Five teenagers including a 17-year-old are contributing to the One New Zealand Warriors’ impressive start to the New South Wales Cup season.
The Warriors are lying second on the ladder as they prepare for their seventh-round clash against the ninth-placed Sea Eagles at HE Laybutt in Blacktown, Sydney, on Sunday (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).
As they did for last week’s 54-14 trouncing of Newcastle, they’ll again have a crew of four under-20 players in their starting line-up.
Ali Leiataua (19) has been a regular in the centres throughout the season so far along with prop Zyon Maiu’u (19) and back rower Demitric Sifakula, another 19-year-old. The trio were all named this week in the One New Zealand Warriors’ 22-man extended squad for the NRL encounter with North Queensland.
Selected in the second row again this week is Jacob Laban, who scored a try and made 114 metres plus 21 tackles in his NSW Cup debut last week. He turns 19 on Monday.
Match: Sea Eagles v Warriors
Round 7 -
Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Jake TobyFullback for Warriors is number 1 Geronimo Doyle
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Cameron BrownWinger for Warriors is number 2 Setu Tu
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Fletcher MyersCentre for Warriors is number 4 Ali Leiataua
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Dean MattersonCentre for Warriors is number 20 Viliami Vailea
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 19 Clayton FaulaloWinger for Warriors is number 5 Sanele Aukusitino
Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Jamie HumphreysFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Ben Farr
Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Troy DarganHalfback for Warriors is number 18 Ronald Volkman
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 21 Ben CondonProp for Warriors is number 8 Zyon Maiu'u
Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 14 Gordon Chan Kum TongHooker for Warriors is number 9 Paul Roache
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 22 Sean KeppieProp for Warriors is number 10 James Gavet
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Joshua Stuckey2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Kalani Going
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 20 Samuela Fainu2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Jacob Laban
Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Zac FultonLock for Warriors is number 13 Demitric Sifakula
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 8 Morgan BoyleInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Selumiela Halasima
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 9 Nathaniel RoacheInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Tahi Baggaley
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Austin DiasInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Paterika Vaivai
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 11 Jacob SykesInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Isaiah Vagana
Replacement for Sea Eagles is number 18 Faleata Iosefa
Reserve for Warriors is number 3 Moala Graham-Taufa
On the bench for his fourth NSW Cup match is 17-year-old back rower Leka Halasima. He started the season with the club’s SG Ball Cup side before being promoted to the NSW Cup.
At the other end of the age scale in middle forward James Gavet, boasting a total of 74 NRL appearances for five clubs, the majority (42) with the Warriors from 2016-2018. He returned home to play local football in Auckland after spending the 2020 and 2021 seasons with the Huddersfield Giants in the Super League in England.
The veteran has played the last three New South Wales Cup matches, averaging 126 metres and providing an experienced presence to a young side.
The One New Zealand Warriors have beaten Newcastle twice (42-20 and 54-14), the Sydney Roosters (30-18) and Canterbury Bankstown (30-18) while losing to the North Sydney Bears (12-20) and the Western Suburbs Magpies (10-22).
Included for the Sea Eagles are former Warriors players Brad Abbey in the centres and Nathaniel Roache at hooker along with Māori All Stars prop Austin Dias.