Dragons will replace Poore: Hannant - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dragons will replace Poore: Hannant

By Steve Jancetic and David Beniuk 19/02/2010 03:23:22 PM Comments (0)

Canterbury prop Ben Hannant claims Wayne Bennett's proven track record will ensure St George Illawarra have little trouble replacing departed NSW front-rower Justin Poore this season.

Poore was the biggest name to leave the Dragons' lair following their minor premiership-winning campaign, but Hannant said he had no doubt that whoever was thrown in to partner Michael Weyman up front would be more than up to the task.

"(Bennett) teaches them to be very mentally tough and whoever comes into that role is going to be just as hungry, they'll want to play first grade," said Hannant, who will get a first-hand look at the contenders to be Poore's heir apparent when he lines up against the Dragons in Saturday's NRL trial in Wollongong.

"You'll always lose good players, but there's always some young kid coming through that can fill the shoes, if not do it better ... I guarantee you there'll be another front-rower come through from that club which will surprise everyone."

Dan Hunt, Jarrod Saffy, Jon Green, new signing Michael Greenfield and rookie Trent Merrin are all in the running for Poore's starting berth, with bench places also at a premium.

It's a position Hannant can relate to after Bennett elevated the snowy-haired prop into Brisbane's starting side to replace retired great Shane Webcke in 2007.

"I remember when I was at that stage I'd do anything to play first grade," Hannant said.

"It's not just one or two things, it's every week, the stuff (Bennett) ingrains in your head to be mentally tough, being honest to yourself."

While Bennett will no doubt be casting an eye over his front row candidates, the veteran coach admitted he would also take a keen interest in the performance of new recruit Peni Tagive.

The former Wests Tigers winger has been named in the centres in place of the suspended Beau Scott.

"There's an opportunity for him," Bennett said.

"There are a lot of (positions) that are settled in the team now - Jason Nightingale's not a stranger to first grade to take Wendell (sailor's) spot.

"I don't really know (where Tagive will end up) - he can play centre, he can play wing, I don't even know if he'll finish up in the 17."

In other NRL trials on Saturday night, South Sydney recruit Dave Taylor will make his Rabbitohs debut against Gold Coast in Coffs Harbour, while five-eighth John Sutton will make his return from a neck injury up against new Titans pivot Greg Bird.

Former rookie of the year Tim Smith will get another chance to push for a start with Brisbane when the Broncos tackle Canberra at Ballymore - the Broncos still without the services of injured pair Darren Lockyer and Peter Wallace.

Sydney Roosters discard Willie Mason will also blow out a few cobwebs when he lines up in a North Queensland NRL/NYC composite side against Queensland Cup side Northern Pride, that game a curtain raiser for the Cowboys-Warriors match in Cairns.

Western Sydney bragging rights will be on the line when Parramatta and Penrith clash at CUA Stadium, the Eels unveiling new signings Poore and Shane Shackleton as well as giving international pair Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh their first hit-outs for the eels in 2010.

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