Hayze Perham is one of three potential No.7 replacements for the Warriors despite never having played an NRL match before. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Hayze Perham is one of three potential No.7 replacements for the Warriors despite never having played an NRL match before. Picture: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Warriors trial three rookie halves to replace SJ

The Warriors won't look outside their walls for Shaun Johnson's replacement, with an extended trial to find a rookie halfback already well under way.

Coach Stephen Kearney said the salary cap space opened up by star playmaker Johnson's departure for the Sharks won't be used to import a new No.7.

Instead, the club is running a three-man trial for the role through the course of the off-season and are unlikely to make a decisive call on Blake Green's halves partner until a week out from the opening round.

 

Warriors and Kiwis junior Chanel Harris-Tavita, 19, is believed to have his foot in the door for the starting role although like his rivals - Hayze Perham, 19, and Adam Keighran, 21 - hasn't played a first grade match.

"All three young men obviously sense there's an opportunity and we've been putting them in as Greenies' other half different each week," Kearney said.

"So they're getting a run with Green. The three of them are tracking along nicely. At this stage we're happy with the guys we've got."

Chanel Harris-Tavita (right) is the rookie with his foot in the door for the Warriors halves position, with healthy compeition from Hayze Perham (left). Picture by: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images
Chanel Harris-Tavita (right) is the rookie with his foot in the door for the Warriors halves position, with healthy compeition from Hayze Perham (left). Picture by: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Assistant coach Stacey Jones, the former Warriors halfback great, is working closely with the trio.

Each has spent time running in a shadow starting team but Kearney said he's unlikely to narrow down his favoured contender until the completion of trial games against the Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers.

"I couldn't say at this stage, it changes from session to session," he said.

"In terms of a final decision we won't do that until we have to."

The Tigers trial game in Whangarei on March 2 falls two weeks out from their opening match against the Bulldogs.

News Corp Australia


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