Jake Averillo, a centre and winger from the Moorebank Rams, played only three Canterbury Cup games last season.
Jake Averillo, a centre and winger from the Moorebank Rams, played only three Canterbury Cup games last season.

Limping Bulldogs considering teen winger for debut

CANTERBURY coach Dean Pay is considering a teenage winger as his first selection shock of the year.

Jake Averillo, a centre and winger from the Moorebank Rams, is close to pinching a spot in an injury-depleted Bulldogs backline for the season opener against Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium next Thursday night.

The 19-year-old, who played Jersey Flegg last season, is just 183cm tall and weighs 92kg but teammates say he has wonderful footwork and "understands the game".

Despite playing only three Canterbury Cup games last season, Averillo is on standby for the possible loss of outside backs Nick Meaney (hamstring), Marcelo Montoya (knee) and Christian Crichton (knee).

Montoya and Crichton are rated little chance of playing, while Meaney would need to be running by Friday at the latest to be selected.

Should Meaney withdraw, it is understood Averillo would be rushed in to make his NRL debut for the Western Sydney grudge match.

Jake Averillo could be a surprise inclusion for Round 1. Photo: Brett Costello
Jake Averillo could be a surprise inclusion for Round 1. Photo: Brett Costello

Averillo impressed at the Perth Nines and played some minutes in Canterbury's trial matches against Cronulla in Port Moresby and Canberra in Port Macquarie last weekend. He scored a try against the Raiders.

Pay would not speculate on team selections but Averillo is in line to be named in the Bulldogs' 17 next Tuesday afternoon.

Canterbury hope for big things from Averillo. Photo: Brett Costello
Canterbury hope for big things from Averillo. Photo: Brett Costello

Canterbury forward Adam Elliott recently spoke glowingly about Averillo.

"He's one of those really aggressive, competitive kids," Elliott said.

"He doesn't let anyone get it over him at training.

"From my experience, those sort of kids make it and I think Jakey's going to have a really good season."

Canterbury's website reveals Averillo's past and a tip for the future.

"The local junior, who was a product of the Moorebank Rams club, has come through the Bulldogs system, being a star member of the club's SG Ball side in 2018, before moving on to Jersey Flegg last season," it reads.

"He also made an impressive entry into the Canterbury Cup in 2019 and has been rewarded for his progression by being named in the Bulldogs' top-30 NRL squad this season.

"The talented outside back extended his contract with the club until the end of the 2021 season and is a player to watch out for in 2020."

Pay still needs to decide who his halves will be this year.

It appears certain Lachlan Lewis will be halfback but Pay is playing his cards close to his chest regarding his five-eighth. Jack Cogger and Brandon Wakeman are the frontrunners.

Parramatta are red-hot $1.40 favourites with Ladbrokes, with Canterbury on $2.90.

Canterbury are paying $34 to win the premiership and Parramatta are on $11.

SUPERCOACH INSIDER

Jake Averillo, HFB/CTW, $171,900

The star youngster has surged right into cheapie contention following news he could start the year. We've also updated his positional status to include CTW as well as HFB.

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