Similar to their NRL counterparts the NYC Sharks drawn a tough opponent first up in what will be a difficult initiation to coaching for John Morris when they travel to Townsville to take on the Cowboys.
The Sharks face a Cowboys team which was everyone’s tip to take out the under-20’s title only to trip up a week before the Grand Final.
When bearing in mind talented youngsters such as Kalyn Ponga, Gideon Mosby and Coen Hess return for the North Queensland side, the challenge for the Sharks is set to be considerable.
However with one of the NRL’s fiercest competitors in Morris now at the helm of the Sharks NYC squad, this match and this season will be more about what the Cronulla side can produce than what the opposition throws at them.
For his round one match-up Morris has chosen a team with five NYC debutants, with Sharks NRL star Andrew Fifita on hand earlier this week to present the newcomers with their first Holden Cup jerseys (see photo below).
Of the five some interest will centre around the performance of outside back Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga, a player rated highly by the club and who’s effort during the pre-season earned him a berth in the Sharks NRL squad at the Auckland Nines.
In captain and hooker Jayden Brailey and backrowers Ash Nisbet and Jayden Walker, Morris has three players who return to the 20’s after spending the summer months training with the full-time Sharks NRL squad and will have benefited from the experience.
Also giving Morris and his team reason to be positive will be the fact that a number of players from the National Championship SG Ball team now push up into the NYC squad, with the club hoping their winning attitude rubs off onto their under-20’s teammates.
The NYC Sharks travel to Townsville tomorrow ahead of their round one clash which is scheduled to kick-off at 4.15pm Local time (5.15pm Sydney time).
The Sharks NYC team list is as follows;
NYC Team List – Round 1
Sharks v Cowboys
Saturday, March 5
Kick-off - 5.15pm (Sydney time)
4.15pm Local time
1 Ryan Cummins
2 Sione Katoa
3 Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga
4 Lachlan Stein
5 Semisi Vea
6 Jack Williams
7 Rhys Davies
8 Tepa Fuiavailili
9 Jayden Brailey ©
10 Jaimin Jolliffe
11 Jayden Walker
12 Ash Nisbet
13 Jayden Mcdonogh
14 Justin Timu
15 Brock Ilett
16 Leon Tupuola
17 Billy Magoulias
18 Will Kennedy
19 Jenan Parrish
COACH - John Morris
Photo below, from left – Justin Timu, Sione Katoa, Andrew Fifita, Bessie Aufuga-Toomaga, Rhys Davies, Brock Ilett.
2nd photo - Bessie Aufuga-Toomaga carries the ball forward for the Sharks in their trial match against the Tigers