is something that Jojo Fifita has exploited this season in eth GPS competition. Against Brisbane Grammar School in Round Five he got the ball early and expertly stepped the opposing centre on the inside and out paced the cover defence to the try line.

    Whilst he is a big strong powerful young centre, he also has a myriad of attacking moves, including a great in and away, and also being able to cut back on the inside of his defender if they over commit to the outside, as was evidenced by his three tries against Brisbane Grammar School as well as some good breaks against Churchie.

    From what I have seen I would consider that his speed would in the plus category if not in the plus plus category for a centre, add his power and strong fend and you really have a young centre that could develop in anything on a football field.

    I concede that I know little about the attacking strategies and philosophies of the TSS rugby coaches but he seems to run slightly better when he lines up on the right hand side of the field, his spacing, line running and ability to beat his opposite number on the inside seems a little more instinctive from that side of the field.

    Jojo Fifita must be a five eight’s dream, when he gets the ball early he causes real havoc for the defensive line whether he is playing in the centres or at fullback.

    Defensively he hits very hard and constantly is in a position to disrupt the attacking movement of the opposition. Extrapolating his skill set to a rugby league setting, I would suggest that he would be more than capable to adapt and excel in either an up and in or sliding methodology.

    The other point I will make is that he certainly does not shirk contact, both in attack or defence and similarly in committing to the break down in rugby, he will put his head over the ball to protect the ball when TSS have it and also clear out aggressively when looking for the turn over for TSS. The GPS matches are keenly contested regardless of the age group and the rucks and mauls are not for the faint hearted as young men represent their schools with pride.

    The only thing holding Jojo Fifita back is his lack of experience playing rugby league, and unfortunately after a number of standout matches for the Tweed Heads Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts side in 2021 Jojo Fifita suffered a serious shoulder injury.

    Now that he is fully fit again, expect to see Jojo Fifita start the 2022 season in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition with the Seagulls but once he gets some additional rugby league matches under his belt, Jojo Fifita will fly through the lower grades all the way to the NRL, potentially as early as 2022. It is scary to think that Jojo Fifita is Colts eligible in both 2022 and 2023.

    From a position perspective, Jojo Fifita has played the last couple of school boy First XV seasons playing at outside centre (No. 13) but in earlier seasons played some fullback for both TSS and representative rugby sides such as the Cyclones and South Coast.

    For me however there so no doubt that Jojo Fifita is an outstanding centre prospect and one that has not just NRL level potential but State of Origin and International level potential. It will be interesting to see in what position Jojo Fifita starts is rugby league career, do the Titans give him some time on the wing to get acclimatised or do they immediately play Jojo Fifita in the centres.

    If it were me I would play Jojo Fifita in the centres immediately in 2022 after he got some experience on the wing in 2021. Jojo Fifita certainly has the maturity and skill to adapt quickly to playing in the centres in rugby league and at 183cm and 91kg he also has the size to make an immediate impact there as well.

    Jojo Fifita just looks a natural on a football field and if he can have a bit of luck with injuries etc. the sky is the limit for the talented young athlete.

    From a player comparison perspective, I will once again qualify my comments that when I am making a player comparison I am talking about a playing style rather than potential career path. For me Jojo Fifita has a little bit of former South Sydney Rabbitoh, Queensland State of Origin captain and Australian Test centre Greg Inglis in his game.

    Jojo Fifita is not as tall as Ingles but is just as damaging and powerful and Jojo Fifita has a fair bit more speed, both off the mark and over extended distances than the former Melbourne Storm, Queensland State of Origin and Australian International star though.

    On his day (which is often) Jojo Fifita can be a powerful, exceptionally quick, explosive and elusive but also a bullocking runner who can just break a game open individually and simply dominate for the entire match almost through sheer force of will alone.

  15. #1785
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    Immanuel Kalakale. The powerful young man from Auckland has already come over to Australia from New Zealand to commence training with the Titans JTS Program and was unleashed Keebra Park in the 2021 season to universal praise.

    Immanuel Kalekale is contracted to the Titans until the end of the 2022 season which will the completion of Immanuel Kalekale’s senior year at Keebra Park SHS and the final year of his U18 eligibility.

    The 189cm, 103kg powerhouse Immanuel Kalekale attended the renowned Auckland High School, Kelston Boys High School, playing both rugby and rugby league prior to his move over to the Gold Coast for the 2021 season.

    In mid-December 2021 Immanuel Kalekale had the opportunity to train with the Titans NRL squad in a joint training session between the Titans NRL squad and the Titans JTS Program Squads.

    In late October 2021 Immanuel Kalekale was named in the powerful Burleigh Bears 2022 U18 MM Cup squad for the second season in a row.

    Immanuel Kalekale made his first appearance in a Titans jersey for the Titans U17 side that played their annual match against the Newcastle Knights in Coffs Harbour in January 2021 with Immanuel Kalekale starting the match from the bench and coming on in the first half to play in the front row for the Titans.

    Immanuel Kalekale made a positive impact when he came on as the Titans were impressive in their 32 – 20 victory including an exceptional charge late in the match where he made at least thirteen metres through the middle of the Knights forward pack. Overall it was an impressive Titans debut for Immanuel Kalekale punctuated by some powerful hit-ups and a high work rate in both attack and defence.

    Immanuel Kalekale’s first hit-out with the 2021 Burleigh Bears MM Cup side came when he started on the bench in the Bears second trial against the Easts Tigers at Langland’s Park. Immanuel Kalekale did not come into the match until the final twenty minutes, playing in the front row but what a cameo appearance he had.

    Immanuel Kalakale’s initial contribution was a strong twenty metre charge directly into the heart of the Tigers forward pack off a Titans penalty restart just inside Easts territory. Immanuel Kalekale contributed another strong charge in the 65th minute when he took the hit-up from the Easts Tigers kick-off from Syris Schmidt’s try. In the same set of six Immanuel Kalekale made fifteen more metres from another hit-up and was awarded a penalty when the Easts Tigers defence did not allow him to his feet quickly enough.

    In Round One of the 2021 MM Cup competition, Immanuel Kalekale started from the bench against the Souths Logan Magpies and as him did in the trial against Easts, Immanuel Kalekale produced an impressive display starting with a moment in the 28th minute when a ball was kicked into his shins, Immanuel Kalekale retrieved the bouncing ball bursting twenty metres downfield from a standing start, breaking two tackles along the way. The second attempted tackle actually tripped Immanuel Kalekale who went to ground but was not held and whilst siting down he was able to off-load for Burleigh to make more metres.

    In the final minute of the first half after Burleigh had absorbed a significant amount of pressure on their own try line, Immanuel Kalekale was the release valve for the pressure with a strong ten metre run which commended from within his own twenty metre area, breaking four tackles to give Burleigh some breathing space and room to operate.

    After missing a number of weeks, Immanuel Kalekale was named on the Bears extended bench for Round Five against the Ipswich Jets however he started the match from the bench and scored as Burleigh overcame a 20 – 0 first half deficit to record a come from behind 44 – 26 win.

    Immanuel Kalekale’s try in the 32nd minute was one of the more impressive front row tries that I have seen. Immanuel Kalekale received the ball twelve metres out from the try line to the left of the play the ball with a set defensive line in front of him. Immanuel Kalekale engaged the initial defender with a left arm fend ten metres out before engaging two additional defenders Jets five metres out from the line. Initially it looked like the three Jets defenders would be able to get Immanuel Kalekale to the ground but Immanuel Kalekale kept fighting the defenders and was able to get the ball down under the posts still under heavy pressure.

    In relation to club rugby league in 2021 Immanuel Kalekale lined up for the Nerang Roosters in the Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition with his first appearance for the Roosters coming in Round Three when he started from the bench as the Roosters defeated Runaway Bay 22 - 4.

    In Round Five against the Southport Tigers, Immanuel Kalekale started at lock in the Roosters 34 – 12 victory before being named on the bench in Round Seven against Mudgeeraba. Round Ten against the Runaway Bay Seagulls saw Immanuel Kalekale named to start from the bench however he was a late scratching from the match.

    Immanuel Kalekale moved to lock in Round Ten against the Burleigh Bears and scored a strong try in the 15th minute and also kicked Nerang’s final conversion of the match with the kick being taken just to the left of the uprights.

    In the 15th minute Immanuel Kalekale charged onto the ball from six metres out to the left of the dummy half and dragged four Burleigh defenders over the line to get the ball down next to the right upright in an exceptional display of size, power and pure strength.

    Immanuel Kalekale produced another powerful run in the 55th minute from deep inside his own territory of thirty five metres with Immanuel Kalekale then producing a great right arm off-load to keep Nerang’s momentum going.

    When rugby league recommenced on the Gold Coast in late August 2021 after the Covid 19 lockdown, Immanuel Kalekale was named to start in the second row for Nerang in Round Eleven against the Ormeau Shearers.

    Round Twelve against the Southport Tigers saw Immanuel Kalekale named to start from the bench with Immanuel Kalekale scoring an outstanding solo try in the 17th minute. Immanuel Kalekale received the ball to the right of the play the ball eighteen metres from the line and engaged two defenders still around nine metres out. After he gained separation from the two defenders Immanuel Kalekale ran to his left pushing off another two defenders before dragging two more defenders over the line and getting the ball down adjacent to the left upright.

    Immanuel Kalekale added a second try in the 44th minute when he was a recipient of a pass from Dorian Lotaki who had crossed the try line and waited for Immanuel Kalekale after a great 100 metre Nerang movement and outstanding work by Arama Hau and Jeremaiah Temapo.

    The match even saw Immanuel Kalekale attempt a conversion in the 22nd minute from fifteen metres to the right of the goal posts but his attempt hit the left upright much to the delight of his team mates.

    Immanuel Kalekale made an immediate contribution in the match when he came off the bench in the 16th minute when Immanuel Kalekale made his first run less than a minute after coming onto the field with the run accounting for eighteen metres. Immanuel Kalekale was awarded a penalty at the completion of his run when the Southport defence would not allow him to get to his feet in a timely fashion.

    Immanuel Kalekale made an additional strong run in the 27th minute down the right side of the field with making twenty seven metres before he was brought to ground and once again the Southport defence held him down and Immanuel Kalekale was awarded another penalty.

    Immanuel Kalekale moved back into the Nerang starting line-up in the front row in Round Thirteen against the Helensvale Hornets with Immanuel Kalekale making a number of strong charges including a thirty metre charge in the 20th minute from the kick-off after Nerang scored their second try.

    Immanuel Kalekale then continued in the front row in Week Two of the 2021 GCRL U18 Division One Final’s series for the Roosters against the Helensvale Hornets scoring a typically powerhouse try in the 26th minute.

    Immanuel Kalekale then started the 2021 GCRL U18 Division One Preliminary Final in the front row for the Roosters against the Ormeau Shearers and scored a powerful try in the 26th minute when after he received the ball twenty metres out, Immanuel Kalekale ran at the line and just prior to contact stepped off his left foot bumping off the initial defender. Immanuel Kalekale then beat three more defenders on the way to getting the ball down next to the left upright.

    In the 2021 Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One Grand Final Immanuel Kalekale started in the front row for the Roosters side against the Helensvale Hornets and had an immediate impact on the match when he took the second hit-up of the match, breaking three tackles and making twenty metres to get the ball out to thirty five metres from his own line. Then in the 3rd minute, Immanuel Kalekale produced another strong run through the centre of the field, making ten metres to get the ball twenty metres out from his own line.

    Immanuel Kalekale emphasised his strong first half in the final minute of the first half when after receiving an off-load from Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki, Immanuel Kalekale broke four tackles whilst making fifteen metres to get the ball into Helensvale territory.

    Immanuel Kalekale continued his strong match in the 34th minute with a twenty metre charge that included breaking three tackles with the result being that Immanuel Kalekale was able to get the ball to within ten metres of the try line.

    Immanuel Kalekale’s Grand Final performance deserved a try and he should have been awarded one in the 47th minute when he charged onto the ball to the right of the dummy half fifty five metres from the try line. After receipt of the ball Immanuel Kalekale immediately stepped off his left foot targeting the area directly behind the play the ball and going straight through the centre of the ruck untouched. When he approached the Hornets fullback, Immanuel Kalekale looked to beat him by rounding him to his right.

    Immanuel Kalekale was eventually dragged down from behind just short of the try line and it looked for all money as if momentum had carried Immanuel Kalekale over the try line five metres in from the touchline but bizarrely the referee ruled a double movement much to the confusion of all of the players on the field, including the Helensvale players that had made the tackle.

    In February 2021 Immanuel Kalekale took part in the South Coast Open school boy trials and was subsequently named in the South Coast Open A school boy side for the QSSRL U18 Championships as a result of his outstanding trial performances, however Immanuel Kalekale did not end up lining up for South Coast in the Championships.

    2021 also saw Immanuel Kalekale line up for Keebra Park PBC State High School in the South East Queensland School Boy Langer Cup Open A competition starting Round One in the front row against Marsden State High School. It was an intense forward battle between the two Titans Partnered sides and Immanuel Kalekale was regularly in the thick of the action.

    Immanuel Kalekale started Round Two against Mabel Park State High School in the front row and one of Keebra Park’s try scorers in their 30 – 14 victory with his try coming in the 15th minute when he charged onto the ball from three metres, skittling a number of defenders to get the ball down four metre to the right of the uprights.

    Immanuel Kalekale made another big charge in in the 45th minute when he broke four tackles to get to within two metres of the line and then in the 49th minute Immanuel Kalekale came out of the line to put on a big front on hit in what was probably the best tackle of the match.

    Immanuel Kalekale also started in the front row in Round Three against Ipswich State High School and made the opening tackle of the match after Keebra Park had kicked off. Immanuel Kalekale made the first of multiple strong runs in the 4th minute with hard charge and off-load to Blaze Mozer and then he was at it again in the 10th minute with another strong charge.

    Immanuel Kalekale was named to continue in the front row in Round Four against St Mary’s College Toowoomba however he was a late omission from the Keebra Park side.

    The Round Five local derby against PBC saw Immanuel Kalekale named to start in the front row and put in a dominating performance to lead Keebra Park to an impressive come from behind victory.

    Immanuel Kalekale was simply devastating running the ball but it was two off-loads that also brought Immanuel Kalekale to prominence in the match, including an off-load in the 38th minute after he kept fighting in a tackle. Immanuel Kalekale was able to get his right arm free and off-load to his left to Delahia Wigmore who cut back to his right into space to score from ten metres out.

    Immanuel Kalekale’s other significant off-load came in the 37th minute and came when he charged onto the ball on the left side of the field and whilst in contact with the line got a great right arm off-load away to left centre Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki who then off-loaded to Elijah Lui who broke away down the left touchline.

    Immanuel Kalekale was also named to start in the front row in Round Six against Wavell State High School.

    After the Langer Cup competition was suspended for a number of weeks due to a Covid 19 lock down, Immanuel Kalekale was named in the front row for Keebra Park State High School in their semi-final against PBC State High School however Immanuel Kalekale ended up starting the match off the bench.

    Immanuel Kalekale producing some outstanding runs in the match, none better than in the 37th minute when Immanuel Kalekale produced a great charge from a PBC SHS goal line drop out.

    In 2019 Immanuel Kalakale represented the Auckland Vulcans U15 representative side at the New Zealand Age Championships, starting in the front row in three of the Vulcans matches at those Championships, with those matches coming against the Counties Manukau Stingrays, the Central Vipers and the Wellington Orca’s.

    In Auckland Immanuel Kalekale played for the Glenora Bears rugby league club and in 2019 played representative rugby for the Rugby West U16 representative side.

    The pace and power in terms of how Immanuel Kalekale runs the ball is the outstanding feature of his game, he takes the ball to the line with speed and quick and subtle footwork prior to the line and seems to targets the gaps between defenders and will actively seek out opposing forwards who are slow to move up.

    When the opposition are on the back foot Immanuel Kalekale will target the smaller defenders on the edge of the ruck and burst through and for a big young bloke he has very good speed over the medium term and has the strength to drag defenders with him.

    I would consider that Immanuel Kalekale’s speed would be considered above average for his position but plays faster as a result of him timing his runs so well that the dummy half can present a flat pass to him and also as a result of the power that he runs at. Immanuel Kalekale also runs a very good inside shoulder line to add variety to his running game.

    With his low centre of gravity coupled with his speed and power, Immanuel Kalekale is a difficult proposition for defensives and is able to draw in multiple defenders and still get a quick play the ball to gain forward momentum for his side on a regular basis.

    The defensive side of his game is similarly impressive, Immanuel Kalekale does not just charge wildly up looking for a huge hit but is calculating in where and when to hit. Immanuel Kalekale drives hard with his legs and always uses his shoulder and core body strength to drive into his opponent with force and can use both shoulders depending upon the running line of the attacker.

    Immanuel Kalekale sets a strong lower base by setting his legs and generating force by driving through the tackle with his lower body, gaining leverage and momentum through his shoulders. In short Immanuel Kalekale is an outstanding defensive player both from a technique and initial contact perspective.

    Immanuel Kalekale’s initial contact is absolutely outstanding and more than enough to stop or redirect the momentum of the ball carrier regardless of their size and Immanuel Kalekale is also able to utilise his exceptional functional strength to slow the play the ball down sufficiently to allow his team’s defensive line to re-establish itself for the next play the ball.

    Immanuel Kalekale will play in the 2022 MM Cup competition for the Burleigh Bears for the second season in a row and will continue to play for Keebra Park in the Langer Cup Open A School Boy competition as well.

    From a club rugby league perspective in 2022, Immanuel Kalekale will once again line-up for the Nerang Roosters in the Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition as they look to repeat their 2021 Premiership success.

    At an imposing 191cm and 105kg at just 18 years old and still growing, Immanuel Kalekale is set to be an outstanding front row prospect for many years to come.

    New Zealand International James Fisher-Harris of the Penrith Panthers with his power coupled with his non-stop movement (and motor) when running the ball into the defensive line as well as the intensity in his defence is an apt NRL player comparison for Immanuel Kalekale.

    Like Fisher-Harris, Immanuel Kalekale can and will play substantial minutes in a match and projects as one of the few NRL level middle third forwards that could play the entire 80 minutes of a match without being substituted and play those minutes at an extremely high level as well.


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