Whilst it might be deemed as an unofficial trial, you would not want to tell that to the players involved, with the Melbourne Storm recording a 28-4 victory over the Easts Tigers at Gosch’s Paddock lsat night.
With several first-graders playing to gain match fitness, their experience shone through, as it was Brett Finch who led the way early on, setting up a few tries to put the Storm ahead early.
With several of the new recruits for the Storm playing well, it was NYC youngster Kirisome Auva’a that can take the most out of the game, scoring 2 tries and giving Craig Bellamy a hint that he is on his way to first-grade.
New recruit Junior Sa’u also got on the score-sheet, in what was an encouraging game for him as he begins a new chapter in his rugby league career, as he looks to crack into the first-grade side.
“The lungs will screw me out there,” said Sa’u.
“I thought the boys done really well for their first hit-out, just to get the cobwebs out and it’s always good to get back out there and just throw the ball around.”
With his first game for the Storm under his belt, Sa’u knows that in the fitness sense, there is still work to do.
“It’s always like that, you know? No matter how fit you are, match fitness is always different,” said Sa’u.
“Yeah, definitely, it’s a tougher team, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Playing in his first game since undergoing shoulder surgery last season, Matt Duffie, who was playing at fullback for the Storm, felt good about the way he played, despite an injury scare.
“I felt good,” said the 22-year-old.
“I was obviously blowing a bit … I haven’t played since July.
“My runs were fine and it was good to get back out there.”
With the injury scare defined as merely a bruise by Duffie, he felt that for this season, it was imperative to add a few kilograms to his slender frame.
“Ever since I’ve started playing it’s been a focus because I’ve always been pretty slender compared to everyone else,” he said.
Brett Finch, who captained the side early on in the trial clash, thought that the side played well in their 7-try performance.
“It’s always nice to have a gallop after such a long pre-season,” he said.
“There were obviously a few mistakes there but I think the coach would be pretty happy.
“There were a lot of young fellas and they played really good.”