22 Feb 2018

Final pre-season trial the 'real deal' for Warriors

1:12 pm on 22 February 2018

The Warriors coach Stephen Kearney will treat Saturday's pre-season trial against Gold Coast Titans as essentially the real deal.

The Warriors head to Queensland's Sunshine Coast for the match having played just one trial this year, a 20-14 win over Melbourne in Rotorua.

It'll be their last hit-out before their season-opening NRL match against South Sydney in Perth on March 10.

Stephen Kearney.

Stephen Kearney. Photo: Photosport

As a result, Kearney has named a near-full strength side, including Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and recruits Adam Blair and Tohu Harris.

Blake Green will also play alongside Johnson for the first time.

Regulars Simon Mannering, Sam Lisone and Issac Luke have been named on the bench, as have Tonga halfback Ata Hingano and prodigy Hayze Perham.

Despite taking 23 players to the Gold Coast said he'd take it deadly seriously and look for a solid victory.

But, either way, it wouldn't change his plans heading into March 10th.

"If I'm honest I'm playing close to NRL or competition rules in terms of interchanges, I want to keep them pretty minimal," Kearney said.

"We'll continue to build - another trial against a quality outfit on Saturday afternoon, so it's an opportunity for us to continue as a team."

Kearney said he'd have no qualms unleashing some of his younger players - such as Perham, Sam Cook or Isaiah Papali'i - on the NRL in 2018.

"If you saw some of the performances (last) weekend from some of the young guys, it's what building a footy club is about, having depth," Kearney said.

The Warriors finished 13th in the 2017 NRL season.