NORTHERN Pride coach Jason Demetriou expects to field up to seven Cowboys in his 20-man squad for Saturday's trial match against the Mackay Cutters in Ayr, south of Townsville.
The match is the Pride's final hit-out before round one of the Intrust Super Cup and will have a strong NRL flavour, with the Cutters also looking at boasting a large Cowboys contingent.
The Pride's trial form has been patchy this pre-season. After beating the Cowboys under-20s 20-18 in an encouraging first-up performance, the Pride crashed to a shock 29-22 defeat against visiting Papua New Guinea team the Rabaul Gurias at Barlow Park last Saturday night.
Demetriou was disappointed with the result, believing the Pride didn't produce the necessary intensity to match their opponents.
``We went into the game with a trial mentality while the Gurias went into it treating it like a grand final,'' Demetriou said.
``That's what their coach said when I was chatting to him afterwards. They had trained hard for seven weeks and it meant more to them.
``We (the Pride) had a good chat after the game. I let them know there were certain things I wasn't happy with that I wanted improved for the game against Mackay.''
One of those is undoubtedly defence. The Pride leaked six tries against the Gurias, who exploited some poor defensive reads from the home team in both halves.
Demetriou will want to see better decision making against the Cutters, who travel to Barlow Park to play the Pride in round one on March 16.
In other news, the Pride will head to Lotus Glen Correctional Centre near Mareeba today to help spread the message on organ and tissue donation to prisoners.
While at the correctional centre, the Pride will also get to play prisoners in a game of touch football.
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Strong: Ty Williams will lead out several Cowboys players in the Pride's final trial this weekend.