True Blue Jamie Soward casts his eyes over the Canterbury Cup NSW graduates who are set to make their respective NRL debuts this weekend.
Promising centre Max Feagai is set to debut for St George Illawarra Dragons from the interchange bench against the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Feagai and his twin brother Mat moved to Wollongong with their Dad from Leeton and started off in Illawarra Steelers’ Harold Matthews side.
Feagai, 19, has already achieved success, especially in 2019 where he helped the Illawarra Steelers SG Ball side to a premiership to earn NSW Under-18s and Australian Schoolboys honours.
The skilful outside back was promoted to the Dragons' top squad before the start of the 2021 season and recently signed a one-year extension that will see him and his brother remain at the club until at least the end of 2022.
Soward says: They’ve obviously got big raps on the Feagai twins at the Dragons so it’s going to be interesting to see how Max goes.
From what I’ve seen they’ve come through a talented pool of juniors down there at St George Illawarra and he’s strong, carries the ball well and is defensively very sound so I’m looking forward to seeing him get an opportunity in the top grade.
New Zealand Warriors interim coach Todd Payten will look to debut Tom Ale as Warrior #250 from the bench when they play the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Sunday.
Ale represented the Junior Kiwis in 2018 as their starting prop, alongside the likes of Chanel Harris-Tavita, Jackson Ferris and Morgan Harper, and has explosive speed and footwork as an edge or middle player.
The 21-year-old is currently on a development contract and has made 14 appearances for the Warriors’ Canterbury Cup NSW side from 2018-2020 chalking up 35 tackles, 1,146 run metres, (440 post-contact) and 215 tackles.
Soward says: It’s exciting for the Warriors to debut some more local talent and Tom is consistent as ever.
He has got some pace and a big body so it will be great to see him get his opportunity on Sunday and with the Warriors winning three of their last five encounters with Canberra, he may even get to celebrate a win on debut.
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. Christopher Randall – Newcastle Knights (Round 3 v Penrith Panthers)
9. Adam Clune – St George Illawarra Dragons (Round 4 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
10. Keaon Koloamatangi – South Sydney Rabbitohs (Round 4 v Melbourne Storm)
11. Tevita Funa – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (Round 5 v Brisbane Broncos)
12. Sam McIntyre – Wests Tigers (Round 6 v North Queensland Cowboys)
13. Charlie Staines - Penrith Panthers (Round 9 v Cronulla Sharks)
14. Stefano Utoikamanu – Parramatta Eels (Round 9 v Newcastle Knights)
15. Reece Hoffman – Wests Tigers (Round 9 v Wests Tigers)
16. Jaxson Paulo – South Sydney Rabbitohs (Round 10 v Newcastle Knights)
17. Semi Valemei – Canberra Raiders (Round 10 v Sydney Roosters)
18. Andrew Davey – Parramatta Eels (Round 10 v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
19. Jack Johns – South Sydney Rabbitohs (Round 11 v Canberra Raiders)
20. Teig Wilton – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Round 11 v St George Illawarra Dragons)
21. Harley Smith-Shields – Canberra Raiders (Round 11 v South Sydney Rabbitohs)
22. Braydon Trindall – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Round 12 v Brisbane Broncos)
23. Jackson Ferris – Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Round 12 v Brisbane Broncos)
24. Daniel Suluka-Fifita – Sydney Roosters (Round 12 v Gold Coast Titans)
25. Max Bailey – Sydney Roosters (Round 13 v St George Illawarra Dragons)
26. Asu Kepaoa – Wests Tigers (Round 13 v Newcastle Knights)
27. Daine Laurie – Penrith Panthers (Round 13 v Canberra Raiders)
28. Christian Tuipulotu – Sydney Roosters (Round 14 v Melbourne Storm
29. Matt Doorey – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Round 14 v Wests Tigers)
30. Freddy Lussick – Sydney Roosters (Round 15 v Wests Tigers)
31. Steven Marsters – South Sydney Rabbitohs (Round 15 v Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
32. Paul Turner – Warriors (Round 15 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
33. Albert Hopoate – Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (Round 16 v Melbourne Storm)
34. Matthew Timoko – Canberra Raiders (Round 16 v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
35. Josh Schuster - Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (Round 17 v Wests Tigers)
36. Cody Ramsey - St George Illawarra Dragons (Round 18 v Canberra Raiders)
NOTE: This list of players are of those who have graduated directly with Canterbury Cup NSW-affiliated clubs in 2020. Others who have made profressional debuts in other competitions (i.e. Super League) prior to earning an NRL start are not included.