Cowboys in town and keen to blood talent
RUGBY LEAGUE: While some big names will lace up, Cowboys assistant coach Josh Hannay is particularly eager to witness how rising talent fares in the club's first real test.
The Cowboys arrived in the region on Thursday and will take on the Gold Coast Titans in their first trial game of the year at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday night.
The club named a host of established talents for the encounter including Jordan McLean, Matt Scott, Jason Taumalolo and Jake Granville.
However, Hannay was especially keen to see how the younger recruits performed on the night as the club enters the post Johnathan Thurston era.
"There's going to be some fresh faces there and there's going to be a sprinkling of experience,” he said.
"I think it's (trial game) an opportunity to get a bit of a gauge on some of those fringe players that we'll be playing and some of those young guys who haven't yet tasted this level of footy.
"It'll be good to see where those guys are at in terms of being able to handle the step-up.
"For anyone coming along to the game I think it's a really good chance to see some of the best up and coming young talent in the game who have probably yet to make a name for themselves.”
He named Tom Gilbert, Peter Hola, Enari Tuala, Murray Taulagi, Kurt Wiltshire and Dan Russell as some he was looking forward to seeing play on the night.
Hannay said it had been a long and bumpy pre-season for the Cowboys, and said it would be rewarding to see all the hard work put into practice.
While they've lost some players, the club has secured plenty as well including the likes of Josh McGuire and Jordan Kahu from Brisbane.
"We have had a bit of turnover, and probably the most turnover we've had in the squad for a few years,” he said.
"That's largely down to the fact they'd done such a good job for so many years either playing in grand finals or in the second last week of the year for a run of four or five years there.
"Through that period there wasn't a need to turn over that squad but all good things come to an end as they say and it was a time to freshen up and bring some new faces in and that's certainly what we've done.”
The Cowboys will host open training session from 3pm today at Sunshine Coast Stadium while the Gold Coast Titans will host their open training session at 10am.
The NRL trial kicks off at 5pm on Saturday.