Noosa Pirates junior rugby league coaches have begun the challenging process of selecting their standout players for 2020. Picture: Sharon Collins
Noosa Pirates junior rugby league coaches have begun the challenging process of selecting their standout players for 2020. Picture: Sharon Collins

Coaches reveal junior Pirates with big league futures

Senior rugby league took a back seat in season 2020 so it has been junior stars shining on field and they haven’t gone unnoticed.

With only two rounds left in the regular season, Noosa Pirates junior rugby league coaches from under 16s and under 18s have begun the challenging process of selecting their standout players for 2020.

Proudest Pirate Liam Anlezark lists ultimate 1-17 team

NRL star and Coast junior in possible move back to Qld

Under 18s

Dean Christensen has been coaching the boys in the close-knit under 18 Pirates for the past three years.

He has seen them grow into professionals on and off the field.

Now, as they look to a big 2020 finals campaign, Christensen has chosen the players who have stood out - not just for their physical ability, but their leadership and tenacity throughout the season.

Which, given the amount of talent and possible NRL players in the team, was no easy task.

Noosa Pirates Under 18s are getting excited in the lead up to the 2020 final series.
Noosa Pirates Under 18s are getting excited in the lead up to the 2020 final series.

Pat McGinn, Centre

Talented centre Pat McGinn has already put pen to paper with the Melbourne Storm. Picture: Sharon Collins.
Talented centre Pat McGinn has already put pen to paper with the Melbourne Storm. Picture: Sharon Collins.

With the Melbourne Storm’s close links to the Sunshine Coast Falcons, it is not a surprise that they would be on the lookout for future stars from the Coast.

It seems they have found some in Christensen’s U18 Pirates team.

Talented centre McGinn has already put pen to paper with the Melbourne side.

It comes as no surprise to his current coach.

“He is just gifted - he has a great ability to play football,” Christensen said.

“He has speed, agility, and great technique in his tackles.”

Lachie Santana, Fullback.

Fullback Lachlan Santana has
Fullback Lachlan Santana has "fantastic ability." Picture: Sharon Collins

With great hands and speed to burn, Sunshine Coast Falcons representative Lochlan Santana gives opposing defensive lines no end of trouble from fullback.

“The kid has fantastic ability and you can see why he will be a great fullback,” Christensen said.

His strong attack and talk behind the line in defence will be a huge asset to the under 18 Pirates in the their hunt for a premiership win.

Heath Robinson, Second Row

Heath Robinson leads the way with his “monumental work ethic”. Picture: Sharon Collins.
Heath Robinson leads the way with his “monumental work ethic”. Picture: Sharon Collins.

Vice-captain and second rower Heath Robinson came through the junior ranks, and as Christensen admits, he didn’t have the natural skill of some other players but what he did have was a monumental work ethic.

“He is a natural leader, he is able to unite different people together,” Christensen said.

“He is an outstanding talent.”

Ben Buggy, Halfback.

Halfback Ben Buggy has a bright rugby league future ahead. Picture: Sharon Collins
Halfback Ben Buggy has a bright rugby league future ahead. Picture: Sharon Collins

For the Pirates’ U18 team, one good thing to come out of the COVID restrictions was the cancellation of the State League competition, which allowed talented halfback Buggy into the team.

Leading the team around the park, the Sunshine Coast Falcons U18 development player has a big future in the game.

“He is a kid with a lot of talent, he is a natural playmaker,” Christensen said.

Christensen will lose at least five of his starting side next season due to age restrictions, but he is confident they will keep the nucleus of the team.

“They are all good mates, they all go to the same school together,” he said.

Under 16s

Coach of the U16 ladder-leading Pirates Barry Goldthorpe said he was very fortunate to have the depth of talent in his team.

So much so, the NRL teams have come calling and it seems some of Goldthorpe’s boys are potentially headed for the big time.

Dylan Cousins, Hooker

Goldthorpe is not surprised that NRL club Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs has been sniffing around the club when his talented number 9 was on the field.

“He is very, very good hooker,” Goldthorpe said.

“He is very smart - the way he plays the game and the way he sees it.

Harry Dwyer, Lock

According to his coach, team captain and Sunshine Coast Falcons representative Harry Dwyer is in the
According to his coach, team captain and Sunshine Coast Falcons representative Harry Dwyer is in the "perfect" position as lock. Picture: Sharon Collins

According to Goldthorpe, his team captain and Sunshine Coast Falcons representative Harry Dwyer is in the “perfect” position as lock.

“He is a really good ballplayer,” he said.

“He has strong defence and plays just as good as a half.”

Kahn Sullivan and Oscar Brough, Second Row

The toughness of second-rowers Sullivan and Brough s a big reason why the U16 Pirates are undefeated in 2020.

“Their defence is rock solid. They play their part really well,” Goldthorpe said.

Between being selected in NRL development teams or moving on to U18s, one of Goldthorpe’s big challenges next year will be retaining his team of young stars.

“We should have a pretty dominate team, but it will be a bit tricky,” he said.