Opportunity awaits for determined Daine in trial matches
NRL: Fringe Penrith Panthers star Daine Laurie made his NRL debut at the Perth Nines last weekend but he will now turn his attention to the 13-man game in key trial games ahead.
Penrith will play two top sides in trial matches in the lead up to the 2020 NRL season and Laurie will be looking to find a way into the side for one or both games.
The first will be at Panthers Stadium against the Wests Tigers on Saturday and the second, the traditional pre-season clash with the Parramatta Eels has been shifted to the south coast after the devastating bushfires of the past few months and will be played at the Bega Recreation Ground on February 29 and coach Ivan Cleary is looking to shake things up.
"They'll be two different games. We'll have quite a few guys missing next week, particularly in the forwards, so there will be some opportunities for the young guys in that one," Ivan Cleary said.
"We definitely look forward to trying to grow other combinations. The game in Bega should be closer to the real deal so we'll just work on that squad progression."
Laurie will return to training with the Panthers NRL squad ahead of the season and he will be keen to keep making good impressions on Cleary and other senior members of the playing and coaching staff.
Despite the disappointing outcome in Perth, Cleary was impressed with the resolve of the unit during the year's first test on the big stage.
"What we got to see was the first little bit of pressure testing in the pre-season. Physically, we stood up well and had some guys looking really good," he said.
"It wasn't quite meant to be but we'll use this and move on to the 13s (full form of the game) next week."
If Laurie can continue to put in work in training, his ability will shine through in the Canterbury Cup and put him in a prime spot for a call-up to the Penrith Panthers first team this year.