Macquarie Scorpions will welcome back several players from injury when they host The Entrance in rugby league trial matches at Lyall Peacock Field, Toronto, this Saturday.
Macquarie had 14 players unavailable for last Saturday's trial loss to Lakes United at Belmont.
They are keen to strengthen their troops further ahead of the premiership kick off next month.
Coach Adam Bettridge said the trial against Lakes United put Macquarie under welcome pressure.
"The first grade trial was a very good hit out," Bettridge said.
"With 14 players unavailable for the top squad it was a great opportunity for the younger players and new players to the club to show what they can do, and no one let us down.
"Although our ball handling was not good after the first quarter I thought our defence was excellent. To only go down by two tries was a very encouraging effort.
"We can build on our attack, but if the defence is not up to standard then it is difficult to win games of football."
Bettridge said Jordan Noble was outstanding against Lakes United, and his defence was leading the way for the Scorpions.
A fortnight earlier, Macquarie was defeated 32-16 by Wyong in the opening round of the NSW Challenge Cup.
The Scorpions got away to a 10-nil lead after some excellent play from Andy Sumner, however Wyong fought back with a try and two goals to reduce Macquarie's lead to 10-8 at halftime.
Sumner was subsequently sent from the field for dissent with 28 minutes remaining, and Wyong then took control of the game.
Bettridge said he was extremely pleased with the Macquarie defence during the game, particularly against such a quality opposition.
"I thought that Jordan Noble, Chris McGrath and Matt Geoffrey were very strong for us and we showed plenty of resolve during the game, which augers well for the rest of the season," the coach said.
Bettridge said he expected his squad to be close to full strength for the opening game of the Newcastle Rugby League premiership against Kurri Kurri on Saturday, April 13, at Kurri Kurri Sportsground.
This Saturday, the lower grade trials against The Entrance will kick off at 11.30am.
NORTHERN Power will take on Wyong in the Central Coast District Cricket Association grand final at Bill Sohier Park, Ourimbah, this weekend.
Both teams progressed by scoring upset victories in their semi-finals at the weekend.
Northern Power's 170 proved too many for minor premiers The Entrance who were dismissed for 146 in the match at Ourimbah.
And Wyong defended 201 when it dismissed Warnervale for 158 in the match at Woongarrah Sports Complex.