Two players from the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL Nines team and a total of six with first-grade experience have been included in a 23-man squad for the club’s opening trial against Gold Coast at Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba on Saturday (7.00pm kick-off NZ time).
Head coach Andrew McFadden has selected outside back Matt Allwood and utility Nathaniel Roache after they were both involved in the NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park.
Allwood made a try-scoring appearance against Canberra while the 18-year-old Roache wasn’t used in any of the side’s four games.
As well as Allwood (22), who had 11 NRL appearances for the Raiders last year, others with first-grade experience are 32-game utility Dominique Peyroux, former Parramatta utility Api Pewhairangi, props Charlie Gubb and Upu Poching plus back rower John Palavi.
Also included are seven players from the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ 2014 NYC premiership-winning squad. Roache, wing Paul Ulberg, front rower Toafofoa Sipley and loose forward James Bell all played in the grand final while stand-off Ata Hingano and back rowers Marata Niukore and Matiu Love-Henry were key contributors during the season. Apart from Bell the other six players are all NYC-eligible again this year.
McFadden has also chosen some other regulars from the club’s 2014 New South Wales Cup side in wing Jarrod Tua, halfback Sam Cook, back rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner and prop Nathaniel Peteru along with former Vodafone Junior Warriors Viliami Kaveinga and Stedman Lefau.
“After needing to consider the Nines as well, we can now concentrate solely on our preparation for the season proper,” said McFadden.
“This first trial is really important in terms of looking at options, testing our depth and finding out what players have to offer whether it be for the NRL or New South Wales Cup sides.
“It’s also a valuable opportunity for some of our younger players to have a taste of NRL trial football.”
The squad for the Gold Coast trial will train tomorrow before leaving for Australia on Friday.
The Vodafone Warriors have strong links with Toowoomba with Steve Price, Michael Witt and current hooker Nathan Friend all hailing from the area while former wing Justin Murphy lives in the region now.
The squad to travel to Toowoomba is: Matthew Allwood, James Bell, Sam Cook, Ray Faitala-Mariner, Charlie Gubb, Ata Hingano, Viliami Kaveinga, Stedman Lefau, Matiu Love-Henry, Marata Niukore, John Palavi, Willie Peace, Nathaniel Peteru, Api Pewhairangi, Dominque Peyroux, Upu Poching, Nathaniel Roache, Toafofoa Sipley, Saula Solomona, Zac Tippens, Jarrod Tua, Paul Ulberg, Albert Vete.
The Vodafone Warriors will wear their ‘Zion’ training kit for the trial.
Buy the 'Zion' jersey now at www.warriorsstore.co.nz
VODAFONE WARRIORS – TRIALS PROGRAMME
Saturday, February 7 | Titans v Vodafone Warriors, Toowoomba, 7.00pm
Saturday, February 14 | Vodafone Warriors v Panthers, Rotorua, 3.00pm
Sunday, February 15 | Luke Tipene Celebration Day, Glenora, 11.00am
Saturday, February 21 | Inter-squad trials, Papakura, 12.30pm