Storm prop Tui Kamikamica played his first game of the season, while Morgan Harper responded to his axing from first grade and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad dropped back to New South Wales Cup after getting no minutes off the bench in NRL.
A 196, 114kg Roosters prop showed just how much he’s learnt from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho — whom he says have had a “massive” impact on him.
Read on for the latest wrap up of reserve grade.
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ALL EYES WERE ON
Tui Kamikamica returned to the field over the weekend via the Storm’s feeder side Sunshine Coast Falcons. Kamikamica was sideline through the NRL’s no-fault stand-down policy following an alleged assault.
However the assault charge was dismissed in court last week, clearing the path for him to play again.
Kamikamica played 54 minutes in the Falcons’ 48-18 win over Ipswich Jets and notched up 106 running metres, two tackle busts and 19 tackles with one miss.
Melbourne’s rugby recruit Will Warbrick was also back in action for the Falcons after missing last week due to Covid-19 protocols. The 24-year-old only played 50 minutes but managed to score a hat-trick, run for 141 metres, get three linebreaks and six tackle busts.
Morgan Harper found himself in reserve grade for the first time this season after being axed in favour of Tolutau Koula. Harper was solid in the centres in Blacktown’s 26-12 loss to the Rabbitohs getting two linebreaks and two tackle busts to go with his 153 running metres. He also made 14 tackles but missed one and had two handling errors.
Harper’s teammate Kurt De Luis was again brilliant in NSW Cup. De Luis played 80 minutes at prop, running for 186 metres and making 44 tackles with zero misses.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad also found himself in NSW Cup on the weekend. The Raiders star was named on Ricky Stuart’s bench for last Saturday’s Warriors loss but didn’t get any game time so he was a late addition for the Raiders’ Cup team on Sunday.
Nicoll-Klokstad showed his class at fullback, setting up two tries and getting three tacklebusts to go with his 141 running metres. The 26-year-old also made 12 tackles with zero misses.
Tyrell Sloan ran amok against the Magpies on Sunday with the 19-year-old fullback scoring a double, setting up another try, getting three linebreaks and six tacklebusts while also notching up 224 running metres. He did however miss three tackles.
The Roosters have got a couple of good front-rowers to keep a close eye on in Tuku Hau Tapuha and Terrell May. Hau Tapuha is already on a development contract, while May — who is a consistent standout — is only signed to feeder side, the North Sydney Bears.
Hau Taphua was bumped back to the bench after Daniel Suluka-Fifita was a late addition and had a remarkable response.
The 20-year-old scored the Bears’ opening try, got a linebreak and nine tackle busts as well as 140 running metres.
Lachlan Lam once said the sky is the limit for the 196cm, 114kg prop and that performance makes it easy to see why the Roosters hold him in high regard.
Hau Tapuha told Fox League after the game that he’s been soaking up every bit of knowledge he can from Roosters veterans Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho.
“They’ve had a massive impact on my game personally,” he said.
“They’re both well renowned front-rowers. They’re getting to the back end of their career so you’ve got to take what you can from those really experienced players.”
As for May, the 23-year-old was challenged by league legend Mark Carroll before the game to take 20 carries and he nailed the brief. May notched up 223 metres from those 20 carries and also made 39 tackles with zero misses.
The Bears’ six-point win over the Bulldogs was the perfect entree to the main game on Saturday given the game went right down to the wire and several Dogs players stood up.
Fullback Creedence Toia has the potential to be a star. The 21-year-old set up a try and had a linebreak, while also notching up 213 running metres.
Declan Casey was a late addition for the Bulldogs after Isaac Lumelume was ruled out due to Covid-19 protocols and the 22-year-old made the most of his opportunity, scoring the Dogs’ two only tries.
Casey was the little-known outside back that put the bone-crunching hit on Kalyn Ponga during a trial game earlier this year.
Rabbitohs development player Josiah Karapani got his first taste of NSW Cup on the weekend and lived up to the hype that’s building around him Redfern.
Jason Demetriou revealed in February that the 20-year-old was a “shining light” during the pre-season but he ended up starting the year in Jersey Flegg.
Karapani got his call-up to Cup on Saturday though and stunned with a try, three linebreaks, 11 tackle busts and 220 running metres.
A hat-trick from halfback Dylan Phythian sealed Newcastle’s 34-22 win over Mounties on Sunday with the 26-year-old showing he’s still got the ability that earned him 3 NRL games with the Knights over 2016 and 2017.
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James Segeyaro played halfback for Blacktown on Saturday and was quite dominant in the new role. The former Dally M Hooker of the Year set up a try and got a linebreak to go with his 143 running metres.
Brad Deitz was notably absent from the Dragons’ line-up last weekend but not through injury — he became a dad! Congratulations to Brad and his wife, Laura — a former Roosters cheerleader — on the arrival of their daughter, Mila.
And a shotout to Shaq Mitchell whose consistent efforts in NSW Cup this season were rewarded with an NRL debut for the Rabbitohs last Friday.
This time last year Mitchell was struggling to nail down a spot in the Bunnies’ Cup side but after a huge pre-season backed up by an impressive opening two months of the season he’s not only cemented his spot in NSW Cup but also pushing for NRL games.