Tag Archive: Elijah Niko


1. Anthony Mitchell (Eels) – The Eels have struggled to find a regular dummy-half in recent years but with the emergence of 21-year-old Anthony Mitchell in late 2010 their search could soon be over. The highly-rated young hooker boasts all the skills – lightning service, a crisp passing game and speed off the mark. Likely to be part of a three-man rotation for the Eels this year, he will battle for the No.9 jersey with Matt Keating and new arrival Casey McGuire but the general consensus is that the hooking spot will become his alone in the long term. Mitchell played three games for the Eels at the back end of the 2010 season, scoring two tries, and was selected in the Indigenous All Stars side earlier this year.

2. Siuatonga Likiliki (Knights) – Boasting one of the greatest names in rugby league history – right up there with the likes of former Bronco Steele Retchless and South Sydney’s Bronco Djura – Siuatonga Likiliki made a name for himself playing for the Warriors’ premiership-winning Toyota Cup side last season when he scored 19 tries in 25 games. Now with Newcastle, the 20-year-old speedster already has tongues wagging in the Hunter where he will join Akuila Uate in a lightning-fast backline. A Junior Kiwis representative in 2010, Likiliki was named in both the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Cup Team of the Year. Continue reading

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Storms youth led recovery

Melbourne Storm’s recruitment strategy for 2011 was dictated by their dire circumstances last year. A salary cap stretched to the limit by the dodgy deals of past administrators left little cash to replace a host of departing stars. So the addition of journeyman props such as Adam Woolnough and Troy Thompson filled out the list in positions where it was weak. But Storm’s Round 1 line-up won’t be just veteran-filled because coach Craig Bellamy is set to back a youth-led recovery. As many as six players aged 22 or younger could be in his 17, with 10 fledglings set to form the core of Storm’s new look outfit now and into the future. Wingers Matt Duffie, 20, and 19-year-old Justin O’Neill made try scoring their business last season taking their fast-tracked opportunities to make a serious impression. Centre Chase Stanley has already played for his country but is still only 21 and, despite an injury setback, could win the race for Greg Inglis’ centre spot. Continue reading

There’s a Storm a brewing ….

The Melbourne Storm finished their first game of 2011 with a comprehensive 34-10 rugby league trial victory over Queensland Cup sides Ipswich and Brisbane Easts at Langlands Park in Brisbane. Melbourne demolished Ipswich 34-0 in the first half in a fearsome display, before they took their foot off the gas and were beaten 10-0 in the second stanza by a resilient Easts side. In a first half peppered with penalties, the Storm were well served by second-rower Steven Thorpe, who crashed over for two tries, while recruit Elijah Niko also added his name to the scoresheet. The victory was the start of a new era for the Storm, who were caught cheating on the salary cap last season and were relegated to the wooden spoon while also being stripped of the 2007 and 2009 premierships. Continue reading

Such is the hype surrounding new Melbourne Storm recruit Elijah Niko that he has already drawn comparisons to former NRL star Israel Folau.Every season the Storm have unearthed a future star, and little-known Niko is tipped to follow in the steps of Folau, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater – and even rugby convert Will Chambers – and make an immediate impact on the NRL. Skipper Cameron Smith said Niko had a serious chance to brush aside seasoned campaigners for a start in Melbourne’s opener against Manly. All eyes will be on the club and their new talent after they were forced to release several big names, including Inglis, in the aftermath of last year’s cap-rorting saga. Club officials preferred not to comment on Niko, who scored 21 tries in 36 games for the Warriors in Toyota Cup, including one in last year’s grand final triumph, and said they wanted to “keep him under wraps”. But Smith gave him a glowing endorsement and went as far to liken him to Folau. Continue reading