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Wests Tigers Cubs under-18 rugby league squad started their tour in fine style with victory in Perth on Friday night. The Cubs recorded a convincing 48-12 victory over the Western Australian U18 side. Cubs coach Michael Buettner was very happy with the performance.
?The match was played at a fast pace and the boys gelled well for their first run together against an older team,?? Buettner said.
Lock Teason Fa?avae-Eli was named man-of-the-match after turning in a strong defensive display. He also was solid in attack. The Cubs had too much pace with wingers Nua Alone scoring three tries and Shannon Gallant one try. Full-back Shannon McDonnell crossed twice as did front-rower Dean Rysko. Blake Dureau kicked six goals in the win.
The Cubs are made up of 18 of the best young players from the Balmain and Western Suburbs SG Ball teams. Having left Perth on Sunday, the Cubs will now play two development games in South Africa. The first is against regional representative team Vaal Buffaloes at Isak Steyl on Tuesday, September 28.
The Cubs then play regional representative side Eastern Eagles in Johannesburg on Friday, October 1.
Promising Wests Tigers players Dene Halatau and Bronson Harrison have been named in the New Zealand train-on squad. Halatau and Harrison have been asked by Kiwi selectors to keep training until the final team for the Tri-Nations Series in Great Britain in October/November is announced.
Both players had fine seasons for the Tigers and their selection is a just reward for their efforts.
In other club news, the Tigers have lost Michael Buettner (retired), Darren Senter (retired), Scott Sattler (retired), Gray Vianne (England) and Luke Covell (Cronulla) for 2005. Hooker Robbie Mears has not been offered a new contract for next season.
Talented Penrith centre Paul Whatuira heads the list of player signings for the Tigers in 2005. The Tigers backline also has been boosted with the signing of Cronulla winger Matthew Rieck for one year. Winger Robert Miles also has re-signed for 2005.
Other signings include Tim McGann (Easts rugby), prop/back-rower Jarrod Saffy (Sydney Uni rugby), Nick Kouparitsas (Canberra), back-rower Mark Meridith (Souths) and prop/back-rower Matt Jobson (Warriors).
McGann is a former Australian Schoolboys rugby player while Saffy has represented Australia in the Sevens rugby tournament in Hong Kong. Kouparitsas is a former Australian Schoolboys rugby league player who has spent this season playing Premier League for Canberra.
Meridith is looking for a fresh start with the Tigers from South Sydney while Jobson previously played with Newcastle before joining the Warriors.
The Tigers will undergo pre-season fitness tests on Monday, November 1.