After a long and exacting pre-season, the players are ready to put their hard work into practice when the Sharks tackle the Sea Eagles in their first trial match for 2019.
Fielding a team with only a sprinkling of their established stars, the trial against the Sea Eagles tomorrow night still throws up a number of other intriguing story lines as the younger brigade get their chance in the spotlight
Chad Townsend will play half back, new recruit Josh Morris lines up in the centres, while Sione Katoa and Sosaia Feki are touted as the round one wing pairing, but for the rest of the 25 players selected tomorrow night represents their opportunity to impress in front of new coach John Morris
Plenty has been written about 18-year-old centre Bronson Xerri who plays his first game at the elite level, with Will Kennedy impressive with the Newtown Jets last year and throughout the summer on the training paddock running out in the number one jersey.
Kyle Flanagan, a veteran of one NRL game in 2018, starts in the halves alongside Townsend, with Sharks fans getting a glimpse of highly touted former Junior Kiwi Briton Nikora in action.
Add to the mix Blayke Brailey, younger brother of incumbent number nine Jayden, and there is a lot to look forward to on Saturday night despite the absence of the household names.
Coach John Morris, in charge of his first NRL game day, was keen to see how the young players would handle the step up.
“We’ve got enough leaders to steer the ship and an exciting bunch of young fellas who get their first crack at it,” Morris said.
“For two-thirds of them it is the first time they’ve played at this level and it gives us a really good opportunity to see these young guys play. Physically we want to see how they handle it and to see how they put into play what they’ve practiced.
“All the hard work has been done and we’re looking forward to it. The boys are ready to rumble.”
Morris has named an extended squad, with the run on side likely to get 40 minutes of action, before substitutions will be made, with a total of nine players from the premiership-winning Sharks Jersey Flegg team to take part in the main NRL trial.
At time of publishing, Manly had yet to unveil their squad list for the trial match.
The NRL trial is at 7.30pm, an ISP match between Newtown and Blacktown gets underway at 5.05pm, with the Jersey Flegg game between the Sharks and Sea Eagles starting at 3.05pm.
Entry is a gold coin donation, with gates to open at 3.00pm.
For those unable to get to Shark Park for the game tomorrow night, NRL.com will show a live stream via their website. A replay of the game will then be available via the Sharks website on Sunday.
Trial Team List v Manly
1. Will Kennedy
2. Sosaia Feki
3. Bronson Xerri
4. Josh Morris
5. Sione Katoa
6. Kyle Flanagan
7. Chad Townsend
8. Ava Seumanufagai
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Braden Uele
11. Briton Nikora
12. Scott Sorensen
13. Jack Williams
14. Jaimin Jolliffe
15. Billy Magoulias
16. Brayden Trindall
17. Cruz Topai-Aveai
18. Ronaldo Mulitalo
19. Daniel Vasquez
20. Luke Polselli
21 Isaac Lumelume
22 Jackson Ferris
23 Jack A Williams
24 Teig Wilton
25 Josh Carr