Thunderbolts v Hunter Valley Match Preview
By Matt Hughes (NRL Vic Media)
Tomorrow morning the Victorian Thunderbolts under 16 side will host the Hunter Valley Group 21 under 16 side at Gosch’s Paddock. This is the third year the team has travelled down to play our boys, with the scores level at one apiece.
The Victorians will be keen for a win this year, after narrowly going down last year 8 to 6.
They should be well prepared for the match after they convincingly beat a Riverina side earlier this year in Albury.
The team contains three players in Sualauvi Faalogo, Gabriel Reedy-Bartlett and Harry Sio, who were all selected for the schoolboy’s CAS side after impressing for Victoria in Darwin last week.
NRL Victoria Lead Game Development officer Ben Jack highlighted Norman “the koala” Mataafa as a player to watch.
Hunter Valley co-coach Tom Hagan is pleased with his side’s lead-up to the match.
“We’ve prepared really good,” he said.
“We picked the side about two months ago. It’s comprised of kids from six different towns in the Hunter Valley.”
“We’ve probably been training once a fortnight and the last couple of weeks we’ve been doing two a week just to get everything ready.”
Hagan says the whole team is excited for the clash.
“It’s a big thing for them,” he said.
“For a couple of the boys it’s their first time on a plane.”
“It’s just about containing their enthusiasm and making sure they’re ready to play, rather than getting caught up in it all.”
Hagan noted a few players to keep an eye on.
“Our hooker and captain Sam Fechner is a terrific young kid and a really good leader,” he said.
“Tommy Dickson at halfback and Nick Laurie at fullback are also ones to watch out for.”
The match kicks off at 10.45 tomorrow morning and will be Victoria’s last hit out before they head to Sydney for a three-game tour in July.