Contented Fien spoilt for choice


Thirroul coach Nathan Fien.

Thirroul coach Nathan Fien.

Even without some of his biggest names, Thirroul coach Nathan Fien faces some welcome selection headaches for the Butchers' away match with Helensburgh on Saturday.

Prop Jamie Feeney and star outside backs Damien Blanch and Denan Kemp missed the Butchers' gritty 12-8 victory over Collegians in round one and are likely to be unavailable again this week.

Their absence, though notable, had little effect on the Butchers who ground out an impressive victory over the defending premiers.

"We've got a little bit to look forward to by way of players returning but you can't take anything away from the 17 who wore the jersey [last week]. We didn't have a bad player on the park," Fien said.

"We've got some good depth there and when we get everyone back on deck, it's going to create a few more headaches for me but it's good to have those selection dilemmas."

The trip up Lawrence Hargrave Drive to Rex Jackson Oval has proven the league's toughest road trip and Fien is expecting another tough assignment against last year's grand finalists.

"The way we open the season with Collies and then Helensburgh, who were both grand finalists last year, is a really good yardstick for us to see how we're travelling," he said.

"We put in a good performance against Collies defensively in what was a bit of a slugfest.

"The conditions will probably be pretty similar this week against another big forward pack that went all the way to grand final last year and were probably unlucky not to win that match.

"It's going to be another big test for us."

Fien juggled his halves combination in the victory over Collegians, starting at halfback but spending the bulk of his time at hooker, with Nathan Wynn coming off the interchange bench to play a key role at five-eighth.

He said it might take several rounds to settle on the right mix.

"At this time of year, you're still trying to find where everyone fits in and what's the best combination for us, so I dare say for the early part of the season, we'll see a few guys shuffling around until we find what clicks for us," Fien said.


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