Here at The Cumberland Throw, we’re passionate about pathways rugby league. We attend matches, live blog and report on featured games as we endeavour to update fellow supporters about Parramatta’s programs and the young people making their way in Eels colours.
Unfortunately, it’s been a challenging year for elite junior players.
When COVID-19 first struck earlier this year, the junior representative competitions were shut down and the players involved in such programs lost a year of their football development.
Though there was good news via local footy rebooting, there’s no doubt that the disruptions to elite pathways will have an effect.
However, those of us who are invested in the Eels systems can put our disappointment aside when we tune into today’s final of the NRL Schoolboy Cup.
What a terrific result it is for Parramatta to have a dozen players across both Patrician Brothers Blacktown and Westfield Sports High teams.
Of course, other NRL clubs are represented with players attached to their programs, but with two western Sydney schools involved, the Eels were bound to feature most prominently.
For those tuning in to the live stream, here’s the players to look for (pending late changes and with apologies for any player not mentioned).
Westfield Sports: Vlado Jankovic, Caleb Tohi, Cooper Sinclair
Patrician Brothers Blacktown: Sean Russell, Sam Loizou, Jakob Arthur, David Langi, Bailey Nouredine, Blake Martin, Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa, Maximus Tupou, Myles Martin
Jot down these names in your Blue and Gold notebook for 2021 and beyond.
Competitions are set to resume next year, so you can track their progress as they resume their footy development wearing Eels colours once again. You might even see the likes of older players such as Arthur, Russell, and Loizou involved in some preseason training!
And so to today.
The Schoolboy Cup hasn’t been held under ideal circumstances for the players and their families and their friends.
Spectators have not been permitted to attend matches, with venues closed to the public. Access has only been available via live streams through The Daily Telegraph.
But what a collection of highlights there’s been as the teams have marched towards today’s final. We could use the cliche “champagne rugby league”, even though most of the players are too young to imbibe.
When the dust settles, there will only be one winner, but today remains a day of celebrations for all players.
They should be proud to reach the final of a prestigious competition in such a year.
The team lists, courtesy of the Daily Telegraph are:
Westfields Sports High: 1. Carson Kaho 2. Ashton Kolinisau 3. Solomone Saukuru 4. Vaiala Tamati 5. Keane Tavui 6. Joshua Parke 7. Joseph O’Neill 8. Solomon Akama 9. Vlado Jankovic 10. Apisalome Saukuru 11. Braydon Guyan 12. Caleb Kirikiti 13. Caleb Tohi BENCH: 14. Justin Matamua 15. Raymond Lole 16. Semisi-Taufui Lavulo 17. Sam Iese 18. Jarvis Leafa 19. Joshua Leiataua
Coaches: Wayne Lambkin, Troy Weeden, Luke Vella
Patrician Brothers Blacktown: 1. Sean Russell 2. Sione Lino 3. Sam Loizou 4. Sunia Turuva 5. Kristian-Li Mai 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Jakob Arthur 8. David Langi 9. Bailey Nouredine 10. Jai Wynbergen-Titoko 11. Blake Martin 12. Uinitoni Mataele 13. Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa BENCH: 14. Ethan Sanders 15. John Sagaga 16. Lafaele Tauapai 17. Maximus Tupou 18. Jecii Pritchard 19. Alfred Uelese 20. Max Pritchard 21. Tyreece Tonga 22. Siotame Hansen 23. Myles Martin
Coach: Noah Meares
Congratulations. Good luck. Play well. And of course, go you Parra boys!