NZ Warriors showed some encouraging early signs, during their first pres-season hit out against Gold Coast Titans in Lismore on Saturday.
The shorthanded Warriors played out a 12-12 draw in their first outing under new head coach Nathan Brown, as some of their new faces made strong impressions.
Former Dragons centre Euan Aitken was the pick of that bunch, running riot at the centre position and showcasing some stout defence.
New prop Addin Fonua-Blake was also outstanding, making several bruising runs and consistently making metres past the advantage line.
Fellow fresh front-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila was equally as effective, highlighted by a barnstorming 40-metre burst, and working well in conjunction with Fonua-Blake.
Elsewhere in the pack, Bunty Afoa and Leeson Ah Mau made their long-awaited returns from injury, getting some valuable game time under their belts.
The news was less positive for hooker Wayde Egan, who was forced from the field with an elbow injury in the 15th minute.
The Warriors fought back from a 12-0 deficit to tie the game, with captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's trademark midfield break setting up the levelling try to Jazz Tevaga.
In the dying stages, former Warriors utility Patrick Herbert came close to winning the game for the Titans, coming inches short of scoring. With no golden point in pre-season matches, the teams had to settle for a draw.
The two clubs will meet again to kick off their 2021 NRL campaigns on March 13 in Gosford.