Cartwright to coach Tomahawks

SYDNEY Roosters assistant John Cartwright is set to follow-up his encouraging debut as USA rugby league coach by leading an emerging Tomahawks side on a tour of Australia.

Cartwright coached the developing nation against the world champions at the end of last year's Kangaroo tour and will reprise the role with a batch of American youngsters.

For a time the USA threatened to pull off the biggest upset in rugby league history, leading the Australians 24-6 at halftime in Philadelphia.

The Kangaroos bounced back in the second half, winning 36-24, but officials are hoping to build on that performance by having an emerging US outfit tour Australia.

The Tomahawks will play against a Group 2 side at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium on Australia Day, January 26 and another match in south east Queensland.

The tourists will open proceedings at the Orara Valley Sevens on January 22 -23, the tournament at Coramba Sportsground hosted by Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe.

The squad will have an average age of 21 and be led by Texan Ian Blake, who recently signed with Brisbane.

Elusive winger Nate Smith, who impressed against the Kangaroos and is in the sights of an English Super League club, is also ready to tour.

Former premiership players Brandon Costin and Steele Retchless, who qualify to represent the USA via grandparents, will also tour.

Shane Millard will assist Cartwright.