RED AND BLACK REPORT 2023: EDITION NO.10
The Red and Black Report shines a spotlight on Canterbury Rugby League products featuring in Australia’s elite and lower-grade competitions.
Aranui Eagles junior Jamayne Isaako continues to sit atop the NRL pointscoring charts with 173 – opening up a gap of 15 points to his nearest competitor.
The winger showed his full gamut of qualities in the Dolphins’ thrilling golden point win over Gold Coast in Round 19, scoring their last try (followed by a memorable golf-inspired try celebration), coolly slotting a late field goal and booting the match-winning penalty in extra-time.
Isaako had a tough day with the boot on Sunday in a gallant 24-14 loss to Penrith but made a strong contribution, racking up stats of 17 runs for 144 metres for the second straight week.
Dolphins teammate and Burnham Cheavliers junior Kodi Nikorima has settled into the fullback role, with Queensland Origin hero Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow being utilised at centre.
Nikorima chalked up 158 metres and a line-break against the Titans, while he scored a clever try, made two line-breaks, produced three line-break assists and had a try assist against the Panthers.
Another Aranui product, Daejarn Asi, laid on a try in a rare highlight in Parramatta’s 46-10 loss to the Warriors in Round 19 – standing in for Mitch Moses in the Eels’ No.7 jersey – while he played his fifth straight game in the top grade in a 25-24 eclipse of the Titans on Sunday night.
Asi has two more rounds to impressive before New Zealand Test five-eighth Dylan Brown will be available for selection again after serving a suspension.
Hornby junior Fa’amanu Brown was Canterbury-Bankstown’s activated 18th man during Saturday’s 44-24 loss to Brisbane at a packed Belmore Oval, making the most of his 22 minutes on the paddock with six runs for 52 metres and 16 tackles.
Hornby product Jordan Riki’s foot injury sustained in the Broncos’ shock Round 17 loss to Gold Coast Titans is now expected to sideline the 23-year-old back-rower until Round 26.
Meanwhile, another player who pulled on the boots in Burnham Chevaliers’ junior ranks recently made their NRL debut.
Siua Wong was born in Auckland but attended primary school Burnham and played for the Chevaliers with his family moving to the area to be close to the Military Camp. He later spent time at Scots College in Wellington and was recruited by Sydney Roosters as a 14-year-old.
A Fiji rep during last year’s World Cup and a NSW Cup regular, Wong – who only turned 20 in April – earned his NRL spurs for the Roosters against Manly in Round 18 and scored a try in his second appearance, Saturday’s loss to Melbourne.
Wong joins Kodi Nikorima and his brother, Storm squad member Jayden Nikorima, and currently injured Warriors cult hero Jazz Tevaga as ex-Chevaliers to have reached the top level.
Fa’amanu Brown pressed his claims for an NRL recall by racking up 33 tackles in the Bulldogs’ 44-16 defeat of Souths in NSW Cup Round 19.
Warriors SG Ball captain and Halswell front-rower Tanner Stowers-Smith is looking very much at home in NSW Cup, producing a standout 40-minute display off the bench in a 36-14 win over Parramatta in Round 19.
The tyro racked up 77 metres from eight runs and 30 tackles against the Eels to earn a promotion to the starting line-up on Sunday. Stowers-Smith, the great grandson of Canterbury Rugby League legend Pat Smith, made up eight runs for 79 metres and 27 tackles in 48 minutes at prop in a 26-18 loss to Newtown at Mt Smart Stadium.
Tanner Stowers Smith is a real machine, the young fulla just doesn’t stop. Great prospect.
— Ngāti Warriors (@NgatiWarriors) July 16, 2023
Northern Bulldogs product Sheldon Pitama returned from a week off in style in Round 17 of the Queensland Cup, helping inspire Redcliffe’s 26-24 win over Tweed Heads with 10 runs for 103 metres, a line-break and 32 tackles.
The experienced hooker was outstanding again on Saturday, scoring a try, producing two line-breaks and a try assist, making 18 dummy-half runs for 133 metres and notching 27 tackles in the Dolphins’ 38-6 thrashing of Burleigh.
Jayden Nikorima, who turned out for Burnham Chevaliers as a junior, has scored 10 tries in 14 matches at five-eighth for Storm feeder club Sunshine Coast Falcons – including a four-pointer in Saturday’s win over Northern Pride. The former Roosters playmaker made one NRL appearance for Melbourne in 2022 after a six-year first-grade hiatus.
Riccarton prop K-Ci Newton Whare – whose father, Vince Whare, was a stalwart for Riccarton and Canterbury – came off the bench again for Melbourne Storm’s under-21s side in a 24-18 loss to the Bulldogs.
Hornby forward Felix Faatili returned to Cronulla’s Jersey Flegg line-up three weeks ago and is making a sizeable impact, scoring tries in consecutive weeks in losses to St George Illawarra and Penrith, before coming off the bench in a drought-breaking win over South Sydney.
Faatili had been turning out for De La Salle Caringbah in the Illawarra Cup.
Halswell winger and Canterbury-Bankstown Jersey Flegg regular Montel Lisala has featured in the Bulldogs’ Ron Massey Cup side for the past two weeks.