Five join Titans NYC squad for 2008
By STEVE SPINKS
NORTHERN League grand final opponents Andrew Battese and Jy Hitchcox will join forces for the Gold Coast Titans' Under-20s team next season when the National Rugby League's youth competition kicks-off.
Battese, a Ballina hooker, and Hitchcox, a Mullumbimby winger, were both instrumental in their side's march to the grand final last month.
Hitchcox helped his team eventually prevail with a brave performance following injury.
The duo will join three other local players Shannon Walker (Kyogle), Will Matthews (Kyogle) and Cody Nelson (Mullumbimby) in the 30-man squad that was finalised late last week by the Titans.
"He (Battese) signed with the Titans a few months ago," Andrew's father Brian Battese said.
"He felt comfortable going up there and he's played with a lot of the guys in divisional stuff."
Battese, a St John's College Woodlawn student, is currently completing his HSC and is hoping to earn a place at Griffith University allowing him study and play football at the same time.
A feature of the National Youth Competition is that team's will be semi-professional.
Each side will be encouraged not to train during the day and there is a heavy emphasis on players either furthering their study or career opportunities outside of football.
A number of local players have been named as shadow players for the 30-man squad including Kyogle's Cameron Gibson and Matt O'Reilly, Mullumbimby's Travis Drought and South Grafton's Daniel Bligh.
THE 30-MAN SQUAD: Shannon Walker, Kingi Akau Ola, Esi Tonga, Jared McCarthy, Kevin Gordon, Jordan Rapana, Cameron White, Tyson Lofipo, David Moore, Jy Hitchcox, Lachlan Creighton, Kye Howarth, Josh Costello, Kane Lawton, Sam Stewart, Cody Nelson, Andrew Battese, George Jarrett, Brodie Williams, Ben Ridge, Ryan Simpkins, Ryan Wilson, Tom Kingston, Bodene Thompson, Shaun Spring, Will Matthews, Siosaia Va Va, James Baillie, Dylan Roberts, Steve Darby.