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Panthers doubling up on trials

By Ed Jackson 13/02/2009 03:51:07 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott says there is no masterplan behind playing two NRL trials on the same night in different towns.

Quirky scheduling sees the Panthers take on Souths in Coffs Harbour on Saturday night with second trial match scheduled on the same evening against Parramatta in the NSW regional town of Griffith.

It means the Panthers will be using 51 players for the two games with players being drawn from the first grade, under-20 and NSW Cup squads.

But Elliott said the situation was one he would actually preferred to have avoided if it was possible.

"There wasn't a theory behind it," he said.

"We'd probably prefer if we were only playing one but the club had made some commitments and over a period of time it was just something that we had to do.

"The real positive from it is that there are a lot of young guys who are getting the opportunity to play against some NRL opposition."

Elliott said he would be heading to Coffs Harbour for the match against the Rabbitohs as the Panthers' strongest team will be heading to that venue.

"I think that if you have a look at the team that Souths picked as opposed to the team that the Eels picked, Souths probably have their stronger outfit there as well," Elliott said.

"Obviously first of all it's our first hit-out so it'll blow those cobwebs out but at a strategic level as far as a tactical base we'll learn a little bit but not a whole heap.

"There are some young guys who are playing, they get an opportunity to play, so it's going to be interesting to see how they go."

Elliott said the move to play Jarrod Sammut at halfback for the trial against Souths could be a permanent switch depending on its success.

"That's entirely up to how Jarrod performs during the trial process," Elliott said.

"We've got some competition for most spots and our halves are certainly one of them as well."

The Panthers' trial against Souths at Coffs Harbour kicks off at 8pm while Saturday's other trial between Penrith and Parramatta kicks of at 7.30pm in Griffith.

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