Six ex-NRL stars set to grace Pirate Park for Falcons trial
Sunshine Coast Falcons will unleash a near-full strength squad including Jarrod Mullen, Kurt Baptiste and Patrice Siolo in front of an expected crowd of 1500 in their final hitout before Round 1.
Coach Sam Mawhinney confirmed on Tuesday he had finalised his halves pairing in Jarrod Mullen and Todd Murphy and that Dane Hogan would start at lock.
The hitout against Norths Devils will mark the club debut of prop forward Siolo who will be tasked to bring steel to the engine room.
Mawhinney said fellow star signings Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga and Paul Ulberg would feature after returning from pre-season in Melbourne.
"It will be pretty close to the side that will take to the field in Round 1, and those guys will play big minutes too," Mawhinney said.
"It will be great to see Patrice in Falcons colours for the first time, that's exciting.
"Hoges will start at lock, for his leadership and aggression."
Added to the mix of players to have tasted the NRL include Danny Levi, Rhys Kennedy and Ethan Bullemor of Norths, making for a mouth watering contest.
Mawhinney hinted that Baptiste would start at hooker despite admitting the squad was still getting up to speed with his dummy half play.
The versatility of Noosa Pirates' affiliate Sam Burns looks to have won him a place on the Falcons bench in a role similar to that of the Storm's Brandon Smith.
"Burnsy will help speed up the game, especially with the new rooms, those smaller forwards really come into their own," he said.
"That bench utility role is something he really fits into well."
Mawhinney said youngster Jack Wright would play some capacity at the weekend.
Noosa Pirates general manager Brett Winkler said Pirate Park could fit about 1500 spectators.
"We would love to get 1500 here," Winkler said.
"It's the chance to see some really high class players, who have played a lot of NRL, good value and entertainment and see and appreciate the step up in level."