The Cumberland Throw

Development Club Update – Eels Reps in Australian Secondary Schools Championships

In late June, the Parramatta Eels released their strategic plan. An important component of that plan related to player development.

The goal?

“To be the premier development club in the NRL and deliver sustainable on-field success including regular finals football.”

To that end, it’s worthwhile for Parramatta Eels fans to be updated with key achievements or events in the development pathway for players in the Eels junior system.

Starting on July 14, and concluding on July 19, the Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League Under 18 Championship will be conducted in Canberra. This championship is effectively the selection trial for the Australian Schoolboys team which is announced following the final. A multitude of NRL players have trodden this path during their rugby league career.

The Parramatta Eels will be well represented at these championships via the following players:

Queensland Maroons:

Jack Hoffmann

Isaiah Vailalo


David Tui

Trey Mooney

Caleb Tohi

(All players from Westfield Sports High School)


Jakob Arthur

Tyler Field

Samuel Loizou

Unitoni Maetele

Jontay Betham-Misa

Peter Taateo

(All players from St Pats Blacktown)

Special note should be taken of the age of these players. The majority of the Eels players are only 17 this year, and were playing in Harold Matthews in 2018. Tyler Field and David Tui will be the sole 18 year olds in the Eels contingent.

There are, unfortunately, some hard luck stories.

Jakob Arthur, Samuel Loizou, Peter Taateo & Unitoni Maetele

Jayden Skinner was selected for NSWCCC but had to withdraw due to injury. Viliami Penisini was unavailable due to surgery and other strong contenders such as Sean Russell, Taylor Mauala and Matt Komalafe missed the selection trials due to injury. It’s fair to say that each of those boys could easily have forced their way into a team.

I recently watched a high quality Schoolboys Cup clash between St Pats and Hills Sports at Guildford. St Pats took the honours that day, and it wasn’t hard to see why with so many of the NSWCCC players in their team. I thought that their forwards laid a strong platform (they are well served with the likes of Maetele, Taateo, Skinner and Betham-Misa) and the halves pairing of Jakob Arthur and Tyler Field guided the team superbly. Field is a very strong competitor and Arthur’s game management is very advanced for a player who doesn’t turn 17 till later this year. Loizou also impressed out wide.

Isaiah Vailalo & Charlie Murray

There has been some publicity with Isaiah Vailalo joining the Eels program. The talented prop recently competed in the Queensland Fraternity Shield competition, and from that was named in the QISSRL Merit Team. If you’re interested in checking out his highlights package, you can find it here.

Pictured alongside Vailalo is Charlie Murray. Charlie is also in the Eels program and won the player of the tournament in the Fraternity Shield. He was extremely unlucky not to make the Queensland Maroons team for the Australian Championships. In fact, Charlie was TCT’s standout player at an SG Ball Trial against the Bulldogs in January this year. 


Miles Martin and Cody Parry

Finally, I need to make mention of two younger Eels players who recently competed in the Australian Secondary Schools Under 15s Championship. Cody Parry (brother of Ethan) and Miles Martin caught the eye as under age players at the Eels Harold Matthews trials earlier this year and I’d expect them to see plenty of action in 2020. Cody and Miles performed strongly at the Championships and as a result were named in the Australian Merit Team.

Congratulations to both boys on such a fine achievement.



Becoming a professional player is a tough road and another step altogether past this point. Not all junior stars become NRL players and not all NRL players were representative standouts as juniors. But no matter where their rugby league careers take them, these young footballers should feel proud of their achievements and enjoy such moments.

We wish them success.

Eels forever!


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Great post sixties, good luck to these guys as you said it’s a hard road and not all make it. On a brighter note, as you have pointed out before, the Eels centre of excellence, will hopefully increase the numbers and successes for our younger players. The future looks bright and I think we all agree the club is heading in the right direction.
Thanks again


Thanks 60’s, I enjoy hearing about the future Eels even though it makes me feel very old.
Any early tips on NRL development squad members for 2020?


Thanks. Any thoughts or info on young Bergarman?


I think so, Bergamin played fullback & centre for Wenty in a couple of the games that I got to watch & looked quite sharp. I was under the impression that he was an Eel.


Good read as usual. Is there any websites which have the squads for the championships?




Thank you for the overview. It is certainly pleasing to see the talent we have coming through. I hope we keep a balance with the development club theme. While undoubtably we need to bring through juniors and move them into the top grade as this will utilise a strength we have that other clubs don’t and will help us manage the salary cap, we don’t want to become like Penrith who have a revolving door with juniors and are always promoting, signing long term, then moving on the next big thing. We have had a good balance this year with… Read more »

John Eel

Sixties I believe that there needs to be more protection for Development clubs such as the Eels and Panthers. They invest heavily in these juniors and there should be some reward when they are recruited by other clubs.

I don’t know the answer but it is vital that that this development work continue by all these clubs to ensure the future of NRL.

John Eel

I have read articles quite recently where other development clubs have been asking for a better deal.

I think what you’re saying though is the most likely outcome.

John Eel

Sixties love these articles. As an Eels fan this is our future and it is nice to be able to follow these kids through to NRL for those who are skilled enough to make it.

You mention Hollis and Hughes. I was lucky enough to watch them play against the CC at Wyong early this season. They were absolute stand outs on the day and along with Jake Arthur helped the Eels to a narrow victory.

John Eel

I saw him at the game. He is quite tall. Different build to his dad completely. He did not run a lot that day but his kicking and passing game was outstanding.

I have seen video of him playing in games since and his running game has been a lot better.


Hey fellas i was also at this game and agreed on those two forwards. My assessment was that the CC team actually aimed up too!! That said i just hope we have some of these players locked up, albeit the ones who we have strong hopes of. Sixties, how has K Schneider gone this yr? I seem to recall he did miss a bit of time with injuries. And if Miles is the player i saw at A Johns cup at Wyong, then he seems to definitely have the go in him. He looks like a player i saw that… Read more »

John Eel

I read on social media that Ethan Parry had a good game last night for NSW. No details about the game though.


Great post sixties, I just wondering if anyone knows if Foxtel are televising the GIO Cup this year. Normally would be on by now.


Theres one in a couple of weeks time ,btown pats v westfield sports i think




Samuel Loizou is the youngest player in the SG Ball this year playing at 16 years of age not turning 18 until 25 December. He has had an outstanding season with SG Ball receiving Best & Fairest. Being selected in the 2019 Australian Schoolboys is a great achievement. Samuel is a natural footballer with outstanding athleticism, boasting great ball skills, speed, defence and grit where he is always wanting his hands on the ball. Definitely one to look out for in the next few years.


He is turning 17 in 2019

John Eel

We forgive you

John Eel

Based on your report he seems one definitely to look out for.

John Eel

What is his best position?

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