Knightly News � 31 January 2004.
Trial games were held today between junior teams from Newcastle and Parramatta at the Lyle Peacock Oval in Toronto, Lake Macquarie.
At the under 14 level, Newcastle was represented by two full teams wearing different jerseys and playing for 20 minute quarters on a rotational basis. They each wore jerseys emblazoned with a Country Rugby League (CRL) badge, one Newcastle team running in green and white, and the other in solid green.
Parramatta also had enough players for two full teams, but they chose to use them all in the same team and rotate players on and off the field throughout the game.
The under 14 games ended in a decisive victory to the Newcastle squads who comfortably won every quarter and dominated field position. It was not possible to put names to players because no announcements or programmes were available, but both sides had some impressive talent on display.
The most impressive individuals for Newcastle were a giant winger who proved near-impossible to contain by his opposite number, a prop who barged over for two tries and a second rower who made good yards up the middle all day.
Parramatta was best served by a halfback who made several blistering runs and scored a brilliant individual try.
At the under 16 level the roles were reversed, with Parramatta dominating the two teams of Knights players. Most worrying for the Knights was the loss of several scrums against the feed, with the big and powerful Parramatta pack easily pushing the Knights boys off the ball. The Parramatta backline also had an advantage in size and power over the Knights backline, with two guys of Islander appearance being the standouts as they monstered a Knights winger, who resembled former Melbourne Storm winger Marcus Bai.
Many of the best of the Knights under 18 squad were absent or only played for short spells. Despite this, the trial was very even with Parra perhaps slightly the better side. Throughout the day the scores were not posted on the scoreboard and kicks at goal were not taken. Scores would be meaningless because of the way teams were rotated, but for those who must know, Newcastle enjoyed a big points advantage in under 14s, Parra doubled Newcastle's score in under 16s and Parra had a narrow win in under 18s. The crowd was made up mostly of friends and relatives of the players. Since there were around 200 players on display, the grandstand was full to over flowing and all parking spaces around the ground were taken. I'd estimate the crowd to be between 700 and 1000.