Coin toss sees Steve Rapira handed captaincy

DREAM COME TRUE: Steve Rapira will start an NRL game alongside his brother Sam for the first time when the Warriors take on the Roosters.
DREAM COME TRUE: Steve Rapira will start an NRL game alongside his brother Sam for the first time when the Warriors take on the Roosters.

The 2013 version of the Warriors will get their first airing today, when they take on Gold Coast at Burleigh Heads, in the first trial game of the campaign.

Coach Matt Elliott has selected a mix-and-match type team, using experienced players, National Youth Competition eligible youngsters, and Vulcans' squad members to make up the team.

While today's side is likely to bear little resemblance to the one that plays against Parramatta in the NRL season opener on March 9, it will give the first indication as to what style of league Elliott wants the team to play.

Captaining the side is Steve Rapira, who said he got the nod because of a coin toss.

"Matty interrupted us during training and said ‘Steve, toss a coin and say heads or tails', I called heads and tails came up and he said, ‘ oh yep, you're captain'," Rapira said.

"I feel pretty privileged; there are a couple of other boys with experience in the side, so to get chosen is a cool buzz."

As the players for the game are drawn from three squads, it could be an issue to get them to gel, but Rapira believes their time together through the pre-season means that won't be much of an issue.

With Elliott saying he will look at who's playing well in this trial and the next two, against Penrith and Brisbane, to decide the team to play the Eels, there is the risk some players will look to shine individually, rather than work for the greater good of the team.

"It could be a worry, but the other boys will quickly jump on them and tell them to pull their heads in," said Rapira.

"I am excited; we've done all of this hard training together, so to get a hit-out with these young guys is going to be a good experience."

With this game to look forward to, all memories of last year's disastrous campaign can be buried.

Elliott has brought in new ideas, a different support team, and has freshened up the place.

At his instigation he has put the players through a brutal fitness programme. It may have been hard on them at the time, but it is something Rapira is grateful for now.

"Personally, I feel in a lot better shape [than this time last year] and I do know that a lot of the other boys feel the same way.

"I guess more so, we're just excited. It was a terrible year last year, so we're looking forward to this year, and making a fresh start with the new coaching staff."

As for the game, Rapira says they haven't spent a great deal of time assessing the opposition, but have been focusing on what they want to achieve.

"At this stage we've just been worrying about ourselves," he said.

"Once we get into the season we'll look at the opposition more, but it's harder to do that with the trials because you're looking at old footage and different combinations." And does it matter if the Warriors get a victory from this?

"Personally, I want to win at all costs," stated Rapira emphatically.

Fairfax Media