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Andrew Johns & Laurie Daley Cup’s

Illarawwa SC Dragons & NR Titans 2022 Premiers (Photo's : Steve Montgomery)
Illarawwa SC Dragons & NR Titans 2022 Premiers (Photo's : Steve Montgomery)

Andrew Johns & Laurie Daley Cup’s

Author : Kevin Merrigan, Sean Teuma and Alex Pichaloff NewsCorp Sport

Every club profiled ahead of the 2023 NSWRL junior reps season

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The Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley Cups are just around the corner.

THE most promising young regional players throughout New South Wales get the chance to put their names up in lights.

The Andrew Johns Cup and Laurie Daley Cup are less than three weeks away from commencing with regions across the state represented.

We’ll progressively preview all 20 teams across both grades, continuing with a look at how the Illawarra South Coast Dragons will fare in 2023.

ANDREW JOHNS CUP

Zac Gillett of the Central Coast Roosters Laurie Daley Cup team. Picture: Bryden Sharp - NSWRL

Zac Gillett of the Central Coast Roosters Laurie Daley Cup team. Picture: Bryden Sharp – NSWRL

Zac Gillett of the Central Coast Roosters Laurie Daley Cup team. Picture: Bryden Sharp – NSWRL

CENTRAL COAST ROOSTERS

Captain: TBA

Coach: Jack Ellis

Players to watch:

“Isaac Fotu-Moala is a very talented five-eighth, very talented who just plays what he sees in front of him.

Jai Callaghan played fullback with NSWCHS last year and has shown a lot of promise.

There’s a young man called Darcy Sinclair Smith who can play second row or lock and made the NSW team for the CCC.

Riley Ilham studies at Knox Grammar and can play prop or lock as well.

All four are contracted to the Roosters, that’s how highly regarded they are.”

Surprise packet: “Ryan Tukapua is small in stature at hooker, but his craft is very good and he punches well above his weight.

He’s been going well and training and is coming along nicely.”

Why they will be competitive:

“The boys just know how to play football, they can play form anywhere on the field and they’ve got strikepower from everywhere.

They can play through the middle or can cut you up out wide.

We’re very happy with this age goup and big things are to be expected.

The coach has previously won this. There’s a two-year plan for this age group, and we want to go deep in the finals.

We’ve got to believe and want to challenge these young boys.”

Last season: 5th

Squad:

Tayte Bailey, Sam Flakus, Blake Field, Tali Kolofale, Koby Jones, Isaac Fotu-Moala, Brock Elliott, Riley Ilham, Ryan Tukapua, Billy Worsley, Jaxson Watene, Kaleb Bourke, Darcy Smith, Jai Callaghan, Kye Nowlan, Jack Pettit, Lachlan Gatt, Zac Stokes, Lincoln Hansen, Nashawn Papali’i, Brock Mangan, Jarvis Macarthur

Jack Talbott of the Illawarra South Coast Dragons Andrew Johns Cup side. Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Jack Talbott of the Illawarra South Coast Dragons Andrew Johns Cup side. Photo : Steve Montgomery)

ILLAWARRA SOUTH COAST DRAGONS

Captain: TBA

Coach: Jason Hooper

Players to watch:

Axel Antony is an exceptionally fit lock forward who doesn’t stop working.

A leader, both on the park and in training.

Good leg speed, agility, feet, and happy to take those tough carries when his team needs him.

Beau Baldock is a big bodied five-eighth who is also a great leader for the boys on and off the park.

Very useful kicking game which is important for this side.

Surprise packet:

Jack Talbott has come down from the Harold Matthews team for the 2023 season.

A quiet kid but lethal and fast on the park, with coach Hooper backing him to be the X-factor for the side.

An AFL background has given him a great kicking game and confidence under the high ball.

Why they will be competitive:

Hooper admits his side were a bit shellshocked at the size of their Manly opponents in their first trial game.

That being said they performed very well defensively and believes that shock is now out of the system.

Having made cuts to their side they’ve been training well.

They’re a pretty small team physically, but are determined to play smart and skillful footy to counteract this, and have their target of a top three finish in mind for this season.

Last season: 1st (Eliminated Finals Wk 1)

Sione Tonga. Picture: John Gass

Sione Tonga. Picture: John Gass

NORTHERN RIVERS TITANS

Captain: TBA

Coach: James Harrison

Players to watch:

The Titans have some quality players in their outside backs.

The likes of Beau Hartmann, Sione Tonga, Koopah Walters and Elliott Farrell look set to be exciting players and will all be dangerous if the opposition give them any space.

Meanwhile in the forward pack, Sonny Kilduff is one to watch, a front rower who enjoys the grunt stuff but also has the great ability to mix his game up.

Antwone Quinlan-Randall is set to be another key player after recently being selected for the NSW U16s Koori team.

Surprise packet:

Ashley Watts could be the surprise find of the Titans’ 2023 campaign.

He was a standout at the selection trials and has kept this standing throughout pre-season training.

Ashley plays in the front row, is as fit as anyone in the squad, and thrives on involvement.

Why will they be competitive:

On paper, the Titans squad looks very strong and have some good performers in key positions.

The key for the squad will be seeing how they adapt to this level of competition and ensuring they play to their potential.

Last season: Premiers

Squad:

Antwone Quinlan-Randall, Ashley Watts, Banjara Porch, Beau Hartmann, Cooper Armfield-Stevens, Cruz Dangerfield, Dylan Butcher, Elliott Farrell, Jakequan Roberts Welsh, Jed Mulcahy, Jimmy McCombie, Jonah Verus, Kaleb Smith, Koopah Walters, Kwinn Wolf, Kyron Nipperess, Luke Barnett, Nathaniel Kapeen, Noah Vakararawa, Owen Woods, Riley Loughland, Ryan Harris, Sione Tonga, Sonny Kilduff, William Wright, Zane Farrell

Cooper Meldrum of the Northern Tigers Laurie Daley Cup team. (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Cooper Meldrum of the Northern Tigers Laurie Daley Cup team. (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

NORTHERN TIGERS

Captain: Dustin Wyrzykowski

Coach: Cody Tickle

Players to watch:

“Reece Josephson from Cobar and Darcy Wallace are two outside backs that are pretty threatening.

They’re boys that train pretty hard and they’ve got their minds set on going on to bigger and better things.

Both boys are natural fullbacks so they will chop and change a bit at this stage, so we haven’t settled on the one, but the other will play in the outside backs or halves.”

Surprise packet:

“Dustin Wyrzykowski is a hardworking back rower who does everything right and sets an example for the team.

He’s someone that really leads by example. He comes from Bathurst and studies at Farrar.”

Why they will be competitive:

“We’re a hardworking team that isn’t afraid of the gritty stuff, but we also have a bit of flair on the end of it as well.

We’ve been coming together quite nicely considering how big the region is.

Travelling is a big thing for us, but we’ve trained well for the past few months and the boys have really been hooking in when they’ve had the chance.”

Last season: 2nd (Eliminated Finals Wk 1)

Sam Graziani of the Riverina Bulls Laurie Daley Cup team. Picture: Donna Dal Molin/6 Again Sports Photography

Sam Graziani of the Riverina Bulls Laurie Daley Cup team. Picture: Donna Dal Molin/6 Again Sports Photography

RIVERINA BULLS

Captain: TBA

Coach: Seb Cottam

Players to watch:

“Front rower Arthur Smith is a big boy with a big engine and it will be interesting to see how he goes against some higher quality opposition.

He’s been training the house down and has a good attitude. Bailey Piper can play at hooker, lock or in the halves.

He’s pretty versatile and is just a natural footy player.”

Surprise packet:

“Nic Bett didn’t make the Group side, but I saw something in him in the trial.

He came into a bigger squad and we wanted to see how he went. He’s earned a spot from nowhere.

He has a big body, is versatile and works hard. He’s a back rower, centre or wing and stands at about 6’3’.”

Why they will be competitive:

“This level of rep footy is always the unknown.

They haven’t played much against each other or other teams so it’s hard to know what we’re up against.

We’ve got the team together and they want to play for each other. I’ve done it for a few years and they’re definitely one of the teams that has really clicked.

I think we can go a long way and hopefully they’ll continue on to the U18s.”

Last season: 8th

Jamie Cowling of the Monaro Colts. Picture: Donna Dal Monin/6 Again Sports Photography

Jamie Cowling of the Monaro Colts. Picture: Donna Dal Monin/6 Again Sports Photography

MONARO COLTS

Captain: TBA

Coach: Shane McCallum

Players to watch:

Jamie Cowling is a halfback from Goulburn who has risen up the ranks at Monaro Colts.

Excellent passing and kicking game, but also offers a lot defensively, not shying away from tackling the bigger boys.

Has been training very well and a lot of great things are expected of him this season. Hooker Koby Anderson is a big difference maker in a pivotal position for the Colts.

A skilful dummy half who knows how to pick the right option nine times out of ten. Can also sniff out a try from close range.

Surprise package Pat Koen. Hailing from Yass, the big front rower could be the difference maker this year.

A young talent who’s still a bit raw, but is willing to learn and with a bit of coaching has the ceiling to be a top player.

Why they will be competitive:

A sixth placed finish last year has them optimistic about their chances of improving this season.

A lot of the players are currently training weekly with the Harold Matthews Cup Canberra Raiders side, which is an excellent experience for the young players and a chance to adapt their game to a higher standard.

The coaches are hopeful the players that return to the Colts will bring with them a higher standard of footy.

Last season: 6th

Squad:

Hayden Nye, Jet Millard Samuel Green, Jonah Alaia, Patrick Kennedy, Jamie Cowling Troy Codey, Daniel Moananu, Koby Anderson, Billy Hollands, Lochie Ellard, Kobe Field, Thomas Handsaker, Malachi Tomlinson, Cooper Adams, Patrick Koen, Joshua Klobucar, Thomas Moss, Blake Slater, Levi Woods, Luke Palmer, Tyrell Bartlett, Angus Durbidge, Ryan Douglas, Shannon Tardrew, Cooper Johnston, Zildjian Tafili, Demsey Woolf

Paul Johnson of the Macarthur Wests Tigers Andrew Johns Cup dives in for a Semi Final try (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Paul Johnson of the Macarthur Wests Tigers Andrew Johns Cup dives in for a Semi Final try (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

MACARTHUR WESTS TIGERS

Captain: TBA

Coach: Alec Bush

Players to watch:

Fullback Aaron Paea has trialled a bit as a five-eighth but looks to have cemented the fullback spot as his own.

Great running game, very quick off the mark. Not a lot of size but he backs himself and his ability and is able to lead his team from the back

At six foot plus you can’t miss front rower PJ French. He leads the line not only physically, but is a leader within the team as well, with all the boys respecting and following what he says.

He has good line speed, he’s strong, mobile and as tough as they come.

Surprise packet:

Coach Bush has been very happy with second rower Will Jenkins in the trials, and is showing real potential to grow into a pivotal role for the squad.

Now it’s about making sure he is consistent.

Paul Johnston is a big, powerful winger who makes a lot of damaging runs. Still young and with a lot to learn, but with time can become unstoppable.

Why they will be competitive:

It’s a first year with this squad for coach Bush but so far he has been really impressed with the talent and effort on display.

It’s been a tough pre-season but all the boys have put in the hard yards and are determined to avenge their grand final defeat last season, which is ultimately the club’s goal for the year.

Last season: 3rd (beaten grand finalists)

Squad:

Kwan Ah-Hoe, Lamontae Banderson, James Bengura, Selby Campbell, Lorima Cosgrave, Deacon Davis, Stirling Faumui, Christopher Filikitonga, PJ French, Glassie Glassie, Riley Ingersole, Will Jenkins, Paul Johnson, Jake Jones, Isaac S Lafi Leulu, Dwayne Lyons, Malcolm Mailo, Sam-Paul Mauga, Lucas Muir, Jack O’Hara, Isaac Orji, Aaron Paea, Aaron Prodromou, Ilaisa (Sonny) Raravula, Hunter Redman, Henare Reti, Preston Smallwood, Brody Taateo, Jerome Taateo, Tomasi Tavui, Tyler Volcov, Hayden Young

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