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From Danny Buderus and Greg Inglis to Sam Walker and Payne Haas.

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected the Australian Schoolboys program in recent seasons but for the code's next generation of stars, it's a case of remembering these names for the future.

The Australian Schoolboys are recognised as part of the NRL's elite pathway, and while the capacity to play an international fixture this year is unlikely, the 2021 merit team continues the tradition of representing Australia at the under 18 level.

The program has seen more than 800 past and present players represent their schools since its inception in 1972, many of whom have gone on to play in the NRL, State of Origin or for the Australian Kangaroos.

Even Kiwi veteran Benji Marshall, who went to school at Keebra Park High School in 2003, played for the Australian Shoolboys before pledging his allegiances to native New Zealand. 

Many of the teams selected each year have travelled overseas to play against other nations.

Kirwan State High's Ragarive Wavik

However, in more recent times due to the pandemic, teams have been selected on a merit basis. 

It is the fifth time since 1972 a merit team has been named. 

A selection committee made up of Australian Schoolboys coach Tim White, Bob Leitch and Tony Adam have selected the side for 2021.

"The 2021 selection process was the most comprehensive and all-consuming process ever undertaken by a selection committee," White said. 

"It started in March and concluded in July after watching hundreds of players from all over Australia both live and in digital form.

Every try from Round 24

"The selectors visited the Queensland state championships and watched the best talent Queensland has to offer and then due to COVID-19, only myself could watch the NSW teams in action at their tri-series.

"The players from all over Australia were exceptional and in particular the amount of "bush" or regional talent was pleasing to see and represented in the ASSRL team for 2021.

"I enjoyed the whole process and was ecstatic for the team that was finally selected that included not only exceptional players but exceptional human beings and that is the hardest part of the likelihood of no game.

"The amount of support from teachers and NRL officials all over the country to help this team get selected is testimony to our great game."

 

Australian Schoolboys merit team 

  1. Ragarive Wavik (Kirwan State High School)
  2. Dudley Dotoi (Kirwan State High School)
  3. Brandon Morkos (Figtree High School)
  4. Deine Mariner (Palm Beach Currumbin High School)
  5. Michael Asomua (Erindale College, ACT)
  6. Thomas Duffy (Ignatius Park College, Townsville)
  7. Tom Weaver (Palm Beach Currumbin High School)
  8. Jaxson Rahme (Holy Cross College, Ryde)
  9. Riley Smith (St Dominic’s College, Kingswood)
  10. Jack Cullen (Palm Beach Currumbin High School)
  11. Ryan Foran (Palm Beach Currumbin High School)
  12. Jock Brazel (Parramatta Marist High School, Westmead)
  13. Luke Jacks (Ignatius Park College, Townsville)
  14. Blake Mozer (Keebra Park High School)
  15. John Sagaga (Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown)
  16. Ryan Couchman (Bulli High School)
  17. Lachlan Blackburn (St Dominic’s College, Kingswood)