Big group of Kiwis set for grand finals day
Monday 24 September 2012 3:00 PM
More than 20 players with New Zealand links – including seven Kiwis – are set to line up in the NRL, NYC or New South Wales Cup grand finals at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
Teams for the NRL grand final will be named tomorrow with New Zealand internationals Sam Perrett, Krisnan Inu, Frank Pritchard and Greg Eastwood all certain to be named for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs while Melbourne’s Kiwi connection is set to again comprise Kiwis Jesse Bromwich, Penrith-bound Sika Manu and Kevin Proctor (Proctor was in New Zealand’s Four Nations squad in England last year but didn’t play). Also involved will be huge Auckland-born Bulldogs prop Sam Kasiano, the Otahuhu Leopards junior who has been stuck in a tug o’ war between New Zealand and Australia.
Between them, Perrett, former Vodafone Warrior Inu, Pritchard and Eastwood accounted for 28 points in the Bulldogs’ 32-8 preliminary final against South Sydney on Saturday.
Both clubs have a number of other New Zealand players in their wider NRL squads. Former Kiwis Dene Halatau and Bryson Goodwin are with Canterbury-Bankstown along with 2010 Junior Kiwi captain Martin Taupau and ex-Vodafone Junior Warrior James Gavet, who was in the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL squad in 2010 and 2011. Melbourne’s other New Zealand-born squad members are injured winger Matt Duffie plus forwards Kenneath Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Slade Griffin (Duffie played for the Kiwis in last year’s Anzac Test while Bromwich and Tohu both represented the Junior Kiwis against the Junior Kangaroos in Newcastle last October).
There’ll also be added interest for Vodafone Warriors members and fans in new signings Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie, both involved in Melbourne’s 40-12 mauling of Manly in last Friday night’s preliminary final. With the Storm aiming much of their attack at their right edge – targeting Kiwi Steve Matai and Tony Williams on Manly’s left – Nielsen saw limited opportunities on attack, making only five runs; on a night when Melbourne’s defensive workload amount to just 200 tackles in total compared to Manly’s 321, he made 14 tackles with one miss. Loose forward Lowrie had 61 minutes on the field in all, gaining 105 metres from 14 carries and making 18 tackles without a miss.
Wests Tigers will have the widest representation on grand final day with their junior team reaching the NYC grand final and feeder club Balmain Ryde Eastwood causing a huge upset by beating Newcastle to reach the New South Wales Cup decider against the Sydney Roosters’ feeder side Newtown.
In beating the Sydney Roosters 28-22 in their NYC preliminary final on Saturday, the Tigers fielded three players known to have New Zealand connections – loose forward Inno Inosesio was born in New Zealand as was fullback Kurtis Rowe, who hails from New Plymouth, while prop Soni Paasi is a younger brother of Agantius Paasi, who starred for the 2011 NYC premiership-winning Vodafone Junior Warriors and also appeared for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup this year.
In the other preliminary final, Canberra pumped St George Illawarra 44-16 with a line-up including Wellington-born winger Jeremy Hawkins, Auckland-born standoff Anthony Milford, Auckland-born second rower Michael Chee Kam and monster Wellington-born interchange prop Uiti Baker. Hawkins was a Randwick junior in Wellington, Chee Kam learned his trade with the Mount Wellington Warriors and Baker with Wainuiomata. Hawkins and Baker have both represented the New Zealand 16s and 18s; Chee Kam played for the Australian Schoolboys in 2010 while Milford is another player caught up in a New Zealand v Australia battle. He is thought to be in the frame for the Junior Kiwis for their clash against the Junior Kangaroos on October 13 but has spent most of his life across the Tasman and has previously represented Australia and Queensland at age group level.
Several players with Kiwi links also feature in the two teams contesting the New South Wales Cup grand final. Balmain Ryde Eastwood beat Newcastle 26-24 while Newtown trounced the Bulldogs 34-6.
The Tigers boast Wellington-born centre-second rower Josh Davis, fellow centre Tim Simona and former Penrith hooker Masada Iosefa, who was called in as a back-up player for the Kiwis in 2007.
The Jets have an array of New Zealanders including former Vodafone Junior Warriors Adam Henry, Nafe Seluini and Kurt Kara as well as 2011 Vodafone Warriors NRL squad member Saulala Houma. Henry, who was in the winning 2011 NYC side, made his NRL debut for the Rooster this year while Seluini, part of the champion 2010 NYC team, started the year with Penrith but finished it with the Roosters. Wellingtonian Mose Masoe, who has played almost 50 NRL games for the Roosters, is also set for the Jets’ grand final side.
KIWI GRAND FINAL WATCH
NRL GRAND FINAL
Canterbury-Bankstown: Sam Perrett, Krisnan Inu, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Greg Eastwood
Melbourne: Jesse Bromwich, Sika Manu, Kevin Proctor
NYC GRAND FINAL:
Wests Tigers: Inno Inosesio , Soni Paasi, Kurtis Rowe
Canberra: Uiti Baker, Michael Chee Kam, Jeremy Hawkins, Anthony Milford
NEW SOUTH WALES CUP:
Balmain Ryde Eastwood: Josh Davis, Tim Simona, Masada Iosefa
Newtown: Adam Henry, Mose Masoe, Nafe Seluini, Saulala Houma, Kurt Kara, Josh Ailaomai, Alofa Alofa