NORTH Queensland Cowboys’ hopes for the future will be on show against Wests Tigers at Walkerston next Friday night.
The Cowboys yesterday released their squad for the trial match at Tiger Park, including several recruits and young players with the potential to become big names.
The squad of 23 includes three STM Mackay Cutters players – recruits halfback Justin Hunt and second-rower Tyson Martin, and foundation player Todd Seymour.
Hunt and Martin are already under the eyes of Cowboys selectors after training at Townsville pre-season, while Seymour was an additional selection from the Cutters based on advice from coach Paul Bramley.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for all three,” Bramley says.
While it doesn’t include big names like halfback Johnathan Thurston and forward Luke O’Donnell, who are both playing in the All-Stars game next Saturday night in Sydney, it includes recruits who could play big roles in the Cowboys’ future.
Five-eighth Grant Rovelli was not selected for the match, with young players Ryan Stigg and Ray Thompson filling the halves roles next Friday.
Fullback Shannon Gallant will be playing against his old club after joining the Cowboys off-season from the Tigers, and gets the first chance to impress at the back in the absence of Matty Bowen, who is still recovering from knee surgery.
Brothers Isaak and Leeson Ah Mau will also play their first game in Cowboys colours.
Leeson, 21, who joined the Cowboys from New Zealand Warriors, has been named in the front row while Isaak, 28, is on the bench.
Isaak, a former NZ U18 player, made his first grade debut with the Broncos in 2008.
The match will also be the first sighting by Mackay fans of speed machine Obe Geia, a dual-registered Cutter who has been named on the wing.
Geia is moving up from the Toyota Cup this season, but the 2006 Australian Schoolboy has already debuted in the NRL for the Cowboys in round 2 in 2008.
The match kicks off at 8pm Friday.
Tickets are available at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. All tickets include free return bus travel to Walkerston.
Cowboys v Wests Tigers
Friday, February 12 at Tiger Park
1 Shannon Gallant
2 Obe Geia
3 Will Tupou
4 Donald Malone
5 John Williams
6 Ryan Stigg
7 Ray Thompson
8 Leeson Ah Mau
9 Anthony Watts
10 Antonio Kaufusi
11 Mitchell Achurch
12 James Tamou
13 Dane Hogan
Bench: 14 Michael Bani, 15 Moses Pangai, 16 Clint Amos, 17 Issak Ah Mau, 18 Manase Manuokofoa, 19 Davis Uhi, 20 Dylan Smith, 21 Justin Hunt, 22 Todd Seymour, 23 Tyson Martin
Coaches: Michael Crawley and Matt Parish