Three Kukis up against the Storm

Saturday September 29, 2018 Written by Published in League
Joseph Manu, Zane Tetevano and Dylan Napa will all be in action in this weekend's NRL grand final for the Sydney Roosters. Joseph Manu, Zane Tetevano and Dylan Napa will all be in action in this weekend's NRL grand final for the Sydney Roosters.

Three Cook Islanders will be up against the storm when Sydney Roosters take on Melbourne in the NRL grand final tonight at 11.20pm (Cook Islands time).

 

Hitman Dylan Napa, Joseph Manu and Zane Tetevano will feature for the Roosters against defending champion Storm.

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said it was a proud moment for the country to have three players of Cook Islands origin featuring in the grand finale.

“Certainly a proud moment for us Cook Islanders seeing a number of Cook Islanders in the grand final with the likes of the Hitman Dylan Napa, Manu and Zane Tetevano. They are certainly brilliant role models for young people,” Carlson said.

“Dylan and Zane played for (Cook Islands in) the 2013 World Cup in England and have really grown in the game and of course Dylan had made a name for himself as possibly being one of the biggest hitters of the game.”

Napa was part of the Roosters side that beat Newcastle in a preliminary final five years ago but was ultimately overlooked for the biggest game of the year because of the returns of Boyd Cordner and Luke O'Donnell.

The Roosters came close and fell one game short – defeated in the preliminary final – in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Coming that close to the premiership motivated Napa to keep trying his best to land the chance to win the title. “It's been fueling me since the first day of pre-season,” Napa told AAP.

“The hurt from last year of losing the preliminary, three of the last four years we bowed out (a game before the grand final).

“It wasn't until I was a bit older that I realised how hard they were to come by.”

Youngster Manu said he had been waiting for this moment.

“Ever since I watched that first finals game, I just wanted to be a part of it... the atmosphere, the hype, the big game experience, the back and forth, those tough hits,” the 22-year-old said.

Team lists

Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Mitchell Aubusson, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Isaac Liu, 13 Victor Radley. Interchange: 14 Dylan Napa, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Paul Momirovski, 17 Ryan Matterson. Reserves: 18 Lindsay Collins, 19 Nat Butcher, 20 Sean O’Sullivan, 23 Cooper Cronk.

Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Tim Glasby, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Joe Stimson, 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Kenny Bromwich, 15 Christian Welch, 16 Brandon Smith, 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Reserves: 18 Ryan Hoffman, 19 Jahrome Hughes, 20 Sam Kasiano, 21 Cheyse Blair.

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