Warriors in top form ahead of trials

Published 5:00am 9 February 2022

Warriors in top form ahead of trials
Words by Kylie Knight

Fans will get a look at the Warriors’ “best squad available” when the side take on the Titans at Moreton Daily Stadium this month in their last hit-out before the 2022 season starts.

Tickets are on sale now for the NRL trial game on February 26, which kicks off at 2pm.

Assistant Coach Stacey Jones, who has re-joined the club this season at its new base at Redcliffe, says the squad is looking good particularly with the addition of experienced halves Shaun Johnson and Ash Taylor.

“Obviously, I wasn’t around last year but when games are in the balance you need your key players to step up and that comes with experience,” Jones says.

“We’ve got a couple of experienced halves – Sean and Ash – the growth of Chanel (Harris-Tavita) and obviously having Kodi (Nikorima) there too. It’s a really good balance in that group and a key part of the game we’ve got to get right.”

Johnson looks certain to wear the No.7 jersey, with the other three competing for No.6 and the bench utility role.

“Right now, we’re working through how we’re going to play footy and who’s playing in what position. I guess we won’t be able to nail it down for certain until we’ve played trials and players put their hands up. Certainly, right now we’re thinking who could play where,” Jones says.

Before the February 26 trial at Moreton Daily Stadium, players including Nikorima and Harris-Tavita, forward Jazz Tevaga and back rower Josh Curran will have the chance to impress during the NRL All Stars game in Sydney on February 12.

They will also play a trial game against the Storm on February 19 at Casey Fields, Victoria.

“It’s exciting for us to trial here (at Redcliffe) because we’ve done all our preseason, it’s going to be our last hit-out and near-enough to our best possible squad that’s fit and healthy,” Jones says.

“We know we’ll have players involved in the All-Stars game, they’ll get through that hopefully and then we’ve got the trial in Melbourne where a lot of players will be given an opportunity there. That trial against the Titans will probably be our best squad available. It’s exciting that we’ll be able to play here where we’ve been based.”

Jones is hoping for a big crowd at Moreton Daily Stadium.

“We get quite a few people to watch our training. Hopefully there will be a lot of expat Kiwis and locals that can get out and support this team because we feel this is our home now,” he says.

Photo gallery: Squad’s training hard

Warriors’ Captain Tohu Harris, who is recovering from a knee reconstruction, hopes to make his playing return in mid-May and is working with the squad at training.

He’s feeling confident ahead of the season opener against The Dragons at Sunshine Coast Stadium on March 12.

“The team is flying around the field at the moment, everyone’s physically looking … certainly a lot better than we have in the last couple of years and that’s been pretty pleasing,” Harris says.

“Everyone’s putting career-best numbers whether it’s conditioning or weights and that’s been very pleasing and we’re getting a lot of confidence out of that.

“It’s not going to decide results for us but will certainly help. Everyone is really putting in some hard work and it’s showing in some of our training results.”

SEE TRIAL GAME

Date: Saturday, February 26

Time: Gates open at 11am. Lead-up game (Cyril Connell Challenge - Dolphins v Tigers) at noon. Warriors V Titans at 2pm

Vaccination requirements: In line with the current government mandates all patrons, contractors & staff must be vaccinated for entry (or have an approved exemption).

Tickets: Visit ticketmaster.com.au, click on sport and rugby league

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