The 2013 NRL Telstra Premiership season may be over but the fire still burns brightly for rugby league fans who will get the chance to see 58 current Kangaroos and Kiwis representatives in action at WIN Jubilee Oval on Sunday – and it’s all for free!
Coach Tim Sheens’ 24-man Holden Kangaroos squad for the World Cup will hold an open training session at the ground at Kogarah from 1pm, their final preparation before jetting off to try to wrest the World Cup from Champions New Zealand, England and 11 other strong nations, many of which will boast significant RL experience.
Then at 2.30pm the Junior Kangaroos go head to head with the Junior Kiwis in a salivating display of the best young emerging talent to game has to offer.
The game features five stars who took part in last Sunday’s Holden Cup Under-20s Grand Final – and a total of 10 members of the 2013 Holden Cup Team of the Year.
The dazzling youngsters are headlined by Dally M Holden Cup Player of the Year Bryce Cartwright and other senior representative stars-in-waiting including Charly Runciman, Mitch Cornish, Michael Lichaa and Dallin Watene Zelezniak.
An intriguing twist sees three members of the Holden Cup-winning Panthers team pull on the Australian jersey, while two of their Panthers team-mates will suit up in the black and white – just seven days after the five celebrated and bonded through premiership success.
Those two ‘Kiwi’ Panthers – Mitch Clark and Dallin Watene Zelezniak – will side with eight Warriors players that they tore into during their 42-30 victory at ANZ Stadium last Sunday.
Warriors first grade star Ngani Laumape will also be on display for the visitors.
The Kiwi side will boast considerable grunt up front, with prop James Taylor fresh off a starring role for the Warriors in the Under-20s Grand Final, with a game-high 21 hit-ups for 227 metres.
Both sides will look to their towering second-rowers to promote plenty of second-phase play, with Bryce Cartwright (Junior Kangaroos) delivering four offloads for the Panthers in their Grand Final success – while Raymond Faitala-Mariner churned out six offloads to go with his 19 hit-ups.
Organisers are confident the free gate entry at WIN Jubilee Oval and the presence of the likes of Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis and Paul Gallen, along with the free-flowing spectacle of the Junior Kangaroos v Junior Kiwis game, will ensure a good crowd.
Junior Kangaroos: Jack Ahearn, Mitch Cornish, Patrick Mago (all Canberra Raiders), David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers), Hymel Hunt (Gold Coast Titans), Charly Runciman (St George Illawarra Dragons), Vai Toutai, Junior Paulo, Joseph Ualesi (all Parramatta Eels), Moses Mbye, Lloyd Perrett (both Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Michael Lichaa (Cronulla Sharks), Bryce Cartwright, Kierran Moseley, Regan Campbell-Gillard (all Panthers), Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles). 18th Man: George Jennings (Panthers).
Junior Kiwis: David Bhana, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, David Fusitua, Ngani Laumape, mason Lino, Tuimoala Lolohea, James Taylor, Adam Tuimavave-Gerard, Albert Vete (all Warriors), Mania Cherrington, Kurtis Rowe (both Wests Tigers), Mitch Clark, Dallin Watene Zelezniak, Jarrod Wilson (all Panthers), Zach Docker Clay, Takai Moeakiola (both Parramatta Eels), Jeremy Hawkins (Canberra Raiders), David Minute (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Joseph Tapine (Newcastle Knights).