Trial’s  Trial

STATE-OF-THE-ART floodlights and new goal posts will be utilised on Saturday and local league officials given a dress rehearsal ahead of the biggest match in Goulburn for a decade.

The Canberra Raiders and Penrith Panthers will this weekend conduct under 20s trial matches at Workers Arena, a month out from a practice showdown featuring homegrown talent Jarrod Croker and the 2012 NRL grand finalists.

Tomorrow’s tryouts, set to feature locals Jake Lewis, Tom Chapman, Jason Gray and Zach Hart, couldn’t come at a better time for host club the Goulburn Workers Bulldogs.

The club and its major sponsor the Workers Club this month erected floodlights and replaced wonky goalposts.

The junior outfits will be the first to reap the benefits from the upgrade. On February 23, the Canberra Raiders and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will be the second.

The two NRL clubs, both highly fancied in the race for the 2013 premiership, will lock horns at Workers Arena in the final trial match before the season begins.

“That game’s just going to be huge,” Workers Bulldogs president Dale Godber said.

“Lights got installed last week. We’ve just got to focus them. There’s $70,000 worth of lights up, new goal posts too.

“They’re going to spend just on around $80,000. That’s what the Workers Club’s putting back into the game.”

The club will begin developing a second ground at the Arena, behind the northern tryline, once the 2013 season concludes.

Godber hopes the secondary ground will be ready for use in time for the 2014 season.

First and foremost in the club’s mind, however, is tomorrow’s trial. Bulldogs products Tom Chapman, Jake Lewis and Jason Gray will each showcase their talent in a bid to join fellow local Mitch Cornish in the Raiders under 20s.

Canberra’s Toyota Cup outfit is coached Mick Mantelli, the man who masterminded the Goulburn Stockmen’s last Group 6 premiership.

Clever fullback and occasional centre and five-eighth, Zach Hart, will trial for the Penrith Panthers. Tomorrow’s trials kick-off at 4pm.

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