Canberra Trial - Match preview
Thursday 7 February 2013 9:12 AM
Melbourne Storm will play host to the Canberra Raiders on Friday night at Simonds Stadium, Geelong in the club’s final hit-out of the pre-season before heading to England for the World Club Challenge.
The trial match will be the last chance for players to impress Coach Craig Bellamy and his assistants before they finalise their squad to travel to England. Melbourne’s forward pack has been significantly bolstered with the inclusions of several experienced players. Jason Ryles, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Jesse Bromwich and Ryan Hinchcliffe will all make their first appearance of2013 on Friday night.
English international Gareth Widdop is another who will get out on the park for the first time in 2013, set to team up with Brett Finch in the halves.
Storm Captain Cameron Smith and centre Justin O’Neill will both miss the clash after being selected in the NRL All Stars side to play the Indigenous All Stars on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Fans can gather before and after the match at the Official After Party at The Elephant & Castle, 158 McKillop Street, Geelong. Post-match there will be a free shuttle bus from Bob Davis Gate and by showing your ticket, free entry to the venue with meal specials and a large beer garden.
15 players from Melbourne’s trial match last weekend against Easts Tigers will back up and play again on Friday night. One of those players is NYC Cup squad member Richard Kennar. Kennar is the only NYC player in Craig Bellamy’s squad to face Canberra.
Melbourne’s trial match against Canberra on Friday is part of an exciting weekend of rugby in Geelong. The Rebels will take on Super Rugby’s Wellington Hurricanes the day after at Simonds Stadium.
Canberra who finished 6th last season will also be without a number of players due to their participation in the NRL All Stars match. Reece Robinson, Blake Ferguson, Joel Thompson, Jake Foster, Jack Wighton and David Shillington all earned selection in the representative clash.
However, the Raiders are not without experience in their 24 man squad. Josh Dugan, Josh Papalii and Dane Tilse will all play as will the NRL’s leading pointscorer in 2012, Jarrod Crocker. Exciting youngster Edrick Lee who scored a hat trick when the two sides last met has also been named.
Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders
Friday 8 February
Simonds Stadium, Geelong
Kick-off 6:30pm (Gates open 5:00pm)
TICKETS AND MORE MATCH INFO HERE
Melbourne’s 23 man squad to play Canberra:
Canberra Raiders Squad:
Shaun BERRIGAN, Shannon BOYD, Mitch CORNISH, Jarrod CROKER, Mitch CRONIN, Josh DUGAN, Sandor EARL, Joel EDWARDS, Haydon HODGE, Scott JONES, Jarrad KENNEDY, Edrick LEE, Sam MATAORA, Josh McCRONE, Matt McILWRICK, Anthony MILFORD, Mark NICHOLLS, Josh PAPALII, Dimitri PELO, Joe PICKER, Sami SAUILUMA, Dane TILSE, Paul VAUGHAN, Sam WILLIAMS
There is no broadcast or live coverage of the trial match. Stay tuned to our website for live updates from Geelong.