West Coach Pirates coach Daniel Manning says he expects Saturday’s Under 18 ANZAC Challenge game between Perth City and Perth Kiwis to have the intensity of a State of Origin fixture.
With a staggering 21 of his SG Ball Cup squad selected to compete in the annual event, Manning says friendships will be put to the side once the players take to Dorrien Gardens at 2.40pm.
“It’s like State of Origin – you’ve got mate against mate trying to fight for a spot in the Australian team,” Manning said.
“There will be a couple of big hits and a couple of big runs and it’s going to be entertaining.”
Pirates captain Jaiden Wilkinson headlines the group of players selected, with the second-year forward to be joined by Adriel Joanes, Billy Judge, Brady Belcher, Brenton Scott, Dylan Estreich, Jackson Bond, Jacob Kerr, Kenny Siliniu and Luke Callan in the Perth City team.
“This game means a lot for these boys,” Manning said.
“It’s a good reward to have, but they’re also fighting for a spot in the State team.”
City’s ANZAC opponents, the Perth Kiwis, have a strong Pirates feel about them too, with Damian Karini, Deijaan Healey-Marsh, Eric Koroa, Jaydon Solomon, Kelly-Reef Taingahue, Kyran Namana-Tahere, Peliata Fisiihoi, Porikapa Tukaki, Tamaho Teirney, Ricardo Ellison and Tuakana Hepi all set to feature, with Teirney looking for a repeat of last year’s Man-of-the-Match performance.
Teirney was the star of the show 12 months ago, bagging a double as the Kiwis ran out 26-24 winners.
“Tamaho is the kind of kid, if you give him a target, he’ll achieve it,” Manning said.
“This game means a lot to him so hopefully you’ll see another show from him.”
The game will be used as a trial fixture to determine the Under 18’s WA State squad for the Combined Affiliated States Championships in Darwin later this year.
“To go away to Darwin and play for your State is a high,” Manning said.
“They’ll be hungry to get in that WA team.
“If you work hard off the field, the sky’s the limit for these boys.”
Manning was also full of praise for former Pirate, Will Smith, who earned a call-up to the Perth City Senior Men’s side following a break-out year.
“It’s unbelievable,” Manning said.
“Will’s a great kid – he listens and works hard.
“Hats off to him – as an 18-year-old, that’s massive.”
Head Coach – Carl Boffey
Assistant Coach – Jad Meale
Assistant Coach – Mark Bilsbrough
Sports Trainer – Danille Driffill
Head Coach – Karoa Timms
Assistant Coach – Matt Pora
Sports Trainer – Lynette Wikaira