Star Roosters recruit Angus Crichton passed his first test at his new club with flying colours while one star of the future proved he is destined for big things in the Roosters' 38-20 trial loss to Manly at Gosford on Saturday.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he was happy to rest the vast majority of his likely round one team with just three players backing up from the World Club Challenge win and as few as one – Crichton – who are round one certainties.
But Crichton's first hit-out in nearly six months following off-season shoulder surgery was the most welcome aspect, with the former Rabbitoh crossing for a galloping second-half try on the right edge.
"It's been a while since he had that shoulder [injury], he developed it well through the pre-season but it wasn't good enough for the World Club Challenge," Robinson said.
"He got out there and was quite physical on that shoulder as well.
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"Because he's on the right edge back row and it's the left shoulder it's quite a dominant shoulder to tackle with so that was really good for him to get the hit-out, get him moving and get him into the rhythm. It's what trials are for."
Robinson said Lachlan Lam – son of club legend Adrian – was impressive in his first game with the senior squad and was a chance to debut this year.
Lam threw the perfect short ball to send Crichton away for his try and had some lovely passes and kicks throughout.
"Lachie was good; he plays some big plays really well and he did that," Robinson said of his young five-eighth.
"He's done that since he's been a kid. It's about getting him into the rhythm of playing consistent plays over and over again and that was good to see.
"I felt like he developed the longer the game went as well. He was close for the World Club Challenge but it was good to see him out there for the 80 minutes in more of a dominant role as well.
"Lachie's definitely [got] an opportunity to play time. He's a local kid, obviously Adrian's son, but he's a local kid who's been in our system as long as anybody has and he's developed through the age groups and we really see him developing.
"He really is a six, that is his style of play, he's played one, he hasn't played nine as much. He does have the look of fullback but he's a year older, his defence is getting better so there are opportunities based on what we want but also based on where he wants to take his game as well.
"He's had a great pre-season and we saw parts of that tonight."
Robinson also appreciated the chance to have a look at a lot of his other depth players in an environment where there were few senior players to help them out.
"We were OK, then we were poor, then we were good. We saw it all," Robinson said.
"A lot of room left for improvement. It got those guys to be exposed without some really high-quality players around them. That was, in the purest form, a trial.
"Senior players can drag you along for a couple of years and help you out and they didn't get that opportunity tonight. There were some newly turned 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds and guys out there and they got some good exposure."