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Langer Trophy: Surprise packet players of 2021

PBC SHS’s Keano Kini playing for Tweed Seagulls. Picture: Scott Powick Newscorp
PBC SHS’s Keano Kini playing for Tweed Seagulls. Picture: Scott Powick Newscorp

Langer Trophy: Surprise packet players of 2021

Author : Andrew Dawson Quest Newspapers

Revealed: Who have been the surprise packet players of this season’s Langer Trophy, the elite schoolboy rugby league competition? We present seven ripping rookie players.

Marsden High School students Willi Semu and Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa, far left and far right, with EJ Finau (Image Sarah Marshall)

Who have been the surprise packet players of this season’s Langer Trophy, the elite schoolboy rugby league competition?

We knew entering 2021 the likes of Blake Mozer (Keebra Park SHS), Tom Weaver (PBC SHS), Chris Faagutu (Marsden SHS) and Tahrell Feaveai (Wavell) would shine.

But what about the surprise packets, those who entered the season not as a headline act, but rather as under studies.

NEWS CORP WILL CONTINUE TO LIVESTREAM UP TO 12 MATCHES EACH WEDNESDAY ONCE THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN ENDS. ENJOY LANGER RESERVES, WALTERS CUP AND LANGER TROPHY ACTION, all livestreamed by www.couriermail.com.au, the Gold Coast Bulletin and News affiliates.

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Filisi Frost (Coombabah SHS)

Filisi Frost (Wing) – wasn’t a certain starter going into the season but he has scored his fair share of tries this season and has saved just as many with some great defensive reads. He is an example of someone who has worked really hard in training and has been rewarded for it.

Ranil Shankar gets the ball away for Mabel Park SHS against St Mary's College Picture: Nev Madsen.Ranil Shankar gets the ball away for Mabel Park SHS against St Mary’s College Picture: Nev Madsen.

Ranil Shankar (Mabel Park SHS)

Ranil Shankar has been a sparkling diamond for Mabel Park SHS in its Langer Trophy debut season.

A little hooker, he has played every minute and is a pocket dynamo.

Because of his size, opposition players have targeted him all season. “But there is no recollection of him missing any tackles,’’ said his coach Lee Addison.

PBC SHS’s Keano Kini playing for Tweed Seagulls. Picture: Scott Powick NewscorpKeano Kini (Palm Beach Currumbin SHS)

While his performances have been no surprise to his coach or team mates, other schools now have him on their tip sheet.

A year 11 student, he has been a major part of the Langer Trophy success this season.

He has speed when returning the ball, strong carries and footwork that have made him very hard to stop one on one.

PBC SHS’s Keano Kini playing for Tweed Seagulls. Picture: Scott Powick Newscorp

A Gold Coast Titans contracted player, he moved from New Zealand in January where he starred in NZ Rugby League competitions, including being named Player of the Tournament at the Schools under 15 National Carnival in 2019.

He also played for the New Zealand under 16s Team against Samoa as a 15-year-old.

Kini was a member of the successful 2021 Tweed Seagulls Mal Meninga Cup squad that won the State Final in May, although injury cut his season short after three rounds.

PJ Potasi (Keebra Park SHS)

PJ Potasi has added a threatening dimension to Keebra Park SHS’ potent attack with ball playing skills that most middles do not have.

He has worked hard on his fitness and, with more miles in his legs, he has got better the longer the season has progressed.

A year 11 student, Potasi now has the challenge of finishing the season strongly and should be a forward leader in 2022.

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Jarvis Yeatman (Ipswich SHS)

Yeatman started the season off the bench but it is no coincidence Ipswich’s second half of the season surge has coincided with him winning a starting position at lock. He is a work horse every side needs, and tidies up a lot of tackles around the middle as well as bringing energy to the people around him.

Interestingly Ipswich SHS’s worst performances of the season – the second half fade out against PBC SHS, and Marsden and Keebra Park – were when he was injured.

Marsden High School student Firsts players Will Semu, E.J Finau and Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa. year 10 students Semu and Whiu-Hopa are doing an amazing job in Langer Trophy. (Image Sarah Marshall)Marsden High School student Firsts players Will Semu, E.J Finau and Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa. year 10 students Semu and Whiu-Hopa are doing an amazing job in Langer Trophy. (Image Sarah Marshall)

Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa playing in the Cyril Connell ChallengePicture: Scott Powick NewscorpTaelon Te-Whiu Hopa (Marsden SHS)

Year 10 student Taelon Te-Whiu Hopa has channelled the likes of ball-playing NRL forwards John Asiata-Joseph Paulo by displaying amazing versatility in the Langer Trophy this season.

Taelon Te Whiu-Hopa playing in the Cyril Connell ChallengePicture: Scott Powick Newscorp

A Gold Coast TItans contracted forward, he has stepped up to play every game in the opens at second row, front row and even in the halves where has covered for the injured Cassius Cowley. He is super skilful, tough and covers multiple positions.

His teammate Will Semu, although renowned for his ability on the field, has also impressed with his leadership qualities off the field despite being a year 10 student.

Bristowe Murray (Wavell SHS)

Murray is a grade 11 student who has forced his way into the Langer Trophy side. A good team man and popular with his team mates, he plays the utility of the bench and has scored a couple of important tries, while having impact off the bench. He can play every position, although No.9 and No.13 has suited him best.

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