Wests Tigers Head Coach Michael Maguire says combinations will be the key thing he's watching for in Sunday's trial match against the New Zealand Warriors in Rotorua as the focus continues to narrow for the 2020 season ahead.
Maguire has named a squad of 23 players for the cross-Tasman trial match for the second year in a row, with all the regular big names including Benji Marshall, Luke Brooks and Moses Mbye included for the visitors.
Having watched a number of the club's new faces trial strongly against the Penrith Panthers last Saturday, Maguire said seeing how the combinations between players develop would be the key thing for him this week and a deciding factor in who will force their way in to the Round 1 side.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing those combinations," Maguire said.
"We've done a lot of work in the pre-season and I've seen the boys grow throughout that time but it's now about getting out on the park and delivering a strong performance before we start the season.
"I think the combinations will be the big thing for us — whether it's the right edge, left edge or through the middle — they're all growing. It's going to be down to us to how they go in a game situation."
Having watched new recruits Zane Musgrove, Adam Doueihi, Billy Walters and Luciano Leilua all have their first game for the club last week, Maguire said he was excited to see the new places take the next step forward now in their second game.
"Trials is a little bit about blowing off the cobwebs," he said, "but it's also too about seeing how they're going to perform in the team and the unit and the way that we're playing.
"We've got big BJ [Leilua] coming in this week... and all our big players are playing so I'm really looking forward to watching those combinations grow throughout the game.
"We've been doing a lot of work for quite a couple of months on that but it's now about what they do on the field against the opposition."
Wests Tigers will kickoff against the New Zealand Warriors at 12:00pm AEDT on Sunday (2:00pm local time) in their final hit-out before the 2020 season officially gets underway for Maguire's side on March 15 against St. George-Illawarra.
Match: Dragons v Wests Tigers
Round 1 -
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong