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2019 NSW U18s side

Ben Trbojevic running hard for the NSW u18s v Queensland in 2019 (Photo : NSWRL)

2019 NSW U18s side

Author : Andrew McEnallay NSWRL Media

Looking back at the NSW U18s side from 2019

The 2019 NSW Under 18s side features just 92 games of NRL experience with a key core of players from both the Illawarra Steelers and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

These two sides would eventually battle it out in the SG Ball Cup Grand Final, with the Sea Eagles coming away with the spoils.

Led by coach Michael Ennis, the Young Blues played the curtain raiser for Game One of the 2019 State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium.

They put in a gallant performance, but came up short against a Queensland side featuring Xavier Coates, Sam Walker, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Reece Walsh.

Two years on, looks at some of the players who have started to turn heads with their performances in the NRL.

Read more: NSW U18s: 2011, NSW U18s: 2012, NSW U18s: 2013, NSW U18s: 2014, NSW U18s: 2015, NSW U18s: 2016, NSW U18s: 2017, NSW U18s: 2018

Josh Schuster

Josh Schuster - 2019 NSW Under 18's (Photo : NSWRL)

Josh Schuster – 2019 NSW Under 18’s (Photo : NSWRL)

A junior representative star, Schuster rose through the ranks at Manly as a silky five-eighth and eventually found his way into the backrow.

Despite leading the Sea Eagles to the SG Ball Grand Final wearing the six jersey, Ennis opted to select Schuster in the backrow due to his skills and ability to carry the ball into contact.

Schuster made his NRL debut in 2020 although he established himself as one of the best young players in the NRL after a stellar year in 2021, earning himself a Dally M Rookie of the Year nomination in the process.

In 2021 Schuster finished with 21 appearances, two tries, eight linebreaks, nine linebreak assists, 21 offloads and 79 running metres per game.

CABE NSW Under 18s v QLD Under 18s Highlights


Jayden Sullivan

Jayden Sullivan 2019 NSW Under 18s (Photo : NSWRL)

Jayden Sullivan 2019 NSW Under 18s (Photo : NSWRL)

Jayden Sullivan led a pack of young stars to victory at the 2019 SG Ball Cup Grand Final that included current NRL players Mathew and Max Feagai, Tyrell Sloan and Junior Amone.

The crafty halfback showed he loves the big moments and his performance would earn him Man of the Match honours.

Since then, Sullivan has played six NRL games for St George Illawarra Dragons with his best performance coming in round 24 against the Cowboys at hooker.

Sullivan finished the match with one try, one try assist, two linebreaks, three tackle busts, one forced drop out, 61 running metres and 32 tackles.

Sullivan will likely be competing with Amone for a spot in the halves alongside Ben Hunt in 2022.

Will Penisini

After making his debut for Parramatta Eels in round 12 against South Sydney Rabbitohs, Will Penisini has proven he is one to watch for the future.

A big body for such a young player, Penisini possesses size, speed, footwork and was more than up to the challenge of defending on an edge in the NRL.

Penisini’s career best performance came in round 26 against the Knights where he finished with one try, one try assist, one linebreak, four tackle busts and 151 running metres.

Will Penisini 2019 NSW Under 18s (Photo : NSWRL)

Will Penisini 2019 NSW Under 18s (Photo : NSWRL)

NSW Under-18s Men’s squad:

Bradman Best (Newcastle Knights)
Mitchell Black (Newcastle Knights)
Oliver Clements (Central Coast Roosters)
Sione Fainu (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Matthew Feagai (Illawarra Steelers)
Max Feagai (Illawarra Steelers)
Siua Fotu (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Noah Griffiths (Bathurst Panthers/Melbourne Storm)
David Hollis (Parramatta Eels)
Sam Hughes (Parramatta Eels)
Trey Mooney (Parramatta Eels)
Viliami Penisini (Parramatta Eels)
Joshua Schuster (Manly)
Tyrell Sloan (Illawarra Steelers)
Jayden Sullivan (Illawarra Steelers)
Jackson Topine (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Ben Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Alec Tuitavake (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Junior Tupou (Canberra Raiders)
Kaeo Weekes (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

Coach: Michael Ennis

Full Time NSW U18s 12 – 34 Queeensland Under 18s

New South Wales Under 18s – 12

TRIES : David Hollis, Sione Fainu
GOALS : Jayden Sullivan 2

Queensland Under 18s – 34

Tries : Jake Simpkin, Alofiana Khan-Pereira, Fanitesi Niu, Xavier Coates, Fanitesi Niu, Reece Walsh
GOALS : Joshua James 5

Player of the match: Xavier Coates (Queensland)

Queensland Under 18 team

1. Hamiso Tabuai–Fidow
2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira
3. Reece Hoffman
4. Fanitesi Niu
5. Xavier Coates
6. Joshua James
7. Sam Walker
8. Jack Martin
9. Jake Simpkin
10.Tristan Powell
11. Brendan Piakura
12.Trent Loiero
13. Juwan Compain


14. Reece Walsh
15. Jack Howarth
16. Carsil Vaikai
17. Harrison Graham
18. Toby Sexton

Related Links

Match report

NSW U18s: 2011,

NSW U18s: 2012,

NSW U18s: 2013,

NSW U18s: 2014,

NSW U18s: 2015,

NSW U18s: 2016 

NSW U18s 2017

NSW U18s 2018

NSW U18’s 2019

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