Where Are They Now: The 2010 NYC Team Of The Year
WRITTEN BY JASPER BRUCE
The National Youth Competition’s 2010 Team Of The Year boasted a smattering of promising young talents. Dominated by Bulldogs and Broncos juniors, the team featured future club captains and representative stars.
However, not all went on to superstardom in the NRL. Let’s look back on the NYC Team Of The Year from ten years ago and ask: Where are they now?
#1 Dane Gagai (Broncos)
Dane Gagai made his first-grade debut immediately after the 2010 NYC season ended, taking to the field in round 1 of the 2011 NRL season. His stint at the Broncos lasted only six games before he headed south for a contract with the Newcastle Knights and subsequently moved to South Sydney in 2018. As he closes in on 200 NRL games, Gagai is rarely a fullback as he was during his NYC days, slotting in more frequently as a winger or centre.
Nevertheless, Dane Gagai has enjoyed a distinguished career thus far. He’s scored 11 tries from 13 appearances in Queensland’s Origin side and has played for Australia and the Indigenous All-Stars team.
#3 Dylan Farrell (Rabbitohs)
Dylan Farrell scored a hat-trick on debut for Souths in 2010 and went on to play 70 games for the foundation club. He was dropped to reserve grade in his final year at Souths in 2013, before taking up a contract with St George for the year after.
Farrell was part of the inaugural NRL Nines side for the Dragons but only managed 20 games for the joint venture across two seasons. He finished up with the Dragons in 2015. In a 2017 interview, Farrell claimed that the club still owes him money in insurance payments.
As of 2020, Farrell is the captain-coach of the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets in the South Coast’s Group 7 competition. He has also opened up an F45 franchise in Nowra.
#5 Josh Mansour (Rabbitohs)
Something of a late bloomer, Mansour didn’t make his first-grade debut until a few months before his 22nd birthday. Since then, he’s gone on to become a fan favourite at Penrith and is now one of the club’s more experienced first graders.
Josh Mansour played his 150th game earlier this season. He has represented Australia on seven occasions and New South Wales on three. Despite the depth of Penrith’s roster, Mansour’s reputation as a dependable finisher and a workhorse has seen him remain in the first-grade side with consistency. He looks set to feature in Penrith’s finals campaign this year, hoping to hoist the trophy for the first time in his career.
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#2 Kalifa Faifai Loa (Dragons)
Winger Kalifa Faifai Loa made his NRL debut in 2010 and went on to chalk up 66 top-grade appearances at three different clubs.
After making the first-grade side just twice in his debut year, Faifai Loa left the Dragons and signed with the Cowboys, hoping for more game time. Moves to the Titans and back to the Dragons saw Faifai Loa struggle to become a mainstay of either club’s first-grade lineup. After his contract at the Dragons ran out, he signed with the Townsville Blackhawks in the Canterbury Cup.
In 2020, he began playing for Townsville rugby union side the Western Suburbs Dragons.
#4 Siuatonga Likiliki (Warriors)
Siuatonga Likiliki made his first-grade debut at the Warriors in 2009 before migrating across the Tasman to sign with the Knights. There, he played two games under Rick Stone in 2011. From 2009-2013, he played four games for the Tongan international team and was a member of the country’s 2013 World Cup squad. When his top-grade career wrapped up, Likiliki played for the Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup.
Since then, he has worked in the construction industry, before starting the online business which he runs today. Likiliki now enjoys the quiet life as a family man and father of three kids.
#6 Aidan Sezer (Bulldogs)
Considering their current lack of attacking firepower, the Canterbury faithful may kick themselves for letting this crafty half go. Since debuting for the Titans in 2012, Aidan Sezer has notched over 150 NRL appearances.
A solid first grader on the Gold Coast, Sezer arguably only hit his stride after moving to the nation’s capital. While playing for Canberra, he was selected for NSW City Origin and appeared in the club’s 2019 grand final loss to the Roosters.
Following the 2019 season, he moved to England to captain the Huddersfield Giants in the English Super League.
#7 Sam Williams (Raiders)
Sam Williams’ NRL career has featured three separate stints at the Canberra Raiders, as well as a spell with St. George and two moves to the Super League. In his debut season, he played nearly every game for the Raiders but fell out of favour in the years that followed.
Despite chalking up 130 first grade games thus far (94 in the NRL and 36 in the Super League), he has struggled to cement a first-grade spot during any of his stints in the top flight.
Currently, Jack Wighton and George Williams are filling the 6 and 7 jerseys in the nation’s capital, with Williams on the outer under Ricky Stuart.
#8 Tariq Sims (Broncos)
The 2010 NYC Player of the Year, Sims is one of the more accomplished members of this Team Of The Year. After moving to the Cowboys, he impressed in his debut season and was nominated for Rookie Of The Year in 2011. From there, he went on to co-captain the Newcastle Knights. He has also appeared in the NSW Origin side twice and earned caps for both NSW Country and Fiji.
Currently, Sims plays for the Dragons but has battled injuries in recent times. A shoulder injury has kept his 2020 season to seven appearances, but Sims is primed for a return in 2021 under new coach Anthony Griffin.
#9 James Segeyaro (Cowboys)
This slick number nine has been an asset to multiple sides since debuting in 2011. A Papua New Guinean international, Segeyaro arguably played his best footy with the Penrith Panthers, coming off the bench to add attacking flair midway through the first half of games. While at Penrith, he was named the Dally M Hooker of the Year in 2014.
In 2019, after a season of playing for the Broncos, Segeyaro was provisionally suspended by the NRL after a random drug test returned a positive A-sample for di-hydroxy LGD-4033. Segeyaro denies any personal wrongdoing but is yet to play in the NRL since.
#10 Andrew Clayton (Broncos)
Tipped as one of the NRL’s best young prospects, Broncos big man Clayton signed a deal with Cronulla for the 2011 season. However, he failed to make the first-grade side with Luke Douglas and Kade Snowden having a mortgage on the front row spots. He left Cronulla to take up a deal with the Wynnum-Manly Seagulls in Queensland shortly after.
#11 Ryan James (Titans)
A Titan through and through, Ryan James’ 144 appearances for the club make him the fifth most-capped player in the club’s history. The hard-running forward has played for both Country Origin and the Indigenous All-Stars during his time in the NRL.
In recent years, James has contended with injuries and has undergone two knee reconstructions. He has reportedly taken a $400,000 pay cut to sign with the Canberra Raiders for 2021 and beyond. James will hope to find form and fitness in the nation’s capital as the Raiders continue to impress.
#12 Sam Mataora (Raiders)
A Cook Islands International, Mataora earned a reputation as a punishing forward during his time in the NYC. He made his first-grade debut in 2010 and spent three years with the Raiders before taking up an opportunity with Newcastle.
Mataroa was part of the famously lacklustre 2016 Newcastle Knights side that notched the second-worst points differential in NRL history (-495). He played his last game for the Knights in 2017.
In late 2019, Mataora signed with the Maitland Pickers, after briefly returning to Canberra to play with Belconnen United.
#13 Ethan Cook (Knights)
Cook failed to crack the first-grade side during his time in the Hunter and moved to Penrith for the 2013 season. He was overlooked for first-grade selection at the foot of the mountains and subsequently joined Newcastle side the Western Rosellas.
He currently works as a refrigeration and air conditioning apprentice and captains the Central Newcastle Butcher Boys in the Newcastle Rugby League competition.
#14 Brad Murray (Roosters)
The sole Rooster in 2010’s NYC Team of the Year signed with cross-town rivals Parramatta for 2011, hoping to play first grade.
However, Murray’s NRL career was cut short when he became involved in the Ryan Tandy match-fixing scandal. The scandal saw multiple parties bet on the Cowboys to score a penalty goal during a 2010 match against the Bulldogs. Ahead of the game, the parties consulted with Tandy, who is alleged to have deliberately given away a penalty in the match with the hopes that the Cowboys would kick for penalty goal. Murray was thought to have been one of the parties involved.
The Eels released Murray in 2011 following the scandal and he has yet to sign another NRL contract.
#15 Dale Finucane (Bulldogs)
A reliable forward, Dale Finucane has had a knack for featuring in highly successful teams. He played in two grand finals with the Bulldogs before moving to the Storm, where he won the 2017 premiership. During his time at the Storm, Finucane has also played in the 2016 and 2018 grand final-losing sides.
Finucane is currently sidelined with a calf injury but could make a return come finals and possibly play in his sixth grand final during nine years of NRL.
#16 Matt Hyland (Tigers)
A promising young forward, Hyland struggled to break into the Tigers’ first-grade side in what was a strong period of form for the joint venture. With the likes of Chris Heighington, Keith Galloway, Gareth Ellis and Bryce Gibbs all locked in for first-grade selection, Hyland had to look elsewhere for opportunities.
He earned a contract with Souths but never made it to first grade. He did, however, shine for the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup, being selected for reserve grade representative football.
#17 Lama Tasi (Sea Eagles)
Lama Tasi is the only player from the 2010 NYC Team Of The Year to have played more games in the English Super League than the NRL. Tasi managed 37 NRL games with the Roosters and Broncos from 2011-2013, before signing with Salford in the Super League.
He stayed in England from 2014 until 2019, playing over 100 games for Salford and enjoying brief stints at both St Helens and Warrington. Late last year, he signed a new deal with the Sarina Crocodiles in the Mackay & District league.[/details]