Free-flowing footy ? that?s the tip for Lismore encounter
By ADRIAN MILLER
SPECTATORS at the Titans v Eels trial match at Oakes Oval tomorrow night can expect an exhibition of end-to-end rugby league, according to Gold Coast's Nathan Friend and Parramatta's Timana Tahu.
Friend, who will miss the game after a shoulder operation in October, said the Titans were looking forward to unleashing their top side.
"We have a pretty decent backline on paper but we're yet to see if they can fire on the field," he said.
"I think our halves combination will combine well this year and give the media something to write about."
The Titans backline does look fearsome, but with Mat Rogers making his first rugby league appearance since 2001, Preston Campbell reverting to fullback, where he hasn't played since early in his career, and a halves combination in Scott Prince and Matt Hilder, which is yet to play together, teething problems can be expected.
But Friend is confident they will produce the goods.
"We've been together now for three months so we've had time to gel," he said.
"Training sessions are a little bit crisper now than what they were, so I think we'll get some good combinations there and all is in readiness for a good showdown."
Tahu agrees the game should be entertaining, especially since new Eels coach Michael Hagan will encourage his side to throw the ball wide.
"Everyone knows (former Parramatta coach) Brian (Smith) is a structured coach and everything has to be structured on the field, whereas under Hagan...if you see a weakness on the field you attack it," he said.
"We'll experience how our strategies work (during the trials) and see if they're successful, but they come down to a lot of ball going to the edges."
And while Nathan Hindmarsh,
who is recovering from toe surgery, won't be playing tomorrow, Tahu said expect to see much more of him with the ball in hand.
"Hags said earlier in the week that he hopes to make Hindmarsh more of an attacking forward instead of being a tackling machine, so hopefully we'll get to throw the ball around more this year," he said.