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Strong squad named for Sharks trial

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have announced a strong 23-man squad for this weekend’s trial against the Cronulla Sharks in Papua New Guinea on Saturday February 22.

The Port Moresby clash with the Sharks kicks off at 5.30pm local time (6.30pm AEDT) and will be the first time two NRL clubs have played a trial in PNG.

Coach Dean Pay has named new recruits Joe Stimson and Dean Britt to start in the backrow, while Tongan International Sione Katoa, having arrived at the club from the Penrith Panthers over the summer, will wear the number nine jersey.

Lachlan Lewis and Jack Cogger will start in the six and seven jersey’s, with fellow halves Brandon Wakeham and Bailey Biondi-Odo also included in Pay’s team.

The squad features 12 players backing up from last weekend’s NRL Nines tournament, as well as three of the club’s development players – Tui Katoa, James Roumanos and Matt Doorey.

Will Hopoate has been named at fullback with Dallin Watene-Zeleznaik in camp with the Maori All Stars, while rookies Jake Averillo and Morgan Harper will join Reimis Smith and Jayden Okunbor as the starting wing and centre pairings.

Experienced forwards Aiden Tolman and Dylan Napa will also take to the field, as well as talented backrower Jackson Topine who led the New South Wales under 18s and Australian Schoolboy teams last season.

The match will be played at Port Moresby’s $88 million international-quality, 15,000-seat National Football stadium and the team will touch down in PNG a few days before the match to help promote social inclusion, participation, equality, health and well-being.

*Please note that the game will not be streamed and stay tuned to the club's social media accounts for live updates of the match on Saturday.

The full travelling squad is:

1. Will Hopoate

2. Jayden Okunbor

3. Reimis Smith

4. Morgan Harper

5. Jake Averillo

6. Lachlan Lewis

7. Jack Cogger

8. Renouf To’omaga

9. Sione Katoa

10. Dylan Napa

11. Joe Stimson

12. Dean Britt

13. Aiden Tolman

14. Brandon Wakeham

15. Ofahiki Ogden

16. Tui Katoa

17. Isaiah Tass

19. Bailey Biondi-Odo

20. Matt Doorey

21. James Roumanos

22. Kerrod Holland

23. Jackson Topine

24. Kayne Kalache