Kalyn Ponga runs clear to score an intercept try against the Roosters at the Auckland Nines.

Cowboys send young guns to Mackay

The Cowboys have named a squad stacked with young talent ahead of their weekend trial match against the Roosters in Mackay. The team includes NRL Auckland Nines sensations Kalyn Ponga and Gideon Gela-Mosby, as well as former Holden Cup players Cooper Bambling, Kyle Laybutt and Shane Wright.

 


Coach Paul Green hopes the game against the Roosters will provide an opportunity for the young players to test themselves against regular NRL players. 

"We'll take some of our better players to get a bit of match fitness, but also use it as an opportunity to give the younger guys a bit of a run as well."

Five-eighth Michael Morgan is also looking forward to seeing the players of the future go up against current NRL stars, particularly Ponga and Gela-Mosby. 

"I'm sure you'll see a lot of them throughout the coming seasons. They both showed that they can handle it. Kalyn did last year and Gideon showed a bit of what he can do," Morgan said. 

Morgan also added that, whilst he expects experienced campaigners such as Kyle Feldt, Kane Linnet, and Justin O'Neill to be picked in Round 1, pre-season performances will likely be taken into account.

"I guess it could come down to the trials… If someone's in really good form and they play like that in the trials it's going to be hard to leave them out."

Morgan noted that the competition for starting positions in the side was a good indicator of the amount of talent present at the Cowboys. 

"Anyone's a chance really and that's what's good about the club at the moment is there's a lot of competition for spots," Morgan said. 

Morgan was also focussing on his own performance in Mackay, and planned to utilise the trial matches to ensure his own fitness heading into the season. 

"You want to get as many minutes under your belt going into the season as you can… No matter how tough pre-season is nothing prepares you like match fitness does."

Cowboys squad to face the Roosters: John Asiata, Cooper Bambling, Scott Bolton, Javid Bowen, Will Bugden, Lachlan Coote, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Ben Hampton, Coen Hess, Sam Hoare, Corey Jensen, Patrick Kaufusi, Kyle Laybutt, Blake Leary,  Ethan Lowe, Kalyn Ponga, Matt Scott, Ben Spina, Jason Taumalolo, Ray Thompson, Braden Uele, Antonio Winterstein, Shane Wright.