Rhyce McLaren and Rhys Armstrong will always cherish the night they made their NYC debuts for Wests Tigers.
The venue was Leichhardt Oval, the opposition was the North Queensland Cowboys, and the weather was extremely wet. The result a hard fought win and two vital competition points.
Their performances in their first taste of U20s football was enough to earn praise from respected Wests Tigers NYC Coach Todd Payten.
McLaren, who turns 19 this year, plays first grade for Mittagong in the Group 6 Country Rugby League competition when not required by Wests Tigers. A talented centre who can also play second-row, McLaren played SG Ball for Western Suburbs in 2012.
As for Armstrong, he was a member of this years premiership winning Balmain Tigers SG Ball side under Coach Matt Head. A five-eighth who can also handle lock and second-row, Armstrong is a strong contender to make the NSW U18s side in coming weeks.
Payten was pleased with the efforts from both players.
Rhyce McLaren was sound defensively and helped out our big boys in yardage with some nice carries,'' Payten said.
It wasnt a great night for our centres to see good early clean ball but he got the job done.
Rhys Armstrong scored a double. He was forced to play big minutes through injury on the edge in the back row. Its not his most natural position but his leg speed in the conditions really worried the Cowboys.
He had a bit of work to do to score his second try after changing the angle and coming back through the ruck. He beat three defenders and carried two over the line with him to score.
They both certainly looked comfortable in the side.
Armstrong will start in the second-row against Penrith at Centrebet Stadium this Sunday with McLaren coming off the interchange bench.