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Rising Stars a Feature of 40th Rugby Season

The abundance of youth has been a feature of NT Rugby’s 40th Season of Club Competition.

There have been eleven nominees to date for the 2016 Bendigo Bank/NT Rugby Rising Star.

By contrast there were only three nominees for season 2015.

The Award recognises young players who are eligible to play in an Under 18 Competition who are selected and start in a First Grade match for the first time.

There were five players nominated after Round One with Darwin Dragon’s Jonas Niki and South Darwin’s Thomas O’Connor featuring in the opening game of the regular season.

Niki has scored five tries on the wing for Dragons and backs up in his Club’s Under 17 team on Wednesday Nights.

As expected the return to First Grade of the rural area based Swampdogs would bring with it a plethora of youth.

Dean Tinning has started in all eight matches and the big lock has caught the attention of pundits with a string of solid performances.

Swampdogs selected 16-year-old Brodie Morcom to start their Round Two match against South Darwin at Fly-half and the talented youngster has held his spot in the side ever since 

The third nominee from the Swampdogs is Joseph Cameron who got his first start on the side of the scrum in Round Three.

Palmerston have produced the last two winners of the Rising Star Award and have produced front row forward Liam Bilston and Winger Jimi Fitzgerald this year.

Fitzgerald was an off-season recruit from the Swampdogs.

Casuarina’s Round Five match against Dragons saw winger Ryan Graham and loose forward Luke Morgan-Doherty get their run-on debuts for the Cougars.

At University Hone Edwards came off the bench for the first four rounds before getting his start at full-back against Souths in Round Five.

Edwards’ next two starts were at fly-half in Rounds Six and Eight.

The Pirates blooded Hugh Harbeck with a start in Round Six against Swampdogs.

The list of Rising Star nominees is set to grow with several talented young players regularly featuring off the bench for their respective clubs.

The NT Rugby Union recently announced the annual Bendigo Bank Rising Star would be the recipient of the Tawera Kerr-Barlow Medal in recognition of the Palmerston Junior’s rise from Under 6 player with the Crocs to World Cup winner with the All Blacks.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby