• Be cool and Register to set your username and display picture get the full features of the site. Talk Bulldogs NRL News, match reviews, live score, ladder, injuries, player signings and team performance.

News Harold Matthews Cup power rankings: 2020 contenders and pretenders

Spoonman84

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
14,844
Reaction score
19,506
The Harold Matthews Cup kicks off on Saturday 15 February and defending champs Newcastle are set to face a huge challenge to retain their title. MATT LOGUE runs his eye over every club and predicts who will star and who might struggle.

1 CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

Finished last season: 2nd

The Bulldogs are ready to bite hard this season after narrowly losing last year’s grand final to Newcastle.

The boys from Belmore have a high representation of Australian under-15s merit players, which will make them extremely formidable.

The entire Canterbury squad is full of local juniors, while seven players are backing up from last year’s grand final loss.

Strike centre Paul Alamoti is a standout for the Bulldogs.

Built in the same mould as Matt Utai but with the strength of Sonny Bill Williams, Alamoti is an explosive centre who dominated the Harold Matthews ranks last season.

2 NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Finished last season: Premiers

Last year’s champions will still be a major force despite a number of players moving on to higher age groups.

Gun halfback Jonah Pezet, who excelled in last season’s grand final win over Canterbury, is one of the main players to depart. Key tryscorers Fletcher Myers and Christopher Veaila have also left.

Despite these exits, the Knights remain loaded with talent through the likes of Taj Blackman (halfback) and Ethan Ferguson (centre).

3 ILLAWARRA STEELERS

Finished last season: 5th

This junior Steelers side is full of players in their first season, but the expectations within the team are high. The Illawarra and south coast regions are brimming with league talent and this team is no different.

They aren’t the biggest side in the competition, especially compared with Canterbury or Penrith, but they are blessed with bucketloads of speed.

Watch for captain and back-rower Dylan Egan to excel. Egan is highly rated by his peers because of his competitive and tough mindset.

Fullback Ethan Cliff is the team’s biggest player, but he is also fast and can carry the ball.

4 MANLY SEA EAGLES

Finished last season: 4th

In true Des Hasler fashion, these junior Sea Eagles are “flying under the radar” this year.

The coaches are working hard to ensure Manly’s 16s can step up after losing to Newcastle in the finals last season.

The Sea Eagles have plenty of strike power, including Lehi Hopoate at fullback. Lehi, the son of Manly great John Hopoate (both pictured with daughter Pani), is ready to star after excelling in the junior league ranks for Beacon Hill.

5 SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

Finished last season: 3rd

After missing out on last season’s grand final, these junior Bunnies are busting to take the next step this year.

A powerful team with speed, strength and skill, Souths are difficult to beat when they are on their game.

That said, it won’t be easy for the Rabbitohs to replace their captain from last season, Joseph Suaalii.

The reigning Harold Matthews Player of the Year, who is attracting interest from rugby union, has stepped up to the SG Ball ranks after starring on the 16s stage.

6 PENRITH PANTHERS

Finished last season: 6th

The Panthers have assembled a team full of local juniors and they are expecting to play in the finals.

The majority of the side played as 15-year-olds in the country championships last year, so its key core is poised to fire.

Captain and five-eighth Isaiya Katoa, the younger brother of former Panthers-turned-Canterbury hooker/lock Sione Katoa, has impressed in the pre-season with his off-field leadership qualities.

7 CRONULLA SHARKS

Finished last season: 7th

The majority of Cronulla’s 16s side are local juniors, which is testament to the club’s junior development.

The Sharks have a well-blended side, so they are expecting to make the finals and go deep.

Watch out for fullback and captain Siteni Taukamo with his speed and skill, centre Toby Douglas and halfback Max Demeio.

8 BALMAIN TIGERS

Finished last season: 8th

The Tigers scraped into the finals last season, so they will look to take another step forward this season.

Back-rower Tony Sukkar played Harold Matthews a year early last season, so he should have benefited from the experience.

Fullback Max Jorgensen is also one to watch with his speed and slick footwork.

9 PARRAMATTA EELS

Finished last season: 9th

The Eels narrowly missed out on the finals in 2019 so they are desperate to make amends this season.

Lock Myles Martin and halfback Ethan Sanders are the two main players to follow.

10 NORTH SYDNEY BEARS

Finished last season: 10th

The Bears are hoping to be competitive, and from 10th to seventh position is their realistic goal.

Local North Sydney product and strike centre Mitchell Hyslop is a year young for the 16s but he is rated highly by his coaches and peers. Hyslop is also a handy basketballer who as a 15-year-old plays in the 18s ranks.

11 CANBERRA RAIDERS

Finished last season: 11th

Canberra have a young side made up of players from Eden, Griffith and Western Sydney, so they could take time to gel.

Once they do, though, the rising Raiders will be competitive.

Hooker Blake Metcalf is a classy player who will ensure Canberra are competitive.

12 WESTERN SUBURBS MAGPIES

Finished last season: 12th

The Magpies were cellar-dwellers last season but they possess plenty of talent to climb up the ladder this season. Hooker Tallyn Da Silva is a real talent, while fellow Westfield Sports High product Kit Laulilii has a big future at lock.

13 CENTRAL COAST ROOSTERS

Finished last season: 13th

After a lowly finish last season, the expectations on the Central Coast aren’t high but full of hope. On the plus side, the Roosters will assemble a strong team with plenty of talent, which will ensure they are competitive.

Outside back Ben Dufficy will be a key player in his second season of 16s football. Dufficy helped the NSW All Schools team claim the under-15 touch football championships last year, beating Queensland in the final. Despite this success in touch, he is focused on his rugby league career.

14 SYDNEY ROOSTERS

Finished last season: 14th

The Roosters haven’t made the Harold Matthews finals since 2013 — a stat the boys from Bondi are desperate to change.

But the reality is the Chooks aren’t getting carried away given their level of talent compared with bigger districts such as Parramatta and Canterbury.

Despite this disadvantage, the Roosters are working hard on producing a strong junior base.

Second-rower Michael Abdow is one to watch after being named the player of the tournament at the under-15s national carnival last year. Centre Sam Brial is also a standout.

15 ST GEORGE DRAGONS

Finished last season: 15th

The Dragons need a strong start but have a difficult draw to open the season. They face powerhouses Newcastle, Penrith and Canterbury in the middle, which will most likely define their finals hopes.

Keep an eye on hooker and captain Kye Robson — a proud Engadine junior. New prop Setefano Sele, brother of former Panthers and Dragons forward Hame Sele, is also an exciting prospect.

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...s/news-story/33d2fef17e307a022b22570c7614d6d7
 

Spoonman84

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
14,844
Reaction score
19,506
Poor old Alamoti is getting so hyped up! He has plenty of talent and looks the goods but some of the comparisons being made are ridiculous on a kid his age.
 

2144superman

Kennel Addict
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
4,090
Reaction score
3,591
1 CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

Finished last season: 2nd

The Bulldogs are ready to bite hard this season after narrowly losing last year’s grand final to Newcastle.

The boys from Belmore have a high representation of Australian under-15s merit players, which will make them extremely formidable.

The entire Canterbury squad is full of local juniors, while seven players are backing up from last year’s grand final loss.

Strike centre Paul Alamoti is a standout for the Bulldogs.


 

stingray

Kennel Regular
Joined
Oct 27, 2019
Messages
128
Reaction score
105
Is Alamoti in the same mould of Utai?

Wasn’t utai a short nuggetty player?
 

Spoonman84

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
14,844
Reaction score
19,506
Is Alamoti in the same mould of Utai?

Wasn’t utai a short nuggetty player?
Yeah I don’t get the comparison between Utai and Alamoti in a physical sense. Alamoti is taller and leaner but he can break a tackle like Utai.
 

stingray

Kennel Regular
Joined
Oct 27, 2019
Messages
128
Reaction score
105
Yeah I am
Actually surprised that junior league got some good media coverage when I opened the DT today
 

ALX25

Kennel Regular
Gilded x2
Premium Member
Gilded
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
816
Reaction score
267
Some of these predictions from Matt Logue are woeful.
 

Mitch Connor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
25,551
Reaction score
3,313
Some of these predictions from Matt Logue are woeful.
He named a player to watch from every SG Ball side except ours, where he talked about the coach knowing players from Matts lol.
 

Cook

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Messages
2,053
Reaction score
834
He named a player to watch from every SG Ball side except ours, where he talked about the coach knowing players from Matts lol.
Yeah found that ordinary as well. Surely name our key player
 

Life_of_League

Kennel Participant
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
37
He named a player to watch from every SG Ball side except ours, where he talked about the coach knowing players from Matts lol.
That was a conversation we had aswell. Does no one have faith in our SG squad this year.
 

Life_of_League

Kennel Participant
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
37
1 CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

Finished last season: 2nd

The Bulldogs are ready to bite hard this season after narrowly losing last year’s grand final to Newcastle.

The boys from Belmore have a high representation of Australian under-15s merit players, which will make them extremely formidable.

The entire Canterbury squad is full of local juniors, while seven players are backing up from last year’s grand final loss.

Strike centre Paul Alamoti is a standout for the Bulldogs.


They may have a dominating team, but if they don’t get their heads out of their arses and focus on the season. It could ruin them. Apparently after the SG game yesterday players from the HM team were hanging around wanting to jump one of their own team mates smh
 

NPC83

Kennel Enthusiast
Gilded
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
1,839
Reaction score
1,708
They may have a dominating team, but if they don’t get their heads out of their arses and focus on the season. It could ruin them. Apparently after the SG game yesterday players from the HM team were hanging around wanting to jump one of their own team mates smh
Bulldogs SG ball players?
 

NPC83

Kennel Enthusiast
Gilded
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
1,839
Reaction score
1,708
The Bulldog Harold Matt players.... not all of them.... just the wannabes
Very disappointing... hopefully they get pulled up and spoken to about what it means to be a bulldog... that behaviour is rubbish...
 
Last edited:

Life_of_League

Kennel Participant
Joined
Jul 25, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
37
Very disappointing... hopefully they get pulled up and spoken to about what it means to be a bulldog... that behaviour is rubbish...
Have been told a boy involved has been let go from the team. Hope it teaches ALL the boys playing reps and development, that that kind of behaviour is not acceptable what so ever
 
Top