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Reigning premiers have their say about the 2024 Junior Reps season

The NSWRL Junior Reps competitions head into Round Two this weekend, with the reigning premiers from the UNE Harold Matthews Cup, UNE SG Ball Cup and Westpac Tarsha Gale Cup all enjoying wins in Round One. All three coaches say they are planning to continue where they left off in 2023.  

UNE Harold Matthews Cup Premiers: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs put their best foot forward to start the new season with a 30-16 win over the Sydney Roosters, scoring six tries to three.

But while the Bulldogs are keen for more success this year, coach Shannon Rushworth is putting a stronger emphasis on the team’s development.

“The main focus is on developing the players,” Rushworth told

“Wins can help by building confidence.”

While many players like last year’s Under 17s captain Mitchell Woods have progressed to SG Ball, Rushworth expects players to step up, such as new captain Itula Seve.

“He has worked on his fitness from last year and is in really good shape,” Rushworth said, adding that Seve had made great technical improvements in his game.

The young front rower scored the Bulldogs third try last week off his own line-break.

UNE SG Ball Cup Premiers: Parramatta Eels

The Parramatta Eels are quietly confident of back-to-back titles in the Under 19s after an impressive finals run led them to last year’s 2023 premiership.

New coach Mitchell Lewis knows he has a squad of fighters on his hands.

That certainly showed in the Round One 32-20 win over a tough Warriors side, when the Eels were behind 10-8 at half-time.

With most of the squad transitioning from last year’s Harold Matthews team, Lewis put the young squad through a rigorous preseason.

“Tough to tell with the quality of competition this year but definitely confident in our chances this season,” Lewis said.

“I’m particularly confident in the depth of our squad.”

Lewis has named back rower Jezaiah Funa-Iuta and centre Devonte Vaivela as players to watch.

On the eve of the first game for 2024, Lewis reminded his players of a moment they would forever be a part of whatever the result.

“The first game against the Warriors will be a historic game with this being their first time playing SG Ball,” he said.

Westpac Tarsha Gale Cup Premiers: Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy

The Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy know they have a target on their back as they begin the 2024 season having won back-to-back premierships in 2022-2023.

Coach Ray Windle is expecting every game to be a challenge, noting consecutive games against the Illawarra Steelers, Parramatta Eels and Newcastle Knights later in the season as a particularly tough stretch – all three teams playing finals last year.

“All the other teams will treat our match-up like a grand final game. They will want to play their best against us,” Windle said.

Adding to that task for 2024 was a fairly challenging preseason.  

“We’ve been dealing with some niggling injuries in the past few weeks,” Windle said.

With the loss of a few players such as last year’s NSW Under 19s representative Brooke Talataina, Windle has named hooker Imogen Hei as a player to watch, with her leadership evident during the preseason.

The Rooster shrugged off those injury concerns in Round One with a hefty 38-4 win over the North Sydney Bears, leading 18-0 at half-time and scoring eight tries in total.

NSWRL fans are able to watch Junior Reps games as part of more than 250 Rugby League matches from around the state in 2024 following the launch of a dedicated app for NSWRL TV.

Click here to download the NSWRL TV app on the Apple App store

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Click here for all games live and upcoming on NSWRL TV


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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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