10 to watch at Schoolboys Championship

Campbell Graham (Photo: Robb Cox/NRL Photos)

The 2017 ASSRL 18 Years Championship kicks off this Sunday at St Marys, with the best under-18 players in the country competing for a spot in the Australian Schoolboys side. There will be a number of Holden Cup players running around during the week, so today we’re taking a closer look at 10 to keep an eye on.

Note – these were taken from squads named over the last few weeks, apologies if one of the following players has since been ruled out.

Logan Bayliss-Brow
Queensland (Ignatius Park College – North Queensland Cowboys)
The only player in the Queensland schoolboys side with NYC experience, Bayliss-Brow has played two Holden Cup games off the bench for the Cowboys so far in 2017 and scored an important second half try for Queensland under-18 last month. Still just 17, the Kingaroy junior is already 193cm and 102kg, making him one of the biggest players in the Championships.

Max Burey
NSWCCC (Holy Cross College, Ryde – Wests Tigers)
A livewire halfback from the bush, Burey joined the Tigers from Wagga Wagga, where he played first grade for the Kangaroos in 2016. Now attending Holy Cross College in Ryde, he started the season playing for Balmain’s SG Ball side before moving up to the Holden Cup. After making his debut in Round 10, Burey has played four games, starting in all of them, and scoring one try so far in 2017.

Haze Dunster
NSWCHS (The Hills Sports High School – Parramatta Eels)
After staring the season playing in the Holden Cup, Dunster returned to Parramatta’s SG Ball side where he helped them win the Grand Final and the National Final, in which he scored two tries. The Hills Sports student is now back in the Eels’ NYC side, starting the last four rounds on the wing and scoring thee tries. His best performance came in Round 15 against the Dragons, where he scored a try, ran for 130 metres and broke four tackles.

Campbell Graham
NSWCCC (Marcellin College Randwick – South Sydney Rabbitohs)
The most experienced Holden Cup player in the Championships, Graham made his NYC debut last year for the Rabbitohs and has played 17 games, scoring six tries. The 197cm, 95kg centre was selected for the New South Wales under-18 side last month but was unfortunately ruled out due to injury. Graham is one of two returning Australian Schoolboys from 2016 and will be eager to retain his jersey.

Oregon Kaufusi
NSWCHS (The Hills Sports High School – Parramatta Eels)
Auckland-born, Wentworthville junior Oregon Kaufusi has had a big 2017 so far and will look to add an Australian Schoolboys jersey to his bright season. Despite being NYC-eligible and not turning 18 until August, the prop has spent the entire season playing for the Eels’ NYC side, playing 15 games and scoring a try. Last month he represented New South Wales under-18 in their win over Queensland.

Zac Lomax
NSWCHS (Figtree High School – St George Illawarra Dragons)
Another player yet to turn 18, Zac Lomax has spent the entire season playing for the Dragons’ Holden Cup side and has been a standout for them. He’s the competition’s third highest point scorer with six tries and 57 goals for 138 points from his 15 games. An Australian Schoolboy last year, Lomax represented New South Wales under-18 for the second time last month, kicking five goals and an important field goal late in the contest.

Ky Rodwell
NSWCHS (Matraville Sports High School – South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Mascot junior Ky Rodwell has been a regular in the Rabbitohs’ Holden Cup side over the last few weeks. The prop has played six NYC games so far in 2017, starting two of them. His best performance in the under-20s this season came in Souths’ 18-0 win over the Tigers in Round 10, where he started at prop and played 71 minutes, running for 102 metres and making 49 tackles.

Jaeman Salmon
NSWCCC (De La Salle College, Cronulla – Cronulla Sharks)
It’s certainly been a big few weeks for Cronulla’s Jaeman Salmon. After starting at five-eighth in New South Wales under-18’s win over Queensland, the De La Salle junior made his NYC debut last weekend in the Sharks’ win over the Roosters, where he scored a try. Able to play in the halves, centres or back row, Salmon is a versatile talent who will be pushing hard for an Australian Schoolboys jersey.

Joseph Taipari
NSWCHS (The Hills Sports High School – Parramatta Eels)
A member of the Eels’ dominant SG Ball and National Final winning sides earlier this year, Taipari made his NYC debut three weeks ago and has started every game at halfback since. A Halswell Hornets junior and former Christchurch Boys’ High Student, Taipari moved to Sydney last year to join Parramatta and it looks like the move has paid off so far.

Bennett Wheelhouse
NSWCCC (Holy Cross College, Ryde – Wests Tigers)
The third Wheelhouse brother to play for the Wests Tigers NYC side, Bennett will look to become the first Australian Schoolboy in the family this week. Much like club and school mate Max Burey, the hooker started the season with Balmain’s SG Ball side, before moving up to the Holden Cup, where he has played three games so far.

Head to www.assrl.org.au to follow the scores or watch the live streams of the Championships, starting on Sunday morning. We’ll also be live tweeting all the games over at our Twitter account.



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