Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary has announced his squad for the club’s first trial match of 2018 against the North Queensland Cowboys at Barlow Park, Cairns.
Cleary has confirmed a 30-man squad will take to the field on Saturday night from 7:30pm local time (8:30pm AEDT), which will be live streamed on the club’s website.
Of the club’s current NRL squad, only Benji Marshall will not feature in the trial match.
New recruits Ben Matulino, Chris McQueen, Corey Thompson, Josh Reynolds, Mahe Fonua, Pita Godinet, Robbie Rochow, Russell Packer, Taane Milne and Tyson Gamble have all been named in the squad and could play their first game in Wests Tigers colours, while Development Squad forwards Thomas Mikaele and Sam McIntyre have been included following a strong first pre-season with the full-time squad.
After making his first-grade debut late last year, Intrust Super Premiership forward Bayley Sironen rounds out the 30-man squad that will play in Saturday’s trial match.
In his first pre-season in charge of the side, Coach Cleary said the club’s two trial matches would play a crucial role in determining the make up of the team for Round 1.
“The reality of the first trial is that it’s a great chance for all the players to get out there and get their first run of the new year,” Cleary said. “We’re trying to mix it up and make sure that everyone gets a decent amount of game time under their belt this week.
“It’s no secret that there’s a few positions that are probably up for grabs, so it’s a good chance for the players to put their best foot forwards in regards to that,” he said. “These trials are going to have a fair say in what that Round 1 team looks like.
“There’s a lot of guys who are in a position to have a great season from the work they’ve done at training, but once they finally start play, we’ll be able to really see what will be the best fit for the opening game for us.”
2018 TRIAL MATCH SQUAD (In alphabetical order)
Alex Twal, Bayley Sironen, Ben Matulino, Chris Lawrence, Chris McQueen, Corey Thompson, David Nofoaluma, Elijah Taylor, Esan Marsters Jacob Liddle, JJ Felise, Josh Aloiai, Josh Reynolds, Kevin Naiqama, Luke Brooks, Mahe Fonua, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Matt Eisenhuth, Matt McIlwrick, Michael Chee Kam, Pita Godinet, Robbie Rochow, Russell Packer, Sam McIntyre, Sauaso Sue, Taane Milne, Thomas Mikaele Tim Grant, Tuimoala Lolohea, Tyson Gamble — Coach: Ivan Cleary