Newcastle Rebels junior coach Adam Hall is under no illusions as to what his squad will face when it tackles the upcoming 2021 Tri Series.
The Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) under-20 representative side, which was named in April, heads into battle with Illawarra and Canberra over the next couple of months.
And, the selectors have hand-picked a gifted squad – consisting of Central Newcastle quintet Ethan Campbell, Lachlan O’Brien, Kurt Donoghoe, Travhon Lemalama and Tyler Doney, Cessnock foursome Harrison Spruce, Harry Whitfield, Harvey Neville and Joseph Barber, Lakes United quartet Cohen Geelan, Ryan Potts, Sam Smith and Sione Tuitupou-Kutu, South Newcastle trio Carlin Pettit, Tom Reynolds and Zac Jones, along with Callan Briggs (Macquarie), Ryan Weatherall (Northern Hawks), Max Buderus and Pat Achurch (West Newcastle) – to showcase their wares on the big stage.
But, Hall knows it won’t be an easy assignment.
“Illawarra and Canberra are both strong regions,” he said.
“They’ll have pathways for their young blokes, similar to what we have here [in Newcastle].
“So, I expect we will confront some tough, talented opposition to play against.”
Hall said he was “fairly confident” the Rebels would give a good account of themselves.
“I think it’s a really strong squad, there’s plenty of talent across the board,” he told the Newcastle Weekly at the team’s unveiling at the South Newcastle Rugby League Club.
“It is also a great opportunity for these guys, especially if they have NRL dreams.
“At the end of the day, I’m just looking forward to working with the boys.
“Fingers crossed, we’ll get some good weather, so we can produce some open style of footy.
“I like to play an expansive type of attacking game.
“Hopefully, we can move the ball around and ask some questions of the opposition.
“That’s the plan.”
The Rebels lock horns with Illawarra at Wollongong on Sunday 16 May and Canberra at the Maitland Sportsground on Saturday 26 June.
NEWCASTLE REBELS JUNIORS
(Coach Adam Hall): Ethan Campbell (Central Newcastle), Lachlan O’Brien (Central Newcastle), Kurt Donoghoe (Central Newcastle), Travhon Lemalama (Central Newcastle), Tyler Doney (Central Newcastle), Harrison Spruce (Cessnock), Harry Whitfield (Cessnock), Harvey Neville (Cessnock), Joseph Barber (Cessnock), Cohen Geelan (Lakes United), Ryan Potts (Lakes United), Sam Smith (Lakes United), Sione Tuitupou-Kutu (Lakes United), Callan Briggs (Macquarie), Ryan Weatherall (Northern Hawks), Carlin Pettit (South Newcastle), Tom Reynolds (South Newcastle), Zac Jones (South Newcastle), Max Buderus (West Newcastle), Pat Achurch (West Newcastle)