RED AND BLACK REPORT 2023: EDITION NO.8
The Red and Black Report shines a spotlight on Canterbury Rugby League products featuring in Australia’s elite and lower-grade competitions.
The fledgling Dolphins have hit a rough spot in recent weeks, but Aranui product Jamayne Isaako’s form and pointscoring exploits have remained a high level as his career-best 2023 season continues.
The winger was the Dolphins’ best in their 30-8 loss to the Warriors in Round 14, racking up a game-high 278 metres and four line-breaks, as well as producing a superb solo try in the second half.
Isaako took his season tallies to 152 points (first in the NRL) and 14 tries (equal-third) with the Dolphins’ opening four-pointer and three conversions in a heavy 58-18 defeat to Manly in Round 15.
— NRL (@NRL) June 9, 2023
Again filling in at fullback for Queensland Origin star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow against the Warriors, Dolphins utility and Burnham junior Kodi Nikorima came up with a line-break and a try assist on top of 154 running metres.
Nikorima reverted to five-eighth for the clash with the Sea Eagles and laid on two of the Dolphins’ three tries.
Ex-Hornby back-rower Jordan Riki continues to shine for the premiership-leading Brisbane Broncos, with his season-high 153 metres at Cronulla in Round 14 including a long break that led to his side’s opening try.
Match Highlights 🎥 – #NRLSharksBroncos
Broncos retain their place at the top of the NRL ladder with a gritty 20-12 defeat of the Sharks. pic.twitter.com/NBueEU70HB
— NRL (@NRL) June 3, 2023
Riki also made 39 tackles in that 20-12 win, while he chewed off 40 tackles and 81 metres as the Broncos edged Newcastle Knights 24-20 a week later.
Parramatta five-eighth Dylan Brown’s suspension for an off-field incident has opened the door for a long-awaited opportunity for Daejarn Asi – and the Aranui junior has taken it with both hands in the past fortnight.
The former North Queensland and Warriors utility-back had been in a tremendous form at fullback and centre for the Eels’ NSW Cup team, but he was outstanding in the No.6 jersey on NRL club debut as the blue-and-golds trounced Canterbury 34-12 in Round 15. Asi had a line-break, two try assists, 85 running metres and 20 tackles.
— NRL (@NRL) June 12, 2023
Moving into the halfback role on Saturday with Mitchell Moses on NSW Origin duty, Asi steered the Eels to a 34-4 win over Manly that lifted last year’s grand finalists into the Top 8 for the first time this season. The 22-year-old handled the bulk of the kicking duties and had a hand in four tries.
Chasing a recall to Canterbury Bulldogs’ NRL side for the first time since Round 9, Hornby product Fa’amanu Brown has been performing strongly for the club’s NSW Cup side.
Brown scored a try, and made 145 and 27 tackles after starting at lock in the Bulldogs’ 20-6 win over Sydney Roosters in Round 14. A week later in a 64-12 demolition of Parramatta, Brown racked up 180 running metres as well as a line-break and a try assist.
— The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup (@NSWCup) June 4, 2023
The 28-year-old utility switched to hooker for Canterbury’s 30-16 defeat of Penrith last weekend, reeling off 25 tackles and 82 metres as the side charged to the top of the ladder.
Halswell junior Joseph Taipari set up the Roosters’ only try against the Bulldogs from five-eighth, while he had two try assists at halfback in a 24-22 loss to the Panthers in Round 15 and scored a try in a 36-12 victory at Newcastle last Saturday.
Former Canterbury age-group and Papanui player Tahi Baggaley returned to the Warriors’ bench for their 24-22 loss to Souths in Round 14, making five runs for 54 metres and 18 tackles in 29 minutes of game-time.
Baggeley was similarly productive off the pine in a big win over Canberra and a loss to Newtown in the past two weeks.
Warriors SG Ball captain and Halswell front-rower Tanner Stowers-Smith returned for his third NSW Cup appearance against the Jets on Sunday. The teenage prospect – and great-grandson of Canterbury and Kiwis great Pat Smtih – produced an impressive eight carries for 73 metres as an interchange forward at Henson Park.
Redcliffe Dolphins are sitting in the Queensland Cup’s top four and Northern Bulldogs junior Sheldon Pitama continues to prove a dependable and industrious presence in the pack.
The hooker has played 70-plus minutes in the past three rounds – encompassing convincing wins over the Hunters and Tigers, and a one-point heart-breaker against the Devils – and scored tries in the latter two.
Pitama is averaging 85 running metres and 31 tackles per game in 2023.
— Hostplus Cup (@HostplusCup) June 3, 2023
Riccarton prop K-Ci Newton Whare – whose father, Vince Whare, was a stalwart for Riccarton and Canterbury – is making impressive progress after graduating from Melbourne’s SG Ball ranks earlier this season.
Newtown Whare came off the bench to score his first try in the Storm’s Round 14 Jersey Flegg victory over Souths. He held his spot for subsequent wins against Cronulla and Newcastle for a side that has climbed to fifth courtesy of a six-match winning streak.
Halswell Hornets winger Montel Lisala has featured for Canterbury Bulldogs’ Jersey Flegg side regularly in 2023 and has been turning out for the club’s Ron Massey Cup (a senior competition that sits one tier below NSW Cup) team in recent weeks.
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