Three players from The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup make their NRL debuts this weekend with True Blue Jamie Soward keen on seeing how they are used in first grade sides buckling under the strain of injury and suspensions.
Dragons prop Jaiyden Hunt could hardly have picked a better NRL game than the local grudge match between neighbouring teams the St George Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks, Friday night at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Kogarah.
Soward told his weekly NSWRL podcast “The Short Side” that Hunt had been racking up big minutes in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.
“He’s a physical prop who hopefully plays some good minutes in the middle for coach Anthony Griffin in a team now that is pretty much struggling to get 21 players fit,” Soward said.
“It’s a nice opportunity to see some of the young guns coming through at the St George Illawarra Dragons.”
Two other players also make their NRL debuts in Round 11 this weekend: Aaron Schoupp for the Bulldogs and Brad Schneider at the Raiders.
Emotional moment Stuart announces Schneider will make his NRL debut
Schoupp has scored four tries in his six games at centre for Mounties, proving a hard man to put to ground with 26 tackle-busts and three line-breaks.
“He’s looking for his opportunity in a backline which has been disrupted throughout the year, so hopefully he gets to cement his spot,” Soward said.
Schoupp could even be a back-up goalkicker for Kyle Flanagan if required in the Bulldogs away game against the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.
Schneider is looking to fill the halfback-hooker utility role on the Raiders bench with Tom Starling moving into the starting side at No.9 with the suspension of Josh Hodgson.
He’s wearing the No.14 jersey at GIO Stadium on Saturday night in another big debut game by playing the Melbourne Storm.
Schneider has scored three tries in his seven games in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, alongside six try assists. Like Schoupp, he’s a handful, making five tackle-busts for the Raiders in the 22-20 loss to the Knights last game.
He’s also a handy goalkicker with 22 successful shots so far.
“It will be interesting to see how Ricky Stuart uses him in such a big game against the Melbourne Storm,” Soward said.