Freddy's U-16s Origin Verdict
Brad Fittler sat down after his side's first training session to talk about each member of the under-16s NSW Origin squad individually.
Brad "Freddy" Fittler's verdict on each of his NSW Under-16s players:
1. John Paul Nohra (Parramatta Eels)
He’s a real mature fullback and a leader amongst the boys at the moment. He was Parramatta’s best player this year, a definite leader amongst that team too.
2. William Kei (Parramatta Eels)
He’s an athlete and very fast. Cliff on the other wing is a bit of a lunatic while Will is the sensible one, so I think if we can get him some space he can do some real damage.
3. Bronson Xerri (Cronulla Sharks)
Bronson is from a football family, his older brother played in the lower grades for Cronulla, and he’s just a big strong kid at the moment, I think he’s got a huge future in the game.
4. Max Lehmann (Manly Sea Eagles)
Max is a real talent who plays centre, and he reminds me of a player like like a Michael O’Connor, very fleet footed, fast and exciting. Hopefully we could get him the ball in his hands as much as possible.
5. Cliff Lea’aetoa (Parramatta Eels)
He’s just strong, a very strong runner, he scored the most tries this year by a long way. If he can concentrate for long enough he can definitely get over the line.
6. Jock Madden (Newcastle Knights)
Jock is a real serious sort of bloke, he’s little, he’s tough, he just gets the job done. If the opposition start thinking about everyone else, he has the ability to score from a show-and-go.
7. Pheonix Crossland (Newcastle Knights)
He’s a bit of a shining light up in Newcastle, a very talented kid that is a great kicker. He is just an all-round footballer so hopefully this is just a stepping-stone for bigger things.
8. Mathew Dragisic (Canberra Raiders)
Quite an interesting fella from down in Canberra, from an interesting gene pool, he’s a bit of everything. But he’s very skilful, knows his job, and a hard worker.
9. Kyle Schneider (Parramatta Eels)
Kyle is a real shining light from the Central Coast. He played for Parramatta and can cover hooker, five-eighth, and lock. He is super competitive, super fit, and a real leader amongst the boys.
10. Franklin Pele (Cronulla Sharks)
He’s just a big strong kid with plenty of skill who sort of reminds me of Andrew Fifita. They have the same style of play, not just running the ball up.
11. Shawn Blore (Penrith Panthers)
A very talented back-rower who's big and strong, probably the best player coming through the grades as a kid so it’s time for him now to go to the next level.
12. Mateo Tatola (Balmain Tigers)
Interesting kid, just a livewire who has got plenty of footy in him. I don’t know where his footy will end from the point of view of what position he will play in the future, but he’s a real tough competitor, a really good defender with a good technique and style.
13. Brock Gardner (Newcastle Knights)
Brock just does everything a 100 miles an hour. Somehow we’ve got to calm him down but he’s very effective.
14. Isaac Longmuir (Cronulla Sharks)
Super skilful kid, he’ll get on early. He has a great pass, a really good footballer, and looks like he’s been playing footy since he was about two-months-old.
15. Tom Baker (Newcastle Knights)
Tom is a big gangly Newcastle Knights player who didn’t play much of the season but was probably one of the best players in the finals series.
16. Lindsay Smith (Penrith Panthers)
Really skilful front-rower, not as big as some of the other blokes but he has plenty of footy in him and he’s super reliable.
17. Egan Butcher (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Egan is also from a footy family. His brother Nat Butcher plays for the Roosters under-20s, once again can play in several positions, very skilful and can cover and also be effective as a lock or a back-rower.
18. Harry Duggan (Parramatta Eels)
Big country strong front-rower, had a great season for Parramatta, they lost their best player who was like 115kg front-rower, and big Harry came out and carried the side for the whole season and they ended up winning the National Championship by 30 points, he was brilliant.