The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Today, we had several trials in three different and distinct locations. First off we headed to Greymouth on the West Coast of New Zealand for a charity match in remembrance of the miners who died in the Pike River mining disaster then heading to the classic surrondings of Recfern Oval for South Sydney's annual Return to Redfern clash against Newtown, before lastly heading to North Ipswich Reserve for Ipswich v Sydney Roosters.
New Zealand Warriors 22 drew with Newcastle Knights 22
In front of a record breaking crowd at Wingham Park, New Zealand decided to rest a few of their superstar players but still brought a formidable side to take on a Newcastle side which had a few first graders but was populated by young players looking to make an impression.
Ater some rusty touches from both sides in the first two quarters, it took until halftime for someone to post points and was new recruit Feleti Mateo who was the architect for Bill Tupou to score in the corner.
They continued their domination in the third quarter scoring two quick tries through Toyota Cup premiership winning fullback Glen Fisiiahi and Pita Godinet who showed some flashes of brilliance to score and set up the former, trying to win a proffesional contract with the Warriors.
Joel Edwards gave Newcastle some points on the board, after crashing over from close but New Zealand would push ahead with the second try to Fisiiahi and Inu converted to make it 22-6. Newcastle made the fourth quarter their own though, scoring three tries throughout the quarter including some good lead up work from Ethan Ford and Chris Adams.
After Newcastle went the length of the field with less than two minutes to go, Simon Williams brushed off Krisnan Inu to tie the match, leaving Peter Mata'utia to win the game off his boot but he pushed it wide and the game ended 22 all, a fair result.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 22 (Fisiiahi 2, Tupou and Godinet tries. Inu 3/4 goals) draw with NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 22 (Edwards, Houston, Adams and Williams tries. Mata'utia 3/4 goals). Crowd: 6,500
South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 defeated Newtown Jets 4
From the picturesque surrondings of Greymouth to the sweltering heat of Redfern where South Sydney fielding a mostly young side including some of the Toyota Cup side who came within a whisker of winning the premiership last year.
They were taking on fellow foundation club, the Newtown Jets who were also fielding a young squad, using the principal of giving them a "fair go" in conditions which weren't condusive to attacking football.
Souths were the first on the board, through winger Chris McQueen just before the first quarter break of the match but no converted to be 4-0. The game continued to be a struggle between the sides but Souths added to their advantage in the third quarter with James Roberts crossing the stripe.
Adam Reynolds converted the chance and 10 points would be enough to beat Newtown who got a consolation try near the end of the game courtesy of Sione Taka to give us the final score of 10-4.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS 10 (McQueen, Roberts tries. Reynolds goal.) Defeated NEWTOWN JETS 4 (Sione Taka try). Crowd: approx 5,000
Ipswich Jets 12 lost to Sydney Roosters 22
The final match on the opening day of the NRL pre-season took us to North Ipswich Reserve where the Sydney Roosters faced QRL Intrust Super Cup club the Ipswich Jets. The clash took a little while to get started before both teams registered tries near quarter time to take the scoreline to 6-all.
With a lineup of largely younger players, the Roosters went ahead again only to be equalled by Ipswich again at 12-all, finally skipping away in the final quarter to record a 22-12 victory.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 22 (Leilua, Lowe, Naughton, J Carney tries; Leilua 2, Kheirallah 1 goals) defeated IPSWICH JETS 12. Crowd: 4,500
Elsewhere, the Brisbane Broncos Toyota Cup side faced QRL side the Norths Devils at Bishop Park, however with the Devils up 22-4 in the second half, a power outage forced the cancellation of the remainder of the game.