The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup has named their Team of the Year based on the 2022 season, just hours before Canterbury and Penrith meet in the competition's Grand Final.
The two Grand Final sides have snared six of the 13 available spots in the side, a testament to the pair's quality showings this season, and all of which featuring for their respective NRL sides at some point throughout the year.
Sunia Turuva has been named at fullback after a stellar season that saw the youngster star for Fiji in June against Papua New Guinea, before making his NRL debut for Penrith weeks later. The flyer has been a rock for the NSW Cup side at the back, and is touted to see a lot more first-grade in 2023.
Tom Carr joins Izaac Thompson on the wings for the side as the duo top the try-scorers list across he competition. Carr is the only player not have played NRL as of yet, however that may change in the next 12 months after the winger notched 22 tries in 23 games for the North Sydney Bears.
Thompson finished 2nd, crossing 20 times in 16 matches for the Rabbitohs' reserve grade, and going on to score in both NRL appearances this season.
Kayal Iro has a big future in front of he outside back, cemented by his position in the centres for the TOTY. The Newtown Jet made his long-awaited NRL debut in 2022, and will build on it after being re-signed by Cronulla. Thomas Jenkins, his centre partner in the 'dream team' was thrown into first-grade after Ivan Cleary rested his entire squad for the last round of the regular season.
While his NRL appearances came at fullback covering for Will Kennedy, Kade Dykes has snuck into the side at five-eighth after a strong showing for the minor premiers, Newtown.
He's partnered by Dean Hawkins, who's out-trumped Brandon Wakeham for a spot in the side. The Rabbitohs halfback was stuck behind Lachlan Ilias this season, though shone in his singular NRL match in 2022, a 26-0 win over Parramatta six weeks back.
The forward pack is intimidating in itself, the front-row consisting of Lindsay Smith, who is building towards becoming a permanent member of Penrith's NRL side, and Ata Mariota, who made his NRL debut when he was activated as 18th man for the Green Machine against Penrith in Round 21.
Soni Luke, who is set to be a full-time member of the Panthers' 17 in 2023 due to the departure of Apisai Koroisau, is the rake for the side.
Why Jackson Topine only played three NRL games this season is a mystery, the back-rower far and away a standout in an impressive Canterbury outfit. The hard-hitting back-rower ate metres for fun this season, expect a big Grand Final showing.
Jack Gosiewski is on the other edge, the former Rabbitoh and Sea Eagle imposing himself out wide for the Red V, the departure of Tariq Sims potentially opening the door for a Gosiewski recall to the NRL side in 2023.
Parramatta-bound lock forward J'maine Hopgood rounds out the side, the highly-touted middle forward a massive loss to the Penrith system with pundits tipping Hopgood for future rep jerseys, he'll help rejuvenate the dynamic Junior Paulo-Reagan Campbell-Gillard combination in 2023.
KOE NSW Cup Team of the Year
1. Sunia Turuva (Penrith Panthers)
2. Izaac Thompson (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
3. Thomas Jenkins (Penrith Panthers)
4. Kayal Iro (Newtown Jets)
5. Tom Carr (North Sydney Bears)
6. Kade Dykes (Newtown Jets)
7. Dean Hawkins (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
8. Ata Mariota (Canberra Raiders)
9. Soni Luke (Penrith Panthers)
10. Lindsay Smith (Penrith Panthers)
11. Jackson Topine (Canterbury Bulldogs)
12. Jack Gosiewski (St. George Illawarra Dragons)