True Blue Jamie Soward casts his eyes over the Canterbury Cup NSW graduates who are set to make their respective NRL debuts this weekend.
Adam Clune enjoyed a breakout year with the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2019, orchestrating a stunning first-place finish for the Red V at the end of the regular season with some impressive Man of the Match performances, which also cemented his status as the halfback in the Team of the Year.
The Albion Park-Oak Flats product was elevated to the Dragons' NRL development player squad at the end of 2019 and despite suffering a broken nose at training this week he will look to be in the starting side.
In his 22 appearances in 2019, Clune was ranked first in try-assists (28) and line-break assists (27), while also producing seven forced line-dropouts and 2535 kick-metres.
Soward says: Clune was absolutely outstanding last year in the Canterbury Cup, he can take the ball to the line but also has the playing background to be able to come up with a long pass or the right option. I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago on the Short Side and the confidence that comes off him projects onto others and that’s what the Dragons need. They need someone with a little bit of self-confidence to get them started. With him going into halfback it frees up Ben Hunt and hopefully Corey Norman can get himself into the game. I haven’t been this excited about a kid debuting probably since Cameron King - local product, fantastic family and can’t wait to see him pull on the Red V.
2020 Canterbury Cup NSW graduates
1. Toby Rudolf – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Round 1 v South Sydney Rabbitohs)
2. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown – Warriors (Round 1 v Newcastle Knights)
3. Jake Averillo – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Round 2 v North Queensland Cowboys)
4. Troy Dargan – South Sydney Rabbitohs (Round 3 v Sydney Roosters)
5. Alex Seyfarth – Wests Tigers (Round 3 v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
6. Tex Hoy – Newcastle Knights (Round 3 v Penrith Panthers)
7. Brodie Jones – Newcastle Knights (Round 3 v Penrith Panthers)
8. Adam Clune – St George Illawarra Dragons (Round 4 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)