IT’S not hard to figure out where much of the focus of rival coaches Tim Sheens (Wests Tigers) and Stephen Kearney (Parramatta) will be tonight when the two sides meet in a pre-season trial at Bluetongue Stadium.
Their eyes will be firmly on their respective halfbacks Tim Moltzen (Tigers) and Chris Sandow (Eels).
Sheens has spent the off-season tweaking the way his side will play this season to accommodate Moltzen’s permanent move from fullback to half as the departed Robert Lui’s replacement.
Kearney has done even more tweaking, with the Eels boasting a completely new halves pairing in Sandow and Ben Roberts.
For his part, Sheens doesn’t rate the Moltzen move as a gamble but concedes its success is important to the Tigers prospects this season.
“It’s a big move for anyone but Tim’s always been as good a halfback as he is a number one,” Sheens said.
"We’ll play a different style of game with Timmy there but I’m confortable it will work.
“With Benji (Marshall) there, we’ll have the fastest half-five-eighth combination in the game.”
Kiwi international Adam Blair will make his debut in the second row for the Tigers in the trial.
Penrith will feature four former Newcastle players - Luke Walsh, Clint Newton, Brad Tighe and Cameron Ciraldo - in their side against the Knights in Port Macquarie tonight. After a three year absence, veteran hooker Danny Buderus returns to the Knights lineup.
Rival coaches Wayne Bennett (Knights) and Ivan Cleary (Panthers) will be in charge of new teams for the first time.
Former Titans hooker Nathan Friend will make his New Zealand Warriors debut tonight in Coffs Harbour.
I wasnt to keen on Sheens going with Moltzen at 7 mainly due to the fact i consider him a 5/8. But im focusing on the fact he’s had the whole off season to focus on the role rather than spending all off season at fullback then switching to half after 5 rounds or so. With that in mind, im warming to the idea and think he’ll do well playing 3rd string behind Robbie and Benji