The NRL season may still be 22 days away, but our Title defence will officially kick off this weekend in the first Pre-Season fixture of 2014 when we face the Newcastle Knights at Morry Brean Oval, Wyong.
With Head Coach Trent Robinson and Assistant Jason Taylor heading across the ditch for the inaugural Auckland Nines, the team will be led by Assistants Craig Fitzgibbon and Steve McNamara in a replay of last year’s Preliminary Final.
In a mixture of both 2014 NRL Squad and Newtown Jets players, Fitzgibbon and McNamara will lead a group of 28 players on the Central Coast in the first match since the Grand Final victory in October.
With the Nines seeing five of our Premiership stars, including Mitchell Pearce, Jake Friend, Aidan Guerra, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Daniel Tupou, unavailable for the first thirteen-man clash of the new year, Fitzgibbon is excited to welcome a host of youngsters to the group.
“It’s a quality squad we’re taking to the Coast, including a good mix of both some of our more experienced campaigners and also fantastic to have some of those exciting youngsters with us as well,” Fitzgibbon said.
“We’re obviously missing some key guys with the Nines being on, but this is a good chance for those younger and less experienced guys to have a crack at a higher level and show us what they’ve got.”
Central Coast product Jimmy Maloney, who will line up in the No.6 jersey he made his own last year, added, “I’m stoked about getting back out on the field and into a game environment.”
Continuing on, “It’s been a long Pre-Season and a bit disjointed as well with the World Cup seeing some of our boys not back until January, so having a game to look forward to as a group is a good feeling.”
“It helps that I’ll be back in the area I grew up in as well as it just adds to what’s already an exciting weekend.”
Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights
Date: Saturday, 15 February
Time: NYC – 4.45pm, NRL/Newtown Jets – 6.30pm (kick off)
Venue: Morry Brean Oval, Wyong
Tickets: FREE ENTRY
Roosters Wyong Trial Squad:
Anthony Minichiello (c)