Berkeley are treating Saturday's Challenge Cup clash with Thirroul as a measuring stick of where they sit heading into the Illawarra Rugby League season.
The Eagles kicked off their Challenge Cup campaign with a 16-12 win over Dapto last weekend, but coach Aaron McDonald recognises Saturday's clash will be a tougher test.
"It was nice to get a win and start on the right foot," McDonald said. "I'm expecting a fair bit from Thirroul. They've recruited pretty well, they're always a tough team. We're under no illusions going into this week, it's a massive test for us.
"But it's also important to remember it is a trial game. We're still trying to work out our combinations and how we're going to approach this year."
Berkeley will likely be without their two primary recruits for the 2019 season, with prop Shannon Wakeman suffering an ankle injury and back Grayson Goodwin likely to sit out after receiving a head knock last week.
With Saturday's team likely to be quite different to that which lines up for round one in April, McDonald is viewing this weekend as an opportunity for younger players to earn a place in the 17.
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"We'll have a core group of players this week that I imagine will make up part of our team for round one, but we still have some players to come back. This weekend's another chance for young guys to put their hand up and stake their claim."
Saturday's other matches in the Challenge Cup will see Corrimal host Wests and Helensburgh take on Collegians. Dapto have a bye.
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