Nine NYC-winning Warriors named in Jnr Kiwis
Nine players from the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ NYC premiership-winning side were today named in the 19-man Junior Kiwis squad for this month’s two-match series against the Junior Kangaroos.
Just three days after beating South Sydney 42-28 in the Toyota Cup grand final at ANZ Stadium, the Vodafone Junior Warriors have been further rewarded with eight players involved in the grand final being selected along with winger Bill Tupou who was ruled ineligible for the season decider.
Apart from Tupou, the others named are fullback Glen Fisiiahi, centre Siuatonga Likiliki, standoff Carlos Tuimavave, halfback Shaun Johnson, prop Mark Ioane, loose forward Sebastine Ikahihifo and interchange players Nafe Seluini and Sam Lousi.
Tupou and Likiliki both have NRL experience, Tupou with 12 appearances for the Vodafone Warriors this year and Likiliki with one game last season. Other players with NRL experience in the squad are Canberra winger Drury Low and back rower Sam Mataora, Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland), captain Martin Taupau (Canterbury-Bankstown) and fullback-winger Dean Whare (Manly).
Whare marked his NRL debut with a hat-trick against North Queensland while Low was the NYC’s top try-scorer with 22 tries, Fisiiahi’s was second equal with 20 and Likiliki fourth with 19.
Johnson, who missed several games through injury, was the ninth highest points-scorer with 171 points. Fisiiahi topped the line breaks for the season with 27.
The remaining five non-Warriors players in the squad are yet to play at first-grade level – props Pakisonasi Afu (Canterbury-Bankstown), Isaac Maliota (Sydney Roosters) and Lama Tasi (Manly), hooker Matthew McIlwrick (Canberra) and centre-winger Kane Morgan (South Sydney).
Coaching the side is 1999-2008 25-Test veteran David Kidwell, who guided South Sydney to the NYC minor premiership before losing the grand final.
The two teams will meet in Wellington (October 23) and Rotorua (October 30) in curtain-raisers to the Kiwis’ Four Nations encounters with England and Papua New Guinea.
2010 Junior Kiwis: Pakisonasi Afu, Martin Taupau - captain (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs); Glen Fisiiahi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Mark Ioane, Shaun Johnson, Siuatonga Likiliki, Sam Lousi, Nafe Seluini, Carlos Tuimavave, Bill Tupou (Warriors); Drury Low, Matthew McIlwrick, Sam Mataora (Canberra Raiders); Isaac Maliota (Sydney Roosters); Kane Morgan (South Sydney Rabbitohs); Lama Tasi, Dean Whare (Manly Sea Eagles); Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys).