Rugby League World 9s

We had the NRL Nines before that disappeared but the Nines are back! This time, in the form of the Rugby League World 9s.

Scheduled to be played at Bankwest Stadium over two days (the 18th and 19th of October), it promises to be a ripper two days.

Twelve nations will start the tournament in the men’s game and four in the women’s game but only team can take it out in both.

The teams are Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, PNG, England, France, Samoa, Wales, Lebanon, Cook Islands and the United States.

For the women, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand and England will do battle.

All the teams as they filter through will be named here so sit back, relax, and enjoy the litany of quality named by the sides.

We’ll also add in a little breakdown of each team after they’re listed and what their chances are.


Australia: Josh Addo-Carr, Ryan Papenhuyzen & Curtis Scott (all Melbourne Storm). Jai Arrow & AJ Brimson (both Gold Coast Titans). Nathan Brown, Mitch Moses & Clint Gutherson (all Parramatta Eels). Kyle Feldt (North Queensland Cowboys).
Reubenn Garrick (Manly Sea Eagles). Wade Graham (Cronulla Sharks). David Fifita (Wakefield). Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons). Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights). Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs).

Coach: Mal Meninga.
Kezie Apps, Shaylee Bent, Brittany Breayley, Keeley Davis, Tiana Penitani, Jess Sergis, Shakiah Tungai & Botille Vette-Welsh (all St George Illawarra Dragons).
Ali Brigginshaw, Millie Boyle, Julia Robinson & Tamika Upton (all Brisbane Broncos).
Kirra Dibb, Tallisha Harden, Isabelle Kelly, Hannah Southwell & Corban McGregor (all Sydney Roosters).
Ricky’s View: Some surprise selections for the tournament by the Kangaroos but it is, nevertheless, a formidable side.
With speed out wide in Josh Addo-Carr, grunt through the middle with Nathan Brown and David Fifita and composed halves in Ben Hunt and Mitchell Moses, they will call the shots and dictate the Australian chances.
Despite several bigger names being saved or used for the Test match, this is still a side that you would expect will go in as favourites to win.
The women’s team also boasts some big names, fresh off strong performances in the NRL Women’s Championship. Relying on their experience, they will be one of the teams to beat in the women’s tournament.

Cook Islands: Tevin Arona & Junior Pua (both Canterbury Bulls), Anthony Gelling (Widnes Vikings), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), Kayal Iro & Brodie Tamarua (both New Zealand Warriors), Steven Marsters (St George Illawarra Dragons), Sam Mataora (Belconnen United), Tepai Moeroa & Brad Takairangi (both Parramatta Eels), Moses Noovao-McGreal & Paul Ulberg (both Norths Devils), John Puna (Easts Tigers), Reubenn Rennie & Vincent Rennie (both Mounties RLFC) & Aaron Teroi (Central Queensland Capras)

Coach: Tony Iro

Ricky’s View: Although the Cook Islands do possess some NRL pedigree in Waratahs bound Tepai Moeroa and Eels utility Brad Takairangi, it probably will not be enough to cause any ripples.

They will try their hearts out and the Kukis will have their time to cheer, but the bigger, stronger sides, will overpower their efforts.


England: James Graham & Gareth Widdop (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs). Daryl Clark & Blake Austin (both Warrington Wolves). Jake Connor (Hull FC). Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters). Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos).
Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity). Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants). Ryan Sutton & Elliott Whitehead (both Canberra Raiders).
Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons). Jake Trueman & Liam Watts (both Castleford Tigers). George Williams (Wigan Warriors).

Coach: Wayne Bennett.
Dannielle Anderson & Caitlin Beevers (both Leeds Rhinos). Leah Burke, Chantelle Crowl, Jodie Cunningham, Faye Gaskin, Shona Hoyle, Emily Rudge & Naomi Williams (all St Helens).
Kelsey Gentles, Rhiannion Marshall, Sinead Peach, Georgia Roche & Tara-Jane Stanley (all Castleford Tigers). Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls). Georgia Wilson (Wigan Warriors).
Ricky’s View: Another jam-packed line-up and one that will look to perhaps surprise a few come game time. With experience, youth and class all on their side, England will hope it works in their favour.
Arguably, their side boasts just as much attacking talent and weapons as any other, with a mix from the NRL and the Super League to take part.
Canberra-bound George Williams may be the key, as he has a chance to show Raiders fans why coach Ricky Stuart was so eager to get him on board.

Fiji: Kevin Naiqama (St Helens) (C), Suliasi Vunivalu & Isaac Lumelume (both Melbourne Storm), Waqa Blake & Maika Sivo (both Parramatta Eels), Brayden Wiliame (Catalans Dragons), Mika Ravalawa (St George Illawarra Dragons), Penioni Tagituimua (Nadera Panthers), Apisai Koroisau (Manly Sea Eagles), Silistino Ravutaumada & Taane Milne (both New Zealand Warriors), Viliame Kikau, (Penrith Panthers),  Penaia Leveleve (Nabua Broncos), Maika Tudravu (Army Bears), Joseva Lawalawa (Ravoravo Rabbitohs) & Luke Nadurutalo (unattached).

Coach: Brandon Costin.

Ricky’s View: The back five will be star-studded, boasting experience, speed, pace, raw power and the ability to change a game.

Where Fiji might struggle, however, is in the middle. For, it is there, where the land is barren and where the struggles may arise.

If the outside backs can excel like most Fijian backs do, it could be the key for Fiji to succeed.


France: Lilian Albert, Charlie Bouzinac (both FC Lezignan). Bastien Canet (AS Carcassonne), Louis Jouffret (Batley Bulldogs), Thomas Lasvenes (Villenueve XIII), Hakim Miloudi (Toronto Wolfpack) & Arthur Mourgues (St Esteve XIII Catalans).
Jordan Dezaria, Paul Marcon, Gavin Marguerite, Justin Sangare & Jusseaume Mathieu (all Toulouse Olympique).
Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Alrix da Costa, Lambert Belmas & Arthur Romano (all Catalans Dragons).

Coach: Aurelien Cologni
Ricky’s View: Most will not have heard of many of these players but it is great to see France playing in and gaining recognition on the international arena once more.
Their side is made up of mostly French-based players, with just the one in Hakim Miloudi playing outside of the country with the Toronto Wolfpack.
They probably will not be in contention for higher honours but the fact that Les Bleus are back is a great sign.

Lebanon: Kayne Kalache, James Roumanos & Elie El-Zakhem (all Canterbury Bulldogs). Reece Robinson (Queanbeyan Kangaroos). Travis Robinson (Newtown Jets), Jacob Kiraz (North Queensland Cowboys), Jalal Bazzaz (St George Illawarra Dragons), Anthony Layoun (Mounties RLFC), Bilal Maarbani (Manly Sea Eagles), Jayden El-Jalkh (Wests Magpies), Adam Rizk & Josh Rizk (both Ryde-Eastwood Hawks), John-Paul Nohra & Charbel Tasipale (both Parramatta Eels), Johnny-Lee Gabriel (Balmain) & Ahmad Haraljy (USA Sevens).

Coach: Rick Stone.

Ricky’s View: It pains me to say this after their good fortunes at the World Cup, but sadly, I don’t give Lebanon much hope.

Had the disputes over essentially nothing not originated, they would have been blessed with a bevvy of elite NRL talent.

The same talent that saw them become a fan favourite at the last World Cup.


New Zealand: Leeson Ah Mau, Ken Maumalo & Kodi Nikorima (all New Zealand Warriors). Dylan Brown (Parramatta Eels). James Fisher-Harris (Penrith Panthers). Corey Harawira-Naera, Jeremy Marshall-King & Reimis Smith (all Canterbury Bulldogs).
Shaun Johnson, Briton Nikora & Braden Hamlin-Uele (all Cronulla Sharks). Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans). Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine & Bailey Simonsson (all Canberra Raiders). Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos).

Coach: Michael Maguire
Madison Bartlett, Georgia Hale, Honey Hireme, Onjeurlina Leiataua, Jules Newman, Apii Nicholls, Charntay Poko, Krystal Rota, Aieshaleigh Smalley, Crystal Tamarua & Atawhai Tupaea (all New Zealand Warriors).
Teuila Fotu-Moala (St George Illawarra Dragons). Lavinia Gould & Raecene McGregor (both Brisbane Broncos). Nita Maynard & Kiana Takairangi (both Sydney Roosters).
Ricky’s View: Quite a few surprise selections here with six debutants and other elite players being saved for the Tests.
With that in mind, there is a good level of quality and finesse about this Kiwi 9s side, allowing the younger generation to make a name for themselves on the world stage.
The women’s team will not rest on their laurels either, as they look to make a big splash with their star-studded line-up.
The experience of Honey Hireme mixed with the youth of Charntay Poko, makes for an interesting dynamic for the Kiwi Ferns.

Papua New Guinea (PNG): Stargroth Amean & Wartovo Puara (both Barrow Raiders). Watson Boas (Doncaster RLFC). Edwin Epape & Edene Gebbie (both Wynnum-Manly Seagulls). Bernard Lewis (Sydney Roosters). Kyle Laybutt (Townsville Blackhawks).
Garry Lo & Moses Meninga (both PNG Hunters). Rhyse Martin (Leeds Rhinos), Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm), Nixon Putt (Norths Devils), Dan Russell (North Queensland Cowboys), Jedudiah Simbiken (Redcliffe Dolphins), Stanford Talita (Hela Wigmen) & Terry Wapi (PNG Hunters).

Coach: Michael Marum
Elsie Albert (UNRE Cowgirls). Catherine Anjo (Hohola Flies). Heather Ario & Carol Francis (both Gabutu Dragons). Lekiellia Brown (Wentworthville Magpies). Shae-Yvonne Dela Cruz (Easts Tigers). Shirley Joe (Eriku Panthers).
Janet Johns (Hanuabada Hawks). Roswita Kapo (Paga Panthers). Sera Koroi (Goodna Eagles). Ua Ravu (Leeton Greens). Jacobeth Wake (Royas Ramu League). Joyce Waula (Blackswan Royals).
Veronica Waula (Royals Rugby League). Angelo Watego (Capalaba Warriors) & Josephine Wong (Nightcliff Dragons).
Ricky’s View: In recent years, Papua New Guinean players have slowly ventured away from playing solely in their home country, to playing in England and Australia.
Garry Lo, Rhyse Martin, Justin Olam and Bernard Lewis are the four names that will stand out for many, with the quartet involved or previously involved with top-tier clubs.
Although they may not win any games – though, anything can happen – they will play with heart, passion and ticker, such is both theirs and their fans love for the game.
The women’s team will be in the same boat. They will give it their all and play the last minute with the same resolve as they do the first.

Samoa: Bunty Afoa & Ligi Sao (both New Zealand Warriors). Dean Blore, Moses Leota, Jarome Luai & Brian To’o (all Penrith Panthers). Michael Chee-Kam & David Nofoaluma (both Wests Tigers). Tino Fa’asuamaleaui & Marion Seve (both Melbourne Storm). Tim Lafai & Luciano Leilua (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Joey Leilua (Canberra Raiders). Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights). Lalatoa Mafa’afa (Canterbury Bulldogs) & Jorge Taufua (Manly Sea Eagles).

Ricky’s View: Another team blessed with efficient backs, yet struggling for game-changing, standout halves.

It will not stop them from having a dig and they will draw on their NRL experience across the team.

Though may fall just short of the final hurdle, but are good enough to jag a semi final spot.

Coach: Matt Parish


Tonga: John Asiata, Jason Taumalolo and Peter Hola (all North Queensland Cowboys). William Fakatoumafi (New Zealand Warriors). Andrew Fifita and Sione Katoa (both Cronulla Sharks). Tevita Funa (Manly Sea Eagles). Delouise Hoeter (Manly Sea Eagles). Jamil Hopoate, Fanitesi Niu, Joe Ofahengaue & Tevita Pangai Jr. (all Brisbane Broncos). Sione Katoa & Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (both Penrith Panthers). Tuipolutu Katoa (Canterbury Bulldogs). Robert Jennings (Wests Tigers).

Ricky’s View: If there is one team that is going to challenge the top sides, this Tongan side is that team.

With the board dispute resolved following a change and intervention by the Government, they are ready to rumble.

With huge, hulking players in Taumalolo, Hola and Pangai, these three have the potential to tear teams up the middle and cause havoc.

That, of course, allows the smaller men around the ruck and out wide to simply finish tries.

They will be an entertaining side to watch.


Wales: Rhys Evans, Dalton Grant & Cobi Green (all Bradford Bulls). Will Evans (Burleigh Bears). Connor Davies, Curtis Davies & Dan Fleming (Halifax RLFC). Elliot Kear & Rhys Williams (London Broncos RL). Lloyd White (Mackay Cutters). Regan Grace (St Helens). Gavin Bennion, Mike Butt & Rhodri Lloyd (all Swinton Lions). Ben Evans (Toulouse Olympique). James Olds (Wests Brisbane Panthers).

Ricky’s View: The Welsh team will come over with a fire in the belly, eager to prove themselves on the international stage.

With players that have been capped numerous times already and played on the big stage before at World Cups, they will not be daunted by the sheer weight of the task at hand.

They will come prepared and they will come with resolve, and that is all you can ask, with a few potential surprise wins along the way.


United States: David Washington, Charlie Jones and Khalial Harris (all Jacksonville Axemen). Ryan Burroughs (RU), Bureta Faraimo (Hull FC), Corey Makelim (Sheffield Eagles), Danny Howard (Wentworthville Magpies), Jerome View (Souths Logan Magpies), Kristian Freed (Wests Mitchelton), Jay Florimo (The Entrance), Eddy Pettybourne (Central Queensland Capras), Joe Eichner (Northern Pride), Mark Offerdahl (Goondawindi), Junior Vaivai (Toulouse Olympique XIII) & Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla Sharks).
Jamil Robinson, Marcus Satavu, Brandon Anderson, Connor Donohue & Brock Davies (all Brooklyn Kings).

Ricky’s View: This US side will have plenty of heart, ticker and drive, though the relative lack of experience at the highest level will likely see them falter.

Although, they do boast an exciting talent in Cronulla Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo, who has impressed since making his club debut.

He is eligible due to his family ties with American Samoa.


 

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