The Goose Step – Senior Men’s Grand Final Team Edition

Welcome to the Goose Step!

It’s Senior Grand Final Week, and now its the boys turn!

This editions Goose Step Stars…. the Ken Allen Men’s Team Of The Year….and yes the graphic did cut some guys off which I apologise for.

With 4 male teams in the finals, this writer thought it would be fun to create a side from the 4 teams remaining, picking 3 players from each team

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 Saturday.

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

1. Fullback – Tuakana Rangihaeata – Fremantle Roosters – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership
Fullback of the year. Second in the Ken Alle Vote. State Men’s Team. Young Tuakana has gone from strength to strength this year and the stability in the Roosters has certainly helped. The combinations he has created with Edwards, Kerr and Kemp has allowed him to really expand his game and become the player he was meant to be. Fast and extremely fit, he is way more physical than he looks and is capable of hurting you himself or setting up his team mates. His decision making has improved out of sight and can combine his skillset with a capable kicking game to make an extremely dangerous player.

2. Wing – Ryan Woolley – North Beach Sea Eagles – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership
Growing up in the juniors Ryan played almost everywhere searching for his position. And when breaking into the senior ranks he was pushed into a wing/centre position…. and he has excelled. A complete outside back, he has quickly become one of the best wider players in the competition. A great combination of speed and strength, his time served in the middle of the field makes him a great player at bringing the ball back on first and second tackle. But he also has great defensive instincts which serve him well on an edge. His lateral movement makes him a key player out wide, and makes you think his foray out wide might be his spot after all.

3. Centre – Joshua Upson – Fremantle Roosters – Val Murphy Trophy
The prototype centre these days, Joshua has gone from fullback, all the way to front row, and then all the way back out wide to an edge all over again. An old school physical footballer, Joshua is ultra confrontational and enjoys the physical challenge that rugby league provides. But don’t let that fool you. He is fast and smarter than he looks, and as a former half, can actually read the game well and show up where the ball is going to be. Capable of taking the ball early or hitting a hole late at the line, Josh is a handful for any defence.

4. Centre – Joseph Po’uhila – Fremantle Roosters – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership
Joseph has exploded into the competition this season in a huge way and especially at the end of the year has found some serious form. Being set free by his halves and spine, Po’uhila is a perfect mix of size and speed that just doesn’t come around often. The last time we saw someone like this, he was also a centre in the Fremantle uniform (Tarin Katu anyone?). Having figured out that Joseph just needs space and time, the early ball and watch him work call has really just blown sides off the field. He reminds me of those characters you create in video games. 6’5, 100 speed and 100 tackle break ability. A massive presence on the field.

5. Wing – Ruamai Erueti – Fremantle Roosters – Val Murphy Trophy
The Roosters VMT custodian has had a very good season. Deputising in Premiership for parts of the year, this veteran never lets anyone down no matter where he plays. While not the runner he once was in his younger days, experience has give him perspective and his consistency has gone to another level. A capable ball player and real leader, he steers the ship for the Roosters and is their vocal leader on the field. With a team full of young ballers and some off the cuff characters, his calm presence helps shape their game and makes everyone around him play better. Erueti won’t die wondering this weekend.

6. Five-Eight – Cairo Takarangi – North Beach Sea Eagles – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership
The North Beach captain this year has really come of age, and showed his never say die qualities in the last month and a half for the Sea Eagles. With a stubborn streak, his defensive ability has really come to the fore, with some amazing cover tackles and his communication on both sides of the ball is a real feature. While always possessing a capable short kicking game, his distance kicking has really come to the fore and his ability to control a contest and grind has really developed. Very fit, his consistency and ability to play at such a high level week to week has really grown. Having been part of those sides who lost to the Roosters, he will be desperate for this one.

7. Halfback – Robert “Sonny” Kerr – Fremantle Roosters – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership
One of the more underrated playmakers in the league, Sonny knows how to go about his business with minimum fuss. The Roosters definitely know his worth though. Possessing the best and quickest torpedo bomb in the competition, his complete kicking game is just as impressive. And while he possesses all the traits you would want in a halfback, passing, kicking and communication, its actually a couple of other traits that set him apart. He is strong, and can hit with the best in the game. And in terms of bravery he has no issues running into the teeth of the defence on his own, doing his share of the tough work in true Roosters fashion.

8. Prop – William Akroyd – Alkimos Tigers – Val Murphy Trophy
The start of our all Tigers front row, Akroyd is fitter, faster and more intense this year than he has ever been. The captain choice by coach Kapea this year, he has become the player they needed him to be. Big and strong, his speed over 10 metres makes him hard to deal with, and when he comes into contact he turns into a hurricane. Spinning, fending, twisting and bumping off as many players as possible. While he doesn’t possess the greatest skillset of some front rowers, he is hungry every time he gets the ball, and is capable of the tough stuff, and scoring tries equally.

9. Hooker – David Martin – Alkimos Tigers – Val Murphy Trophy
Okay, firstly I want to state, that their current hooker Sky Wanahi is an actual rugby league stud as well. But in terms of players able to play here, David Martin is a recent premiership winning hooker in his own right, and deserves a spot in this team. A real “feel” player, Martin is just a natural and makes this game seem easy. A tough as nails defender who seems to find gaps in the defensive line at will, he seems to just glide around the field. A low emotions player, he really is just a cool customer who just takes it all in his stride and will be making it hard for the Roosters to try and take home all the trophies this weekend.

10. Prop – Manu Rakena – Alkimos Tigers – Val Murphy Trophy
The last part of the Tigers in this side, as they hog all the front row, Manu isn’t the biggest guy in the world. As an undersized front rower he would seem an unintimidating player. You would be very wrong. A devastating physical specimen, Manu is lightning over 20 metres and a ball of pure muscle. When you add in his super low centre of gravity and late footwork, he is actually a nightmare of a match up for most bigger front rowers. His bravery is scary in that he will just run head on into an entire forward pack and the consequences be damned. While I don’t think I have ever seen him pass the ball, he is a real handful who can pack a whallop on the defensive side of the ball.

11. Second Rower – Kieran Tarrant – North Beach Sea Eagles – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership
If you looked up bravery or uncompromising in the dictionary, you may find a picture of the Sea Eagles back rower in there as a part of the definition. Straight out of the old school way of playing rugby league, he is all fire and brimstone as he goes toe to toe with his opposition every week. A guy everyone wants to play with, I spoke with someone last weekend from the opposition team who said “you’d follow him into a storm of bullets”. Tough as nails, who never takes a backward step, Tarrant also couples that with one of the most humble attitudes on and off the pitch you will ever see. A genuine team man, he would need to be carried off the field to be counted out. And even then, that might not stop him trying to get back into the game.

12. Second Rower – Cooper Sanders – Fremantle Roosters – Val Murphy Trophy
Young Sanders has spent time over the last two seasons in reserve grade and premiership, and you can see how much it is benefitting his game. A workhorse, who runs and tackles like a starving man on a christmas ham. Throwing his slighter frame into everything he can, he epitomizes what the Roosters culture tries to get out of their youngsters. And that being just okay, isn’t enough. He strives to milk every little bit of effort and talent out of his game that he can, and is always there to back his team mates up. A huge heart, there are no cowards allowed in the Fremantle engine room.

13. Lock – Duane Butler – Fremantle Roosters – Fuel To Go & Play Premiership – Captain
Butler is underappreciated. I know people might rate him anyway, but because of some of the class around him in fremantle, and the embarrassment of riches that WA has at lock forward, sometimes he is the forgotten man. But the recent centurion is a class act who after almost a decade of service should go down as one of the most complete players that NRL WA has ever seen. Fast, Strong, Big, Skillful. Butler can do it all. Whether its playing as a five-eight, covering an important player in the centres, or belting the ball up in the middle of the field, this all rounders versatility is something to behold. A defensive titan, he will lead the tackle count this weekend in a complete 80 minute performance, and its that attitude that makes him the easy choice of captaincy here.