Performance takes top place for coach Elliott

ANOTHER CHANCE: Glen Fisiiahi on the run against the Wests Tigers.
ANOTHER CHANCE: Glen Fisiiahi on the run against the Wests Tigers.

Warriors coach Matt Elliott says reputation will count for nothing when it comes to selecting a side to play the season-opener against Parramatta on March 9.

Elliott yesterday named his side for the team's first trial, against Gold Coast on Saturday and selected a mixture of experienced players, those eligible for the NYC, triallists and a Vulcans regular.

Elliott said he would use this game and the coming ones against Penrith and Broncos to determine who would be the 17 to play the Eels.

"I have really got no idea what our starting team will be [against the Eels], none," Elliott said.

"We are starting to rank some players based on their training performances, but I made that mistake years ago when I first started doing this job.

"I fell in love with players in pre-season. Some players are terrible trainers and their best terrain is when they cross the white stripe for real, so we've got to find out about that."

It means that lesser known players such as Harry Siejka, Aaron Nootai and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak will get the first chance to impress Elliott, but he believes it is best not to have any preconceived ideas about who his starting players should be.

"For the playing group and all of us as a club that's the healthiest route to take," he said.

"People have stood here and said reputations don't count for anything, but I am going to live by that creed and it's just going to be based on performance.

"Now, what I know about young guys is that consistency is an issue when you're at the elite level.

"We have got a pretty young squad, so I will not hesitate if I think a young guy has put in a couple good games but is just starting to teeter. I'll make a change for sure."

Elliott has selected Steve Rapira as his captain for Saturday night, impressed with how he's trained recently.

"It is an easy choice and I'm delighted for Steve," Elliott said.

"He demonstrated a bit of a cameo of what his footy is like during the pre-season. At the beginning of the pre-season he was battling with his body and I was scratching my head.

"But the last three or four weeks his body has been fine and he's focused on playing. He is going to be really hard to keep out of the team because he's one tough kid."

As well as seeing which individuals step up, Elliott said he wanted to see how the team as a whole adapted to their new game plan.

"We're a new coaching staff and they're going to have to adapt to a slightly new style of play," he said. "What we've tried to do is come up with a style of play that suits them, not Matt Elliott's style of play.

"I know it's all different when you get out on the field. The best-laid plans can all go out of the back door when you get a punch in the face.

"We've got a fight plan, but we've got to see how that plan goes when you've been punched in the face a few times."


Warriors: Carlos Tuimavave, Glen Fisiiahi, Dominique Peyroux, Malakai Watane-Zelezniak, Ngani Laumape, Pita Godinet, Harry Siejka, Steve Rapira (c), Alehana Mara, Suaia Matagi, John Palavi, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo.

Interchange: Atelea Nafetalai, Sione Lousi, David Fusitua, Aaron Nootai, Nathaniel Peteru, Siliva Havili, Konrad Hurrell, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Trent Bishop, David Bhana.

Fairfax Media