Alberts heads home to clinch Manly bid



FORMER Central Queensland Comets back Ashley Alberts is heading home in a bid to cement an NRL start in season 2006.

Alberts is likely to play in the centres for Manly when they play a trial game against his former club at Rockhampton's Browne Park on Saturday night.

Not only will Alberts be celebrating his 22nd birthday that day, but he also hopes to get the upper hand over another Manly player, Paul Stephenson, vying to fill a vacant centre position.

The winner will join new Manly recruit Steve Bell, a former Emerald player who is preparing to play for his second NRL club after moving from the Melbourne Storm during the off-season.

Steve Matai is also in the centre mix, getting his chance to impress in Manly's trial game against the Sydney Roosters on February 18. Another internal battle is also looming for the Rockhampton trial game between 20-year-old Travis Burns and Clint Halden in the five-eighth and half-back positions.

Among the new faces ready to impress in Rockhampton are smart utility back from the Roosters Willie Bishop, ex-Canterbury backrower Jason Wells, former Canberra Raiders winger Michael Robertson and big Roosters prop George Rose.

Geoff Toovey will coach the Manly team for the Rockhampton game.



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