In encouraging news for the USA Tomahawks, many of the eligible players competing in Australia have been given positive report cards by their clubs a quarter of the way through the season.
20 overseas-based players are on the American National Rugby League’s radar for possible selection to the national team by virtue of having been born in the US, or having a parent or grandparent who was born stateside.
Of that group, 13 ply their trade in Australia and eight of them compete for clubs in the Intrust Super Cup in Queensland.
Kevin Pease has been impressing his head coach Paul Bramley at the Burleigh Bears.
“He’s going very well for us at the moment,” Coach Bramley told WeAreRugby. “He’s playing really well in our A Grade side in the Gold Coast League and if we didn’t have players coming down from the [Gold Coast] Titans he’d probably be in our Intrust Super Cup team.
“He’s been playing five-eighth, but can play center and lock as well. He’s great off the bench and is very versatile.”
North of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, Kristian Freed has been doing all the right things to cement a place as a regular starter for the Sea Eagles’ Super Cup side.
“He’s going well and has played every game for us,” said Sunshine Coast head coach Dave Cordwell. “He’s a real competitor and always seems to put himself in the right spot at the right time.”
Over at the Ipswich Jets, the trio of Michael Garvey, Jayson Rego and Josh Rice are pressing hard for promotion to the club’s Super Cup squad. Rice was the first of the three to get on the board for the Jets’ FOGS [Reserve Grade] team when he scored a try with his first touch of the ball in an earlier round.
At the same time, Mitchell Stevens has been in and out of the top side with reigning Super Cup champions Wynnum-Manly. Stevens got a start in the Seagulls’ A Grade team earlier in the season, but couldn’t retain his spot in the lineup because of Wynnum’s extensive player depth.
“Mitch is going all right, but he has a couple of good players ahead of him,” said Seagulls head coach Paul Green. “He plays right center and has been going good in Reserve Grade. If the opportunity comes up I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in our A Grade side.”
And another player on the US radar is Tui Samoa at the Redcliffe Dolphins. Samoa, who plays hooker and/or second row, scored four tries Sunday for the Dolphins’ FOGS team. He’s thought to be eligible for the Tomahawks based on the belief that he was born in American Samoa.
Meantime, Joseph Paulo continues to perform solidly for the Parramatta Eels in the NRL. Paulo came off the interchange bench Sunday in the Eels’ loss to Cronulla.
Another member of the USA Tomahawks pool, Penrith back-rower Clint Newton, who is eligible to represent the USA, turned in another solid game for the Panthers, particularly on defense, despite his team being shut out by Wests Tigers in Round 7 of the NRL season.