Henjak's depatment of youth on show - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak's depatment of youth on show

Wayne Heming 02/02/2011 04:54:50 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak has given several of his young players an early opportunity to impress in the club's first official NRL pre-season trial against the Gold Coast on February 12.

Aaron Whitchurch (18), Kurt Baptise, Mitchell Frei (both 19), Dane Gagai, Jordan Kahu, Dale Copely, Dunamis Lui, Ben Hunt (all 20) and Jack Reed (22), have all made Henjak's 21-man experimental squad to play a Titans side that includes several players with previous first grade experience.

Henjak has three trials to find Israel Folau's replacement at left centre, to settle on a front-row partner for Ben Hannant and to work out his back-row and bench.

Last season he discovered Matt Gillett, who made the step up from the Queensland Cup.

Reed is hoping to follow Gillett's rise after being named in the centres with Copely.

Gerard Beale is one of seven players on Henjak's bench but is clearly the player Reed and Copely have to out-perform in the trials.

Young props Mitchell Dodds and Josh McGuire have been named up front along with impressive Queensland and Australian schoolboy representative Kurt Baptiste (hooker) who is in the final year of his civil engineering degree.

With Hannant commanding one front-row spot the pressure is on Nick Kenny, who battled back problems in 2010, David Hala, who struggled with fitness issues last season, Scott Anderson and veteran Shane Tronc, to push early claims.

"There's a few guys there, like Denan Kemp who missed some footy last year, who I think might benefit from a bit more playing time and a few others whom I'd like to see how they handle the step up," said Henjak.

"It's also a reward for some guys who have had a good pre-season."

The selection of Beale off the bench behind Copely and Reed is not a clear pointer to Folau's replacement.

"Beale's had a great off-season and he's going to cover a few spots where other guys aren't playing, or if we get any injuries," said Henjak.

"Kempy didn't play a lot of footy last year and I thought he'd benefit from more footy."

Kemp had his ribs smashed against the Warriors early last year and never quite got them right.

With Antonio Winterstein moving to the Cowboys, he gets a chance to play on the flank with exciting young prospect Jharal Yow Yeh.

Titans coach John Cartwright has picked a strong trial side which includes speedster Shannon Walker, Willie Tonga's young brother Esi, Joseph Tomane, Sam Tagataese and Luke O'Dwyer, all of whom have some first grade experience.

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