Son of a gun Liam Coleman ready to slay Dragons
TEENAGER Liam Coleman could make his debut for South Sydney in tomorrow night's annual Charity Shield showdown with St George Illawarra at Olympic Park.
The 18-year-old son of former Rabbitohs favourite Craig "Tugger" Coleman, who played more than 200 games in the red and green in the 1980s and '90s, is believed to be on standby for halfback Adam Reynolds.
The premiership playmaker is in doubt with a hamstring injury suffered in the club's thrilling 18-14 Auckland Nines victory over Cronulla at Eden Park last Sunday.
Reynolds has been named in the No.7 jumper in a strong side to defend the Shield against the Dragons who have also named a near full-strength NRL line-up for the traditional pre-season battle. But the question for coach Michael Maguire is whether he is prepared to gamble with his most valuable organiser less than seven days after he pulled up short with a hamstring twinge.
Liam Coleman, whose sister Tara is a leading ironwoman, was captain of Souths' SG Ball side and is highly rated as a future NRL player.
Souths will travel to the UK with St George Illawarra and Brisbane to contest the World Club Challenge in England on February 21-22, and it would make more sense to give Reynolds the extra time off to make sure he is totally over any injury concerns.
Even though new Souths captain Greg Inglis, who will represent the Indigenous team in next Friday's All-Stars clash, will miss the Charity Shield, both teams have shown how significant the annual grudge match is by declaring powerful line-ups.
The premiers have included livewire centre Dylan Walker, exciting young five-eighth Luke Keary, bulldozing prop George Burgess, Queensland back-rower Chris McQueen and Kiwi international Issac Luke, who will again lead the side after his Nines' success last weekend.
Not to be outdone, Dragons coach Paul McGregor has picked an equally impressive squad, headed by Josh Dugan at fullback, new centre Dane Nielsen, Gareth Widdop and Benji Marshall in the halves and a pack which includes Joel Thompson, Ben Creagh and Mitch Rein.
Souths and the Dragons are among 11 NRL clubs involved in matches this weekend, with the Sea Eagles playing the Sharks, Melbourne and Canberra travelling to Griffith to square off and the Titans playing the Warriors in Toowoomba.
Further north in Mackay, new Broncos halves pairing Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt will team up for the first time against the Cowboys.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett will use the trial, and the World Club Challenge game against Wigan to settle on his line-up for the opening-round clash against South Sydney on March 5.