Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles will field a team of exciting young talent mixed with some NRL experience at Lottoland this Sunday.
The Sea Eagles tackle Mounties in the opening round of the Canterbury Cup in what will be the second game of a triple header. Kick-off is 1.15pm
Abbas Miski, Dylan Phythian, Cade Cust, and Zach Dockar-Clay bring NRL experience to a team that features the talented Luke Metcalf and Jade Anderson along with the toughness of props Andy Saunders and Zac Saddler.
“It is nice to have some players come back into our team with that NRL experience. A lot of these boys had a real go at the NRL Nines in Perth and have been training well with the NRL squad over summer,’’ said Blacktown Workers Coach Steven Hales.
“There is some exciting talent coming through for Manly and I’m sure they will go out and showcase their skills on Sunday.”
The Sea Eagles spine of Metcalf at full-back, Phythian and Cust in the halves, and Dockar-Clay at hooker will give Blacktown Workers plenty of strike power.
“It is a talented spine. It is a skillful looking group and I encourage them to play some football and back their abilities,’’ Hales said.
“We are fortunate to have a very good captain in Zach Dockar-Clay. He was our Player of the Year last season and he has come off of a very good pre-season with the NRL squad. I’m sure he is in for another good year and will again lead our team well.
“These guys have aspirations to play higher and will be determined to play well to put pressure on the senior players.
“When you have got good depth and competition for spots, the club is always going to be in a healthy position.”
Hales said the likes of Phythian, Dane Aukafolau, Reed Izzard, and Sam Manuleleau would have gained plenty of valuable experience from playing in the NRL trial against Cronulla Sharks a fortnight ago.
He added he was proud of Blacktown's performance in their final trial against 2019 Canterbury Cup premiers, Newtown Jets.
“We had six or seven part-timers play against Cronulla at Kogarah and it was a terrific experience for them,’’ Hales said.
“You take those seven players out of this team and you do feel it. For 60 minutes against Newtown, we were really impressive.”
Hales said his side would benefit from the recruitment of Fijian international prop, Petero Ben Nakubuwa.
“Ben has come from Salford who made the Super League Grand Final last year. He has played NRL for the Gold Coast Titans and has been in the Melbourne Storm system. He is going to be a huge asset,’’ Hales said.
“Then we also have someone like Dylan Phythian, who played first grade for Newcastle Knights at a tender age and is looking to re-ignite his career.
“We have got a really good mix in our squad and the boys are keen to equip themselves well on Sunday.
“Being round one, there is so much anticipation and build up. We have got some really good young players coming through at Manly and there will be some fine talent on display, so I encourage Sea Eagles supporters to get to Lottoland early.
“It's exciting for coaches, players and fans to get three games at Lottoland. It sort of takes you back in time."