NRL WA 2022 Representative Wrap – Open Schoolboys

As we head into the end of the year that was in 2022, its time to look back on the year that was, starting with a representative wrap of our state teams and show them the love they deserve for representing our great state of Western Australia.

Next up our Open Schoolboys team.

The U18 Schoolboys side participated at the Combined Affiliated States Championships in 2022. The competition took place at Pizzey Park, Miami QLD, the home of the Burleigh Bears. In conjunction with the Men’s championships, the Open Schoolboy division consisted of Victoria and Northern Territory.

Having not tasted victory in CAS since its inception of just the emerging states, the WA side was looking to make a real statement in 2022.

Day 1 – Game 1 – Loss 10-6 – Victoria
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBuyXN_fDbE
In the opener, both sides were a bit scrappy as the weather didn’t help the contest. WA tried to go toe for toe in the middle in the early states, which seemed a bit of a shock to Victoria at first. But after the initial dust settled Victoria took control of the contest and scored a couple of quickfire tries. A consolation try to the flight footed Archillies Packer gave the scoreline some respectability, but WA needed to work on their ball control if they were going to make an impression in this one.

Day 1 – Game 2 – Win 6-0 – Northern Territory
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SphMRQxBzk
With Northern Territory knocking off Victoria in their fixture, it was important for WA to have a better showing. And they got on the board early with Awhitu-Kerei and Chase linking up together on the last tackle to score, with Awhiu-Kerei knocking over the conversion from the sideline. Unfortunately a mistake off the kick off put NT on the attack. But WA held firm and the 6-0 scoreline was enough to keep WA in front and a level playing field.

Day 2 – Game 1 – Win 22-0 – Northern Territory
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEOLtME9c3Y
The boys from the West wanted to start fast in this one, and boy did they hit the accelerator early. Leon White scored with a nice in and away early, and when Trent Therkelsen scooted down the blindside to put Julius Anderson-Hiroti away the NT side seemed to deflate in this one. When Carlos Kata scored a try off the back of a scrum, beating no less than 4 players, the result was over, with Jayden Evans speed pulling them apart in the dying stages for big man Neihana Coley to score a great support try.

Day 2 – Game 2 – Loss 28-0 – Victoria
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjDLmZ3RyNg
With a big game against Northern Territory in the bag, and a complete performance on a dry track, the talk was positive from the WA team and supporters about a big performance. Unfortunately it was all Victoria, as the fast conditions and a fresh Victorian side put the sword to the young men from the west. They just didn’t turn up with the Victorian’s big running game a bit too much for the black and gold.

Day 3 – Game 1 – Loss 16-12 – Northern Territory
Thanks to another shock victory to NT over the VIC Schoolboys, the final day left it with all three teams with 2 wins and 2 losses, and a team who could get two wins would assure themselves of victory. And with Northern Territory soundly beaten in the opening game of Day 3, optimism abounded that WA would force a confrontation with Victoria in the final game after dealing with the NT boys. But it was not to be. NT showed up hungrier and took the game away from WA, who’s game again was marred with mistakes as they just couldn’t get their rhythm against an enthusiastic team.

Day 3 – Game 3 – Loss 26-0 – Victoria
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AtJ0ndskFc&feature=youtu.be
Unfortunately the loss to NT sounded the death knell, as nothing but a 40-0 victory would give the trophy to the black and gold, and they wilted visibly in the heat with back to back games. With Victoria full of running and gusto knowing they would be assured of the trophy, They played freely and with energy as the WA boys hung tough on their line for almost the whole game. It was a valiant effort from a very young WA side and they can hold their heads high in coming so close to the CAS trophy once again.

Highlights

Youth Youth And More Youth
For a tournament that featured mainly 17 and 18 year olds from the other states, WA sent no less than ten U16 year olds players, the majority of which will be eligible to go again in 2023, which is huge. Unfortunately as most children in WA finish school at 17, we normally go into these tournaments as the youngest team, but these young men acquitted themselves on and off the field and their families should be incredibly proud of them.

Flying Outside Backs
Archillies Packer, Leon White and Tumoana brothers showed they can hotstep it with the best of the best, show casing their speed on numerous occasions throughout the weekend. On both sides of the ball, they were able to out speed or pull in speedsters from the other states on a regular basis. While sometimes their decision making and choices were questionable, their willingness to always back themselves was a testament to their self-belief.

Better Young Men
The on-field is important, but we want to create great young men as well. And the growth of the players in the program could not be questioned. From the maturity of young captain Trent Therkelsen, to the decision making of his under study Jayden Evans, the belief was everywhere. Kaevar Agir made a tackle on a NT player who was destined to score to save the game, in an effort he himself admitted “I would never normally get there.” And Cruz “Missle” Beazley, who is 50 kilos ringing wet, was launching himself at guys 3 times his weight in amazing defensive efforts. But the self journey off the field as well, where the players grouped together and hung tough, was evident throughout the entire stay.

For player and staff pictures of the team please visit
https://nrlwa.com.au/u18-schoolboys-2022/

From all of the team at NRL WA, we would like to thank the schoolboys and their staff for their efforts and look forward to them getting bigger and better in 2023.