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Trial matches on the radar

Interview: Nathan Brown on opposed sessions

The trial matches against the reigning premiers Melbourne Storm on Wednesday February 7 and then the Parramatta Eels on February 24, will give the coaching staff a great indication of where the team is at.

“Trials don’t give you 100 per cent true gage, but they give you a little bit of an indication,” coach Nathan Brown said.

“From game one to game two, we’d like to see a significant improvement, so if we get that and it takes us into Round 1 in good stead, that’s a great result.”

It’s expected the Knights will take an almost full squad to Melbourne before cutting down numbers for their match against the Eels at Maitland Sportsground.

Brown admits he wants to feature those who are favoured for starting positions but will also give some of the younger players time on the field.

“We will certainly play the people favoured for each position in Round 1 and we will look at that in the first half of the Melbourne game,” suggested Brown.

“At the Parramatta game, we will cut the squad back again and play them for a longer period and play those who we think are in the best position to play in the Round 1 clash against Manly.

“Saying that, we also want to give the younger blokes some opportunities, with a few of them not having played first grade yet and there’s one or two we’d definitely like to give a chance to.

“Luke Yates, Sam Stone, blokes like that, started first grade last year under some more difficult circumstances so we’d like to have a look at those guys now they’ve had another pre-season under their belt and are a bit stronger and fitter.

“We’ve had a number of young ones come into their third pre-season and have definitely physically improved… their weights and their skin folds are better from year to year.

“Although, what we think might be a leading candidate today, by the time we finish the 80 minutes against Melbourne or after Parramatta, that may change.”