'It's an opportunity' - Warriors coach eager to see squad depth in first pre-season hit out




Warriors boss Stephen Kearney is placing absolutely no weight on the outcome of his side's first trial match of 2018 against Melbourne, saying the result will not change his plans one iota.

The club hit the training paddock today as they build into the 2018 competition.
Source: 1 NEWS

Kearney's troops will face the Storm, last year's NRL Premiers, in a Rotorua trial match next weekend before a clash with the Titans on the Sunshine Coast.

He said his squad was champing at the bit to finally play some footy after three months of pre-season - but that the hard yards weren't yet over.

Win or loss, he'd continue to flog the players in training as they gear up for round one of the NRL against South Sydney on March 10.

The sprints and shuttle runs would continue apace.

"Not a great deal (will change), unfortunately for the players - they're thinking pre-season is over because we're moving into trials but the reality is that we're preparing for round one and that's our focus," Kearney said.

With Melbourne set to bring a second-string squad across the ditch due to their World Club Challenge commitments, the Warriors are odds-on for victory.

Kearney said he'd also avoid playing all his top players at once.

Success in his eyes would be simply nailing nascent combinations, particularly through the spine with five-eighth recruit Blake Green.

The side's new forwards would also need to get into gear.

"It gives us an opportunity to look at guys right on the fringe," Kearney said.

"Getting some time into those guys, particularly the forward group, seven or eight guys challenging for not-that-many spots - it's an opportunity for them."

Kearney also said that halfback Shaun Johnson, who recently underwent minor eye surgery, should be fine to take part in the Rotorua match.

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