Under 18s NRL Victoria Semi-Finals Preview
By Matt Hughes (NRL Vic Media)
This Saturday the NRL Victoria under 18s competition will hold its semi-finals.
In the first game second-placed Altona Roosters take on Casey Warriors, whilst in the other, minor-premiers Sunbury United Tigers take on fourth-placed Northern Thunder.
The games are expected to be tight contests with only one win separating second and fourth during the regular season.
Sunbury are the reigning premiers and will be a tough opponent for the Thunder, however they will take confidence from their round one win against the Tigers. The Thunder won that match 34-26 and are also coming off a strong win against Casey last week.
Thunder Coach Jack Natapu described his teams’ season as a bit “up and down”.
“We started off strong,” he said.
“But we’ve had a lot of injuries and being such a short season, we’ve had to work with what we’ve got.”
“We’ve relied on a lot of under 17s to step up this year.”
The side will still have a few players out with injury for the weekend.
“It’s not going to be easy (to beat Sunbury),” Natapu said.
“But we’ll give it our best shot.”
The battle of second versus third looks to be an interesting one after the Warriors beat the Roosters 32-12 in their round three clash. Altona did however bounce back from that defeat and ended up finishing above Casey on the ladder.
Rooster’s Coach Brandon Taunoa says the side was a bit “unorganised” at the start of the season, but they’ve come good now ahead of their semi-final.
“We’ve got a full squad and a solid team,” he said.
“Our main halves are out however.”
Taunoa noted that during that round three loss the Roosters were short on personnel.
“Last time we only had eleven players,” he said.
“Our effort that day was good.”
“We just need to complete our sets tomorrow.”
Taunoa mentioned Iszac Faasuamaleaui, Toa Edwards, Pita Will-Purcell and Xaviour Taufa as being standout players over the season.
The game between Altona and Casey kicks off at 10.40am at Fregon Reserve, while Sunbury versus Northern begins at 12.25pm at Langama Park.