ORANGE Hawks captain-coach Tim Mortimer will use today’s trial against Belrose to get a better idea on just how to fill the gaps left by Western Division halfback Scott Rosser and Group 10 prop Terawhiti Cooper.
The representative duo is the only major omissions from the two blues squad that won the 2013 Group 10 minor premiership.
However, rather than look outside the club in a bid to replace the quality pair, Mortimer was confident Hawks’ depth will be able to adequately fill the void left in two key positional holes in his two blues side.
“I don’t know if they’re gaps,” Mortimer said.
“Sandon Gibbs-O’Neill is perfectly capable of playing halfback, we’ll look at a few others there as well. We’ve got a few players capable of playing hooker too and our front row depth was strong last year.
“The rest of the team from last year is still playing. There’s plenty of competition for places, which is good.
“Hopefully it’ll make our team a little better.”
Mortimer will line-up against his older brother James in today’s trial, set to kick-off this evening at Charles Sturt University Orange.
Also in his first year as captain-coach in 2013, James Mortimer’s Belrose Eagles took out the Sydney Shield first grade premiership and, today in Orange, will give Hawks a stern first up assignment in their bid to begin 2014 as well as they did last season.
“James said they’ve lost a couple of players from last year’s team but they’re still a good side,” Tim said.
“We’ll use the game to look at a few different combinations and see what works. It’s our first run of the year. We’re only using the match as a trial and a way to get the first taste of rugby league for the year.”
Hawks will tackle Belrose from 4.30pm at CSU Orange today.