NRL: New Zealand Warriors' race for number seven jersey heats up

New Zealand Warriors fans can expect to see a mixture of experience and youth, when the side run out for their first pre-season trial against the Melbourne Storm.

Coach Stephen Kearney will try different combinations in the match, in a quest to find the starting team for the NRL's opening round in March.

"There will be a fair bit of experience through the forwards - we had two outside backs play in the All-Star game," Kearney said on Tuesday.

"Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] will be rested, so it will be a chance for some young guys to put their best foot forward and I'm looking forward to seeing them."

The battle of the halves will be interesting, given the departure of Shaun Johnson and injury to veteran five-eighth Blake Green.

Their absence leaves Australian Adam Keighran, Chanel Harris-Tavita and Hayze Perham fighting it out for the playmaker roles.

"They have an opportunity this weekend to go out and do it without an experienced half," Kearney said.

"We will try and share it around. We want to give them as much opportunity as possible to give them a chance.

"The idea is to try and give them all equal time."

Lock Ligi Sao played just five games in 2018 and will be one of those players vying for more time in a bid to prove his worth before the start of the seaosn.

"There's an opportunity there, [with] two trials coming up," Sao said. "I'll be trying to earn their trust and get the job done."

The Warriors play the Storm on Friday, with their second trial game on Saturday, March 2 against West Tigers in Whangarei.


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