Furner: Uncapped players have earned the right to play in Storm trial
Friday 8 February 2013 1:00 PM
David Furner has emphasised that he hasn’t merely named the uncapped players in his line-up for today’s trial against the Melbourne Storm to give them a taste of first grade, the Canberra Raiders Coach adamant that every player listed has thoroughly earned their position in the squad.
The Raiders are without six top line players due to the All Stars fixture and a few others are also unavailable due to injury.
Due to this and the abundance of talent available from last year’s NYC side which made the Grand Final, plenty of fresh new talent will be showcased against the Storm at Simmonds Stadium at Geelong at 6:00pm this evening.
“There’s a few young players that been given an opportunity in this trial and they’re not just there to make up the numbers, they’ve actually earned that opportunity,” said Furner.
“Those young players have been in the top squad so they know exactly what we’ve been working on during the pre-season. They’ve trained really hard all pre-season along with the rest of the squad and I know that it will be a really good opportunity to see where our team is regardless of the players that are unavailable.
“The players that are available need to impress and show the coaching staff the areas that they’ve been working on during the pre-season because the depth in the squad is very strong this year.”
Two players that have particularly impressed Furner have been NYC Captain Mitch Cornish and 18 year old excitement machine Anthony Milford.
“They’ve earned the right to be here. In the opposed sessions they’ve kept Sam Williams and Josh McCrone pretty honest.”
“They’ve trained quite hard and will be looking at the 20-30 minute mark for them to go out and play against some first grade players.
“They’ll be playing against quality halves like Widdop, Finch and Hinchfliffe so it will be good for their confidence.”
One player who may have mixed feelings about the pair’s emergence is star five-eighth Josh McCrone after he joked, “I hope they don’t get too much time as they might put me out of a job. I’m hoping they get about 10 minutes each.”
McCrone has been particularly impressed with Milford, who 12 months ago was training with the club’s SG Ball side.
“Each opposed session he’s been ripping us apart. You’ll have to talk to Tilsey about that, he’s made him look silly a fair few times.
“It’s exciting for the club that we’ve got such great young talent coming through in the halves. “
It won’t just be the budding youngsters that will be given a taste of the NRL furnace tonight but also 24 year old Scott Jones, who came down on a trial basis after a stellar 2012 with the Raiders’ NSW Cup feeder side, Mounties.
“It’s been very encouraging for Scott to play in this trial after he came down on a trial at the start of the year,” said Furner.
“He’s earned his opportunity no doubt. It hasn’t been a matter of him coming down and just training, he had to impress and he’s done that. He’s one of the fittest forwards in the club.”
Whilst several players are yet to taste first grade and are coming up against last year’s premiers, they have been hardened by an arduous pre-season filled with plenty of heated opposed sessions.
“I think we’re all at a point where we want a game after a long pre-season,” said Furner.
“We’ve had some really tough opposed scenarios where we had the NRL referees down but I think that the players and the coaches are ready for the trials and I think that it’s going to be a good trial for us.
“Our fitness and our strength is at a very good level and I’ve liked what I’ve seen in the opposed sessions but it will be a different playing field altogether when we go into the trial against Melbourne.
“It may be Melbourne’s only trial before they over to England to contest in the World Club Challenge against Leeds so I know that they’ll be well prepared.
“The players there that haven’t played first grade have earned the opportunity to play in this game and I’m looking for them to impress me further.”