Riverina ready for ‘hungry’ South Sydney in Albury trial match

STARTING SEVEN: Southcity captain-coach Kyle McCarthy has beaten a number of strong candidates to Riverina's starting halfback position.
STARTING SEVEN: Southcity captain-coach Kyle McCarthy has beaten a number of strong candidates to Riverina's starting halfback position.

Riverina boasts more NRL experience than their South Sydney counterparts despite Ben Jeffery’s withdrawal.

In fact Adrian Purtell has played more himself heading into the trial at Albury Sportsground on Saturday.

Purtell played in 110 games for Canberra and Penrith before heading to the Super League and then back home to Albury while the Rabbitohs side only has 73 top level games between them.

Wayne Bennett was named a young side to tackle the representative side but Riverina coach Josh Cale knows it means they will be hungry to impress.

“I think it is a good side they are sending down,” Cale said.

 “All the talk is a lot of them are young up-and-comers who will probably play a lot of first grade this year so they will definitely be keen to impress.

“A lot of these guys are playing for the chance to play in the NRL so they aren’t going to come out and dawdle along, it is their first chance to impress in front of Wayne Bennett.”

Riverina have only had the only training run in preparation for the game in Wagga over the weekend but Cale was pleased with how the team gelled.

“I was really happy and you could see a few combinations forming just at training,” he said.

 “A lot of these guys played together in the Country Championships a few years ago when I was coach and I’m just keeping it as simple as I can.”

There is plenty of playmaking options in the side despite the loss of Jeffery.

Cale is looking to start with Daniel Foley at fullback with Southcity pair Nathan Rose and Kyle McCarthy in the halves and James Luff at hooker.

That leaves the likes of James Smart, Sam Elwin and Tyron Gorman on the bench.

However Cale is expecting to use plenty of replacements to help nullify a fast and fit Rabbitohs outfit.

“They are going to be fit and strong but we’ve got unlimited interchange so I’m not expecting blokes to stay out there for a long time,” he said.

 “We’ve got 23 players so we’ll be running on and off as often as we can.

“Hopefully can nullify a bit of fatigue with that but we’ve got to stay tight and make our tackles to try and slow them down as best we can.”

RIVERINA SIDE

Daniel Foley, Jack Lyons, Adrian Purtell, Kose Lelei, Etu Uaisele, Nathan Rose, Kyle McCarthy, Jake Goodwin, James Luff, Graham Levu, Chris Maher, Adam Pearce, Nick Skinner, (interchange) Luke Berkrey,  Robbie Byatt, Sam Elwin, Noa Fotu, Tyron Gorman, Andrew Lavaka, Michael Mitchell, Sterling Ross, James Smart 

Under 23s - Young's Casey Wall, Jessie Corcoran and Hayden Cowled will represent Riverina in the Under 23s.