Outside backs Isaiah Tass and Connelly Lemuelu are the latest Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs players to be added to the club’s Development List.
Both Tass and Lemuelu join Tui Katoa as the club’s development players for season 2019.
Every club is allowed three to six development players every year outside of their top 30 NRL squad. The players train full-time, but previously were not eligible to play first grade without an exemption from the NRL.
A change in the rule this season will allow any player on the Development List to play NRL without exemption permission after the 30th June.
The development program gives emerging talent a taste of the professionalism required to succeed in an NRL system and helps ease the transition from junior reps and pathways programs.
Tass was schooled at Mackay State High School, and is a product of the Norths Devils Mackay junior rugby league club. He arrived at Belmore mid-way through the 2018 season from Cabramatta and finished the year with the Jersey Flegg side after making his debut in round 13.
The 19-year old is a promising wing or centre who has featured in both the club’s Canterbury Cup and under 20’s sides throughout this season.
Isaiah currently lives with fellow Bulldog players Josh Wilkinson and Dalton Smith and is on contract with Canterbury until the end of the 2020 season.
Tass has completed his Cert IV in fitness and prior to his promotion to the development list, the outside back was working as an Aboriginal Student Support Officer at Tafe NSW.
His season to date has produced some incredible numbers, averaging 12 runs and 114 metres per game, 39 tackle breaks, 10-line breaks, three try assists and 10 tries.
Meanwhile, Lemuelu’s transition to the Development List has come quickly after only arriving at Belmore over the summer from the Wests Tigers on a part-time contract.
Connelly, a talented centre comes from a rugby union background having played the majority of his junior years with Papatoetoe Rugby Club in Auckland.
The 20-year old was schooled at Keebra Park State High School and was a member of the 2016 side which went down to Westfields Sports High School in the GIO schoolboy cup grand final.
Lemuelu scored two tries in the match playing alongside Brisbane Broncos prop Payne Hass and Wests Tigers forward Tom Mikaele, while Bulldogs rookie Brandon Wakeham was joined by Jersey Flegg players, Jake Averillo and Alex Seve, as members of the Westfields side.
He has made 11 appearances for the club in 2019, averaging 14 runs and 130 metres per game, 19 tackle breaks, seven-line breaks and five tries.
ISAIAH TASS BIO
JUNIOR CLUB: Norths Devils Mackay
CONNELLY LEMUELU BIO
JUNIOR CLUB: Papatoetoe Rugby CLub