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Trial run for Bati players

Pravin Narain
Friday, October 13, 2017

THE Rugby League Pacific Tri-Nations between world champion Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji is a dress rehearsal to the Rugby League World cup.

While the Fijians welcome the arrival of some of rugby league's finest into our shores yesterday, Vodafone Fiji Bati coach Mick Potter will be using the tournament to see the strength of the oppositions should they meet post pool games in Australia.

And not to let the cat out of his bag of tricks, especially against the Kangaroos, the Newcastle Knights assistant coach would not fully use top players like Jarryd Hayne to prevent the oppositions from knowing Fiji's combinations in the RLWC.

"Most probably I would come up with two squads where some of the players might play both games while some would just play the second game," he said.

"Most of them would get a run for about 40 minutes.

"The younger guys would get more time playing because it is a trial and I want to see how they play against some of the best teams such as Australia and Papua New Guinea.

"I feel the young players would be starting against Papua New Guinea and it is a big test for us given they progress in the Queensland Cup. I have to fill in a few gaps and opportunities. I am not quite sure what the bench would look like."

Fiji Bati will play Papua New Guinea in the first 40-minute match followed by PNG against Australia. The Fiji Bati closes the tournament against Australia in the last match.

"We need to make sure that we have versatility aspect in case we have injuries to our players. For the key positions, we need to cover that and we have to change the way we play if injury happens," he said.

The first match kicks off at 5.30pm.

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