Rising league stars lift Aussie silverware

PERFORMANCE: Fa'amanu Brown pushed his case for more NRL minutes in 2019 with a standout performance in the ISP grand final.

Three rising Christchurch rugby league products tasted success across the Tasman at the weekend.

Young guns Fa’amanu Brown, Cruz Topai-Aveai and Jordan Riki all lifted silverware at feeder levels to the NRL, indicating promising things are on the horizon.

In New South Wales, 23-year-old Hornby product Brown played a key role in Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ 18-12 triumph over his former club the Newtown Jets in the ISP grand-final.

With his side trailing 10-0, Brown scored a vital try to open the Bulldogs account just before half-time. Brown was a stalwart for the Jets during his time as a Cronulla Sharks-contracted player, before linking up with the Bulldogs this year.

The Bulldogs will face Queensland Cup champions the Redcliffe Dolphins in Sunday’s InTrust Super State Championship grand-final in a curtain-raiser to the NRL grand-final.

Meanwhile, former Shirley Boys’ High School first XV player Topai-Aveai started at prop in the Cronulla Sharks under-20 side’s 22-12 win over the Penrith Panthers in the Jersey Flegg Cup final.

Riki, a former St Thomas of Canterbury student and Hornby Panthers player, also had success in an under-20 final. Riki started in the second row for the Norths Devils in their 20-16 win over the Townsville Blackhawks in the Queensland under-20 final.