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 U15 Schoolboys team.
The U15 Schoolboys side participated at the ASSRL National Championships in 2022.The competition took place at Moreton Daily Stadium, Kippa-Ring QLD, the home of the Redcliffe Dolphins. In the U15’s division, WA were grouped with the other Emerging States in Victoria and Northern Territory, while the invitational First Nation Goanna’s were also added to the pool after the unfortunate withdrawal of South Australia.
With COVID playing a part the last couple years, WA was eager to show its worth on the national schoolboy stage, which was run concurrently with the U18s competition, featuring a CAS team who had 3 of our WA players in the squad.
Game 1 – Win 26-18 – Victoria
No breaks in the draw with WA drawing fierce rivals Victoria first up, and while WA struck first with a piece of magic from Haimona and Salele’a, it was all Victoria from that point on in the first half. Looking down the barrel of a 12-4 deficit at the first break, two pieces of magic put WA in front. A long range try from Peachey, with Salele’a with this assist this time, followed up by the backbreaker from Dickson. With Victoria getting a penalty on the stroke of halftime, they chose to run it and throw caution to the wind. Along comes the WA Captain, who intercepts the ball to go up 16-12 at halftime and WA were never headed from there to run out dominant winners in the second half.
Player Of The Match – Rihare Te Rauna
Game 2 – Win 18-16 – First Nations Goannas
Goal kicking was not West Australia’s friend in this particular game, with WA one goal from four attempts. But they still did enough against a tricky Goannas team, who showed the ability to hurt you from anywhere on the field. Young Arthy made the most of his start as he scored first with a nice fend and stretch in the left corner. And when Huriwai-Brown put Peachey away in the right corner, and Mabbett ducked over for a quick strike, it was 12-6 with no goals for WA. And the Goannas scored a opportunist try on the bell, it was 12-12 at halftime and was a fairly deflating scoreline. Luckily Grant barged his way over out wide, and Haimona found his range to put WA up 18-12 and hung on to record a much needed victory.
Player Of The Match – Jesse Inall
Game 3 – Win 18-10 – Northern Territory
WA fell asleep in the first half of this contest, as their place in the final was assured after the two victories over VIC and Goannas. But they didn’t want to show up like this. NT led 10-0 and were unlucky not to score another early. But when Te Rauna steadied the ship at 10-4 at halftime the boys needed something. Enter William Blair, who came on as a jack in the box in the middle of the field and caused the NT boys all sorts of issues. This led to some free running from Wuruki who was able to send Huriwai-Brown in to score. And when Peachey put Grant over, that sealed the victory in a fairly frustrating performance from the young men from the west.
Player Of The Match – Gabriel Salele’a
Game 4 – Final – Loss 32-10 – Victoria
It was a long trip for the young men from the west. Sickness and some niggling injuries affected the side in the lead up and unfortunately they turned in a lacklustre first half against a pumped up Victorian side who were out for a bit of payback from day one. And then the 8-0 penalty count in the first half, compounded by a couple of errors led to the Victorian side leading 26-0 at halftime and a long way back for WA. The boys to their credit showed their pride in the second half, fighting back to win the half 10-6 with a fair share of the ball, but all the damage was done, and unfortunately the WA side were runners up for the 2022 championship.
Player Of The Match – Jahkayis Mabbett
Player’s Player – Gabriel Salele’a
Player Of The Tournament – Majah Peachey
Youngsters Leading The Way
Talented Tamarau Haimona, Mesmerizing Majah Peachey and Baller Ben Cottam showed at 14 years of age, they were not out of their depth in the Under 15 age group. Playing with and against players a year older than them, they were among the best on the field every time they got their chance to shine. Great hands, strong ball running and strong defence were part of the whole package of these youngsters and we hope they continue to grow and lead the next state side in 2023.
Western Australia were blessed with almost too many playmakers. Haimona started in the halves with the enigmatic Ka Hao Huriwai-Brown, but the classy Brodie Dunn made his presence felt as well. Throw in Gabriel Salele’a, comfortable at half of fullback, with Jahkayis Mabbett and William Blair there are almost too many guys who can make it happen. Even Jeremiah Grant and Ayede Taw, who were selected in the centres, are lock/halves at club and can ball play with the best of them. A supremely talented group, the WA selections would have been a nightmare for coaches every single game.
While not the biggest side in the competition, the middles from WA were defiant from the outset. Led by standout performances from Rihare Te Rauna and the energetic Jesse Inall, the WA boys continued to punch well above their weight. Captain Reuben Dickson and Vice-Captain Lincoln Kemp also continued to battle, while Kaiaua Scott and Phillip Saunderson are complete professionals and tradesmen and tackle their hearts out when involved. A tough performance from the engine room all tournament.
For player and staff pictures of the team please visit
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.