Warriors set for second preseason match in Whangarei

By Ruth Smith, Tamati Tiananga

Even before the season has officially started, there's been plenty of action going on in the Warriors camp.   Head coach, Steve Kearney signed on until 2022 and is hoping to capitalise on that time to accelerate the Warriors into top gear and bringing a calm and determined air to the Warriors camp.

The Warriors are gearing up for this weekend's second trial match against the West Tigers at the Northland Events Centre on Saturday afternoon.  The trials provide Coach Kearney with a prime opportunity to look over his talent and test out his combinations.

One of those, is centre/wing Gerard Beale.  Beale is of Te Atiawa descent and can also trace his genealogy to the Chatham Islands through his late mother.

He arrived from Cronulla as one of the Vodafone Warriors' key signings in 2018 although it would be some time before he could make his club debut as he recovered from a long lay-off after a serious leg injury in the Kiwis' first game at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup against Toa Samoa.

He eventually returned to play his first game for the Vodafone Warriors in the 24-14 win over Parramatta in the 11th round and went on to make 13 appearances. Missing only two of the last 15 games of the year, Beale was used in the centres and on the wing as well as on the bench.  Coming off the recent inaugural NRL Indigenous All Stars clash, which saw the NZ Māori defeated by the Indigenous 14-34, Beale said that he felt honoured to be a part of the team.

"I know all the boys really appreciated it and really felt privileged to be able to connect with our culture and it's a pity the result didn't really show how much it meant to us," said Beale.

Beale, who didn't have a lot of game time last season is looking forward to hitting the field and is optimistic about this weekend's trials.

"Myself and all of the boys have been training really hard to work on all the things that are going to help us do well this year," he said.

This will be another match where head coach, Stephen Kearney will look to trial most of his players before he makes a decision who will be his starting line-up against the Bulldogs in Round 1 of the NRL in two weeks time.