Victorians hope to ‘reap rewards’ at Affiliated States Championships

3rd Year Victorian coach Merg Mikaelian is confident the state can put in a strong showing at this weekends Affiliated States Championships in Adelaide.

 

The Victorians finished second in last years Championships after losing to Western Australia 26-18 in what was ultimately the deciding match.

Western Australia has been a dominant force in the Affiliate States Championships winning the title every year since Victoria’s 2009 triumph and 12 of the last 14.

Mikaelian again believes Western Australia will be the benchmark but is optimistic the Victorians can challenge them.

“They’ve always got a core group of between 10-14 players that play every year and have done so for the past 6 or 7 plus years” he said.

And while the Victorians perhaps don’t have the wealth of experience WA do at their disposal they will be banking on their injection of youth to lift them.

“We’ve got a lot of kids now in the team that have come through the under 16 and under 18 pathways Storm programs so its good that we’re starting to reap the rewards a bit there” Mikaelian said

Among the youngsters named in the squad are Altona duo Sulio Fifita and Zev John, Northern Thunder pair Jared Faale and John Schwalger and Doveton’s Nick Hay.

Zev John has been one of the best performers throughout the First Grade competition this year and shapes as a key cog to the Victorian line up while Sunbury’s Tiaan Wilkins has also caught the eye of many.

“It’s a good mix there, there’s kids and also a lot of blokes that have played at the level before so we’re confident” Mikalian said.

The group have been together for around 8 weeks training weekly in preparation for the Championships, all players also stepped down from last weekend’s club fixtures to ensure freshness for the weekends 3 matches in consecutive days.

The Victorian’s heavy workload will perhaps be aided by a middle game against traditional strugglers South Australia. But the Victorian coaches sole worry at the moment is getting the competition off to a good start with a win on the opening day against Northern Territory.

“NT will be good this year, they’ve changed their program up there quite a bit so I’ll expect them to be a bit better this year”

“Hopefully we can get our tournament underway with a really good start and really set ourselves up to hopefully have that last game as a bit of a final” he said.

Victoria starts their campaign this Friday the 23rd of June against Northern Territory at Portland Football Club.

The Victorian’s made light work of Northern Territory and South Australia last year winning by 20 and 60 points respectively but were unable to topple Western Australia.

SQUAD:

Playing No

Name

Club

1

Arana Masoe

Northern Thunder

2

Apuanea Vaka

Sunshine Cowboys

3

Tusiga Losi

Waverley Panthers

4

Ben Tuiatua

Werribee Bears

5

Lehi Taomia

North West Wolves

6

Tiaan Wilkins

Sunbury Tigers

7

Terry Constantinou

Sunbury Tigers

8

Tasmania Johansson

Werribee Bears

9

Tyrael McGee-Waters

Pakenham Eels

10

Nigel Taleta

Casey Warriors

11

Damien Paila

Waverley Panthers

12

Brandon Taua’a

Casey Warriors

13

Samisoni Fusi

Sunbury Tigers

14

Jared Faale

Northern Thunder

15

 

 

16

John Schwalger

Northern Thunder

17

Nicholas Hay

Doveton Steelers

18

Conaniah Kirisome

North West Wolves

19

Zev John

Altona Roosters

20

Sulio Fifita

Altona Roosters

Coach

Merg Mikaelian

NRL Victoria

Asst Coach

Bradley Saunders

Sunbury Tigers

Asst Coach

Phil Pese

NRL Victoria

Head Trainer

Paul Fisher

North West Wolves

Manager

Murray Newham

NRL Victoria




Comments

Comment Guidelines: The SportsTG Network is made up of players, families and passionate sports followers like you who have a strong opinion about sport. That's great - we want you to have your say and share your thoughts with the world. However, we have a few rules that you must follow to keep it fun for all. Please don't be rude, abusive, swear or vilify others. Apart from some pretty serious sport sanctions, we also can ban you and report you if things get out of hand. So play fair and have fun, and thanks for your contribution.

WANT TO REFEREE?