Warriors coach Matthew Elliott says his players can’t afford to be complacent in the club’s final trial against Brisbane, with NRL spots on the line.
England and former Wigan star Sam Tomkins’ first full outing for the Warriors against the Brisbane Broncos in Dunedin has coach Matthew Elliott excited.
Tomkins, 24, will play at fullback in the Warriors’ final trial on Sunday before their NRL season-opener against the Parramatta Eels on March 9.
“We’re all excited about having Sam on board,” Elliott said.
“He’s already proved he’s an outstanding player. He made a sacrifice to come here and play in the NRL. He’s come for one reason and that’s to challenge himself.”
Tomkins, who scored 144 tries in 151 games for Wigan and 19 in 19 Tests, made his Warriors debut at the Auckland Nines last weekend.
Elliott said the match against the Broncos was important for two reasons – to bed in systems and as a selection trial.
“Guys are playing for their spots,” he said.
“There can be no complacency. As far as I’m concerned, all the positions are up for grabs.
“We’ve got a pretty healthy squad and the guys will need to play well.”
The Warriors beat the Broncos 16-10 before a crowd of 15,000 at Forsyth Barr Stadium 12 months ago and Elliott is seeking another confidence-boosting victory.
“I loved the Dunedin experience last year,” he said.
“The stadium is fantastic and the vibe created by the crowd under the roof is great.”
Winger Manu Vatuvei (thigh) and centre Dane Neilsen (leg) have niggling injuries and will miss the game, as will backrower Ben Henry (knee).
Also sitting out are back Kevin Locke (knee) and five-eighth Thomas Leuluai (groin).
Locke will be unavailable for the start of the NRL season, while Leuluai is rated as touch and go to face the Eels.
The Broncos will field an almost full-strength side, with Kiwis international Josh Hoffman playing opposite Tomkins in the No.1 jersey.