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SA Roosters Men’s Open Captain Ferghus Kernahan and SA Roosters Men’s Open Head Coach Dean Philp have been selected in the inaugural Sydney Roosters squad to compete in the second year of the NRL Touch Premiership.

The achievement is a significant milestone for Kernahan, who had represented South Australia for eight years at junior level before an ACL injury hampered his initial senior representation. Since recovering, Kernahan has represented South Australia at the annual National Touch League in both T-League and Men’s Open divisions, most recently leading the Men’s Open in their 2019 campaign.

“I’m extremely proud to have been selected for the Sydney Roosters and excited to be part of the NRL Touch Premiership,” he said. “Initially, I really just want to enjoy the moment, but I can see this having positive long-terms effects on both my development and the development of Touch Football in South Australia.”

Kernahan has also broadened his skillset into coaching, both locally in South Australia and at national events with the South Australian U18 Boys team.

Philp is one of two Elite accredited coaches in South Australia and has significant coaching experience at both local and state level, most notably with the South Australian U18 Boys Team, Alliance Cup Men’s Open team and NTL Men’s T-League and Men’s Open team.

Philp sees the opportunities that the Sydney Roosters and the NRL Touch Premiership present as invaluable to the development of touch in South Australia:

“[Having the] Sydney Roosters in the NRL Touch Premiership is our dream for players in South Australia. We have a very close community where talent and knowledge develop and flow easily,” Philp said. “I’m excited to imagine a future where our juniors can look up to mentors who have made it – and then start the climb towards that dream.”

On being selected as the Assistant Coach to the Sydney Roosters, Philp was surprised but thankful for the opportunity: “As a coach I’m here to help others develop their game, teamwork and character. Being part of Sydney Roosters will help me help others get there too.”

Kernahan and Philp will take the field with experienced Australian players like Steve Roberts and Stuart Brierty as part of the Sydney Roosters squad, and both are excited about the opportunity this presents to learn valuable lessons on performance and leadership from these phenomenal athletes.

When asked who the biggest influences on their Touch Football careers were, Kernahan and Philp had a long list: “Rob Day, Ninh Duong, Michael Sheeky, Mark Jones, Grant Richards, Dave Nolan, Greg Frost, Kelly Rowe and Anthony Grandison have all been key South Australian figures who have contributed immensely to the development of Touch Football in SA.

The Sydney Roosters will play the Brisbane Broncos on Adelaide Oval on Friday 28th June, with the match played prior to the Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm NRL fixture.