Lewis to lead Aussie charge

After missing the back end of the pre-season, then the opening two rounds of the 2015 NRL season, the last thing Luke Lewis would have envisaged would have been running out for Australia in the ANZAC Test match.

Lewis never missed a beat prior to Christmas only to succumb to injury during January, with the frustrating, rather than serious, knee injury taking longer than expected to recover.

But return he did in round three and after regaining match fitness Lewis played a big part in the recent three-game Sharks win streak, before earning the call-up to the Kangaroo team for what will be his 16th Test Match for Australia.

At a media call in the lead up to tonight’s game against the Kiwis at Suncorp Stadium, Lewis explained his first task was to perform strongly for the Sharks, firm in the belief the rest would fall into place after that.

“For me it was about getting my injury right, getting back on the field for Cronulla and playing well for them. It was all about trying to play my best footy for the club and doing that with a smile on my face,” Lewis said.

After a 2014 season disrupted by injury Lewis wasn’t a part of the Four Nations tournament held late last year. He wasn’t a member of the side that went down twice to the Kiwis, once in the pool matches and then again in the tournament final.

But just because he wasn’t on the field it doesn’t mean Lewis is unaware of the task awaiting the Kangaroos when the ANZAC Test kicks off at Suncorp Stadium at 8.00pm tonight.

“You look at their team and it’s a pretty special side. A lot of strike power in the forwards and skill in the halves,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough one for us, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. I think it’s going to be a good spectacle for the fans as well.”

Lewis has been named on the Kangaroos interchange bench, with his utility value sure to be an asset to coach Tim Sheens at some stage during the course of the match.  

While Lewis goes around tonight in the first game of a series of matches to be held over the next three days, 11 of his Sharks club mates will also be in action during the representative weekend of matches.

On Saturday afternoon and evening the Pacific Tests between Samoa and Tonga, Fiji and PNG will be played, while the Junior Kangaroos take on the Junior Kiwis as the curtain raiser at C-Bus Stadium on the Gold Coast.

In the first match Jayson Bukuya captains the Fiji side against PNG, while Ricky Leutele will represent Samoa in the clash with a Tongan team featuring Pat Politoni and Sosaia Feki.

For the Junior Kangaroos Valentine Holmes will be on the wing, while Jamayne Isaako from the Sharks NYC squad is the Junior Kiwi fullback.

On the Sunday, first up it’s the Queensland Residents playing a NSW Cup Rep team, one which includes Sharks Nathan Gardner and Mitch Brown. That match is scheduled for a 1.40pm kick off at Tapout Energy Stadium in Brisbane.

Then last but not least is the annual City Origin v Country Origin match, this year set down for McDonald’s Park in Wagga Wagga.

Jack Bird will make his senior representative debut as Country half back, bringing him in direct opposition with Andrew Fifita and Wade Graham who will play for City.

Graham has been appointed City Origin captain.

All games will be televised, with the Locker Room Sports Bar in Sharkies Leagues the ideal place to catch all of the action.

Rep weekend – schedule – TV Times

ANZAC Test
Australia v New Zealand

Friday, May 1
Suncorp Stadium,
Channel 9 Live - kick off 8.10pm
Luke Lewis – Australia


Junior Kangaroos v Junior Kiwis

Saturday, May 2
C-Bus Stadium,
Fox Sports Live - kick off 3.15pm
Junior Roos – Valentine Holmes
Junior Kiwis – Jamayne Isaako


Pacific Test

Fiji v Papua New Guinea
Saturday, May 2
C-Bus Stadium,
Fox Sports Live - kick off 5.35pm
Fiji – Jayson Bukuya

Pacific Test
Samoa v Tonga

Saturday, May 2
C-Bus Stadium,
Fox Sports Live - kick off 7.40pm
Samoa – Ricky Leutele
Tonga – Pat Politoni, Sosaia Feki

 

Qld Residents v NSW Cup Rep Team
Sunday, May 3
Tapout Energy Stadium, Brisbane,
Fox Sports Live - kick off 1.40pm
NSW – Nathan Gardner, Mitch Brown


City Origin v Country Origin

Sunday, May 3
McDonald’s Park, Wagga Wagga,
Channel 9 Live - kick off 4.00pm
Fox Sports Delayed – 7pm
City – Wade Graham, Andrew Fifita
Country – Jack Bird