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Hyphens have it in potent squad

Time was when hyphenated or double-barrelled surnames were relatively rare in sport. How the landscape has changed.

In a previous age they were rather twee and elitist, seemingly reserved for the aristocrats and the hoity-toity set. And oh, so English, perhaps readily associated with England’s public schools, the British military, cricket and rugby union.

Like Micky Steele-Bodger, for instance, he of the double-barrelled name who played union for England and later became chairman of the International Rugby Board, back in the days when it was such a secretive society meeting in the Rugby Union Room at the East India Club in St James’ Square in London.

These days hyphenated surnames are commonplace, especially in rugby league. The likes of Craig Polla-Mounter (Canterbury-Bankstown) and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne) were among the few who initially brought two names for the price of one to the NRL.

The first player to boast a surname with a hyphen for the Vodafone Warriors at NRL level was Raymond Faitala-Mariner in 2015 and he has since been followed by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Chanel Harris Tavita and now this year’s rookie Jamayne Taunoa-Brown also known as RTS, CNK, CHT and now JTB.

Across the NRL there’s an army of them, enough to make up a team of players currently in the competition even allowing for SKD (Shaun Kenny-Dowall) heading to Hull Kingston Rovers and Vodafone Warriors-bound BMM (Ben Murdoch-Masila) being in his last season with Warrington.

There’s no question Kiwis have something of a mortgage on the hyphenated surnames. Of the 17 in the squad chosen, 14 are New Zealanders, 10 of them having played at Test level for the Kiwis (one of whom has defected to Tonga). The other three have all played for the Kangaroos.

The pack is big in terms or surnames and bulk while the bench is positively huge in the shape of JTB, AFB, RCG and BHU.

Check out the 2020 NRL double-barrelled team:

1 Roger TUIVASA-SHECK Vodafone Warriors
2 Malakai WATENE-ZELEZNIAK Penrith Panthers
3 Charnze NICOLL-KLOKSTAD Canberra Raiders
4 Dallin WATENE-ZELEZNIAK Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
5 Josh ADDO-CARR Melbourne Storm
6 Chanel HARRIS-TAVITA Vodafone Warriors
7 Daly CHERRY-EVANS Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
8 Jared WAEREA-HARGREAVES Sydney Roosters
9 Jeremy MARSHALL-KING Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
10 Nelson ASOFA-SOLOMONA Melbourne Storm
11 Raymond FAITALA-MARINER Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
12 Michael CHEE-KAM Wests Tigers
13 James FISHER-HARRIS Penrith Panthers
Interchange    
14 Jamayne TAUNOA-BROWN Vodafone Warriors
15 Addin FONUA-BLAKE Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
16 Reagan CAMPBELL-GILLARD Parramatta Eels
17 Braden HAMLIN-UELE Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks