Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will field the majority of their premiership winning Under 20s team in a Jersey Flegg trial against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.
From the 2017 premiership winning side, Alfred Smalley, Semisi Kioa, Tevita Funa, Bilal Maarbani, Cade Cust, Jaiden Tarrant, Michael Fenn, Blake Andrews, and Haumole Olakau’tu will tackle the Roosters.
Full-back Zaan Weatherall and prop John Tuivati also played for the Sea Eagles in the Holden Cup last season.
Exceptional hooker Manase Fainu is still eligible for the Jersey Flegg team but will play in the NRL trial against the Roosters.
From last year’s grand final backline, only full-back Jade Anderson and five-eighth Tom Wright are ineligible to play in the Jersey Flegg competition this season.
Half-back Cade Cust is again a key man for the Sea Eagles. He was outstanding in the Holden Cup finals last season and turned in a strong performance in the NRL trial against the Cronulla Sharks last Saturday night. Cust’s game will benefit greatly this season after spending time training with the NRL squad during the pre-season.
Cust will partner the very talented Luke Metcalf in the halves against the Roosters. A player with tremendous pace and skills, Metcalf has impressed many of the NRL squad over summer since joining the club from Cronulla Sharks.
The five-eighth was one of the bright young stars of the Holden Cup last season and showed some of his natural ability in the Jersey Flegg and the NRL trials against his former club last Saturday.
The centre combination of Funa and Kioa comprises of a good mixture of speed and strength. A full-time member of the NRL squad, Funa has worked hard over the summer on his game and the goal-kicking centre is set for another fine season.
Funa and Kioa will again create chances for their outside men in exciting wingers Smalley (pictured) and Maarbani.
Both know how to find the line and are not afraid to perform some acrobatic displays in getting the ball down. Maarbani capped off a fine season in 2017 by making his Test debut for Lebanon in the Rugby League World Cup.
The forward pack for the Roosters trial features four players from the grand final team in Tarrant, Fenn, Andrews, and Olakau’tu.
Props Tarrant and Fenn turned in some strong run and good offloads in the trial win over Cronulla.
Andrews and Olakau’tu are talented back-rowers who can cause havoc on the edge. Olakau’ti, who scored three tries in the preliminary final, has spent plenty of time working with the NRL forwards over summer.
Manly juniors Finn Heath and Ben Gleeson are also in the trial team to play the Roosters.
Last year’s premiership winning coach Wayne Lambkin is again in charge of the U20s this season.
Jersey Flegg trial
Central Coast Stadium. Kick-off 2.15pm
Manly Jersey Flegg team
1 Zaan Weatherall, 2 Alfred Smalley, 3 Semisi Kioa, 4 Tevita Funa, 5 Bilal Maarbani, 6 Luke Metcalf, 7 Cade Cust, 8 Jaiden Tarrant, 9 Max Barry, 10 Michael Fenn, 11 Blake Andrews, 12 Haumole Olakau’tu, 13 Jordan Main.
Reserves: 14 Jayden Burgess, 15 Finn Heath, 16 Sione Folau, 17 Ben Gleeson, 18 Matthew Hammond, 19 Tom Kenny, 20 Tikoa Lene, 21 Thomas Menzies, 22 Anson Naati, 23 Kees Nicholson, 24 Kurt Schultz, 25 John Tuivati, 26 Jackson Whitby, 27 Isaac Akuoko, 28 Bonnie Litara.