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.


Playing No




Arana Masoe

Northern Thunder


Apuanea Vaka

Sunshine Cowboys


Tusiga Losi

Waverley Panthers


Ben Tuiatua

Werribee Bears


Lehi Taomia

North West Wolves


Tiaan Wilkins

Sunbury Tigers


Terry Constantinou

Sunbury Tigers


Tasmania Johansson

Werribee Bears


Tyrael McGee-Waters

Pakenham Eels


Nigel Taleta

Casey Warriors


Damien Paila

Waverley Panthers


Brandon Taua’a

Casey Warriors


Samisoni Fusi

Sunbury Tigers


Jared Faale

Northern Thunder





John Schwalger

Northern Thunder


Nicholas Hay

Doveton Steelers


Conaniah Kirisome

North West Wolves


Zev John

Altona Roosters


Sulio Fifita

Altona Roosters


Merg Mikaelian

NRL Victoria

Asst Coach

Bradley Saunders

Sunbury Tigers

Asst Coach

Phil Pese

NRL Victoria

Head Trainer

Paul Fisher

North West Wolves


Murray Newham

NRL Victoria


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