Updated: Feb 7
Author: Chris Avnell
The Victoria Thunderbolts will kick off their 2020 UNE SG Ball Cup season on Sunday 9th Feb, with the squad jetting off to Trusts Stadium, Auckland to take on the New Zealand Warriors in Round 1.
Since preseason training begun in November, the Thunderbolts squad have been training hard in preparation for the 2020 campaign.
2019 saw the return of Victorian sides to New South Wales Rugby League competitions for the first time since 2014, after spending some time in the Queensland Rugby League U18 and U20 competitions.
The 2019 UNE SG Ball season was a great learning curve for those players involved in the Junior Representative system for the first time, taking on some of Australia’s best junior players and learning throughout the whole journey.
Despite a 14th place finish, the growth of the squad was immeasurable and experience will be evident in 2020 with older members of the squad moving up to play in the Jersey Flegg competition, while the younger members stick around to have a second stint in UNE SG Ball Cup this season.
Those experienced players taking part in the 2020 season will be looked upon to ‘lead from the front’ says NRL Victoria Pathways & Coaching Manager Tim Auremi. ‘From the outside looking in, the players have had a great pre-season and the experience the squad members who played in last year’s competition have been of great help for the new players in the squad’.
Looking forward to the season opener today in New Zealand, Auremi added that following on from great training over a long preseason it was good to have Round 1 arrive. ‘I think both staff and players are looking forward to their first hit out. We have had a couple of trials that have put all in good stead for the season, hopefully taking the confidence into Round 1.’
Round 1 will also give the Thunderbolts supporters their first glimpse of some very exciting young players in Thunderbolt jerseys. Multiple debutants have forged very impressive records not only in NRL Victoria competitions, but dominant performances in representative games for Victoria.
The Thunderbolts will kick off at 11:00am AEST (1pm NZDT), with live scoring being available via the NSWRL website.
Game Day Information
New Zealand Warriors v Victoria Thunderbolts Sunday 9th February 11:00pm AEST/1:00PM NZDT
Victoria Thunderbolts: 1. Sualauvi FAALOGO, 2. Xaviour TAUFA, 3. Sione FINAU, 4. Lene FETERIKA, 5. Deveraux FEO, 6. Josiah KENI, 7. Andy TAPATUETOA, 8. Fonua POLE, 9. Tui IEREMIA, 10. Markis ATOA, 11. Harry SIO, 12. Jayden WEIR, 13. Jared NAUMA, 14. Poasa TELEPE, 15. Allan LO TAM, 16. Gabriel BARTLETT, 17. Lotoni POUHILA, 18. Nat LATU, 19. Zacharius FUIMAONO, 20. Jake FOX, 21. Devisarn ENE, 22. Jethro TAVU’I-LEOTA.
New Zealand Warriors: 1. Ali LEIATAUA, 2. Eric VAAFAUSUAGA, 3. Jeremiah ASI, 4. Tamiro ARMSTRONG, 5. Daeon AMITUANAI, 6. Sebastyan JACK, 7. Sione MOALA, 8. Kina KEPU, 9. Taniela OTUKOLO, 10. Lleyton FIANU, 11. Zyon MAIU’U, 12. Carl LOLOHEA, 13. Tamehana PARURU, 14. Vaka SIKAHELE, 15. Valingi KEPU, 16. Tony TAFA, 17. Carlos TARAWHITI, 18. Jarney PROCTOR-HARWOOD