LIVE 2019 NRL Trials

I bleed Maroon

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Parra have to be fielding something fairly close to full strength. Gutherson, Jennings and Hoffman are all present at the very least.
 
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Parra have to be fielding something fairly close to full strength. Gutherson, Jennings and Hoffman are all present at the very least.
They are pretty close to full strength. I can't find their full squad but this is their starting side.

1. Clint Gutherson
2. George Jennings
3. Michael Jennings
4. Josh Hoffman
5. Ethan Parry
6. Dylan Brown
7. Mitch Moses
8. Daniel Alvaro
9. Reed Mahoney
10. Junior Paulo
11. Shaun Lane
12. Marata Niukore
13. Tepai Moeroa
 
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Eels bench was
14. Tim Mannah
15. David Gower
16. Jaeman Salmon
17. Peni Terepo
18. Oregon Kaufusi
19. Stefano Utoikamanu
20. Haze Dunster
21. Rhys Davies

Then in the 4th Quater they played their ISP side which is where they subsequently lost the game.

Judging from their first trial, the Eels will likely play through the middle, especially with the emergence of Paulo and Mahoney. Paulo was head and shoulders the best forward on the park, constantly bending the line, creating second phase and providing a nice pass option in the middle. Ever since he left the Eels, they've been looking for Paulo clones, but now they've got the real deal, I expect to see the best out of Paulo.

M. Jennings played his natural left hand position and was easily accounted for by the Raiders rookie centre, Kris. Jennings scored the Eels last try, but I'd say it was the vision of Gutherson to know the Raiders were vulnerable to the kick than any good work from him. His brother George had good carries, but still had a few mistakes in his game.

Niukore got to play on the right edge over Shaun Lane and looked quite strong in the position. Moses used Niukore pretty well, giving him early ball to use his big right foot-step and he showed some decent skills to link up with the players around him and prove he was more than just a battering ram. Lane didn't have as much success linking with rookie half Dylan Brown, but did pop a nice offload which should have resulted in an Eels try. With Ma'u set to join the team, it suggests that Lane may come off the bench with Ma'u and Niukore to start.

There's a lot of positive press surrounding Dylan Brown's performance. He looked like he belonged out there, albeit he played more of a support role behind Moses. A couple of nice kicks, but it was his running game where he was most impressive. A couple of half-breaks here and there, one of which led directly to the Jennings try. With Salmon playing right centre, it all but confirms that Brown will be the Eels left-side option.

Speaking of Salmon, I was impressed with his performance at right centre. He wasn't tested much in defence so it remains to be seen if he can fill that problematic position, but he's a big body player who likes to get his hands on the footy and has good foot-work. He's got the basics you want out of a centre, it just remains to be seen whether Arthur will play him over Takairangi.

Young Ethan Parry looked OK. Parry was solid carting the ball up, finished off two tries and didn't looked over-awed. Kaufusi looked pretty raw, defensively he struggled to control the defence, he was exposed around marker and his carries weren't too impressive. Utoikamanu looked the better prospect for mine, he was more agile, better leg-strength and I didn't notice him in defence which for a prop is usually a good thing.

Dunster came on for Parry and looked to pick up an injury early on. I didn't see much from him, and the only note-worthy thing was that he was preferred over Leleisiuao which is interesting because Greg is a part of the NRL squad. Davies came on right before the ISP side did so it was difficult to get much of a read on him.

I'd say the most concerning thing for Parra is how both the tries they conceded with their NRL players came through the middle. Starling just caught Terepo napping, whereas the second try came through a bunch of charges in the middle. It isn't what you want to see, especially when 3 of the 4 tries you score are all off kicks.

With Canberra, I didn't pay as much attention to them since they were running mostly ISP players. Simonssen was their preferred fullback to begin with but he made a few mistakes at the back which really hurt the side. Simonssen is a raw prospect who looks talented enough (he was handling the goal-line drop outs) and has that big body but he was pulled for those mistakes. Their new recruit Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was the pick of the fullbacks making nice metres around the middle and even producing a line-break off a kick return. Nicoll-Klokstad's best attribute is his foot-work and there were a few times where he was able to wrong-foot the defence and win the tackle. Tom Starling out of dummy half made a nice difference around the ruck, he scored their opening try and looked better than Havili. Jack Murchie on the right fringe made some nice runs as well, albeit the Raiders had very little ball and territory. Finally Corey Horsburgh looked quite strong in the middle. Horsburgh has a good frame on him for a forward and plays with the type of aggression you want to see, he certainly deserves more game-time against the Dogs next week.
 

Tom

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Apparently Manly's trial game has to be moved from Brookvale due to an unsafe playing surface.
 

Jedhead

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Eels bench was
14. Tim Mannah
15. David Gower
16. Jaeman Salmon
17. Peni Terepo
18. Oregon Kaufusi
19. Stefano Utoikamanu
20. Haze Dunster
21. Rhys Davies

Then in the 4th Quater they played their ISP side which is where they subsequently lost the game.

Judging from their first trial, the Eels will likely play through the middle, especially with the emergence of Paulo and Mahoney. Paulo was head and shoulders the best forward on the park, constantly bending the line, creating second phase and providing a nice pass option in the middle. Ever since he left the Eels, they've been looking for Paulo clones, but now they've got the real deal, I expect to see the best out of Paulo.

M. Jennings played his natural left hand position and was easily accounted for by the Raiders rookie centre, Kris. Jennings scored the Eels last try, but I'd say it was the vision of Gutherson to know the Raiders were vulnerable to the kick than any good work from him. His brother George had good carries, but still had a few mistakes in his game.

Niukore got to play on the right edge over Shaun Lane and looked quite strong in the position. Moses used Niukore pretty well, giving him early ball to use his big right foot-step and he showed some decent skills to link up with the players around him and prove he was more than just a battering ram. Lane didn't have as much success linking with rookie half Dylan Brown, but did pop a nice offload which should have resulted in an Eels try. With Ma'u set to join the team, it suggests that Lane may come off the bench with Ma'u and Niukore to start.

There's a lot of positive press surrounding Dylan Brown's performance. He looked like he belonged out there, albeit he played more of a support role behind Moses. A couple of nice kicks, but it was his running game where he was most impressive. A couple of half-breaks here and there, one of which led directly to the Jennings try. With Salmon playing right centre, it all but confirms that Brown will be the Eels left-side option.

Speaking of Salmon, I was impressed with his performance at right centre. He wasn't tested much in defence so it remains to be seen if he can fill that problematic position, but he's a big body player who likes to get his hands on the footy and has good foot-work. He's got the basics you want out of a centre, it just remains to be seen whether Arthur will play him over Takairangi.

Young Ethan Parry looked OK. Parry was solid carting the ball up, finished off two tries and didn't looked over-awed. Kaufusi looked pretty raw, defensively he struggled to control the defence, he was exposed around marker and his carries weren't too impressive. Utoikamanu looked the better prospect for mine, he was more agile, better leg-strength and I didn't notice him in defence which for a prop is usually a good thing.

Dunster came on for Parry and looked to pick up an injury early on. I didn't see much from him, and the only note-worthy thing was that he was preferred over Leleisiuao which is interesting because Greg is a part of the NRL squad. Davies came on right before the ISP side did so it was difficult to get much of a read on him.

I'd say the most concerning thing for Parra is how both the tries they conceded with their NRL players came through the middle. Starling just caught Terepo napping, whereas the second try came through a bunch of charges in the middle. It isn't what you want to see, especially when 3 of the 4 tries you score are all off kicks.

With Canberra, I didn't pay as much attention to them since they were running mostly ISP players. Simonssen was their preferred fullback to begin with but he made a few mistakes at the back which really hurt the side. Simonssen is a raw prospect who looks talented enough (he was handling the goal-line drop outs) and has that big body but he was pulled for those mistakes. Their new recruit Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was the pick of the fullbacks making nice metres around the middle and even producing a line-break off a kick return. Nicoll-Klokstad's best attribute is his foot-work and there were a few times where he was able to wrong-foot the defence and win the tackle. Tom Starling out of dummy half made a nice difference around the ruck, he scored their opening try and looked better than Havili. Jack Murchie on the right fringe made some nice runs as well, albeit the Raiders had very little ball and territory. Finally Corey Horsburgh looked quite strong in the middle. Horsburgh has a good frame on him for a forward and plays with the type of aggression you want to see, he certainly deserves more game-time against the Dogs next week.
Nice summary. Better than what half the hacks offer us. Thanks.
 
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NRL.com have uploaded the entire Storm/Warriors trial after only uploading the second half night.

The one headache with trials is that since it's so loose, the coaches rarely bother to name actual team-lists and will just post up squads. I had a tough time figuring out the Warriors line-up, in the end they went with...

3. Patrick Herbert 2. Adam Pompey 4. Blake Ayshford 20. Cole Waaka 25. Neria Fomai 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Adam Keighran 15. Sam Lisone 11. Nathaniel Roache 10. Chris Satae 12. Lachlan Burr 5. Brody Tamura 16. Ligi Sao
Interchange: 1. Paul Turner 9. Sam Cook 13. Jazz Tevaga 14. Isaiah Papalii 17. Lewis Soosemea 18. Hayze Perham 21. Bunty Afoa 22. Tom Ale 23. Api Pewhairangi 24. Shaun Mullaney

Melbourne were kind enough ahead of time to let us know where everyone was starting.

So essentially how I saw the trial was that the Warriors played as we've come to expect from them since Kearney took over. They like to win the war of attrition by getting to their kick, trapping the opposition in a corner and slowly but surely winning the terretorial battle. It's almost like Kearney instructs his guys to bore his opposition to death, as they rely heavily on opposition mistakes and indiscretions to get themselves into good field position.

If you look at a lot of predicted line-ups for the Warriors, a lot of positions have already been wrapped up.

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Ken Maumalo 3. Solomone Kata 4. Peta Hiku 5. David Fusitu'a 6. Blake Green 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair

Leaving the 7, 11 and the bench to be made up.

Based on last night's trial I'd say Adam Keighran would be the leading option for the 7. I haven't seen a lot of Adam, I know he comes from the Bulldogs and had a stand-out season for the Panthers in the ISP but the impression I had was completely different to the type of player he is. I thought of him as a Lachlan Lewis, big-body, likes to play on the fringes five-eighth. In reality he's the type of half who just likes to be near the footy and isn't afraid to get into dummy half and challenge the middle, kind of like an unstructured Luke Keary. I thought between himself, Harris-Tavita, Perham and Pewhairangi he was the stand-out half since he seemed more sure of himself and his kicking game was stronger.

I wouldn't necessarily say Keighran has nailed down the position, but he's certainly got his nose infront. My concern with him is that he might be too similar to Green in that he's a decent game manager, but doesn't ask enough serious questions of the opposition's defence.

With the 11, I feel it's a little up in the air. Burr had a stand-out performance for the Warriors, with hard runs, creative lines and a willingness to promote the football. My only concern with him is that he played more like a middle than an edge forward and I don't recall him running any lines at Brodie Croft. Papalii on the other hand played on Harris' edge and at times was a little guilty of playing too wide. The Storm defence showed him the sideline one time because he was effectively standing right next to his winger and he kept finding himself out there.

If I was picking the bench based on that performance it'd be:

14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Ligi Sao 17. Isiah Papalii

I wasn't impressed with any of the dummy half options, but Roache was a bit more involved and creative out of all the dummy halves. Bunty is the same loveable maniac he's been for a couple of years. Sao was the pick of the other forwards and was tireless through out the night. I think Satae & Lisone would provide more impact, but both still have too many lazy errors in their game. Meanwhile Burr edged out Papalii based on the performance. If I had to go with an 18th Man, I'd go with young Tom Ale. He's a big body forward who runs pretty hard and looks light on his feet, I think Kearney has to bring him into the rotation at some point.

Outside of that, I thought Herbert was a stand-out in the centres and could easily be a depth option if Kata and Hiku's defence continues to be exploited.

Meanwhile, despite being on the losing end, I thought Melbourne could take more positives out of the performance. They created more opportunities than the Warriors and it was execution and poor mistakes, typically from fringe/affiliate players that hurt them. One concern though is that Drinkwater and Croft weren't overly impressive during the trial. The Warriors had Drinkwater pretty well scouted and Croft just didn't seem in the game. Walters was the pick of the halves with two nice line-breaks that should have been converted into tries.

I found it odd that Bellamy persisted with Eisenhuth on that left fringe for so long. He didn't have a good game and since they've got to replace Hoffman, you'd think they would have played Stimson or somebody else there but they persisted. I thought Pat Kaufusi looked decent on the right edge when given a shot and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui was pretty busy around the middle when he came on. Welch, Smith and Asofa-Solomona were also obvious stand-outs, but you'd have to presume their spots would have been booked for Round 1.
 
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Would you be really sure Hiku has that centre spot nailed down? Last year his defense was Cartwright levels of bad at times, so much so I was surprised he wasn’t demoted to reserve grade.
 
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I suppose Kearney could always opt for Gerard Beale or Taane Milne. I just think Kearney is more confident in that position than he is in others, which is why all the halfback prospects and backrow prospects took part in the trial.
 

I bleed Maroon

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The trials have claimed their first big scalp. Viliame Kikau was assisted from the field in the Panthers Rabbits trial
 
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Allan named on the wing for the Rabbitohs.

Interesting... It seems he isn't going to be playing fullback at the Rabbitohs either.
 
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The Cowboys side makes for interesting reading:

Cowboys: 1. Jordan Kahu, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O'Neill, 4. Ben Hampton, 5. Nene Macdonald, 6. Te Maire Martin, 7. Michael Morgan, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Jason Taumalolo, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. John Asiata, 15. Gavin Cooper, 16. Mitch Dunn, 17. Scott Bolton, 18. Tom Opacic, 19. Jake Clifford

Of all their centre options, I thought Enari Tuala was their brightest prospect and would be given the first opportunity to impress. Clearly Green hasn't been impressed with his pre-season and has gone with other options.

The Martin/Morgan combination shouldn't surprise me, especially since Green went to such lengths to avoid playing TMM at fullback that he signed a part-time player in Kahu. However, Clifford is the brightest halves prospect to emerge from the Cowboys since Morgan and would have thought after TMM's disappointing 2018 would have been in the frame. My take is that TMM allows Morgan to play a more technical role which is where he tends to excel.

Taumalolo on an edge is the biggest shock. My take is that the Cowboys are using the trial as an experiment to see whether it's feasible that they can roll out their strongest five forwards and make it work.

Having both Dunn and Cooper on the bench is surprising, but I believe it lends credibility to the Taumalolo selection being an experiment. Dunn will likely come in for Hess and allow Hess to play a more explosive role. I think Clifford will firm as the Cowboys 14 and play the relief dummy half role for Granville.
 

Alec

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Cowboys were probably desperate to fit 4 quality long minute middle forwards into the starting side. Taumalolo does tend to go wider when the Cowboys are on the attack too.
 
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JT2 could be a devastating second rower, will be interesting to see how it all works for them.

8. Scott
10. McLean
11. Cooper/Hess
12. JT2
13. McGuire

15. Hess/Cooper

That's some firepower!
 
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