Raper Impressed by Peachey

Cronulla fullback David Peachey will be "dynamic" for the Sharks this year after impressing in his first rugby league trial game of 2004.

Coach Stuart Raper said Peachey and Brett Kimmorley were the stand-outs in his NRL side's 24-28 loss to Parramatta in a trial at the northern NSW town of Ballina.

Peachey caused a stir in the Sharks camp early this month when he failed to return to pre-season training on schedule after being granted compassionate leave to deal with personal issues.

"He's put all that behind him," said Raper.

"I think he's going to be dynamic for us this year."

Peachey set up a try for former Dragons winger Hassan Saleh before going off at three-quarter time while Kimmorley scored a try and kicked two goals in his 80-minute effort.

Both sides scoring five tries each, with goal-kicking proving the difference on a hot and humid night.

Raper said forwards Andrew Lomu and Paul Gallen performed strongly while the hard-working Danny Nutley was tireless.

The coach said he was well pleased with his side's progress in the absence of injured quartet Jason Stevens, Chris Beattie, Nigel Vagana and Phil Bailey.

Parramatta fullback Luke Burt, who broke his collarbone twice last season, scored a try and looked confident under Kimmorley's bombs.

Eels coach Brian Smith said he was happy his players emerged from a physical contest unscathed.

"All up I thought it was a pretty good game - nice and hard and no-one lost their season because of it," said Smith, whose side endured a horrific injury toll last year.

Smith said it was hard to comment on stand-outs because he used 25 players tonight to test out new combinations but said powerhouse winger Eric Grothe impressed in the first quarter.

"He certainly showed how strong and fast he is," said the coach.

"He's trained really hard this year and hasn't missed one training session. It looks as if it was paying off for him early on."

Smith said he was encouraged that the Eels stood up to the Sharks, who did their best to dominate at the ruck to allow Kimmorley the space to weave his magic.

"Our boys didn't dominate but they did OK," Smith commented.

The Eels take on the NZ Warriors on the Gold Coast next Saturday while the Sharks don't play another trial until February 28 when they meet three local sides at Port Macquarie.