End looming for Lolohea at Warriors: Which team could use him?

After recently announcing the appointment of Stephen Kearny as their head coach for 2017, today the New Zealand Warriors CEO Jim Doyle publicly declared that multi-premiership winning five-eighth Kieran Foran has also signed with the club.

The acquisition is a wonderful coup for a side, who will now feature the entire spine of the New Zealand test side in their starting 17 in Roger-Tuivasa Sheck, Issac Luke, Shaun Johnson and the newly-acquired Foran. This leaves no room for a certain individual with a big future, who found himself bouncing in and out of first grade this season: Tui Lolohea;

After RTS suffered an season-ending injury earlier in the year, Lolohea entered into a bit of a fullback rodeo with David Fusitua, who ousted him for the main job toward the end of the season. He also spent a bit of time in the halves and with Shaun Johnson penning an article for Fox Sports back in July where he claimed “he [Lolohea] will be playing alongside me in the halves next season. You heard it here first.” Tui’s fate across the Tasman looked sealed, but Rugby League’s a funny game and the gods love to troll us from time to time.

To secure his immediate future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lolohea respectfully ask for a release, and who are the Warriors to stand in his way? I’m adamant that Lolohea is a passionate New Zealander and clubman, but a kid with his talent could very easily find a spot in an NRL side looking for a playmaker — and boy, there is definitely interest in this prospect. Parramatta were reportedly targeting him, ironically as a replacement for the man who may’ve just ended his stint with the Warriors, but after signing Josh Hoffman and prioritising other off-contract halves, the likelihood of Tui ending up at the Eels is not very strong.

Here are a few clubs who could work well with a bloke like Lolohea:

Newcastle Knights: 

If I was the CEO of the Newcastle Knights, I’m on the phone to Jim Doyle at the drop of a hat to try and get the kid in blue and red colours for 2017. After losing Darius Boyd and Kurt Gidley over the past couple of seasons, the Knights have struggled to cement a No. 1, except rotating between Jake Mamo and Dane Gagai during their worst season in the club’s history. Tui Lolohea is at the right age and his style of play could reinvigorate Newcastle’s stale attack, which only boasted 305 points in 2016.

Canterbury Bulldogs: 

The Bulldogs are in all sorts of trouble at the moment, their spine isn’t gelling and their conventional style of play is being exposed by rivals. Individually each member of the Dogs’ spine aren’t lacking in effort, but are fresh out of ideas on how to execute a game plan. Perhaps the departure of key members in their backline could be a blessing in disguise, paving way for a Hopoate switch to centre, handing over the reigns to a ball-playing fullback who could breathe life into the Belmore-based club and help poor ol’ Des Dasler sleep at night, Tuimoala Lolohea could be that man. The versatile youngster acts as a second five-eighth from the back, which would definitely take some pressure off of natural runners Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds. Hasler sure knows how to unlock a player’s full potential and behind a monstrous, intelligent forward pack, Lolohea would shine.

Melbourne Storm: 

Blake Green has signed with the Manly Sea Eagles, which would be the perfect opportunity for a young player like Lolohea to ply his craft under master coach Craig Bellamy, who puts his players through rigorous weekly routines. In a well-run side like the Melbourne Storm, the Kiwi prospect could flesh out some of the little errors in his game. Under the tutelage of the most legendary spine in NRL club history Lolohea could rise to another level.

West Tigers: 

This may be one of the more controversial inclusions but hear me out, Mitchell Moses has reached new heights this year after steering his side out of the thick for the better part of  2016. Becoming one of the form halves of the competition, Moses played a few games at halfback and proved his worth at controlling the pitch. Luke Brooks has shown patches of greatness, but is yet to capture the magic form Moses is exhibiting. Another mediocre season and the Tigers may start to lose patience with their star halfback, who was touted as a future Origin halfback. It is possible the Tigers could sign Lolohea short term and have him as a utility. If Luke Brooks has an underwhelming 2017 at the Tigers, Lolohea would be the perfect candidate to play at five-eighth alongside Mitchell Moses the following season. With Moses’ kicking game doing the rounds, Lolohea’s running game would be the perfect foil in a youthful joint-venture outfit.

Hey, Tui Lolohea may not even end up leaving. He may well just bite the bullet and stick it out on the wing or in reserve grade, but if there’s one thing that’s certain in just about any professional sport: you can’t suppress talent!

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Blair Witch (2016) — REVIEW

The original Blair Witch Project catalysed a new era in horror filmmaking: minimalism becoming an art form within the genre. Opening the floodgates for numerous films across all genres that put us in the shoes of a hero behind a handheld camera. The found footage film has come a long way and there is a treasure trove doing the rounds on the independent scene — the latest instalment in the Blair Witch franchise, is a film that balances subtlety, ambiguity and in-your-face thrills to perfect effect.

Set 20 years after Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Mike Williams went missing in the Black Hills Forest, Heather’s brother James sets out with a group of friends to uncover what really happened to his sister all those years ago.

The film’s technical aspects are a lot more advanced than its predecessor’s, with the sequel’s $5 million budget easily trumping that of the 1999 hit. If Jurassic World is a more tech-savvy version of the classic Spielberg masterpiece, then consider 2016’s Blair Witch the same thing in its respective franchise: it’s bigger, badder, suaver and utilises its own brand of terror that helps it leave the shadow of the original’s iconic status. These merits aren’t written to discourage Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’ magnum opus (which I consider an all-time classic) but to give credit to Adam Wingard and his team on making the best version of this film based on the 21st Century landscape, catering to a diverse range of fans and staying true to their style of filmmaking.

Some of the film’s elements may turn off some purists, like some of the unambiguous moments, but I think director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett hit a home run, managing to present a versatile range of situations for their characters, while maintaining a riveting authenticity over the roughly-90 minute duration.

VERDICT — The sequel to the 1999 hit is a tense, jarring tour-de-force. A lot more mainstream than its predecessor, Blair Witch (2016) hits the perfect balance of subtlety and flat-out exuberance.

RATING: 9.1

MVP: Callie Hernandez as Lisa, who plays Heather’s ambitious spiritual successor and exhibits a versatile emotional range onscreen.

 

The backline puzzle: where does Josh Hoffman fit in the Parramatta Eels?


The clean-out at the Gold Coast Titans has already seen Nene MacDonald, David Mead and now another high-profile player move on.

Josh Hoffman has signed a three year deal with the Parramatta Eels — effective 2017. His vast improvement in form is full credit to Neil Henry, who shifted him into the centres for the better part of his tenure on the glitter strip. His versatility is also a big plus for the Sydney-based club, with the former Bronco covering up to four backline positions.

The question most fans will be asking is where he fits into Parra’s already-stocked backline? Brad Takairangi recently re-signed with the club and the ball-playing centre is having a blast on the right edge. Michael Jennings occupies the other three-quarter position and despite regression in form this year, he is on big money and has proven himself a big-game player throughout the years — winning a premiership and breaking Queensland’s decade-long dominance of NSW in State of Origin;

Semi Radradra has made the left wing spot his home and a host of other talent, including: Bevan French, Clinton Gutherson, Bureta Faraimo, Vai Toutai & John Folau could find themselves playing outside of Brad Takairangi next year on the opposite edge;

Josh Hoffman’s experience and versatility is wasted out wide in the centres or on the wing and the former Kiwi International needs and by all calculations will, be assigned a more important role.

Corey Norman looks set to make a permanent shift to halfback next year, having proven he has what it takes to control a game. This leaves a pivot spot in the side open, with Hoffman seeming a logical fit, having played in the 6 before. However, with Clinton Gutherson impressing as a makeshift five-eighth and the club on the lookout for an established halfback, which has seen them pursue interest in Adam Reynolds, Benji Marshall and more recently, Sam Williams, it seems unlikely Parramatta’s newest recruit will find himself in playing in the halves.

By my estimations, Josh Hoffman will most likely be playing his first game in the blue and gold with the #1 on his back. His ball-playing abilities and speed-to-burn would be a welcome addition into Parramatta’s spine, which consists of Corey Norman, Clinton Gutherson and Isaac De Gois. Bevan French — whose future is definitely as the long-term fullback of the club, is set to bulk up in size and continue to develop his skills in the new position. Josh Hoffman could offer the perfect mentorship for the rookie sensation. I can see the two rotating throughout the year, with the team benefiting from the raw talent and try-scoring consistency of Bevan French, while also injecting a more experienced hand and seasoned Josh Hoffman.

NRL: Cowboys shopping cheap for Tamou replacement

The reigning premiers of the NRL have identified a few targets to bolster their forward pack and replace NSW forward James Tamou: Felise Kaufusi and Jordan McLean from Melbourne and Jack Stockwell from the bottom-placed Newcastle.

Jordan McLean is enjoying arguably his best season in the purple jersey, averaging more game time and earning himself a starting spot. The Cowboys are willing to triple his salary in order to get him to Townsville. His style is very similar to Tamou, a heavy-hitting prop.

Another target is fellow teammate, Felise Kaufusi. Last year, he enjoyed a breakthrough season with the purple, providing go-forward off the bench. Lately however, he has found himself in and out of rotation of the Melbourne Storm’s final 17. His potential is limitless and is struggling to crack a consistent first grade spot simply due to Melbourne’s stocks. Felise’s younger brother Patrick plays for North Queensland, but that isn’t the main reason that could tempt Kaufusi to jump ship. The allure of a starting spot with a world-class outfit in the 2015 champions, may prove to be too strong for even Bellamy’s pulling power.

Barely into his three year, shy-of-a-million dollar contract with the bottom-dwelling Newcastle Knights, Jack Stockwell has struggled to maintain a spot in first grade, and he is rumoured to have fallen out with Knights coach Nathan Brown. Jack Stockwell showed promising signs when he began his career at St. George-Illawarra and can certainly hold his own, why he’s playing NSW Cup is a mystery. But his defection could be a blessing in disguise, as North Queensland are trying to poach the 24 year old — possibly before the June 30 deadline. They have a couple of days to finalise the deal and we all know how frantic player movements can be at the Eleventh Hour.

One thing is certain, the Cowboys have adopted a more conservative approach to signing talent: opting for lesser-known players to fill big holes. It’s a system that has earned coaches from different sports respect: from Craig Bellamy, to Bill Bellichick to Gregg Poppovich; Paul Green is slowly shifting into a coach of that calibre, basing a team around key members of his spine. Whether the player is a washed up has-been, fringe first-grader or a local park footy hero, if they fit the bill then they’re right for the job.

NRL: Dragon Kurt Mann set to retain spot for season

St. George-Illawarra Dragons coach Paul McGregor is set for a selection headache for his upcoming away fixture against the Newcastle Knights. Who will he retain the services of: Kurt Mann, partnering centre Tim Lafai on the wing OR Kalifa Fai Fai Loa, who has been solid defensively since returning to the Red V this year.

The Queensland-born Kurt Mann was a big signing for St.George-Illawarra and spent the 2016 preseason at fullback, eventually going on to lead from the back for the first two rounds of the regular season, turning in a solid effort against his old club in Round 1, setting up a try, getting a linebreak and running for 98 metres. In Round 2, against arch-rivals Cronulla Sharks, however, Kurt’s fullback experiment hit rock bottom, turning in a lacklustre performance which relegated him to the NSW Cup for 9 weeks and reinstated Josh Dugan back to his custodian role at fullback. In Round 12, the former Melbourne centre was recalled to the squad on the wing, where he’s now scored 4 tries in his last 3 appearances (including a double).

The Dragons have struggled to put points on the board this season and both Fai Fai Loa and Mann have contributed to a majority of the team’s try tally, but with the latter winger’s speed playing a pivotal role in the Dragon’s attacking ambitions, he certainly puts forward a strong case for retaining his spot in the no. 5 jersey. With Josh Dugan set to return next week at fullback, that would push Nightingale to the right edge, where he would partner boom centre Euan Aitken.

The Red V face a struggling Newcastle in Round 16, on Saturday afternoon and with Kurt Mann’s try-scoring consistency over the short term, Kalifa Fai Fai Loa finds his regular spot in the 17 in jeopardy, it’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold over the next few days.

 

The Rise of Fluffë: How a 20 year old from Sydney is changing the fairy floss game

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In the 21st Century, a lot of people have ditched the monotonous 9 to 5 workforce and instead have decided to create their own work. There are currently about 2.4 million Australians who are self-employed, that’s just under a quarter of individuals who have independently paved their future.

Many successful people will tell you that thinking outside the box is a fundamental method of achieving prosperity. Well, that combined with doing something you love is very much the epitome of what the pursuit of happiness is all about. I caught up with Nathan Hunter, a Gen-Y rising entrepreneur, whose own idea has gained a considerable amount of followers.

Nathan makes fairy floss of all kinds and has utilised a seasoned knowledge in marketing to further endorse his franchise: Fluffë; “Unicorn Poop is the most popular flavour” he remarked in an interview. Instead of focusing on the conventional flavours of ‘Blue’ ‘Pink’ and ‘Yellow’, Fluffë sells flavours such as: ‘Chocolate Milk’ (sweet chocolate milk flavoured floss), ‘Cereal’ (crunchy American marshmallow cereal, doused in sweet milk floss), ‘Birthday Cake’ (vanilla floss infused with real cake & finished with rainbow sprinkles), ‘Honey Almond’ (subtly-burnt honey floss, speckled with crunchy slivered almonds), ‘Mojito’ (sweet lime & soft mint), and ‘Cookies & Creme’ (simple vanilla cream floss laced with rich, chocolate cookie crumbs.), as well as the aforementioned ‘Unicorn Poop’, the ingredient of the ever popular flavour remains a mystery to everyone except its maker; It’s the diversified range of products of fairy floss that differentiates Fluffë from your average “candy man”. In fact, if you visit their homepage you will see in written in upper case letters “PINK IS NOT A FLAVOUR”.

Fluffë was conceptualised around late 2013, after Nathan graduated from high school. He then developed branding and chemistry skills in 2014 at collegeRe, eventually securing a stand at the Finders Keepers Market in 2015, at the Australian Technology Park at Eveleigh’s Exhibition Hall. Nathan has also travelled interstate for work, “mostly to Melbourne. But I send fairy floss all over the world”.

I asked Nathan if he wanted to make other sweets besides fairy floss in the near future, “No. I think I would just stick to fairy floss and the different flavours, perfecting that.” he replied. Continuing to strengthen that niche is much smarter than presenting a wider range of sweets that may not be out to be as popular as his spun sugar. Focusing his energy on developing different flavours is where he wants to go.

Nathan has been a sweet tooth for most of his life, always having a deep admiration for the candy. He grew fond of the creation process, how fun and rewarding it is. From easter eggs to liquorice, ice cream to doughnuts, or even just plain-old Nutella out of the container — Nathan showcases a diverse taste for sweets. 

As Nathan explains in the ‘About’ page of Fluffë’s website: ‘When I (used to) think of fairy floss, my mind immediately flicks to carnivals, with sweet, fluffy pink clouds either trapped in cellophane bags, or sticking to my fingers, face and a stick. It’s a shame that carnivals are the only place it can be enjoyed freshly made, because it’s such an amazingly unique treat, and carnivals are so rare now. This classic confection that you grew up with, the one that made you promise to clean your room so your parents would buy you a bag, is now better than ever!’;

Originally Nathan wanted to call the brand Flurries, but that domain was already taken. He then wanted to attribute the name as some form of description of fairy floss, ‘fluffy’ then eventually evolved into Fluffë, adding the ‘ë’ on the end to make it sound fancier.

For all you partiers, there’s good and bad news. The bad news is no, Fluffë doesn’t currently sell any alcohol-infused fairy floss, but the good news is he’s considering it. “I’ve looked into getting powdered vodka, but I’m pretty sure you need a license for that. It’s something I’ll have to look into in the future.”.

One thing about living in 2016 is, social media plays an undeniably pivotal role in marketing a brand, Fluffë’s Instagram now has over 66,000 followers. Nathan agrees “100%” that social media has contributed heavily to Fluffë’s exposure and marketing, with a huge following to prove it. The Instagram averages a few thousand likes per photo and makes good use of displaying different flavours of fairy floss and announcements.

Fluffë takes bookings for parties, weddings and other events. Nathan takes his Fluffë-labelled white cart to events booked by people, making fresh candy partygoers. They also take orders, a package call ‘Fluffë Box’ costs $30, comes with four surprise flavours that may be: ‘Rosewater’, Mojito, Birthday Cake, Tropico (golden pineapple, sweet mango and plump strawberries blended together), Cereal and Maple Bacon; The box also contains a ‘handwritten note that may ask you something as arbitrary as ‘how’s the weather?’ as it states on their website. It also includes a flavour card that breaks down the different flavours they provide, and of all things, confetti ‘if it’s not your birthday, we’ll do our very best to make sure you feel like it is!’ they throw a handful or two into each box that’s sent out. Each order’s shipping is free for domestic delivery, which should put a smile on any Aussie’s face.

As a businessman in the food industry, one must understand the struggles that “picky eaters” endure when selecting a flavour that they like. Nathan very much understands that, which is why he’s allowing customers to create their own flavour if they really aren’t satisfied with the line of products he has to offer. He also acknowledges feedback from people, who have ideas for a flavour, “I always remain open to new ideas and outside input.”. Listening to advice from all kinds of people, not just a select few, opens all kinds of possibilities.

Nathan Hunter has drawn a lot of positives out of this endeavour, “I think getting to be my own boss, like I can see all my friends and they like, complain a lot about going to work and having to deal with difficult people. But I also get to do a lot during the week, so I don’t have a set amount of hours or quota, but I spend a lot of time on it (Fluffë)”.

Workplace discontent is turning a lot of high school and university/college graduates away from the regular workforce — coping with heavy traffic each morning, dealing with deadlines, ordered tasks and demanding, bossy managers. Instead, a lot of people have opted to work on whatever craft or passion that might lead them to a successful and prosperous life. You don’t necessarily need to be qualified at something, the will and uncompromising passion are the most important factors in determining success as a self-employed individual. However, Nathan did find his time at college useful, networking with different people and learning the intricacies of what makes a business run.

In the old days, most people just got a decent-paying job after graduating from school, raised a family, paid taxes and saved up for a holiday at the end of the year. It’s different today, with rising interest rates and competitive markets, people are converting their ideas and initiatives into work, creating a strong and rich streamline of products that are shaping the future of the world, whether they be culinary or technological.

He has no one currently working under him, everything he does is independently conceived, ‘I’ve developed this all by myself, from the chemistry of flavouring sugars, to the design of the business card, what you see is what you get’ as it states on Fluffë’s website.

It’s through the process of consistency that Nathan Hunter has created something truly magical and above all else, tasty. Proving that one must love what they do in order to be happy, making each working day exciting and not an ordeal. If one wishes to achieve work flexibility and convenience, establishing a brand of your own may be the only possible option for the individual who wants personal gratification. It certainly helped Nathan’s cause and he’s enjoying every minute of it.

R.A. Ortuso’s NSW Blues Origin I Team

With Origin less than a month away, I thought I’d name my NSW Blues side to take on Queensland on June 1st at ANZ Stadium.

Keep in mind, I would’ve awarded Tedesco and Morris with spots on the wing, but unfortunately injuries put an end to their Origin I hopes.

  1. Josh Dugan — St. George-Illawarra Dragons

Earlier in his career, Dugan was seen as a contingency option at the back. Filling in for an injured Jarryd Hayne, now Duges is very much an incumbent for the Blues. He possesses the size, speed and kick returns that Daley loves to see in his fullback. He was the very best out of an under-performing Blues team last year, setting up one of the greatest Origin tries in history. Very hard to stop at the line, the Dragons fullback is in his prime and has the big game experience to secure his spot.

2. Blake Ferguson — Sydney Roosters

After a few strong showings, including an exceptional Test performance against New Zealand, Fergalicious is more than ready to rejoin the Origin arena. Terrific under the high ball and solid in defence, Blake is a fitting choice to play outside of former teammate Michael Jennings.

3. Michael Jennings — Parramatta Eels

Time and time again, centres have failed to poach Jennings Origin jumper. After years of experience in the rep arena and a maiden NRL premiership with the Sydney Roosters, Jennings have definitely become an incumbent for his state. His powerful attack at the line has been proven on a number of occasions this year, finely settling into his new role at Parramatta. He has contributed heavily to NSW over his Origin career and I don’t see Daley pulling the plug on him at the moment. A lock.

4. Josh Morris — Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

The same case for Jennings, many hungrier and younger centres are breathing down Morris’ neck for his state spot but Josh’s defensive capabilities are well documented, making a crucial try-saving tackle on Inglis in 2014, Morris is perhaps the best fit candidate to shut down the Rabbitohs skipper, who will certainly improve at this year’s Origin series.

5.  Josh Mansour — Penrith Panthers

Mansour has developed into one of the most reliable finishers in the NRL. Fearless in both attack and defence, Mansour fits the mould of a Blues player. He also averages the most metres per game for a winger.

6. Lachlan Coote — North Queensland Cowboys

Everyone is accustomed to Coote’s wonderful kicking ability. The man acts like a second 5/8 from the back. I and most others agree that getting Lachlan Coote into a maiden NSW jersey is definitely the right thing to do. After failing to find a concrete halves combination, Coote’s play under pressure and steering a team in attack could become a mainstay for the Blues. He’s proven his big game experience after winning the Cowboys first ever premiership.

7. Mitchell Pearce — Sydney Roosters

I know it’s too soon to be thinking about a Pearce recall, but do we really have a choice? Maloney is in great form, but leads the competition in missed tackles, both from this year and last. Chad Townsend is a class player but needs more time. Hodkinson is one option, but he narrowly misses out in this selection. Since returning from a lengthy suspension, Pearce immediately brought confidence and flair to an ailing young Roosters outfit, giving them direction. Perhaps this newfound confidence could continue through the Origin season? We shall wait and see.

8. Aaron Woods — West Tigers

One of the hardest working forwards in the game. Aaron Woods capped off a brilliant 2015 with only a single regular season try, but its his consistency in getting a struggling Tigers pack in perfect position to strike. Since winning the 2014 Origin series, Woods is an incumbent and I don’t see him getting snubbed any time soon.

9. Robbie Farah — West Tigers

Provides spark in their attack, Daley will most likely go to his regular for the hooking role. Creative, great kicking game and usually impressive in defense. Farah’s experience is valued and he’ll keep on kicking in this series.

10. James Tamou — North Queensland Cowboys

One of the form props of the competition, the premiership winning forward has an offload or two in him and is fearless when taking on the line. Contract negotiations won’t hover over this bloke, he’s playing quality footy.

11. Greg Bird — Gold Coast Titans

It’s been a while since we last saw Bird in a rep jersey, but the time has come once again. After missing out on the entire 2015 Origin series, the Titans enforcer is a lock (excuse the pun) for this year’s series. He brings a wealth of experience and has adopted a senior role over the year amongst his NSW peers.

12. Beau Scott — Parramatta Eels

Probably the most obvious admission in the forward pack here. Scott has terrorized a plethora of players over the span of his career and oh does he shine in the Origin arena. Tailor-made for big game atmospheres, Scott is arguably the best defensive back-rower in the world. After a tremendous 2014 season that saw him take out the Dally M Second-Rower of the Year, he was quiet and injured for most of 2015. But after signing a new deal which sent him to Parramatta, the ultimate enforcer has hit another peak, taking his game to another level. Ages like a fine wine, it’s a terrible shame he wasn’t included in Meninga’s Roos side this year.

13. Paul Gallen — Cronulla Sharks

If Beau Scott ages like a fine wine, then Gallen is a ’47 Cheval Blanc. Turning 35 this year, Gallen could keep pushing on for another year or two, but this is his last hoorah in the Origin arena and with the form that he’s in you’d be mad to spoil his going-away party by snubbing him. Great runner.

INTERCHANGE —

14. Tyson Frizell — St. George-Illawarra Dragons

He has all the makings of a true Origin player: strength, speed and heart. The St. George-Illawarra forward has done wonders for his side over the past couple of years. With 2015 signalling a turning point in his first grade career. Earning an 18th man spot in the Blues opener at ANZ Stadium. Unfortunately he didn’t get to play, but I’m sure this is finally the year Loz decides to unleash the beast.

15. Boyd Cordner — Sydney Roosters

Since returning from injury in round 8, Cordner has been in exceptional form. A string of quality performances may have just secured his spot for the Blues.

16. Wade Graham — Cronulla Sharks

Origin has eluded Graham his whole career, but no longer says I. His ball-playing skills and kicking game are second-to-none for a second rower. The heir to Gallen’s throne at Cronulla, Graham possesses on field maturity way beyond his years.

17. Jack Bird — Cronulla Sharks

Jack Bird possesses the ability to shine in any position he’s utilised in. It’s that kind of versatility that’s much needed for this year’s series. This is the perfect time to be blooding a youngster of his calibre. Expect Birdy to be named as a bolter.