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  1. #1486
    Kangaroo
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    Sep 2011
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    Paul Turner. The former New Zealand Warrior is an outstanding addition to the Titans 2022 NRL ranks and shapes as another impressive building block for future success at the Titans.

    In 2021 prior to suffering a season ending shoulder injury, Paul Turner plyed in two NRL matches, the first against Manly in Round Five and the second in Round Six against St George a match that saw him score his first NRL try as well as suffer a season ending injury.

    In Round Five against Manly, Paul Turner played twenty one minutes off the bench in the halves, running for sixteen metres (six post contact), made a line break and made ten tackles at a 90% tackling efficiency.

    Paul Turner played seventy five minutes in Round Six against Canterbury once again starting from the bench and in addition to scoring his first NRL try, ran for fifty one metres (fourteen post contact), broke four tackles and made sixteen tackles of his own at a very tackling efficiency of 94.12%.

    Paul Turner made his NRL debut in Round Fifteen of the 2020 season, to become the 249th Warrior, as an 18 year old and whilst he was still on a Development contract. Starting at halfback, Paul Turner ran for seventy two metres (seventeen post contact), broke a team leading seven tackles, played the ball at an average speed of 4.06 tackles and made twenty tackles at a 100% tackling efficiency.

    In 2021 Paul Turner also started Round One of the Queensland Cup at five eight for the Redcliffe Dolphins against the Mackay Cutters.

    Playing all eighty minutes, Paul Turner recorded two try assists, ran for ninety six metres (twenty four post contact), broke four tackles, offloaded the ball once, kicked for forty five metres and made ten tackles at a tackling efficiency of 84.5%.

    Paul Turner’s first try assist was a result of him running across field to his right and holding the ball up perfectly to put the Redcliffe right centre into a gap to score untouched. Paul Turner recorded his second try assist in the second half when he looped around the back of the Redcliffe right centre and drew a defender to put his right winger over in the corner.

    Paul Turner was one of four players on development contracts who travelled with the NRL squad for the resumption of the 2020 NRL season in May.

    Paul Turner was used in the Warriors NRL trial against Melbourne in 2019, and appeared in both NRL trials against the Storm and Wests Tigers in 2020.

    Paul Turner also represented the Vodafone Warriors at the NRL Nines in February 2020 playing all eighteen minutes in both of the Warrior matches. In Round One against Newcastle, Paul Turner ran for forty three metres and made three tackles at a 75% tackling efficiency and in Round Two against the Sydney Roosters Paul Turner scored as well as running for thirty five metres and made three tackles at a 100% tackling efficiency.

    In 2019 Paul Turner played a number of matches for the New Zealand Warriors NSW Rugby League Canterbury Cup squad, making an immediate impression as an 18 year old.

    Such was his form in 2019 that Paul Turner was awarded the Sonny Fai Medal as the Warriors U20 Player of the Year while he also represented the Junior Kiwis against the Australian Schoolboys in 2019 where he faced Tannah Boyd and David Fifita.

    The Whangarei Boys' High School product came out of the Hikurangi Stags before being signed by South Sydney for the 2016 season. That year Paul Turner made eight appearances and scored eight tries for the club's Harold Matthews Cup (under-16) side.

    In 2017 Paul Turner was back in New Zealand signing with the New Zealand Warriors. Paul Turner played 12 times for the Warriors U20 side that year and added another 18 appearances in 2018 ultimately playing thirty five times for the Warriors U20 side.

    At 180cm and 93kg Paul Turner is more than big enough to handle the NRL but at the same time still has electric speed, both off the mark as well as when going flat out and Paul Turner also has a wicked step at his disposal.

    It is hard to put in words just how talented Paul Turner 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. Paul Turner 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 Paul Turner 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 Paul Turner can exploit.

    Paul Turner 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 Paul Turner 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.

    Paul Turner also runs with the ball in both hands which is another reason why the defensive line is unable to determine exactly what Paul Turner is going to do. If Paul Turner sees a gap he is through it before the defensive line can react also when a forward takes the ball up through the centre of the ruck, Paul Turner is always in support and if he gets an off load he can accelerate through the resultant gap.

    Paul Turner does not necessarily have a big step but has an outstanding swerve which he uses when confronted with the fullback. Paul Turner will run directly at the fullback to slow his lateral momentum and then swerve around him the second the fullback’s momentum stops or slows.

    Like when he has the ball in his hands, there is nothing that Paul Turner cannot do in relation to kicking the ball. Paul Turner 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, Paul Turner can execute it with precision.

    Defensively Paul Turner 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.

    Paul Turner will miss the remainder of the 2021 NRL season but will be back ready to go for the 2022 NRL pre-season which will be his first with the Titans and he is also contracted to the Titans for the 2023 season.

    Paul Turner has played some brief periods of matches in the centres at the NRL level and possibly could be an outstanding fullback but there is no doubt that Paul Turner’s best position will be in the halves and a half with some size, speed and play making attributes.

    When you have a player with the ability to see a number of plays ahead of what is currently happening and has the ball playing and game management skills to take advantage of that you put them in a position to have the balls in their hands as much as possible. Paul Turner is one such player and therefore playing five eight or half seems to be the ideal position for him now and into the future.

    Some players in key positions such as in the halves or fullback, want to not lose matches, Paul Turner is on the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, he wants the ball in his hands with the game on the line, wanting to win the game rather than being worried about losing it. Very few players at any level of any sport, even at the professional level, have that sort of mentality. Only a handful of people really thrive under pressure (a lot say they do but..) Paul Turner appears to be one of them.

    I must admit I struggled a touch to identify a good NRL player comparison for Paul Turner due to his unique size and speed and well as play making attributes but if you think of a bigger, faster and more elusive verion of Penrith and New South Wales State of Origin half Nathan Cleary, then that is the type of potential that Paul Turner has.

  2. #1487
    Kangaroo
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    Sep 2011
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    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki. The big, strong, powerful centre (and occasional backrower) has moved over from Auckland to attend Keebra Park State High School in time for Term two of the 2021 school year.

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki has been in the upper echelon of rugby league players in his age group in New Zealand over the last couple of seasons thus Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki should have no issues with settling into the style that is played in the school boy and junior rugby league ranks in Australia.

    In late 2020 Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki started at right centre and scored for the Auckland U16 Representative that defeated a South Island U16 Representative side alongside younger brother Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki.

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki scored in the 17th minute when from twenty metres out from the line he ran into a gap, receiving a pass from his left from his fullback and then beating the South Island fullback. Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki was then able to bring the ball around to put it down near the posts.

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki could have scored a second try just three minutes later when he made a line break down the right touchline diving towards the right corner from two metres out but was hit by the cover defence and taken into touch very close to the right corner post.

    Also in 2020 Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki was part of the Counties U16 representative rugby side and the U17 Te Mahurnure Representative side as well as playing for Auckland’s Wesley College.

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki was part of the Warriors Elite Development squad for a number of seasons including in 2019 and 2020, in 2020 playing for the Future Warriors Development Squad against a New Zealand U16 selection and in 2019 won the New Zealand Warriors Junior Development Merit Award.

    In 2019 Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki was part of the Counties Manukau U15 side that took part of the New Zealand U15 Youth Championships with Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki being named in the All-Tournament U15 Team and in 2018 Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki was a member of the Makula Tonga U14 Representative side.

    Also in 2019 Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki was an invited participant for the New Zealand Junior Kiwi’s Elite Rugby League camp.

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki has very good speed off the mark, which I would consider above average for a centre and can break to the outside quickly, couple that with long arms, which he uses to great effect with a powerful fend makes him difficult to tackle.

    When opposing centres are able to get hold of him, Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki usually is able to maintain his balance and keeps an arm free, looking to offload to either his inside or outside support.

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

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki also has a powerful fend which served him well in the NYC competition and in fact has been the reason for at least two of his line breaks this season when his opposing centre has gone high and he has just palmed him off with seemingly little effort. His natural strength is just an impressive attribute.

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

    As you would expect, due to his size and strength, Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki is a very good defender regardless of position. He will not necessarily hit hard but is definitely aggressive and he is very good at mirroring the movement of the opposing centre and wrapping him up ball and all. Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki 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, Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki seems to be very comfortable in a sliding defensive scheme where he can use his speed and body control to their best advantage in though he can be an intimidating presence when he chooses to come out of the line to interrupt the attacking movement immediately prior to its development.

    Even though he has only recently arrived in Australia Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki will I am sure will be given every opportunity to represent Keebra Park State High School in their various Open School Boy Rugby League competitions in 2021. In relation to club rugby league Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki will be U18 eligible in 2021.

    Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki will also be U18 eligible in 2022 and will push for a position with either Tweed Heads or Burleigh in the 2022 MM Cup competition as well as continuing with Keebra Park State High School.

    At 183cm and 102kg Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki is a powerful young man but he is also exceptionally quick and mobile for his size and to be honest is a rare combination of all of those traits. With those traits and the innate ability to find room to move, there on not a doubt that Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki will have every opportunity to stay in the centres long term.

    In many respects the way Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki plays on a rugby league field resembles that of Titans NRL outside back Brian Kelly as a speedy, elusive player with some more than reasonable size about him and with some real potential moving forward in both attack and defence as well as a bit of an aggressive streak when the occasion warrants.

  3. #1488
    Kangaroo
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    Sep 2011
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    Joseph Pouniu. The tall, powerhouse front rower from the North Lakes Kangeroo’s club in Brisbane’s northern suburbs signed a multi-year contract with the Titans in early 2021 after being a stand out junior in Brisbane both at club and representative level for a number of seasons.

    In 2020 Joseph Pouniu played for the North Lakes Kangaroos in the GBJRL U14 Division One competition who finished third on the ladder, winning six out of their ten matches. North Lakes scored 242 points and conceded 124 to finish with a points differential of +118.

    North Lakes moved through the 2020 Finals series to the Grand Final qualifier against Carina with the match ending in a 22 all draw but Carina went through to the Grand Final as they had scored first in the Preliminary Final.

    In the tough match, Joseph Pouniu scored two tries, one on each half as North Lakes season ended in heart breaking fashion prematurely.

    Joseph Pouniu’s first try came in just the 7th minute of Preliminary Final. With North Lakes on the attack, Joseph Pouniu was positioned to the left of the play the ball which occurred in the right corner, Joseph Pouniu initially received the ball two passes off the ruck and immediately offloaded to his front row partner who was to his left.

    Joseph Pouniu then looped around behind his front row partner (an old fashioned run around) to receive the ball approximately ten metres out, Joseph Pouniu then ran to his left before dummying in the same direction before putting the ball under his arm and bursting through the defensive line to drag two defenders over the line to score ten metres in from the left corner post. Joseph Pouniu then ran the ball back from the subsequent Carina kick-off.

    Joseph Pouniu’s second try arrived in the 21st minute of the second half when he barged over from six metres out. Joseph Pouniu got down low for force his way over five metres to the right of the goal posts.

    Joseph Pouniu was involved in the 2020 Grand Final qualifier early, taking the first hit-up of the match after Carina kicked the ball off to get the match underway with Joseph Pouniu getting the ball back to close to the twenty metre mark to give North Lakes a solid foundation to get their first set of six underway.

    In addition to scoring two tries, Joseph Pouniu also set up one towards the end of the first half. Joseph Pouniu backed up a break by his front row partner and got the offload and was immediately engaged by the defence, Joseph Pouniu however was able to maintain his balance and throw a right arm out the back of his hand off-load to a team mate but they were brought down less than a metre from the try line.

    Joseph Pouniu continued on unabated in the second half of the Preliminary Final with a try saving tackle in the early minutes of the half. Defending on the try line, Joseph Pouniu moved quickly to his left to engage and man handle the Carina right centre to prevent a try being scored.

    Also early in the second half Joseph Pouniu produced an offload that ultimately led to a try in the corner by the North Lakes left winger. A couple of minutes later Joseph Pouniu put up a spiralling midfield bomb to highlight that all players are halfbacks at heart, and then was the first North Lakes player down field to tackle the Carina fullback.

    In the 19th minute Joseph Pouniu continued to work hard, making twelve metres from the second hit-up from a North Lakes penalty restart after Carina had infringed in the play the ball.

    In late September 2020 Joseph Pouniu produced another strong match against Moreton Bay starting with taking the 4th hit-up from North Lakes first set of six making twelve metres in the process. Then in the 3rd minute, Joseph Pouniu charged to within a metre of the try line and won a penalty when Moreton Bay stripped the ball with more than one defender in the tackle. Joseph Pouniu then got back to take the hit-up from the penalty restart once again only being dragged down a metre from the line, with North Lakes scoring from the next play.

    In the 5th minute Moreton Bay had to commit five defenders to eventually get Joseph Pouniu to the ground and then in the 22nd minute, Joseph Pouniu barged fifteen metres downfield into the Moreton Bay twenty metre area from a penalty restart.

    Interspersed with these efforts, Joseph Pouniu hit one of the Moreton Bay front rowers hard stopping him in his tracks less than a metre from the try line to stop him from scoring.

    In the second half Joseph Pouniu took the second hit-up after Moreton Bay kicked off and what a hit-up it was. After receiving the ball, Joseph Pouniu charged straight through the middle of the Moreton Bay defensive line, breaking easily through the first line and then under heavy pressure from the cover defence threw a great one arm (right arm) pass to his left to his front row partner who also broke through to take the ball into the Moreton Bay twenty metre area.

    Towards the end of the second half, Joseph Pouniu, from around twelve metres out was able to get within a foot of the try line and after Joseph Pouniu produced a quick play the ball, North Lakes scored in the left corner from the next play.

    Just five minutes later it was a similar situation, after a strong run that one again finished within less than a metre of the try line, Joseph Pouniu produced another quick play the ball that ended with his front row partner scoring under the posts.

    In late August 2020, it was the Redcliffe Dolphins that bore the brunt of Joseph Pouniu’s strength and power, including Joseph Pouniu scoring a try late in the first half.

    Joseph Pouniu’s try came around the 24th minute of the first half when he lined up to the right of the play the ball twenty metres out from the try line. When the first receiver took possession, Joseph Pouniu ran an underneath route and charged towards the left corner beating four tackles. Near the try line (and corner post) Joseph Pouniu propped on the spot to let two defenders sail past before veering back to his right and crossing eight metres from the left corner post with two defenders trying in vain to prevent Joseph Pouniu from getting the ball down.

    After North Lakes kicked off Joseph Pouniu made the 3rd and 4th tackles of the match and continued to dominate in both attack and defence from there on.

    That domination continued in the 6th minute when Joseph Pouniu made a strong run to the left of the ruck before offloading of his left and then Joseph Pouniu backed up to take the next hit-up. Then in the 9th minute Joseph Pouniu off-loaded once again (right arm offload) this time to his right after a strong hit-up from a twenty metre tap restart, with Joseph Pouniu making ten metres before offloading.

    In the 16th minute, Joseph Pouniu lined up to the right of the play the ball but after the first received took possession he cut back underneath the play to break four tackles and make around twenty metres to eventually be tackled near the left touchline.

    Joseph Pouniu’s dominance continued in the second half with Joseph Pouniu taking the third hit-up off the Redcliffe kick-off to break through the Redcliffe line and then round the Dolphins fullback to his right and was then still able to produce a right arm off-load to his five eight to get North Lakes onto the attack well into Redcliffe territory.

    Redcliffe found it near impossible to stop Joseph Pouniu from off-loading the ball and that proved to be the case once again in the 7th minute of the second half when Joseph Pouniu took the ball right into the line but was still able to produce a right arm off-load to his left to send North Lakes on a long attacking raid well into Dolphins territory.

    In addition to starting the match well, Joseph Pouniu also finished the match well with a charge to the right of the play the ball starting from inside his own twenty metre area. After initially being brought down by two defenders, Joseph Pouniu was not held and after getting to his feet threw off another defender before exploding off the mark downfield once again rounding the fullback and getting yet another off-load away.

    As was the case on multiple occasions in 2019 and 2020, Joseph Pouniu’s impressive defence is over shadowed due to how damaging he is running the ball but a tackle towards the end of the match when he got low and drove his right shoulder into the Redcliffe hooker highlighted that Joseph Pouniu can be just as damaging without the ball as he is with it.

    Another team that had their hands full in trying to contain Joseph Pouniu was Souths Acacia Ridge who in early August 2020 struggled and Joseph Pouniu made them pay with a late first half try as well as an outstanding individual try in the early minutes of the second half.

    In relation to his try in the first half, Joseph Pouniu lined up on the left side of the field, receiving the ball two passes off the ruck ten metres from the line, Joseph Pouniu simply was not going to be stopped and he crashed over eight metres to the left of the uprights.

    In the early moments of the second half, Joseph Pouniu scored a solo try and you would be hard pressed to see a better individual effort. Joseph Pouniu received the ball off the dummy half to the right of the play the ball and burst through the Souths line sixty metres out. After easily outpacing the cover defence, Joseph Pouniu just as easily rounded the Souths fullback and scored an absolutely impressive solo try seven metres to the left of the uprights.

    Joseph Pouniu became immediately involved in the match taking the second hit-up after Souths kicked up, making ten metres to get the ball out to the forty metre mark. Joseph Pouniu then backed up to take the 4th hit-up of the match.

    Joseph Pouniu followed those two hit-ups with another strong run from the Souths kick-off after North Lakes opening try of the match, making a further fifteen metres. Then in the 9th minute, Joseph Pouniu produced another damaging effort that accounted for an additional twenty five from a run that included six tackle breaks to get the ball to within one metre of the try line with North Lakes scoring from the next play in the right corner.

    In the 18th minute Joseph Pouniu burst straight through the centre of the Souths Magpies ruck, making approximately twenty metres before a right arm offload found his locked who was able to continue the North Lakes attack.

    Joseph Pouniu’s attack on the Souths defensive line continued in the second half in the 12th minute when he burst into a gap on his own thirty metre mark charging downfield before offloading to his left around twenty five metres out from the try line.

    Joseph Pouniu is not just about speed, strength and power, he is also an intelligent young man with that being confirmed in the 28th minute of the second half when Joseph Pouniu produced a one on one strip inside Souths Acacia Ridge’s own twenty metre mark with North Lakes scoring in the right corner two tackles later.

    Even though Joseph Pouniu’s defence was overshadowed by his attack, I am certain that the Souths replacement front rower (No. 17) did not see it that way when Joseph Pouniu crunched him with a big front on tackle in the 13th minute of the first half.

    In 2019 Joseph Pouniu started in the GBJRL U13 Division One Grand Final and was one of North Lakes try scorers in their Grand Final victory over Logan Brothers with his try coming in the 12th minute of the second half.

    Joseph Pouniu was on the left side of the field and received the ball after the ball went through hands from the right with Joseph Pouniu receiving the ball five metres out and diving over ten metres in from the left corner post after getting on the outside of his immediate Logan Brothers opponent.

    Joseph Pouniu then ran the ball back from the subsequent kick-off, breaking at least eight tackles in a bumping run to get the ball out to thirty five metres out from the North Lakes line.

    In addition to his try, Joseph Pouniu also recorded a Grand Final try assist which came mid-way through the first half. Joseph Pouniu took the ball off the dummy half to the right of the play the ball, after drawing the defence in, Joseph Pouniu threw a long pass to his left to put his left winger over in the left corner. Joseph Pouniu then took the hit-up off the kick off.

    Joseph Pouniu’s first contribution in the Grand Final came almost immediately when he made a strong tackle, which was just the second tackle of the match after North Lakes had kicked off.

    Joseph Pouniu’s first hit-up of the Grand Final came in the 4th minute when he made fifteen metres when he received the ball to the right of the dummy half to get the ball up to near the halfway mark.

    Joseph Pouniu showcased some very good hands ten minutes into the first half. Logan Brother’s kicked-off after North Lakes scored the opening try of the Grand Final with the ball skidding of the green towards Joseph Pouniu, just before it got to him, the ball bounced high above his head. Joseph Pouniu jumped up to take the ball right on the goal line in two hands. Joseph Pouniu then ran the ball back at the Logan Brothers line, getting the ball forty two metres out from his own line, in a run that included five broken tackles.

    To round off an impressive first half of the Grand Final, Joseph Pouniu once again made a damaging run from a Logan Brothers kick off and once again Joseph Pouniu dragged defenders all the way back to the forty metre mark.

    Even the half time break could not slow Joseph Pouniu down with the young front rower taking the first hit-up from the Logan Brothers kick-off to start the second half. Joseph Pouniu broke two tackles and made twenty metres down the left side of the field just a few minutes later in the 6th minute of the second half.

    Then in the 9th minute, Joseph Pouniu skittled Logan Brothers defenders at will, breaking six tackles in a single run of twenty two metres that initially started to the right of a North Lakes scrum win. After receiving the ball, Joseph Pouniu cut back towards the right and getting to metres into Logan Brothers territory.

    Joseph Pouniu then have an exclamation mark on his impressive performance in the Grand Final in the 25th minute of the second half when he received the ball on his own line. After dummying to his right, Joseph Pouniu surged downfield, breaking four tackles as he got the ball out to the thirty eight metre mark.

    A lot of the analysis of Joseph Pouniu’s Grand Final performance has revolved around his attack but his defence was also outstanding including a tackle mid-way through the second half when Joseph Pouniu monstered the Logan Brothers half back forcing him back ten metres before the referee called held.

    In the 2019 GBJRL U13 Grand Final qualifier against Carina, Joseph Pouniu also had a strong match, making an impact in the opening minutes when he made twelve metres, breaking three tackles along the way when he ran the ball to the right of a North Lakes scrum win. Then in the 5th minute Joseph Pouniu made a further run that made fifteen minutes to take the ball out of North Lakes territory and over the halfway mark.

    In the 7th minute of the match, Joseph Pouniu showed that he was not just a bash and barge type of player when he engaged the defensive line and got away a good offload to his starting front row partner around the halfway mark.

    Just like in the Grand Final, Joseph Pouniu was also dominant defensively in the match against Carina including in just the 4th minute when he made two strong tackles in a row and on both occasions Joseph Pouniu got low to gain leverage and force the Carina attacked backwards after stopping their initial momentum with strong initial contact.

    In the 22nd minute, Joseph Pouniu showed great hands when a Carina kick-off was let bounce, the ball bounced back towards the Carina chasers but Joseph Pouniu raced towards the ball and reaching out and initially juggling he ball just as the Carina defence arrived. Then after securing the ball, Joseph Pouniu was still able to get the ball back to near the forty metre mark.

    From the second half Carina kick-off, Joseph Pouniu continued to prove difficult to bring down with Joseph Pouniu breaking four tackles to get the ball back to near the forty metre mark. Joseph Pouniu did not slow down as the second half wore on when in the 21st minute of the half, Joseph Pouniu received the ball two passes to the left of the dummy half and from his own forty metre mar, Joseph Pouniu marched the ball twenty five metres into Carina territory.

    Josiah Pouniu also had a strong match in July 2019 when he ran rampant against Moreton Bay, including scoring early in the first half. In just the 4th minute of the match, Joseph Pouniu received the ball ten metres out from the Moreton Bay line from the dummy half to the right of the play the ball. Joseph Pouniu, from a near stationary start bumped off two defenders, pushing another backwards before getting the ball down under the posts.

    Even though is try came in just the 4th minute of the match, even that was not the first major contribution that Joseph Pouniu had made in the match. In just the 1st minute, Joseph Pouniu got within two metres of the Moreton Bay try line directly in front of the posts, after Moreton Bay had last the ball from their kick-off return.

    The in the 3rd minute, in the set of six after North Lakes first try, Joseph Pouniu brought the ball back to the half-way with a strong fifteen metre run after receiving the ball to the right of the dummy half.

    Joseph Pouniu continued his strong match in the 9th minute with another run that brought the ball out of his own territory and then in the 16th minute, Joseph Pouniu ran the ball into the defensive line to the right of the play the ball, initially being hit by three Moreton Bay defenders, as Joseph Pouniu continued to fight in the tackle, he spun clockwise and just kept pumping his legs, making ten metres all up before four Moreton Bay defenders had to commit to the tackle to finally get Joseph Pouniu on the ground.

    Early in the second half Joseph Pouniu continued to cause havoc for the Moreton Bay defence running off an inside ball to make ten metres to bring the ball out of his own twenty metre area and then in the 16th minute of the second half Joseph Pouniu charged directly through the centre of the Moreton Bay defence, making twenty metres and showcasing impressive speed.

    Late in the first half Joseph Pouniu displayed that he is really a half at heart when he last minute of the half he put in a right foot kick to the left corner.

    Also in 2019 Joseph Pouniu represented Brisbane Red U13’s in the front row at the Hill Stumer South East Queensland Junior Rugby League Championships, and post those Championships was selected in the South East Queensland Training Squad.

    Rarely can you find a young player who is equally at home running on both sides of the ruck but that is what the Titans now have with Joseph Pouniu , he runs a superb inside or outside shoulder line and his excellent footwork enables him to step off either foot to enable him to cut back against the movement of the defensive line to take advantage of gaps back on the inside of his direct opponent.

    For a big strong young man, Joseph Pouniu also has above average (to plus) speed, not just off the mark but also when he is in clear space, when he makes a break Joseph Pouniu is more than capable of going the distance and normally easily out paces the cover defence.

    Joseph Pouniu is not just a strong runner of the ball he as noted above has excellent footwork prior to the line and also some very good short passing both before the line and when in contact with defenders.

    On a lot of his runs Joseph Pouniu rather than trying to step his opposite number will really look to initiate the contact and then use his strength to hold the defender off his body to either push through the tackle or draw in the next defender to create space for his outside support.

    Whilst his ball running skills are the first thing that you will likely notice when seeing Joseph Pouniu play his defence is equally effective even though it may not be as noticeable at first glance.

    Defensively Joseph Pouniu has a hard edge to his play and his initial contact is more than sufficient to redirect the momentum of the ball carrier regardless of the size of the opponent. Joseph Pouniu sets a very good base which he uses to explode into the ball carrier looking to use their own momentum against them.

    Joseph Pouniu good situation awareness also enables him to be well positioned when he is defending against smaller quicker players on the fringes of the ruck and he endeavours to minimise the time available for the opposing attacker to generate speed and to utilise their footwork but moving up quickly but at the same time maintaining his balance.

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

    Joseph Pouniu will play the 2021 season in the GBJRL U15 Division One competition.

    Joseph Pouniu does not just have outstanding size, strength and power, he also possess exceptional speed for a big man. With that combination, Joseph Pouniu has the ideal, physical and skill attributes as well as the correct mentality to be a representative level NRL player in coming years.

    Joseph Pouniu was very good in 2019 and even better in 2020 and that augers well for his future development over the coming seasons.

    The attributes and mentality attributed to Joseph Pouniu are easily ones that are also attributed to Titans and Queensland State of Origin stand out front rower/lock Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and in fact their playing styles overall are not dis-similar either as are their physical attributes.

  4. #1489
    Kangaroo
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    9,757

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    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki. The ultra-talented hooker has moved over from Auckland to attend Keebra Park State High School in time for Term two of the 2021 school year.

    Over the last couple of seasons Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki has been at the forefront of the rugby league talent in New Zealand in his age group and that augers well for Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki getting up to speed in rugby league in Australia very quickly whether that is at the club, school boy or representative level.

    In late 2020 Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki started at hooker for the Auckland U16 Representative, even though he was still U15 eligible, that defeated a South Island U16 Representative side alongside older brother Taniela Mapusua-Lotaki. The match saw Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki score a double in Auckland’s big win.

    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki scored the first of his two tries in the 27th minute when he followed up a charge by one of the Auckland front rowers around three metres out from the line. When he received the offload Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki was stationary but he then exploded off the mark to his right to dive over.

    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki’s second try arrived in the 53rd minute. After moving into dummy half two metres away from the try line Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki ran out of dummy half to his right to score easily next to the left upright.

    In just the 4th minute of the match, Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki could easily have scored what would have given him a hat trick when he ran out of dummy half to his right from six metres out and was seemingly stopped but a second effort from Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki saw him get over the line only to be held up adjacent to the left upright.

    2020 also saw Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki start at hooker and score for the New Zealand Warriors U16 side that defeated a New Zealand Invitational U16 side with Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki scoring after crashing over from close range in the Future Warriors Development Squad’s victory 28 - 24 victory.

    In October 2020 Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki played in the New Zealand Maori U15 Tournament representing Manurewa and post the completion of that Tournament Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki was named at hooker in the All-Tournament Team and was also named the New Zealand Maori Most Valuable Player.

    Like his older brother Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki attended Auckland’s Wesley College and at the 2019 Wesley College Sports Awards night, Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki was named the U15 Best Back.

    In 2019, even though he was still U14 eligible Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki was an invited trialist for the U15 Counties Manukau Representative side for the New Zealand National Youth Championships.

    2019 also saw Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki represent the Counties Maori U14 and U15 representative sides and in 2018 Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki was part of the Hakula Tonga U13 Representative side.

    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki is a dummy half with a goal to lead his team around the field and determine when the forwards take the ball up and when the ball is directed out to the backline. Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki looks to lead his forwards onto the ball well and provides a flat pass to enable his forwards to time their run onto the ball. Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki aims to be the team’s general from dummy half and control the pace of the match and the axis from which his team directs their attack and also from what part of the field.

    Running with the ball Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki has good speed off the mark, probably in the average category for a hooker but normally runs off the back of a big run from one of his forwards so that he runs when the defensive line is still retreating back to their 10 metre mark.

    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki is also a solid kicker out of dummy half both in terms of short attacking kicks and longer range tactical kicking. In many ways his kicking from a situational perspective at least is like that of Cameron Smith. Like Smith he is unlikely to be his side’s primary kicking option but if the opportunity presents he will be a 40/20 threat.

    Just like he is when he is at dummy half Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki is a leader when he is in the defensive line looking to direct his forwards towards where the ball is likely heading and individually identifying which forward defends which attacker.

    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki certainly has a tough streak and will look to hit opposing forwards regardless of their size as hard as possible and looks to finish off each tackle with aggression. Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki is also a solid worker when at marker and will chase and look to harass both ball runners and tactical kickers alike.

    Another area where Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki has a plus attribute is in relation to his leaderships skills. He is a strong confident personality and that translates to a leader on and off the field, this is a trait that you cannot teach, you either have it or you don’t. Even if he is not the nominated captain on the field he is a leader regardless of which team he is lining up for and acts accordingly. The confidence that his team mates have in Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki is just exceptional.

    Even though he has only recently arrived in Australia Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki will I am sure will be given every opportunity to represent Keebra Park State High School in their various Open School Boy Rugby League competitions in 2021. In relation to club rugby league Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki will be U16 eligible in 2021.

    Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki will be U18 eligible in 2020 and will push for a position with either Tweed Heads or Burleigh in the 2022 MM Cup competition and will also be MM Cup eligible in 2023 as well as continuing with Keebra Park in those two years.

    Whilst he has played a number of positions Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki has had a significant amount of success at hooker over the last two seasons, including standing out at representative level playing against opponents a year older than him. It is this success and his physical characteristics that suggest that Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki has an exciting future as a rugby league hooker. At 175cm and a growing 75kg Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki has the physical frame to be able to settle at hooker for the long term as well.

    A current player with a similar playing style to Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki for me is Melbourne Storm and Queensland State of Origin hooker Harry Gran. Both Dorian Mapusua-Lotaki and Grant 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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