Newcastle Cobras gridiron trio prepared to strike

NEWCASTLE Cobras veteran Mark Legge is no stranger to representative gridiron, or to success.

So helping the NSW Wolfpack to a 50-0 thumping of ACT Monarchs in round one of the Australian Gridiron League on last week would not normally be anything special.

But the presence of young Newcastle teammates Max Nina and Beau-Jon Ryan in the NSW side made it just that.

Nina and Ryan, both in their early 20s, made their representative debut in the away game, and the Cobras trio will line up against South Australia in Sydney on April 26 for the Wolfpack as they look to confirm a finals berth.

The selections of Nina and Ryan are a major step forward for Legge, who has been a driving force behind the re-establishment of the Cobras in the NSW Gridiron Football League in 2012 after their 15-year absence.

Newcastle head coach Paul Ryan, an original Cobra, is also in the Wolfpack, as linebackers coach.

Legge, a Novocastrian who played division two college football with Southern Arkansas University, hopes the strong Cobras representation at state level this year proves a breakthrough for the sport in the Hunter.

He is also in the Australian squad for the 2015 International Federation of American Football World Cup, which is held every four years. Legge believes Nina, from Charlestown, can make the jump to international level and join him in the Australian Outback side for the tournament in Sweden in June next year.

He, a tight end, hopes the success will help Newcastle improve their standing in the NSW league this year, after finishing last in 2012 and second-last in 2013.

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