After a Matthews Cup season which saw the Sharks go through the home and away rounds undefeated, three Cronulla youngsters have won selection in the NSW Under 16’s team to play Queensland in the curtain-raiser to State of Origin game one.
Bronson Xerri, Franklin Pele and Isaac Longmuir, members of the 2016 Sharks Matthews Cup squad, have been rewarded for their teams’ spirited defence of the under-16’s title by being named in Coach Brad Fittler’s NSW team.
Five players from Matthews Cup winners Parramatta were chosen, along with four from the runner-up Newcastle Knights.
Sharks Matthews Cup skipper Kai Broadhurst and the competition’s leading try-scorer Cameron O’Connor were members of a 27-man train-on squad and could be rated as unlucky not to receive the call-up into the final 18-player team.
The Sharks boys and their NSW Under 16’s teammates will now prepare to play the Queenslanders in a match scheduled for June 1 at ANZ Stadium.
They will come together for training later this week before going into camp ahead of next Wednesday’s match.
A handful of Sharks SG Ball players have also been included in an extended under-18’s squad, with a final team to be announced before they tackle the Maroons before the second origin game at Suncorp Stadium.
NSW Under 16’s
1. John Paul Nohra Parramatta Eels
2. William Kei Parramatta Eels
3. Bronson Xerri Cronulla Sharks
4. Max Lehmann Manly Sea Eagles
5. Cliff Lea’aetoa Parramatta Eels
6. Jock Madden Newcastle Knights
7. Pheonix Crossland Newcastle Knights
8. Mathew Dragisic Canberra Raiders
9. Kyle Schneider Parramatta Eels
10. Franklin Pele Cronulla Sharks
11. Shawn Blore Penrith Panthers
12. Mateo Tatola Balmain Tigers
13. Brock Gardner Newcastle Knights
14. Isaac Longmuir Cronulla Sharks
15. Tom Baker Newcastle Knights
16. Lindsay Smith Penrith Panthers
17. Egan Butcher South Sydney Rabbitohs
18. Harry Duggan Parramatta Eels
Head Coach Brad Fittler
Assistant Coach Mark O’Meley