The Goose Step – Junior Boys Grand Final Team Edition

Welcome to the Goose Step!
Creating more hype around our Juniors and showing them some love!

This editions Goose Step Star… Majah Peachey of the Rockingham Sharks, one of the most dangerous juniors our competition has witnessed in recent years.

Now there is going to be a Junior Grand Final Program, but with 8 male teams in the finals, this writer thought it would be fun to create a side from the 8 teams remaining from 13s, 14s, 15s & 17s

Now anyone not on this list please do not take heart as there are so many great players in our competition, and this is an arbitrary list for hype around our grand final. Also there are many players outside the grand final sides who are amazing players, but please bare with us as we only pick from the teams on Sunday.

Anyway, picking at least two players from every team lets get into it –

1. Fullback – Jacob Scoon – Kalamunda Bulldogs – U14s Boys
If there are any Kiwis reading this, go out and watch Christian Cullen in a blue and white jersey this weekend. A beautiful player to watch, Jacob makes this contact sport seem easy. With an easy gait and superb balance he really is a joy to watch out on that green grass. With a step, swerve and spin that would make kiwi supporters remember the good old days, he just seems to find space with ease and barely looks like he is even trying. The strike weapon in the Bulldogs team, I don’t think he even cares what the score is in the game. Whether they are up by 100 or down by 50, he will continue to cause opposition problems with the ball in any situation.

2. Wing – Thomas McGuire – South Perth Lions – U14s Boys
Now while watching the game on the weekend in the U14 Boys, there were definitely some talented players, with Lexdon Cooper & Austin Tutt among them. But if you watch the game back, in almost every single shot there is a kid with frizzy hair, number 3 on his back, involved in every single play. Not the biggest, strongest or most talented kid out there, he was never the less always in view, and it was his will and energy that gets him the mention here. You could tell by the look on his face that he wanted to be a winner on the weekend. Scratching and clawing for every inch, his full body contact in defence and ability to take tough hitups when its required was something coaches are always looking for. A true team man, he gets a spot in this side.

3. Centre – Carter Nikora – Kalamunda Bulldogs – U14s Boys
The guy that McGuire is probably going to have to mark this weekend, Nikora is a prototype centre in the game. Big. Strong. Fast. Balanced. Ability to offload in the tackle or play before the line, the Bulldogs tearaway will not die wondering. Needing his hands on the ball early and often, he will make the running himself and his fellow Bulldogs will follow. While not a super effort player, it is the special players that set him apart, and if given any free room to move you’ll be behind your posts wondering what went wrong in a hurry. Particularly at the back end of both halves, watch for Nikora to flip the switch and take the game away from the opposition.

4. Centre – Weylan Antonelli – Rockingham Sharks – U15s Boys
With a logjam in the halves and all the stars in this Rockingham team, its Weylan we have picked out in the centres for this one. A true wide running second rower/centre, he understands his role down to a tee. A bully in defence, he imposes his big physique on smaller backs, and has amazing feet and lateral movement, which make him a brilliant defender on players with great footwork. He also loves a tough carry. Whether its running off his own line, or hitting holes off his halves into try scoring opportunities, he will use his blend of power, finesse and speed to cause halves and centres to tackle him one on one, which is a tricky proposition in the best of conditions. My advice – hold on for dear life and hope the help comes.

5. Wing – Tyrese Wainohu – Fremantle Roosters – U13s Boys
An aggresive and talented centre, Wainohu has got an amazing array of weapons for a young boy in the U13s competition. Blessed with a speed, step, swerve and footwork that can make players feel like he is stepping in mid air, he is a constant threat, whether its from 90 metres out or 9. But the biggest part of his game is that he prides himself on his defence. While not the biggest player on the field, he is confident and ultra physical in the way he handles his tackles on the field and more often than not is happy to mix it with the big boys in the middle of the field at any stage. A brilliant young player who is also a choice goal kicker at this age group, he will be looking for work this weekend.

6. Five-Eight – Taiatini Huriwai-Brown – Rockingham Sharks – U17s Boys
Almost the polar opposite to his halves partner here in Darius, Taiatini is not a classic organising general. He is a runner first and foremost, and one of the most dangerous players in the competition. A classic Isaac Luke build, his first 10 metres might be the most explosive in the competition, and he generates an insane amount of power through his dynamic frame from the ground, which makes it hard to knock him over. A pinball in the true sense of the word, he will step, bounce and jolt his way through, under, over and around defenders while on his way to the try line. A tougher defender than he looks, he won’t let anyone down, but we would love to see him stand up and be counted more often this weekend and really take the fight to North Beach.

7. Halfback – Darius Rogers – North Beach Sea Eagles – U17s Boys – CAPTAIN
There are some extremely good halfbacks in the WA competition. Some are faster than Darius. Some are better ball runners. A few might be better kickers. But as a true general of rugby league, its hard to go past young Darius, and his partner in crime, Tiger Williams. A classic snapshot of how halfbacks are supposed to be, he is a professional at his craft. Able to play the game of rugby league, while yelling at everyone around him, and calculating every play in his head at warp speed, he is the linchpin and the architect of the North Beach juggernaut in the U17s age group. Coming from pure rugby league, north beach pedigree, his father could play with the best of them, and his brother is an inch away from the NRL. Its Darius turn to show his wares once again on the big stage, and as a natural leader, he is this writers choice as the captain.

8. Middle – Phil Saunderson – South Perth Lions – U15s Boys
In the mould of no-nonsense front rowers from yesteryear, he is in the same conversation as tough uncompromising players that just get on with it no matter what happens. Similar to a Jake Trbojevic, Phil just takes all the tough hit ups that are needed from your forward leader, and leads the defensive line up every single tackle. With good leg drive and really strong tackle technique, he cops the brunt of attention from all the other teams that South Perth play, especially at 6’2, he really does stick out. But along with his general play, he has a great temperament for this game. With controlled aggression and ability to not step outside the boundaries of the game, his discipline is seamless. But don’t give him room close to the line. He is deceptively quicker than he looks and will steal a try from close range if given the chance.

9. Hooker – Gabriel Salele’a – South Perth Lions – U15s Boys
Normally a hooker or fullback, when gun hooker Jakhayis Mabbett went down in the semi final, Salele’a had to play the majority of the game as the dominant hooker and halfback. Three tries later and the Lions booked their ticket to the grand final and a week off, as Salele’a was unstoppable in that fixture. A supremely talented player, do not let his small stature fool you. He is a ball of muscle, wrapped steel, with diamond chips, and when he builds his speed up, is incredibly hard to stop. Not to mention he changes direction on a five cent piece so when you finally think you have him he is gone in another direction. With ultra acceleration, a great understanding of the game, and a complete kicking game, he will have a huge say in the 15s Grand Final this weekend.

10. Prop – Riley Reti – Fremantle Roosters – U13s Boys
A devastating ball running forward, he probably scores too many tries to be a part of the front rower club. But in the U13 Boys division he is the guy who sets up all the play for the devastating edge players of the Roosters to work their magic. Big and fast, with powerful strides and great awareness, he is elite at using his footwork late in the defensive line and picking out one on one targets. His ability to push through arms and legs, while keeping his balance is something to behold. Reti is a massive part as to why the Roosters are huge favourites in this years grand final, but he is also a humble kid who is a quietly confident player, and recognizes what he can contribute to a very good side. A very mature player.

11. Second Rower – Elias Tsakalos – Willagee Bears – U13s Boys
A talented player with a big name to live up to, Elias is intent on forging his own legacy at such a young age. Blessed with great natural ability, you get the feeling that Elias has a really nice “feel” for the game. Tall and strong, his rangy strides make him a tough target, and he really takes the initiative and forces contact on his own terms. While he can kick and pass with the best of them, it is his willingness to make the extra efforts in defence that has basically demanded he be put into this side. While normally a middle, his shift to the edge here would not do him any disservice. Watch for his late footwork at the line, and his super fast play the ball to compliment the Bears game.

12. Second Rower – Majah Peachey – Rockingham Sharks – U15s Boys
Calling Majah a hurricane would not be doing justice to the affect he has on these games. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t a one man show. But if you’ve seen the Day After Tomorrow, you’ll get an idea of the size of the tropical storms we are talking about. Blessed with outrageous speed and strength, he used to lack part of the mental game to be the complete package. But with Haimona and Huriwai-Brown calling the shots, Peachey has become a much better player an team mate. When Majah is on the other team, your basically starting the game down at least 4 points, as its almost a guarantee he gets on the board. Combating his influence is a huge part of beating the Sharks, but what makes it worse now is Majahs growth as a player actually has him setting his team mates up for tries now as well. A very tough proposition to handle.

13. Lock – Jake Matthews – North Beach Sea Eagles – U17s Boys
If you’ve seen Jake play, you’ll agree he needed to be here. While there are better ball runners, and probably stronger defenders. Guys with better ball playing, its hard to deny that if you needed someone to follow in the dying seconds of the game, you would not do better than Jake. Dominating the hard worker index every week with his tireless carries and 30+ tackles, its the mental aspect of the game where Jake excels. When other players would just find that extra effort a little too hard, or not worth it, Jake pushes through the pain barrier. Whether it is in the first minute, or the last, you’ll be able to hear Jake pushing everyone around him to greater efforts. Massively respected by his opponents, and loved by his team mates, he is exactly the guy you want next to you when the game is on the line.

14. Forward – Arawa Metekingi Pu-Tamainu – Willagee Bears – U13s Boys
When your one of the few 13 year olds in your side, as well as being the captain of such a young team, you have to be the light in the darkness. The pillar that the team leans on in the storm. In the last two weeks Arawa has shown his team mates that he can be that player. This writer had doubts about his ability to be that guy earlier in the year, but in the finals he has stood at the front and not taken a backward step. While Legend and others collect accolades for their tremendous ability, Arawa shoulders the teams leadership responsibilities, along with being the big target that the other teams are looking for. Absorbing shots and putting his body on the line time after time, he is the tip of the spear for the Bears, and deserves his place in this side.

15. Forward – Jose Leef – Rockingham Sharks – U17s Boys
Mr Leef is a man mountain out on the field, and in a Rockingham Sharks side that is so heavily dominant, he has been an absolute standout. A tall rangy ball runner, when he gets the chance to wind up he can slice through the defensive line like a hot knife through butter. And if he gets through the line lookout. As he can really open up and just run around the fullback if he is in the mood. Defensively is where he gets all his accolades though. Not the heaviest player or strongest, he comes from the school of perfect technique and regularly is seen putting strong ball runners back into the turf. Comfortable in the middle of the field or on an edge, he has been lighting up the finals series.

16. Forward – Friday Toko – South Perth Lions – U14s Boys
My favourite day of the week and one of the Lions favourites, Friday’s game has evolved in the last couple years. While he used to be just a dynamic ball runner, he now has more tools in his box. Being able to offload, or pass before the line, Friday gets through an immense amount of work for the Lions in the middle of the field, and throws his body into the fray on both sides of the ball. But it is Friday’s resilience that has caught the eye this season. He is one of their most experienced and talented forwards, and knows he will leave a hole if hurt, so has gotten up and shook off injuries and soreness to keep backing up for the red and whites, which shows a massive mental growth for the young man.

17. Utility – Rihare Te Rauna – Rockingham Sharks – U15s Boys
We had one more spot left to give, and there was a slew of players who it could have gone to. But we have gone with the utility from the Rockingham Sharks. Te Rauna can play anywhere on the field. Fullback to Front Row. It really doesn’t matter. Quick enough to play in the backs. Tough enough to play in the forwards. Smart enough to play in the halves. You will see him play in different spots for his club and state because his coaches know he just “gets footy”. A consumate professional, who knows the rules back to front, he in a sense is this competitions “Cal Ripken Jr”. I’ll wait a minute while you look that up….. yep his nickname is “Iron Man” as he holds the records for games played consecutively in the MLB. And Rihare always makes sure he is in the best possible condition to get out on the field for his sides. A brilliant ball runner, and distributor, he is a worth last player on this list.

I hope you enjoyed the write up.
See you at the Juniors on Sunday. Grand Final Programme will be live Friday.