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  1. #1081

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    Hey mdrew do you know what the club's plan for Ioane Seiuli is? He started off in the backs with tweed and was going great there imo. He was equally as impressive when he moved to second row and while that may be the position he'll end up growing into eventually I really hope he's considered a wing option to partner Sami in 2020. I think he has all the makings of a big strong modern winger.
    He offers something we've been lacking for a while and definitely has the talent for it.
    Maybe you don't know what position he'll primarily play as well but I figured if anyone knew on this forum it'd be you. I'm sure I said before that the club should just copy and paste your detailed write ups on their website and pay you royalties for it haha.

    Anyway I'd been keen to know if you have an answer as well as what your opinion is of him playing wing in first grade thanks.

  2. #1082
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    Hi mate, Ioane Seuili’s ultimate position is an interesting one.

    Prior to this season I certainly was of the opinion that he would be a centre long term and he had some more than impressive matches for Tweed Heads at left centre and right wing, including outstanding matches at left centre in Rounds Six, Seven and Nine against Mackay, Redcliffe and Norths and probably his best match in 2019 being Round Twelve against Souths Logan when he scored his career first Queensland Cup try.

    I can relate when you say that Ioane Seuili would provide something in the NRL for the Titans on the wing and I believe that you are correct. He could certainly play a role similar to what Corey Oates plays for the Broncos and his experience for Tweed Heads on the right wing this season and further back at fullback for Souths Logan in the Cyril Connell Cup would hold him in good stead both defensively and defending against kicks.

    In saying that however, I was really impressed with Ioane Seuili when he moved to the second row for Tweed Heads in Round Twenty against Ipswich and beyond until his shoulder injury brought his season to an end Week One of the Finals against Redcliffe when he was having a barnstorming match scoring Tweed Heads opening two tries. Probably his best match in the second row was in Round Twenty Two against Souths Logan his former club, he obviously likes playing them.

    It will be interesting to see where Ioane Seuili plays in the NRL trials in 2020 as that will be a signpost to what the Titans are thinking, my gut feeling is second row but who knows.

    I have been to a few NRL sessions this off season and Ioane Seuili certainly looks fit and strong and is set for a big 2020. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Ioane Seuili will make his NRL debut before the 2020 NRL season runs its course.

    You are absolutely correct when you say that Ioane Seuili had a big 2019, for the sake of completeness Ioane Seuili actually made his Queensland Cup debut when he was still U18 eligible in 2018 for Souths Logan against Redcliffe in Round 18 when he started on the wing.

    In total in the Queensland Cup in 2019, Ioane Seuili played in twenty Three matches for Tweed Heads playing 1 753 minutes out of a possible 1 840 being 95.27%. Ioane Seuili played the entire eighty minutes on nineteen occasions including one second row start.

    In his twenty three matches, Ioane Seuili scored nine tries, ran for 2 329 metres, had five try assists, broke fifty four tackles, broke the line on twelve occasions, made 221 tackles at a tackling efficiency of 74.9% and impressively his tackling efficiency increased when he moved into the second row.

    Ioane Seuili’s 2019 Queensland Cup per game averages included playing 76.22 minutes, running for 101.3 metres and making 9.61 tackles.

    To add to his 2019 season Ioane Seuili was named in the New Zealand U19 side to play the Australian School boys on the Queensland Cup Grand Final day at Redcliffe Oval, but his shoulder injury forced his withdrawal prior to the match.

    It should also be noted that Ioane Seuili is a former Ormeau Shearers junior and that makes him a local junior in my eyes.

    The most impressive thing for me when I was reading your thoughts mate and responding was that Ioane Seuili is still U20 eligible in 2020!!!



    Quote Originally Posted by The Mole View Post
    Hey mdrew do you know what the club's plan for Ioane Seiuli is? He started off in the backs with tweed and was going great there imo. He was equally as impressive when he moved to second row and while that may be the position he'll end up growing into eventually I really hope he's considered a wing option to partner Sami in 2020. I think he has all the makings of a big strong modern winger.
    He offers something we've been lacking for a while and definitely has the talent for it.
    Maybe you don't know what position he'll primarily play as well but I figured if anyone knew on this forum it'd be you. I'm sure I said before that the club should just copy and paste your detailed write ups on their website and pay you royalties for it haha.

    Anyway I'd been keen to know if you have an answer as well as what your opinion is of him playing wing in first grade thanks.

  3. #1083
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    Troy Duckett. The flying Titans linked youngster moved up to the Gold Coast from Coffs Harbour midway through the 2018 season and made an immediate impact in the GCRL U16 Division One competition for Currumbin and as a result was selected in the Tweed Seagulls MM Cup squad for the 2019 season.

    In Round One of the 2019 MM Cup season Troy Duckett started on the left wing for the Tweed Heads Seagulls as they defeated the Western Mustangs 18 – 14.

    In total in the 2019 MM Cup competition, Troy Duckett played in all nine of Tweed Heads matches starting all on the right wing bar one including their semi-final victory over Souths Logan. In Round Five against Wynnum Manly Troy Duckett made his sole start away from the right wing when he started at fullback.

    Troy Duckett also started both the Queensland MM Cup Grand Final against Wynnum Manly and the National U18 Grand Final against the Illawarra Steelers on the right wing coming out on the winning side in both matches.

    In the National Final (Tweed Heads won 48 – 14) Troy Duckett played the entire seventy minutes running for sixty five metres (eighteen post contact), played the ball at an average speed of 3.78 seconds and made four tackles at an 80% tackling efficiency.

    Troy Duckett made his club rugby league debut in Round Eight of the GCRL U18 Division One competition starting at fullback and scoring as his Currumbin side defeated Helensvale 16 – 10. Troy Duckett moved to the wing for the next two rounds adding his second try of the season in Round Ten against Bilambil.

    In total in the 2019 GCRL U18 Division One regular season competition Troy Duckett played in five matches scoring the a fore mentioned two tries.

    Troy Duckett was also part of the PBC Open A rugby league side in 2019 including starting on the left wing in the Langer Cup derby against Keebra Park in June.

    Troy Duckett also started on the right wing for PBC in their heart breaking Gold Point GIO Cup Queensland semi-final 23 – 22 loss to Marsden State High School and came close to scoring the first try of the match but he was unable to ground the ball after suffering a horror bounce in the right corner after a Toby Sexton kick.

    In late September Troy Duckett was named in the Tweed Heads Seagulls 2020 MM Cup squad for the second season in a row.

    2019 also saw Troy Duckett take part in the 2019 Koori Knockout Rugby League Championships held in Tuggerah on the Central Coast of NSW, playing in the U17 Division for the Kempsey Sharks team.

    Playing at fullback Troy Duckett had a successful first day with Kempsey who defeated both Koori Brothers United 28 - 0 and 2829 CAB Next Gen Coonamble 24 - 0 and progress to the semi-finals. In the semi-final Kempsey were up against previously undefeated Wijadjuri United, but were successful once again winning 20 - 12 to progress the Grand Final.

    In the Grand Final Kempsey upset the Western Koori Eels side 12-10 to become 2019 Under 17s Koori Knockout Champions.
    In late 2018 Troy Duckett started in the centres for the Titans U16 side and scored a hat trick as the Titans defeated PNG 60 – 10 with the youngster running rampant is slippery conditions at Pizzey Park.

    Troy Duckett started the 2018 season as part of the North Coast U16 Andrew Johns Cup side, playing in three matches in that competition, starting each at fullback with those matches coming against Central Coast, Northern Rivers and the Newcastle Knights Development Squad.

    In the GCRL U16 Division One competition with Currumbin playing a total of twelve matches including finals matches and scoring nine tries. Troy Duckett scored doubles against Southport on two separate occasions and also against Burleigh. Troy Duckett’s other three tries came against Mudgeeraba in two separate matches and Runaway Bay.

    Earlier this season Troy Duckett started on the bench for the New South Wales U16 Kurri side in their annual match against Queensland Murri with Queensland prevailing on that occasion.

    In 2017 Troy Duckett represented Group Two at the U15 level playing three matches and scoring against Group 21.

    From a running perspective, Troy Duckett just seems to glide across the field and it appears effortless, no matter who is chasing him, they will not catch Troy Duckett, I am talking James Roberts type of pace but he has a much more effortless running style to that of the current Brisbane Bronco.

    Troy Duckett does not necessarily have a side step per say, it is more of a swerve and he has a number of variations, with the scary part being that there is absolutely no loss of speed at all, making him incredibly difficult to stop when he is in open space and is moving towards a fullback who is near stationary.

    Troy Duckett’s passing skills are also developing into those of the highest quality, he can pass equally well from either side of his body and can throw every type of pass imaginable, he can chime into a back line at full pace and then decelerate quickly to maintain his balance a pop a good short ball to his supports, he can throw a great spiral pass to his backline or he can quickly anticipate the numbers a throw a great cut out pass to exploit over laps.

    Defensively Troy Duckett also stands out, with his closing speed and recovery speed he makes an impact on that side of the ball as well. With his speed, Troy Duckett has the luxury of being able to stand a touch deeper than some fullbacks yet still be able to close quickly to negate breaks by reducing the decision making time of the attacking player.

    Similar to the attributes that make Troy Duckett such an effective defender, Troy Duckett is as you would expect a great returner of the ball. His sense of timing, speed and anticipation means that he gets to a lot of kicks on the full and then accelerates looking to exploit any gaps on the kick chase.

    Troy Duckett exceptional lateral movement and sure hands means that he is a danger to make a large amount of ground from short attacking kicks by the opposition as he comes forward at full speed and retrieves with absolutely no loss of momentum and then will surprise the attacking team well before they can reorganise the defensive line.

    Troy Duckett will be part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad in 2020 and post that competition will play for the Currumbin Eagles in the Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition. It also would not surprise if Troy Duckett found himself in the Tweed Heads Seagulls Hastings Deering’s Colts side on a number of occasions as the 2020 season progresses.

    Prior to moving to the Gold Coast Troy Duckett spent a lot of time at fullback but played some matches for Currumbin on the wing post his arrival as well as one game in the MM Cup with Tweed Heads. I will admit that with his speed and guile I think that Troy Duckett has an opportunity to play at fullback in the long term even though there is no doubt he would make a more than solid try scoring winger.

    The play of Troy Duckett reminds me of how former Titan Kevin Gordon played when he first came into first grade and was able to exploit his speed advantage over the opposition before injuries cruelled his career and forced his early retirement

  4. #1084
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    Keenan Palasia. (Revised)The young former Titans junior and PBC student spent the 2015 to 2017 (NYC) and then 2019 seasons with the Brisbane Broncos and in 2017 was a solid member of their forward pack which played so well throughout the season including deep in the finals series.

    On a disappointing note, Keenan Palasia did an ACL last week and has already undergone surgery and will likely be out for most if not the entire 2020 season.

    Keenan Palasia was a Titans junior through to 17 years old including captaining Gold Coast White in the CC Cup a number of seasons ago before its demise.

    Keenan Palasia made his NRL debut in 2019 for the Broncos when he came off the bench in Round Sixteen against Cronulla playing twenty eight minutes, running for thirty seven metres (twelve post contact) and made seven tackles at a100% tackling efficiency).

    Keenan Palasia’s second career NRL was against the Titans in Round Nineteen when he once again came off the bench playing twenty six minutes. In that time he ran for forty two metres (twelve post contact) and made eight tackles at a 100% tackling efficiency.

    In the Queensland Cup for Wynnum Manly in 2019 Keenan Palasia played in twenty five matches, starting seven in the second row, two in the front row, five from the interchange and eleven at lock, scoring in Round Five against Tweed Heads and Round Eighteen against the Mackay Cutters.

    In his twenty five matches Keenan Palasia ran for 2 693 metres, had fourteen offloads, broke three tackles, had a line break assist and made 514 tackles at an 84.6% tackling efficiency.

    On thirteen occasions Keenan Palasia ran for in excess of 100 metres including 187 metres in Round Twenty Six against the Townsville Blackhawks and 163 metres in Round Six against Burleigh.

    In sixteen matches in 2019 Keenan Palasia made more than twenty tackles in a match including thirty one tackles in Round Twenty Two against Townsville.

    In 2018 Keenan Palasia has joined the Wynnum Manly Seagulls and split his time between the Queensland Cup and the Brisbane A Grade competition with the Seagulls.

    In the 2018 Queensland Cup competition Keenan Palasia played in twelve matches alternating between starting and coming off the bench. In those matches he ran for 1 064 metres at an average of 88.69 metres per game and made 212 tackles at an average of 17.67 per match and a tackling efficiency of 88.33%.

    In 2017 Keenan Palasia represented the U20 Queensland side alongside four Titans played in their annual clash against the New South Wales. In 2015 Keenan Palasia started from the bench for the Queensland U18 side against New South Wales U18’s.

    In 2017 for the Brisbane Broncos Keenan Palasia played in sixteen NYC matches including starting eleven in the second row two in the front row and three from the interchange bench. Keenan Palasia played in all of the Broncos matches to and including Round Nineteen against the Newcastle Knights and scored five tries.

    Keenan Palasia’s tries came in Round two against Cronulla, Round Eight against the Rabbitohs, Round Eleven against the Wests Tigers, Round Sixteen against the Raiders and Round Seventeen against the Melbourne Storm.

    The 192 cm 110 kg Keenan Palasia’s 2017 NYC per game season averages included 103 running metres on 10.5 hit ups and 24.5 tackles (tackling efficiency of 90%)in 55 minutes. In total Keenan Palasia ran for 1 651 metres from 169 hit ups, made five line breaks, eighteen off loads and 391 tackles. On nine occasions Keenan Palasia played all eighty minutes in a match including a seven match stretch from Round Eight against the Rabbitohs to Round Sixteen against the Raiders.

    On nine occasions Keenan Palasia ran for in excess of 100 metres including Round Eighteen against the Storm when he ran for 160 metres and on twelve occasions he made in excess of twenty tackles in a match including making 36 in a Round Ten match against Manly.

    When contracted to the Titans Keegan Palasia played the 2013 season in the CC Cup competition for Gold Coast Green, captaining the side and scoring two tries and in 2014 he played in the MM Cup competition for Gold Coast Green scoring a try on the season.

    Keenan Palasia runs exceptionally hard and there is little subtlety to his running, it is straight and hard and another positive is that he will not just run upright, he will drop his should into the defender making it difficult if not impossible for him to be stopped easily or by a single defender. His running style means that he throws self-preservation out of the window, and fires up his team mates with his charges at full speed into a set forward defensive line.

    Keenan Palasia will on occasion take advantage of slow defenders by angling back behind the play the ball, but outside of that he just flat out runs full throttle every time he touches the ball and runs fast and will fight for a quick play the ball every time.

    If anything Keenan Palasia is more effective in the second half of games where his running style begins to wear down the opposition. Keenan Palasia runs very much front on and perpendicular to the defensive line and uses his strong lower body to power through tackles.

    With the power that he has in his legs when opposing defenders try to tackle him around the legs, it is almost impossible for them to bring Keenan Palasia down quickly which enables him to either break the tackle completely or to off load to his support runners as he pushes through the defensive line. When they look to tackle him around the chest Keenan Palasia’s upper body strength enables him to absorb the initial contact and also to maintain his balance and momentum.

    Defensively Keenan Palasia is able to engage and defeat opposing attacker one on one regardless of size. He does not just charge up trying to hit attacker’s chest on but Keenan Palasia is clinical about how and where he hits the opponent and sets a solid base with his legs and drives directly into their body. In short Keenan Palasia is a difference marker with his defence.

    Even though Keenan Palasia does not necessary have great straight speed, his lateral movement is very good and on the majority of occasions is able to mirror the movement of smaller attacker looking to exploit a perceived speed and/or mobility difference.

    Keenan Palasia defends in the centre of the ruck and is best suited in the long run defending there and adds a degree of intimidation to any forward pack he plays for. Like with his attack his functional strength and his height with its associated leverage benefits aids his defensive game by being able to generate leverage in his tackles and he can therefore quickly get the attacker off balance.

    Keenan Palasia is currently contracted to the Brisbane Broncos for the 2020 NRL season but post that it wold be great to bring the young man back to the Gold Coast where he would certainly add to the Titans NRL forward stocks.

    Unfortunately Keenan Palasia recently ruptured his ACL and likely will be out of action for the entire 2020 season.

    In terms of position, Keenan Palasia has the size and power to be a key contributor in the front row for a team but also shows enough speed and skill not to be purely just a battering ram but a front rower who can create opportunities on the fringes of the ruck and create opportunities for his team overall both in attack and defence.

    Keenan Palasia has benefitted greatly from being part of the Broncos NRL squad where he has been able to hone his skills and continue to get stronger and certainly has the potential to be a solid contributor at the NRL level in a couple of seasons once he recovers from his ACL injury.

    Cronulla Sharks front rower Ava Seumanu***a for me has a similar playing style to that of Keenan Palasia, both are big strong powerful front rowers who are slowly but surely building up their strength, power and stamina to push themselves further into NRL calculations in the front row in coming seasons.

  5. #1085
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    Emery Pere. The giant Huntly New Zealand born 21 year old youngster is currently contracted to the North Queensland Cowboys and played the 2019 season for the Northern Pride in the Queensland Cup.

    Emery Pere is a former Titans Junior Development Squad member and a three year First XV standout No. 8 for TSS in the GPS School Boy rugby competition where he played alongside Titans NRL Top 30 contracted Jai Whitbread.

    I appreciate that there were some issues between Emery Pere and the Titans but that was under the previous regime and it would certainly benefit the Titans to bring this beast of a young man back into the Titans fold.

    After playing the 2018 Queensland Cup season with the Northern Pride Emery Pere played the 2019 season with the Mackay Cutters. Emery Pere played in twenty two matches for the Cutters starting twenty one in the front row and one bring Round Six against Wynnum Manly.

    In his twenty two matches Emery Pere scored against Souths Logan in Rounds Two and Fifteen, Round Nine against the Northern Pride and in Round Twenty Two against the Ipswich Jets.

    In total in the 2019 Queensland Cup competition Emery Pere ran for 2 019 metres (714.6 post contact), broke sixty four tackles, made three line breaks, offloaded on sixteen occasions and made 433 tackles at an 87% tackling efficiency. Emery Pere’s 2019 per game averages included running for 91.8 metres and making 19.68 tackles.

    On six occasions Emery Pere ran for in excess of 100 metres including a 163 metre effort in Round Sixteen against the Townsville Blackhawks and on nine occasion he made more than twenty tackles including making twenty five tackles in Round Eighteen against Wynnum Manly.

    After an outstanding career for the Cowboys in the 2017 NYC competition, Emery Pere in 2018 graduated to the Queensland Cup with the Northern Pride. In total in the 2018 Queensland Cup season, Emery Pere played in twenty four matches, running for 1 775 metres (165 post contact), broke forty six tackles, offloaded the ball on eight occasions and made 452 tackles at a tackling efficiency of 89.15%.

    Emery Pere’s junior rugby league career was nothing short of outstanding including being named as the U14 Queensland Player of eth Carnival and he also represented South Coast at the school boy level and Gold Coast in the MM and MM competitions before heading to North Queensland. In his first season Emery Pere represented the Townsville Blackhawks MM Cup side that won the competition and then was part of their MM side that played Parramatta in the National U18 final prior to making his NYC debut the same season.

    In relation to School Boy rugby Emery Pere played three seasons in the TSS First XV which is no mean feat and in almost every match was as near to unstoppable as you can get. It was in the crowd at TSS First XV matches that I first heard the phrase “beast mode” linked to Emery Pere. It was accurate back then and before his career is done, it will be said a lot more times by people who are watching him play.

    Emery Pere is a big powerful young man who whilst using his size to his advantage by running hard and straight, he does have quite decent footwork prior to the defensive line, which he uses to cut back behind the play the ball to take advantage of defenders who are slow to get back into the defensive line.

    Where Emery Pere’s game has really developed over the last couple of seasons his ability to play wider of the ruck, which is where he is primarily playing for the Northern Pride this season. With his size and strength wider of the ruck Emery Pere attracts defenders and thus is in a position to use his ball skills to set up his outside supports early in a match. When defences start to try to anticipate that Emery Pere is going to pass then he can use his size and power to cash through the defensive lien as no defender is going to be able to handle him one on one by themselves.

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

    It is also clear from how his team mates respond to him that Emery Pere is a leader on the field.

    Emery Pere’s NRL contract with the North Queensland Cowboys expires at the conclusion of the 2020 season, a season in which he may just make his NRL debut.

    If everything comes together for Emery Pere is potential is almost limitless and he can dominate games both from an attacking perspective and a defensive one.

    At an imposing 195cm and 107kg Emery Pere is the ideal size for a rugby league second rower, although I appreciate that he has played the majority of his forty six games in his Queensland Cup career to date in the front row, but it is his above average speed for his size, and undoubted strength and physical nature that screams that he can be a dominant player at the NRL level.

    Emery Pere reminds me of St George Dragon’s and New South Wales State of Origin aggressive second rower Tariq Sims. Like Sims, Emery Pere is a giant of a man and plays with more than a touch of aggression and makes sure everyone on the opposition knows that he is on the field especially defensively.

    Also like Sims, Emery Pere has occasions when he sails a bit close to the line from an aggression perspective, but age and maturity has worked to temper that for Sims and there is no reason to suggest that the same will not apply to Emery Pere in due course.

    The first time that I saw Emery Pere play in a Titans jersey was in a Titans U13 Development Squad match at Richlands in Brisbane seven or eight years ago now. That day he tore his older opposition to shreds it would be great to see him back in a Titans jersey doing the same once again. Hey dreaming is free!

  6. #1086
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    Tyrese Walker. (Revised) The young half or five eight started for the Titans U18 side against a PNG U18 side at Pizzey Park late in 2018.

    This season Tyrese Walker played for Burleigh in the GCRL U18 Division One competition, playing his first match of the competition on the bench before coming into the starting side at half back in Round Five against Southport.

    In total in the GCRL U18 Division One regular season competition for Burleigh, Tyrese Walker played in ten matches scoring four tries including a try in Rounds Seven and Eleven against Runaway Bay, Round Twelve against Helensvale and a try and two goals in Round Fourteen against Mudgeeraba to finish the U18 Division One regular season with twenty points.

    Tyrese Walker started at five eight for Burleigh in their 34 -4 U18 Division One Week Two Finals victory over Southport 34 – 4 to progress directly to the Grand Final.

    Tyrese Walker came off the bench in the second half, spending time in the halves and operating primarily on the right as Burleigh defeated Southport 28 – 12 in the U18 Division One Grand Final.

    Tyrese Walker made his 2019 GCRL U20 debut in Round Ten from the bench for Burleigh as they defeated Southport 26 – 22 celebrating the occasion by scoring in the Bears win. Tyrese Walker scored his second ty of the season in the U20 competition in Round Eleven against Southport and also scored in Rounds Fourteen against Helensvale and Seventeen against Mudgeeraba.

    His Round Eleven try was an impressive solo effort. Tyrese Walker received the ball playing on the right about thirty five metres out from the Southport line, dummying both inside and outside and breaking two tackles before rounding the fullback to score under the posts.

    I note above that Tyrese Walker’s Round Eleven try was an outstanding individual effort but his try in Round Fourteen against Helensvale was even better. Tyrese Walker received the ball twenty metres out from his own try line on the right side of the field. After splitting the defence when he charged through a gap between two defenders, Tyrese Walker beat the Helensvale fullback with a deft right foot step before outpacing the cover defence.

    Tyrese Walker’s Round Seventeen was also a good individual effort. He received the ball on the left of the ruck around twenty metres out. After engaging the line, Tyrese Walker bumped off the first defender before pushing through a gap to his right and then scoring to the left of the uprights under pressure from the Mudgeeraba fullback.

    Tyrese Walker scored again in Round Eighteen of the GCRL U20 competition when he provided another sole effort taking the ball to the line and defeating the immediate defender himself with a strong right arm palm before crossing from around twelve metres out.

    Tyrese Walker was also heavily involved in the ty scored by Burleigh right second rower Jock Sullivan. The ball initially went to the left side of the field but some good interplay between Burleigh half Blake Leary and Tyrese Walker meant the ball quickly came back to the right with Tyrese Walker sending a pass to his right to find Jock Sullivan running in a hole in the Southport defensive line.

    In total in the GCRL U20 regular season competition for Burleigh, Tyrese Walker played in six matches scoring five tries for a strike rate of 83.33% with details of the tries noted above.

    In Week One of the GCRL U20 Finals Series Tyrese Walker started at five eight and was one of Burleigh’s try scorers as they defeated Mudgeeraba 30 – 24 and has been the case on a number of occasions this season the try was a piece of individual brilliance from Tyrese Walker.

    Tyrese Walker received the ball on the left of the play the ball dummying back on the inside before accelerating through a gap about twenty five metres out from the Mudgeeraba line. One of eh Mudgeeraba defenders had hold of his jersey with one hand but Tyrese Walker continued to pump his legs to break the grip and then he swerved to his left around the fullback to score adjacent to the left upright.

    In the Gold Coast Rugby League U20 Grand Final Tyrese Walker started at five eight against Currumbin as Burleigh went down 14 - 6.

    Tyrese Walker moved to the Gold Coast early in the 2018 season and played the 2018 season for the Burleigh Bears in the U19 Gold Coast Rugby League competition and through the regular season rounds finished as the leading try scorer in the competition with fourteen.

    Tyrese Walker made his debut on the Gold Coast in Round Five of the 2018 season against the Currumbin Eagles when he started from the interchange bench but moved into the starting line-up at five eight in Round Six against Mudgeeraba.

    Tyrese Walker played in eleven U19 regular season matches scoring fourteen tries for a strike rate of 127% whilst splitting his time between starting at five eight and in the centres for the Bears. Tyrese walker scored in his second U19 fixture which was in Round Six against Mudgeeraba and he has not stopped scoring ever since.

    Tyrese Walker scored four tries to announce himself to the Gold Coast public in Round Seven against Beaudesert an scored a hat trick in late June against Beaudesert once again. Tyrese Walker scored a double in Round Fourteen against Helensvale and in that match also kicked four goals.

    Tyrese Walker’s other tries have come against Helensvale, Southport and Ormeau and from late May to mid-July this year scored in every match that he was involved in including the seven tries in the two matches against Beaudesert.

    In Week One of the GCRL U19 Finals series, Tyrese Walker started at five eight for Burleigh as they went down 32 – 26 to Mudgeeraba kicking a conversion in the hard fought loss.

    As a 17 year old Tyrese Walker played the 2018 SG Ball season with the North Sydney Bears after playing for the Bears in the 2017 U16 Harold Matthews Cup competition.

    For the Bears in the SG Ball competition, earlier this season, Tyrese Walker played in six matches scoring two tries which both came in Round Seven in a 26 – 12 loss to the Cronulla Sharks. Tyrese Walker came into the North Sydney Bears side in Round Two off the interchange bench against the Western Pirates. Tyrese Walker played five matches from the inter change bench but did start at half back in Round Five against Souths Sydney.

    In the 2017 U16 Harrold Matthews Cup competition Tyrese Walker played in eight matches for Norths Sydney starting seven from the interchange bench. Tyrese Walker’s start was in Round Four against the Illawarra Steelers when he started at half back.

    Tyrese Walker scored two tries in the 2017 U16 Harrold Matthews Cup competition with both tries coming in Round Five against the Canberra Raiders.

    In 2017 in addition to playing in the Harold Matthews Cup competition for North Sydney, Tyrese Walker played club rugby league for the Asquith Magpies in the 2017 Sydney Northern U16 Silver competition. In that competition, Tyrese Walker scored an impressive fourteen tries from just sixteen matches. Tyrese Walker started the Grand Final at half back however Asquith lost 28 – 26 to the Mona Vale Raiders.

    Tyrese Walker scored a hat trick against the Avalon Bulldogs in the Preliminary Final and earlier in the year scored a double against Five Docks RSL. The remainder of his tries came singularly in different games.

    Tyrese Walker is quite an elusive runner of the ball and some good foot work in confined space. He will take on the line regularly and has a very good step off both feet but his left foot step seems to be the preferred step based on the games that I have seen at least. Tyrese Walker is always around the ball and thus is always available to back up a break by a forward or when they get their hands free.

    His passing game is what I would consider a tough above average and he will drift across the field looking for runners to run into holes and has the ability to hold the defensive line in place as he develops the play in front of them, making to easier for his support runners to get a clear passage through the line, especially when a defender comes out of the line and commits to Tyrese Walker instead of maintaining the defensive lines integrity.

    Tyrese Walker will also wait until the last possible moment to release the football. His best attribute in his passing game is the speed, timing and accuracy when he passes to his outside backs. He gets a very good spiral on the ball from both sides of his body and leads his outside attackers into the ball, enabling them to maintain the momentum of their run.

    A key attribute to how Tyrese Walker plays is his ability to organise and direct his team around the field as well as adjusting his game to the specific situations within a game that he is confronted with.

    Defensively Tyrese Walker has a real dig. Regardless of the size of the opponent running at him, he will get in front of him and make as hard contact as possible hold his ground waiting for help to arrive. When defending against players his own size, Tyrese Walker has no issuing handling them on a one on one basis.

    Tyrese Walker has been an outstanding addition to the Gold Coast Rugby League ranks over the last two seasons and will play the 2020 season for the Burleigh Hastings Deering’s Colts side and possibly even get a match or two for the Burleigh GCRL First Grade side. Tyrese Walker is also U20 Colts eligible in 2021.

    I envisage that Tyrese Walker will play half back moving forward even though he will be able to fill in in other positions if the need arises, including five eight and hooker and possibly even centre or fullback.

    With his skill set, it would be interesting to see how Tyrese Walker would go at hooker and fair or not shapes as a possible super sub type of player, who could came on either in the halves positions or as a back-up hooker and even fullback and provide a spark with his quickness intensity and enthusiasm regardless of position.

    Tyrese Walker is no monster on the field and but is quick, tough, tricky and courageous. To that extent I can see similarities from a playing style perspective with former Titan and now New Zealand Warriors utility Karl Lawnton.

    Both Tyrese Walker and Lawnton are nippy, competitive and combative players who can play a variety of positions and bring a deal of enthusiasm and hard work to their side.

    Another player with similar attributes would be Titans interchange hooker Mitch Rein in terms of his immediate impact off the bench.

  7. #1087
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    Kayah Riggs-Noble. The big strong young 18 year old front rower came from the clouds a touch in 2018 not just breaking into the Coombabah State High Side but by seasons end being one of their better performers alongside Titan Carsil Vaikai. Kayah Riggs-Noble started for Coombabah in their 17 – 16 win over Marymount College to qualify for the Queensland GIO Cup quarter finals.

    In 2019 Kayah Riggs-Noble played in three matches for Souths Logan in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition, all off the bench with those matches being Rounds Nine, Fifteen and Twenty One against Sunshine Coast, the Mackay Cutters and Ipswich respectively.

    In 2019 Kayah Riggs-Noble also played two matches for Mudgeeraba in the GCRL U18 Division One competition with those matches coming in consecutive mid-season rounds against Runaway Bay and Ormeau.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble played the 2018 season with the Mudgeeraba Redbacks in the Gold Coast Rugby League U17 Division One competition, playing in five matches in that grade with those matches coming against Currumbin, Tweed Heads, Burleigh, Ormeau and Runaway Bay.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble also played in one U19 GCRL match in 2018 that match occurring in Week Two of the Finals. Kayah Riggs-Noble started from the bench as Mudgeeraba were knocked as a result of a 54 – 26 loss to Bilambil.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble also played one MM Cup match and one Hastings Deering’s Colts match in 2018. He made his MM Cup debit in Round Seven against Victoria from the bench and in an impressive feat for a 17 year old made his U20 Hastings Deering’s Colts debit in Round Twenty Four from the bench against the Easts Tigers in a big 52 – 12 win for Burleigh in the competitions final round.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble is a powerful runner of the football, who knows only one way and that is straight ahead and can offload once he has impacted the defensive line or has crashed through it. There is no subtlety to his running, it is straight and hard and another positive is that he will not just run upright, he will drop his should into the defender making it difficult if not impossible for him to be stopped one on one.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble does have quite foot speed when/if he gets into space, probably above average for a front rower but any tries that he scores will come as a result of power running close to the line, with the added benefit that if he does not crash over, Kayah Riggs-Noble will draw in the defence meaning that there will be space out wide for his side.

    In defence Kayah Riggs-Noble uses his size and strength to make very solid initial contact and certainly can take on all opposing forwards one on one. Kayah Riggs-Noble has a good front on defensive technique, maintaining decent leverage when defending against opposing forwards and reasonable agility and lateral movement when looking to tackle smaller opponents on the edge of the ruck.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble will play the 2020 season with Souths Logan in the Hastings Deering’s Colts competition and is Colts eligible also in 2021.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble has played in the front row or lock for the majority of his rugby league career and exclusively there this season and on that basis I cannot see him moving from there into the future.

    For me a solid NRL comparison for Kayah Riggs-Noble is current Brisbane Broncos and Queensland State of Origin’s Joe Ofahangue as a front rower who regularly crashes head long into the defensive line but does have some subtle footwork which seems to get largely over looked. As for that matter does his solid defensive technique.

    Kayah Riggs-Noble has made rapid improvement over the last few seasons and I will be following him closely in coming years to see how his career progresses.

  8. #1088
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    Will Taylor. The young Titans linked hooker is from the Bilambil Jets club in Northern New South Wales and captained the Group 18 U15 side at the 2019 New South Wales Country Age Championships held in Port Macquarie in September starting at hooker in all of Group 18’s matches.

    After the completion of the Championships Will Taylor was named the 2019 Group 18 U15 representative season’s Best and Fairest player in recognition of his outstanding Championship performances.

    Will Taylor started from the bench for the Titans U15 side that defeated a Balmain Tigers U15 Touring side 34 – 16 in early October.

    In 2019 Will Taylor played for the Bilambil Jets in the Group 18 U15 competition and was part of the Grand Final winning side that defeated Byron Bay/Lennox Head in a thriller.

    Will Taylor was also part of the PBC School Boy program in 2019 representing his school in a number of school boy competitions including co-captaining the PBC Year Nine Hancock side that erased a 12 – 6 half time deficit to win the final of the Hancock Cup 24 – 18 against Coombabah State High School with Will Taylor playing five eight in the final and operating primarily on the left side of the field for PBC.

    I must admit that it was strange seeing both sides wearing old Broncos jersey’s (jerseys only, the teams wore their school shorts and socks) rather than their total school playing strip but it was a Broncos school boy competition so I guess they can do whatever they want even though it was a very strange situation to be sure, for spectators at least.

    Will Taylor is an extremely talented all round hooker, who excels at all three critical aspects of the modern day hooker, those being his distribution out of dummy half, selective running out of dummy half and defending in the centre of the ruck.

    In terms of his distribution out of dummy half, Will Taylor is efficient in his passing and there is little wasted movement as he passes in one motion off the ground rather than two distinct movements like many hookers where they first stand then pass.

    In the games that I have seen there is no discernible difference between his passing from either side of his body, and his passes are crisp and flat and also he can pass a reasonable distance off the ground when the first receiver is standing a little wider of the play the ball.

    Where Will Taylor is also extremely effective is leading his forwards onto the ball, he passes in front of the forward ensuring no loss of momentum to the run. In short he is a very good game manager from the hooking position.

    Where Will Taylor really stands out in terms of attacking play, is his speed out of dummy half, he is extremely quick and has exceptional footwork to take advantage of tiring forwards, using a step off both feet. He wins a lot of penalties by running at forwards who are offside, if the offside forward is called out of the play Will Taylor has the speed to break into open space and has the pace to make it difficult for the cover defence to get to him.

    Around the try line Will Taylor is also very good at making the right decision whether the go himself for the try line or pass, where he gets down low and drives with his legs. Due to the pace that he plays the game at and his speed he is always available in terms of backing up in the centre of the ruck, when forwards get their arms free.

    Will Taylor’s defence for a hooker is exceptional, for a smaller forward he is a hard hitter and can defend effectively one on one against far larger forwards, he sets a good base with his lower body and explodes upwards with his shoulders to drive opposing forwards backwards and is also very good at slowing the play the ball down.

    Will Taylor‘s effort and intensity means that he will track the play across field and thus is in a good position when the ball is passed back inside. Will Taylor literally tackles everything that moves in the centre of the ruck.

    Will Taylor will play the 2020 season with Bilambil in the Group 18 U16 competition and will also push for a spot in the U16 Andrew Johns Cup Northern Rivers Titans side. Will Taylor will also be part of the PBC rugby League Excellence Program once again in 2020 and thus will be involved in their multiple school boy rugby league competitions including the Langer Cup.

    With his organisational skills and speed out of dummy half it is hard to envisage Will Taylor playing anywhere but hooker as his rugby league career progresses although I note that he performed well at five eight for PBC this season specifically in the victorious Hancock Cup side.

    A current player with a similar playing style to Will Taylor for me is recently resigned Melbourne Storm NRL Top 30 squad member and 2019 Sunshine Coast Falcon Harry Grant, both have the talent, skill set and motivation to go a long way from a rugby league career perspective even though they are both very young and still learning their craft.

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    Kaleb White. The talented young Titans linked fullback, winger or centre from the Runaway Bay Seagulls Junior Rugby League club on the Gold Coast started on the right wing for the Titans U16 side in their match against PNG at Pizzey Park in early October 2019.

    Kaleb White was one of multiple Titans try scorers that Friday night when he came off his right wing about five metres out from the try line breaking one tackle before diving over in another tackle near the right corner.

    In 2019 Kaleb White played for Runaway Bay in the GCRL U16 Division One competition, playing in eight matches and scoring seven tries to finish with a 87.5% strike rate. Impressively Kaleb White scored two hat tricks including in Round One against Mudgeeraba and later in the season against Southport. Kaleb White’s other try came against Southport in Round Two.

    Kaleb White also played in one U18 Division Two match for Runaway Bay this season, with that match coming against Tugun in early August.

    In early 2019 Kaleb White represented Gold Coast Vikings U16 Yellow in the South East Queensland U16 pre-season challenge including scoring against Ipswich.

    Early in 2018 Kaleb White was selected in the centres for the South Coast U15 QSSRL side at the completion of a number hard fought trials. Kaleb White currently attends PBC and usually started in the centres for their 2018 Year Ten side in school boy competitions such as the Walters Cup.

    Kaleb White started the 2018 season with Runaway Bay in the U15 Division One competition starting Round One at fullback in their big 54 – 2 win over Robina. In total in the 2018 U15 Division One competition, Kaleb White played in twelve matches scoring seven tries and kicking one goal which was kicked against Ormeau when he converted one of his three tries to finish the 2018 season with thirty points.

    In addition to his Ormeau hat trick, Kaleb White also scored a double against Ormeau as well as a double against Coomera in 2018.

    Over the course of the 2017 GCJRL season, Kaleb White represented Runaway Bay in both the U14 Division One and U15 Division Two competitions. In the U14 Division One competition, Kaleb White played in eleven matches scoring two tries (18% strike rate) which came against Ormeau and Burleigh playing primarily at fullback for the Seagulls.

    Kaleb White had a 100% strike rate across his four matches in the 2017 GCJRL U15 Division Two competition, and scored doubles against Ormeau and Helensvale Green in games two and four of his four match stint.

    Kaleb White is a smooth 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. When returning kicks, 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.

    The one thing Kaleb White also seems to be able to do well, is to step back inside without the loss of his speed or forward momentum, opposing defenders seem to push out quickly when he has the ball expecting him to look to beat them on their outside, if they come across to far, Kaleb White has a very good step back inside especially off his right foot when running to the left and if the inside defenders are not quick enough to cover across he has the speed to make a clean break in those circumstances.

    Similarly when an opposing defender looks to come out of the line quickly to put pressure on him, Kaleb White’s quick twitch feet means that he can step off either foot quickly to negate the attempt to cut down his time. In short he is a very talented attacking player who looks to beat his opponent with speed and guile rather than purely by brute strength.

    In addition Kaleb White also has the ball playing skills to set up his support runners and get them lines to run into when defenders came out of the line to negate his time with the ball in hand. He obviously was a key target for defences but Kaleb White understands that he cannot do it all himself and thus became adept at drawing defenders out of the line and putting his support runners into the subsequent hole.

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

    In defence Kaleb White has good strength, and certainly looks to come forward to stop the attack before it has time to fully develop once a break has been made. Kaleb White also has the ability to show the attacker the sideline and is confident that his speed will enable him to get across to make the tackle which he invariably does.

    Defensively if an attacker runs directly at him, Kaleb White will come forward to cut down the time the attacker has to make a decision and he will hit very hard. An impressive attribute that he does have he is ability to force attackers in the clear to try to beat him down the side line.

    Kaleb White will stay inside the attacker and force him in the needed direction and then use his timing and anticipation to make the tackle, usually forcing the attacker into touch.

    Kaleb White has played both fullback and centre in his junior rugby league career to date and even though I am sure that he could handle playing in the centres or on the wing, fullback seems to be his ideal position going forward.

    Versatility is never a bad think in relation to junior rugby league players and being able to alternate between the centres, fullback and the wing will not hurt Kaleb White’s future prospects at all in terms of his ultimate position and his ability to immediately contribute.

    Kaleb White will play the 2020 season with Runaway Bay in the GCRL U18 Division One competition as well as playing for PBC in their Langer Cup and GIO Cup school boy competitions.

    Nick Meaney of the Canterbury Bulldogs is similar to Kaleb White in relation to his playing traits, both move well across the ground being gifted ball runners with above average speed and evasive traits as well as being solid defensively even though they certainly are not the biggest players running around in any given match. Both can also play a variety of positions in the back line and play then at a high level.

  10. #1090
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    Thomas (Tom) Neale. The Titans linked local has won the Titans jersey on a number of occasions already in his career including for the Titans early this season against the Newcastle Knights in Coffs Harbour.

    Tom Neale started the 2019 season as part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad, coming into the side in Round Four when he started from the bench against Central Queensland, Tom Neale also started from the bench in Rounds Five and Six against Wynnum Manly and the Mackay Cutters respectively.

    From a club perspective, Tom Neale played for Burleigh in the GCLR U18 Division One competition including starting the Grand Final at half and scoring as the Bears defeated Southport 28 – 12 in a tough encounter.

    In total in the GCRL U18 Division One competition in 2019 Tom Neale played in eleven matches scoring eighteen points from four tries and a late season conversion against Mudgeeraba. In addition to his Grand Final try Tom Neale also scored against Ormeau, Runaway Bay and Helensvale.

    In 2018 Tom Neale played in twelve matches for Burleigh in the GCRL U17 Division One competition scoring three tries across the journey with those tries coming against Helensvale, Bilambil and Ormeau.

    Tom Neale is a slightly built half/hooker who is more of an organising type of player rather than a running player at this stage of his career. He can be seen directing his forwards when and where to run and seemingly makes it clear that Tom Neale is in charge of directing the team around the field and adhering to the game plan.

    Tom Neale’s passing from both sides of his body is crisp and accurate and when passing to the left side generates good spin and distance whilst maintaining accuracy.

    Tom Neale does not take the line on that often, but based on his play in the MM Cup and for Burleigh this season, he can and will take on forwards when he sees that they are isolated in the edges of the ruck, although his passing percentage would be much higher than his running percentage, at an estimate I would say 85% passing, 15% running.

    Tom Neale just seems to have a knack of knowing when to pass, what type of pass to throw and also be able to weight the pass very well from either dummy half or one off the ruck.

    Tom Neale seems to be quite quick off the mark and seems to have a good right foot step, when he gets into space he really does work progressively though his options as he does not seem to have the top end speed to finish off breaks himself.

    Where Tom Neale projects very well is in the defensive aspects of rugby league, in essence he is a very good defender for the half back position and by extrapolation hooker, this includes against opposing halves who will try to use footwork and evasion to beat him or against big wide running forwards. Against forwards running directly at him, Tom Neale has a good compact low tackling technique and rarely looks to tackle above the waist.

    Tom Neale will play the 2020 season in the U20 Hastings Deering’s Colts competition and will be Colts eligible again in 2021.

    Tom Neale is a rare player to the extent that going forward I believe that he will be able to play two positions equally as well as each other, being half and hooker and at this stage I cannot really make a call as to where he is best suited, but one thing that is certain, until he nails down a specific position Tom Neale may be the perfect interchange player.

    From an NRL player comparison perspective for Tom Neale think maybe someone like the St George Dragons and Australian International hooker or half Ben Hunt, especially in terms of his passing game.

  11. #1091
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    Travis May. The Northern New South Wales based youngster started at five eight and scored an outstanding long range individual solo try as the Titans U15 side defeated Balmain 34 – 16 in Northern New South Wales in early October 2019.

    Travis May received the ball from the dummy half on the left side of the field fifty five metres out from the line and ran at the Tigers line with the ball in two hands before producing a deft left foot step to slice through the initial defensive line before producing another left foot step to beat the fullback comprehensively and outpace the Balmain cover defence to score under the posts.

    The 2019 Bilambil Jets U15 played represented the Group 18 U15 side at the New South Wales Country U15 Age Championships in Port Macquarie being named at lock. At the Championships Travis May played in three matches scoring against Central Coast in Group 18’s opening match.

    In attack Travis May has above average to plus speed off the mark (as was on display for his long range individual try against Balmain) but does not necessary have an extra gear in open space, but Travis May is able to sustain his top speed over considerable distance.

    In confined space, he has very good footwork, including a good step off both feet. Travis May can beat defenders in the inside with a step and if the defensive line is staggered a dummy and go thus presenting multiple headaches for the opposition’s defensive strategies.

    As games progress Travis May is very good at identifying tired forwards in the defensive line, and he will target them accordingly. A great trait that Travis May already displays is that he will play what is in front of him rather than just play to a set game plan, which is a sign of a young player with a good understanding of the game and his role within it’s framework.

    Travis May is also an underrated ball player who will take the ball right to the ball before looking to put his ball runners in gaps or holding the ball up and getting it out to his backline.

    When confronted with forwards running directly at him on the edge of the ruck, Travis May will get in front of them and use his shoulder in an effort to contain them until defensive help arrives. Due to his speed off the mark Travis May is also a very good cover defender as he tracks the ball across the field and has a solid low tackling technique from the side.

    Travis May has played both lock and five eight this season but primarily as a result of his outstanding display for the Titans U15 side against Balmain I think that Travis May will get every opportunity to play five eight in coming seasons.

    In 2020 Travis May will play for Bilambil in the Group 18 U16 competition and from a representative perspective Travis May will likely also push for a spot in the 2020 Northern Rivers Titans U16 Andrew Johns Cup squad.

    Travis May has a playing style akin to that of Penrith Panthers and Samoan International five eight Jarome Luai. Both are nippy runners of the ball who also are good at putting players through gaps and are also just bundles of energy on the field, always moving around looking for an opening in the defensive line.

    I did not know a great deal about Travis May prior to the Titans U15 match against the Balmain Tigers in October 2019, but his performance in that match (and his try of course) really made me sit up and take notice.

  12. #1092
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    Devonte Vaivela. The powerful centre or second rower from the Souths Acacia Ridge club in Brisbane’s South West started at left second row for the Titans U14 side that defeated a Titans Invitational U14/15 NRRRL side 32 – 10 in early October at Tweed Heads Seagulls Piggabeen home ground.

    Devonte Vaivela scored in the first half when he held off the NRRRL right winger to score in the left corner with a one handed put down. After the match Devonte Vaivela was named Titans best a situation that I agreed with, for what that is worth although to be fair there were quite a number of Titans players who were outstanding in the match but none more so than the ultra-impressive Devonte Vaivela.

    Devonte Vaivela had an outstanding season for the Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies in 2019 including starting at left centre in their GBJRL U14 Division One 28 – 4 Grand Final win over Carina. Over the course of the 2019 GBJRL U14 Division One season Devonte Vaivela played in fifteen matches, including finals scoring team leading sixteen tries to finish with an impressive strike rate of 107% to pace his Grand Final winning team.

    Devonte Vaivela was in fact named as the 2019 U14 Best Back at the South Acacia Ridge Junior Rugby League Awards night in last September and also was named the 2019 GBJRL U14 Representative Player of the Season. Considering the quality of team mates of Devonte Vaivela at Souths Acacia Ridge in the GBJRL U14 competition and in the Brisbane Junior Rugby League U14 competitions in general, Devonte Vaivela’s awards were no small feat.

    I was fortunate enough to see about half of the U14 Division One Souths Acacia Ridge’s matches in 2019 (mainly at Brandon Park but a few away matches as well, including a great come back by Souths at Logan Brothers) and in virtually every match Devonte Vaivela was an absolute stand out and whilst his try scoring strike rate was in excess of 100% he set up many more tries when his hard running down the left side of the field led to breaks and his subsequent quick play the ball meant the oppositions defensive line was shattered and could not get into any semblance of order before Souths Acacia Ridge scored on the next play, quite often with the ball being spun out to the other side of the field where there was space aplenty.

    Devonte Vaivela also represented South East Queensland Green U14’s at the 2019 Queensland Age Championships playing in all four of their matches and scoring an outstanding hat trick in their 26 – 4 Grand Final win against Northern with his tries coming in the 9th minute of the first half and the 18th and 24th minutes of the second half. Devonte Vaivela also scored earlier in the Championships against Northern.

    In 2019 Devonte Vaivela also represented Samoa U14’s at the QPICC Carnival starting in the centres in all four of Samoa’s matches including their 8 – 6 Final loss to PNG. Devonte Vaivela scored in Round Three against PNG.

    In 2017 Devonte Vaivela played in the centres for the Met West U12 side from Ipswich State High School and played for Goodna in the Ipswich U12 Junior Rugby League competition.

    Devonte Vaivela is a quick powerful centre with a fluid running style with a classic centres build with the ability to stand up his direct opposite and then beat him with pace on the outside. In term of his play, the in and away is his bread and butter play, Devonte Vaivela has very good speed off the mark and can break to the outside quickly, couple that with long arms, which he uses to great effect with a powerful fend makes him difficult to tackle.

    These traits were on display on multiple occasions in 2019 in the U14 Division One GBJRL competition and I can recall two matches in particular at their home ground at Brandon Park, Acacia Ridge that Devonte Vaivela utilised those traits with those matches being against Easts and Carina. Devonte Vaivela was also outstanding in an away match against Logan Brothers when he was the catalyst for the Souths Acacia big second half comeback victory.

    When opposing centres are able to get hold of him, Devonte Vaivela is usually is able to maintain his balance as well as his running line and keeps an arm free, looking to offload if presented with the opportunity.

    Devonte Vaivela has far more tools though than just an in and away, he will also use his size and strength to run straight over smaller opposing centres as well as also having the skill to step back inside of the defender if he is pushing to the outside too early.

    What Devonte Vaivela is also adept at doing is timing his pass to his outside supports if the outside defender looks to come in and help defend him allowing an overlap to develop on the outside.

    Due to his size and strength, Devonte Vaivela is a very good defender regardless of position. He will not necessarily hit hard, but he is very good at mirroring the movement of the opposing centre and wrapping him up ball and all. Devonte Vaivela is also quick enough to recover and chase if the opposing centre gets on the outside and his long reach is also a positive attribute in those situations.

    From a team defensive methodology stand point, Devonte Vaivela seems to be very comfortable in a sliding defensive scheme where he can use his speed and body control to their best advantage by allowing the play to develop in front of him before committing to an appropriate course of action to shut it down.

    Devonte Vaivela will play the 2020 season with Souths Acacia Ridge in the GBJRL U15 Division One competition and he will also look to push for a spot in the Met West U15 side for the 2020 QSSRL U15 school boy Championships.

    Devonte Vaivela is a versatile player who can play both left centre and left second row at a high level. Interestingly for Souths Acacia Ridge Devonte Vaivela played exclusively left centre but for South East Queensland Green U14’s and the Titans U14 side he played left second row at a very high level including being named Player of the Match for the Titans.

    On that basis I am going to sit on the fence in terms of position and just acknowledge that regardless of position Devonte Vaivela is an outstanding talent with a huge future and not just on the left side of the field either.

    In relation to a current NRL player with a similar playing style to Devonte Vaivela my observations would suggest that Brisbane Broncos and Tongan International centre Ketone Staggs is similar. Taking into account that they operate on opposite sides of the field at present , they both are tough, quick, aggressive and deceptively strong ball runners who know the way to the try line and get there with regularly. Similarly both are outstanding defenders with a technique first approach to that aspect of rugby league.

    Devonte Vaivela is just a natural footballer who just oozes class, skill and confidence on a rugby league field and for me is right up there as one of the best junior rugby league players that I have ever seen, the sky is the limit for this outstanding naturally gifted and outstanding rugby league talent.

  13. #1093
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    Rene Bagon. The powerful front rower from the Souths Acacia Ridge rugby league club in Brisbane’s South West started from the interchange bench for the Titans U14 side that defeated a Titans Invitational U14/15 NRRRL side 32 – 10 in early October 2019 at Tweed Heads.

    Rene Bagon scored late in the first half for the Titans U14 side when he took the ball from a standing start two passes off the ruck to the right of the play the ball. Rene Bagon ran to his right before straitening up ten metres out and dragged three NRRRL players over the line with him to score ten or so metres from the right upright in an impressive display of raw strength, determination, speed and power.

    Rene Bagon had an outstanding season for the Souths Acacia Ridge Magpies in 2019 including starting in the front row in their GBJRL U14 Division One 28 – 4 Grand Final win over Carina a match that with Rene Bagon’s considerable presence dominated throughout.

    Over the course of the 2019 GBJRL U14 Division One season Rene Bagon played in fifteen matches scoring six tries to finish with a 40% strike rate with the majority of his tries coming through charges at the try line from within fifteen metres or so into a compressed opposition forward pack.

    2019 was Rene Bagon’s first season in the black and white of Souths Acacia Ridge after moving over from Carina where he had played his earlier junior rugby league.

    The Marsden State High School student also represented South East Queensland Green U14’s at the 2019 Queensland Age Championships playing in all four of their matches and scoring in the 21st minute of their 26 – 4 Championship Grand Final win against Northern.

    In late 2019 Rene Bagon was also part of the Cook Islands U14 side that participated in the QPICC Carnival at Beenleigh starting in the front row in all four of the Cook Islands matches including in their 28 – 10 win in the third against fourth play-off match against Tonga.

    Rene Bragon scored three tries at the Championships including a Round One double against PNG, with both tries coming in the second half and he also scored in Round Three against Tonga.

    In 2018 Rene Bagon was part of the U13 Brisbane Stingers Blue side and in 2017 represented Met East in the front row at the U12 level going on to be selected in the front row in the Queensland U12 side and that year was named on the bench for the 2017 Marsden State High School Team of the Season.

    As noted Rene Bagon is a big strong front rower who is a powerful runner of the football, who knows only one way and that is straight ahead and has shown flashes of the ability to offload once he has impacted the defensive line or has crashed through it.

    For a big front rower Rene Bagon does actually have quite decent speed and footwork, certainly well above average for a player of his size and age. This good footwork enables him to step prior to the line, usually back towards the centre of the ruck targeting the area behind the play the ball, creating little half breaks which enhances the ability to off-load the football.

    Rene Bagon’s core body strength also enables him to make significant ground after contact dragging defenders with him and if an opposition does not get hold of his legs, Rene Bagon is apt to break free of the initial defenders all together.

    With his size and speed combination Rene Bagon also is adept at getting a quick play the ball once he is brought down, he literally just pushes away the defenders and gets to his feet and gets on with the game through the play the ball.

    In defence Rene Bagon is happy to go for the big hit often but not to the detriment to his team he is actually quite selective about when to go for the big hit as against making sure the tackle is completed.

    Rene Bagon is obviously suited to defending in the centre of the ruck rather that the fringes and will understandably have some trouble with nippy runners out of dummy half although his lateral movement is quite good for a front rower.

    His calling card though is the strength and power to effectively engage the opposing forward early in their run and use his natural strength to win the forward battle in the centre of the ruck. Rene Bagon can defensively handle any one on one battle that presents itself.

    At times in games Rene Bagon really does prevent opposing gaining any ground at all through the centre of the ruck. It is now a matter of extending the duration of his ruck dominance.

    Rene Bagon will play the 2020 season with Souths Acacia Ridge in the GBJRL U15 Division One competition as well as playing for Marsden State High School where he will look to push for a spot in the Met East U15 side for the 2020 QSSRL U15 school boy Championships.

    There is no doubt with his size and strength Rene Bagon will continue to play in the front row for the duration of his rugby league career no matter where it takes him.

    Rene Bagon is not the most vocal or animated player when he is on the field that is just seemingly just not the type of person he is, he just goes about his role and does it very effectively indeed.

    With his height and running style I believe a player comparison with North Queensland Cowboys and former New South Wales State of Origin and Australian International front rower Jordan McLean is more than appropriate for Rene Bagon.

    Both are big powerful runners of the ball who run very much front on into the defensive line but do drop their body into the first defender that confronts them enabling them to make significant post contact metres before being brought down, a circumstance that is usually requiring of more than one defender to accomplish appropriately and for their size both are able to generate quick play the balls.

    Big strong young front rowers who also have very good mobility from both a speed and lateral perspective are difficult to find regardless of age group but the Titans have certainly found one in Rene Bragon

  14. #1094
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    Bryton Nimo. The young Titans contracted former Chinchilla Five eight has had a horror run of injuries in recent seasons, including two dislocated hips but has continued forward and been rewarded with a two year contract with the Titans and in 2020 will part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad.

    In early October 2019 Bryton Nimo started from the bench for the Titans U16 side that defeated PNG U16’s 44 – 12 at Burleigh’s Pizzey Park on a great Friday night of rugby league. The match was Bryton Nimo’s first of hopefully many in Titans colours.

    In 2019 Bryton Nimo played for Chinchilla in the Roma and Districts Junior Rugby League competition, starting the U16 Grand Final at five eight and scoring a double as Chinchilla defeated Red Bulls 30 – 28 in an exciting Grand Final with Chinchilla coming back from a 20 – 6 deficit to ultimately win the Grand Final.

    In addition to his Grand Final double, Bryton Nimo also scored a double against Mitchell in Round One of the Roma and Districts U16 competition. Bryton Nimo also played in the U16 Roma and Districts Junior Rugby League competition in 2018.

    In 2019 Bryton Nimo represented South West at the QSSRL U18 Championships at Roma and that is where I believe that he was first spotted by the Titans.

    I really like the way that Bryton Nimo plays in attack, he will try different things and play what is in front of him rather than stick to the same tactics over and over again. In many respects Bryton Nimo is very unpredictable when he gets the ball, he is adept at running himself when presented with an appropriate opportunity and has a very good turn of speed off the mark and similarly can throw some superb passes to his support runners if they find themselves running into a gap.

    Currently Bryton Nimo is probably a touch better runner of the ball then ball player and can step off both feet and is quite strong for his size and will shrug off larger defenders if they try to go high and try to wrap up the ball without committing to the tackle properly or with an incorrect tackling technique.

    Bryton Nimo is able to drift across field and then just takes off through any gaps in a staggered defensive line. When he looks to take advantage of an overlap on the blind side and is adept at drawing in outside defenders to give his winger a clear path to the line by creating a two on one situation.

    Bryton Nimo 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 Bryton Nimo 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.

    Bryton Nimo also runs with the ball out in front of his body in both hands which is another reason why the defensive line is unable to determine exactly what he is going to do before the play is executed or develops in front of them.

    Defensively Bryton Nimo 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. Bryton Nimo 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 his side of the field.

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

    Bryton Nimo on an individual level has the body control to redirect quickly and mirror the movement of the opposing attackers and anticipate what vector the attack comes from and innately understands when to allow the attacking play to develop in from of him and when to come out of the line to disrupt the attacking play prior to its formation.

    Bryton Nimo will be part of the Tweed Heads Seagulls MM Cup squad in 2020 and post that competition will play in the highly competitive Gold Coast Rugby League U18 Division One competition. Bryton Nimo will also be MM Cup eligible in 2021.

    Bryton Nimo will also join PBC as part of their Sports Specialisation Program in 2020 adding to their already impressive looking side for the Langer Cup and GIO Cup school boy rugby league competitions.

    Whilst Bryton Nimo played primarily five eight for Chinchilla this season, he also seemingly has the ability to play in the centres as well as in the second row both immediately and into the future so it will be fascinating to see what position he starts the 2020 MM Cup season in.

    With his intriguing skill set the NRL player I can see from a playing comparison perspective (certainly not size though as Bryton Nimo is a far smaller build) in relation to Bryton Nimo is North Queensland’s versatile forward John Asiata although Bryton Nimo is not as big physically.

    Both have intriguing skills especially in relation to their ball playing skills in traffic, a willingness to take the ball right to the line before offloading and a hardness to their play (in terms of contact not silly stuff) that compels others to follow their lead because of their actions not words.

    After overcoming multiple serious injuries in a short span of time which would have ended the careers of a lot of junior rugby league players, Bryton Nimo is really a great feel good story and he is one young Titans player that I will be keeping a close one on in coming seasons, starting next season in the MM Cup competition with the Tweed Heads Seagulls and at PBC in the Langer and GIO Cup school boy rugby league competitions.

  15. #1095
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    Joshua Donovan-Skinner. The young Grafton Ghosts fullback or centre is part of the Titans 2020 Group One Academy squad that is training on a weekly basis in Ballina in Northern New South Wales Ghosts team mate Lockie McLaughlin is also part of the Titans JTS squad based in Group One in Northern New South Wales.

    The Grafton High School student played the 2019 Group One U13 season with the Grafton Ghosts and started in his sides 24 – 16 Grand Final victory over Clarence Coast scoring in the premiership victory.

    In the 2019 Group One U13 competition Joshua Donovan Skinner played in twelve matches in the Ghosts blue and white colours including the finals scoring an impressive ninety four points comprised from fifteen tries (125% strike rate) and seventeen goals. Joshua Donovan-Skinner as a consequence finished the 2019 season as the Group One U13 equal leading try scorer (equal with Clarence Coast’s Tyrelle Waters, also in the Titans Group One Academy squad), leading goal kicker and leading points scorer.

    Joshua Donovan-Skinner scored a hat trick against Kyogle in late June and also scored three doubles which came against Kyogle, South Grafton and Ballina. As well as his Grand Final try, Joshua Donovan-Skinner also scored in matches against Clarence Coast (two matches in the regular season), Casino RSM, Lismore Marist Brothers and in the Preliminary Final against South Grafton.

    With the boot Joshua Donovan-Skinner kicked five goals in a match on two occasions which were against Lismore Marist Brothers and Kyogle mid-season. In the match against Kyogle, Joshua Donovan-Skinner also scored a hat trick to finish the match with an individual point’s haul of twenty two points.

    In 2019 Joshua Donovan-Skinner also played one match in the Group One U14 competition which was against Lismore Marist Brothers. Earlier that day Joshua Donovan-Skinner scored twenty two points in the U13 match to cap a great day for the young man.

    In 2018 Joshua Donovan-Skinner played fourteen matches in the Group One U12 competition finishing the season with thirty eight points from four tries and eleven goals with his tries coming in separate matches against South Grafton twice, Casino RSM and Clarence Coast.

    Cutting to the chase, when Joshua Donovan-Skinner runs the ball, he is exceptionally quick and explosive, with exceptional speed, both off the mark and when he gets into open space, teams in his age group in the Group One junior competition just could not handle him when he had the ball. He also can step off both feet exceptionally well and also has a great swerve whilst maintaining top speed.

    On many occasions when he makes a break, his support could not keep up and thus he used his incredible footwork and speed to beat the opposing fullback by himself. There is nothing that Joshua Donovan-Skinner cannot do running the ball and it is only now about developing his ball playing skills to make his footwork and running ability even more lethal. In attack Joshua Donovan-Skinner also played up in the line quite often and was his team’s primary attacking option.

    In addition Joshua Donovan-Skinner also has the ball playing skills to set up his support runners and get them lines to run into when defenders came out of the line to negate his time with the ball in hand. He obviously was a key target for defences but he understands that he cannot do it all himself and thus became adept at drawing defenders out of the line and putting his support runners into the subsequent hole. As his play making skills continue to evolve, the attacking possibilities are endless.

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

    Joshua Donovan-Skinner can also kick in general play, more so tactical kicks to gain ground rather than attacking kicks such as grubber kicks or bombs. I do not think that Joshua Donovan-Skinner will be necessarily a team’s primary general play kicker, although that is not set in stone, but has the skill set to be at the minimum and very good secondary option when the primary kicker is under pressure.

    Like his tactical kicking I do not think that Joshua Donovan-Skinner ends up as a primary goal kicker but is effective enough to be a secondary option, where he is accurate from close range but his accuracy suffers the wider out the kicks are from as it does for the vast majority of goal kickers.

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

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

    From other positions in the back line Joshua Donovan-Skinner commits to the tackle and makes it count but impressively does not recklessly come out of the line but maintains his positioning until the paly develops to a point sufficient that he conceptually understands what will occur and responds accordingly with the appropriate action.

    Joshua Donovan-Skinner will play the 2020 season in the Group One U14 competition with the Grafton Ghosts as well as playing for Grafton High School in various Northern New South Wales High School boy rugby league competitions including the DEX Shield. Joshua Donovan-Skinner should also be part of the Group One U14 representative side for the 2020 New South Wales Country Age Championships held late in the year.

    At this stage of his young rugby league career, Joshua Donovan-Skinner can play a variety of positions such as fullback, centre and even five eight at a high level and will likely to continue to gain experience in multiple positions for the foreseeable future, but ultimately I think that Joshua Donovan-Skinner will settle in the centres as an outstanding attacking threat and under rated defensive one.

    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 Joshua Donovan-Skinner has a little bit of former South Sydney Rabbitoh, Queensland State of Origin captain and Australian Test centre Greg Inglis in his game.

    On his day, which are becoming increasingly more frequent Joshua Donovan-Skinner can be a damaging ball runner who can just break a game open with a piece of individual brilliance.


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