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The Sydney Airport Jets' preparations for the 2004 Rugby League season are well underway, with big numbers attending training at historic Henson Park. Jets' coaches Colin Murphy (Premier League) and Trevor Schodel (Jim Beam Cup) have been running a tough training regimen, along with input from highly-rated conditioning coach Dennis "Rowdy" Yates.
As the Jets approach their 97th season in the Rugby League code, there has been a strong infusion of Kiwi and Queensland talent into their ranks. Here is a quick run-through of the profiles of some of the new signings for 2004.
Sioli Helu: Played with Wellington in the NZ Bartercard Cup competition in 2003, and has represented NZ Residents and NZ Students. A 100 kgs centre/winger with genuine speed, who has really impressed at training. James Stosic: another Kiwi, who played in the Queensland Cup competition this year. A rugged 110 kgs front rower, this former Junior Kiwi has been described by his manager as being "like Glenn Lazarus with attitude". Thomas Gemmell: captained the Wellington Bartercard Cup squad in 2003. A 100 kgs back rower/utility player with a reputation as a fearsome enforcer. Willie Pauhotaua: a speedy, skilful back who plays fullback, centre or wing. Scored bags of tries in the Bartercard Cup, weighs in at 95 kgs. Phillip Leuluai: certainly has strong Rugby League bloodlines, as a member of the famous Leuluai footballing clan. Nephew of former Kiwi great James Leuluai. A 110 kgs front rower/second rower with both speed and ball skills, has played in the Bartercard Cup and France in recent seasons. Nelson Lomi: recommended to Newtown by 1970's Jets second rower Paul Dawson. Lomi is a Queensland Schoolboys representative, with a solid reputation in Gold Coast club football. A 98 kgs winger and fullback who is fiercely determined to succeed in Sydney.
There are more signings planned as the Jets gear up for their best season since moving up into the NSW Premier League (formerly the NSWRL First Division competition) back in 2000.
The Sydney Airport Jets train at Henson Park, Marrickville on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm.