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Kukis at play in the NRL

Tuesday February 20, 2018 Written by Published in League
Dylan Napa in the hit out against Penrith. 18021905 Dylan Napa in the hit out against Penrith. 18021905

A few Kuki internationals got the chance to blow off the cobwebs over the weekend in the opening round of the NRL’s pre-season.


Queensland prop Dylan Napa was the highest profile player, alongside New South Wales winger Blake Ferguson, to turn out for the Roosters hit out against the Panthers, although a case of the mumps threatened to put that to bed.

Teammates Mitch Aubusson and new recruit James Tedesco were both laid out by the disease, and the Roosters banned from travelling any player been suspected of contracting the sickness.

The weakened Roosters side were downed 30-18 to the Panthers, with new Penrith recruit (and former Sydney star) James Maloney putting on a show for his brief 23-minute run.

Esan Marsters, meanwhile, turned out for his West Tigers club, and the 22 year old looked in mid-season form in their 30-16 win over the North Queensland Cowboys.

A menace with the ball in his hands, Marsters showed a bit of skill when he offloaded the ball to halfback Josh Reynolds, who then laid it onto Corey Thompson for the try.

Coming into the season, it looked like Marsters might be shifted from centre to the forwards (where he played in the lower grades) to accommodate a glut of Tigers talent, but the youngster looked at home in the victory.

In their match report, Fox Sports said that the combination of Reynolds with Luke Brooks in the halves and also Tuimoala Lolohea at fullback gave the Tigers an impressive attacking potency that provided chances for the likes of Marsters, Milne and Thompson out wide.

Cook Islands international Anthony Gelling also finally made his debut in the Warriors jersey, after having previously represented the Warriors’ feeder side Vulcans.

Coming on in the second half, Gelling faces a tough road to get minutes in a competitive Warriors backline that includes Blake Ayshford, Peter Hiku, Gerard Beale, Solomone Kata and Ken Maumalo

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