The Titans and Rabbitohs play a NRL trial.
The Titans and Rabbitohs play a NRL trial. BRUCE THOMAS

BCU Stadium lights up

TONIGHT’S NRL trial match between South Sydney and Gold Coast is set to be an historic occasion with spectators catching their first glimpse of the newly installed lights at the BCU International Stadium.

The 1500 lux digital television-standard floodlights that stand atop four new 40-metre steel poles have had some trial runs over the past fortnight, ensuring the light is spread evenly over the entire playing surface. Now it’s showtime for the latest addition to the Coffs Coast sporting scene.

“The new light poles will rapidly become a local landmark, one that shows that Coffs Harbour has the sporting facilities to attract the highest level of sport,” Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said.

While the playing surface will be bright, the real stars of tonight’s entertainment are sure to shine brightly as well.

Tonight’s match will be the last opportunity players from both teams get to play before the NRL season starts in a fortnight.

South Sydney coach John Lang will be keen to see how some of the younger members of the squad perform tonight in place of some absent stars.

The Rabbitohs will take to the field tonight without major off-season signing and Bowraville junior Greg Inglis or Sam Burgess, Issac Luke and veterans Luke Stuart and Michael Crocker.

On the plus side for Souths is the inclusion into the team of David Taylor and Nathan Merritt.

Rabbitohs five-eighth John Sutton is keen to work closely with the younger members of the squad before the season starts.

“We’ve just got to keep improving and hopefully we get some combinations going and come out firing by round one,” Sutton said.

Gold Coast has a young squad, but that provides no issues for coach John Cartwright. In fact having a wealth of young talent to call on is by design.

Of the 26-man trial side named to play for the Titans tonight, 10 of them – David Mead, Ben Ridge, Bodene Thompson, Jordan Rankin, Will Matthews, Shannon Walker, Luke Page, Dominique Peyroux, Matt Srama and Sawtell junior Kevin Gordon – have been developed since they were teenagers by the club.

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