All too often NRL trial matches are seen as a burden, but new recruit Kris Keating is jumping out of his skin to wear the Canterbury colours for the first time. If coaches can escape a trial without injuries to key players, then more often than not, they’re satisfied. But for the Bulldogs, with an influx of off-season purchases and several key combinations yet to be decided, Saturday’s trial against the Sydney Roosters at Leichhardt Oval couldn’t be more vital. After a dismal 2010, the Bulldogs know they need a strong start to the season – and that starts in the trials. “Definitely we’re all excited because it’s a real trial match, I know I am,” Keating told AAP on Friday. “Kev’s given pretty much the whole squad the opportunity to show why they should be picked for round one. “Everyone knows that there’s spots up for grabs this time around, and it’s not just the five-eighth spot.” The position Keating is talking about is the five-eighth jersey he’ll be fighting for against the Roosters, where he’ll essentially go head-to-head with Ben Roberts for the honour of starting the year alongside former Manly halfback Trent Hodkinson. Keating will get first crack, teaming with Josh Reynolds for the opening 40 minutes before Roberts and young gun Aiden Sezer take over for the second half. “I’ve got me and Ben Roberts going for that five-eighth spot so that’s sort of a goal for me to get that position,” Keating added. “That’s why I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing my best. “It’s a new club for me as well, I probably haven’t been this excited about playing a game of footy in a long time.”

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