North Coast Bulldogs under 18s coach Darrin Dark believes a second trial game would have been ideal ahead of tomorrow's opening round clash in the Laurie Daley Cup with the Central Coast Roosters in Tuncurry.
"I think they're a little underdone, another trial would have been nice," Darrin said. "That's where you work on game speed and physicality - nothing prepares you more than a game."
The side did play a trial game two weeks ago to 'blow out the cobwebs', with players keen to get the representative season started.
"They're getting excited, it's been a long time coming," Darrin said.
A few players who turned out for the Andrew Johns under 16s side in 2019 have moved into the squad. Others will return to the squad looking for redemption.
The 18s suffered a heartbreaking loss to Illawarra South Coast in last year's semi-final.
"It's a good blend of new faces and some backing up from last year," Darrin said.
The side's performance in the tournament won't be based around any individuals. "Across the board I'm happy with the balance of the squad," Darrin said.
They will have to wait until the competition starts to grasp which sides are the ones to beat.
"This is a tough competition, these sides feed directly from SG Ball and filter players into the Laurie Daley Cup," Darrin explained.
"It's really tough across the regions and the quality is so high."
Wet weather is predicted this weekend but the game is expected to go ahead. Kick off is at 1.20pm after the under 16s clash at noon.
Under 16s: Shane Davis-Caldwell, Kaleb Cooper, Connor Latham, Christopher Bull, Braith Powick, Mhalikai Mercy, Ashton Hilder, Tyrese Dungay, Ty-Jesse Brabant, Luke Hayes, Peter Conroy, Ryan Moloney, Luke Key, Rangi Buchanan, Brady Blackhall, Jedd Pratt, Fraser Holland, Austin Bradley (reserve), Clancy Webber (reserve), Jacob Tonning (reserve).
Under 18s: Tirell Dungay, Nicholas Smith, Eli Clark, Emanuel Sutton, Malakhi Donovan, Joseph De Stefano, Elliott Speed, Brock Parker, Ethan Duncombe, Samuel Burnes, Travys Downton, Baily Sipple, Jaxson Longa, Ivan Madden, William Gee, Casey Morgan, Rhys Kendell, Timothy Bull (reserve), Hayden Ensbey (reserve), Mitchell Clarke (reserve).