Shute Shield stars to shine for Rays

by Sam Phillips

The Sydney Rays have named their squad for the start of the NRC, with no team to name ahead of a round one bye this weekend.

Some of the significant ins come with experience, namely in the form of Dave McDuling, while others do not, notably the inclusion of Australian U20s halfback Harry Nucifora.

Nucifora will take a prominent role in the side, with Dewet Roos ruled out for the entire season through a knee injury.

Nucifora's deputy will be Nick Duffy, who started for Northern Suburbs in their Shute Shield final loss to Warringah.Harry Nucifora will be a fixture in the Rays best XV. Photo: ARU MediaThe Rays also have a coup in the coaching department, with Julian Huxley taking the reigns and Simon Cron filling a role as coaching director.

David Lolohea has come across the city to play for the Rays, having turned out for the Rams last season.

He will be joined up front by Australian U20s prop Cody Walker, with Waratah Damien Fitzpatrick set to start at hooker.

Cam Clark, Irae Simone and Bryce Hegarty will form the core of the midfield,

The Rays have the bye in Week One and will start their 2017 campaign with the big Sydney derby match against the Greater Sydney Rams on Sunday, September 10.Can the Rays get to a grand final in 2017? Photo: Getty ImagesThe derby against the Rams will be the culmination of a Festival of Rugby at Macquarie Uni Playing Fields that will see the second round of the Aon Uni 7s series played out on the Saturday and most of the Sunday.

Paula Balekana gets his chance to turn stellar Shute Shield form into NRC stardom, after a terrific campaign with Gordon, in which he was the season's top try scorer, while leading the competition in tackle busts and metres gained.


Rays squad for the NRC

Paula Balekana

Harry Burey

Apolosi Latunipulu

Cam Clark

Tom Connor

Nick Duffy

Lawrance Hunting

Damien Fitzpatrick (C)

Jack Grant

Bryce Hegarty

James Hilterbrand

Harry Jones

Harry Nucifora

Sam Lane

Kawaa Leauma

David Lolohea

Erza Luxton

Alex Perez

Angus Sinclair

Guy Porter

Angus Ryan

Rohan Saifoloi

Irae Simone

Dave McDuling

Hugh Sinclair

Alefosio Tatola

Josh Turner

Sam Kitchen

Conor Vest

Cody Walker

Alex Westgarth