The Aquis Titans’ squad is certainly going to be scattered far and wide in the first half of February with players performing in three parts of Australasia on the one evening the weekend after the season kicks off with the Auckland Nines.
On Saturday February 13 the strongest Titans squad of 22 players will go to Alice Springs to play Parramatta while a second squad will head back to New Zealand to take on the Warriors at Whangarei in the beautiful Bay of Isles area of the north island.
With four Titans involved in the All Stars clash the same night at Suncorp Stadium - Ryan James, Greg Bird and Tyrone Roberts for the Indigenous All Stars and Nene Macdonald, a PNG representative, on the bench in the World All Stars squad – the squad will be stretched between two countries, two states or territories and thousands of kilometres.
“We could call up a few of our Q Cup players to bolster the squad and it will be a good chance for them to mix in NRL company and put them under notice,” said coach Neil Henry.
“Plus the six NYC players who have trained with us during the pre-season – Morgan Boyle, Kurt Bernard, Brian Kelly, Jed Cartwright, Shane Wright and Greg Leleisiaou – should also have a chance to show the benefit they have had from the experience.
“It certainly is a rare weekend for us with players in three locations on the one night but it’s also a good chance to look at combinations and get familiarity between the players, then we’ll have our final trial match against Souths at Pizzey Park before our home fans.”
Of course, the action for 2016 for all NRL clubs begins with the Auckland Nines the previous weekend, on February 6-7, and the Titans will have plenty of pace and power to take across the Tasman with the likes of David Mead, Anthony Don, William Zillman, Josh Hoffman, Nene Macdonald, newcomers Ash Taylor sand Tyrone Roberts and forwards Greg Bird, Ryan James, Kieran Moseley and Chris McQueen well in selection mix. So too is former Australian Rugby sevens player Shannon Walker, who is trialling for a contract after deciding to return to rugby league.
The All Stars concept, which began on the Gold Coast and was the brainchild of former Titan Preston Campbell, takes on a new dimension with the Indigenous side playing a World All Stars team. The World side will include Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Semi Radradra, James Graham and Martin Taupau.
Tickets to the 2016 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match are on sale now - head to www.nrl.com/tickets.
So local fans will have two opportunities to see pre-season action before we kick off the Telstra Premiership against Newcastle on Sunday March 7 – the All Stars clash in Brisbane then the Pizzey Park tussle with the Rabbitohs on February 20.
Tickets for the final trial match are available online - http://goldcoasttickets.com.au/event/2009. Curtain-raisers are FOGS Colts - Burleigh Bears v Sunshine Coast; Intrust Super Cup - I Luv Coffee Burleigh Bears v Sunshine Coast.