HUNTER Wildfires coach Scott Coleman reckons Chase Hicks doesn't realise the potential he has.
Limiting Hicks' impact - with and without the ball - was a big part of Hamilton's success under Coleman against Wanderers in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union grand final last year.
Now Coleman wants to bring the best out in the tearaway centre.
Hicks will make his Shute Shield debut for the Wildfires against Southern Districts at Forshaw Park on Saturday.
The power-packed No.13 replaces Carl Manu, who broke his arm in the breakthrough 28-15 win over Western Sydney.
"Chase loves a challenge and loves to compete," Coleman said. "He has great footwork and is really physical. It was between him and Angus Brown. Chase gives us a bit more of an edge. He has defended really well in the past two games in second grade.
"His fitness is slowly improving. He has been in the program six or seven weeks. If I could get him to compete as hard at training as he does in games, he could be anything."
Hicks is one of two changes from the win over the Two Blues.
Winger Hamish McKie also comes in for his debut after scoring a try in a strong effort off the bench against Western Sydney.
"Hamish has been pushing hard for the past four weeks and deserves a chance," Coleman said. "Rob Bausera and Hayden Cole will play second grade to freshen them up, get more touches on the ball and get a bit of confidence."
The pack is unchanged, with Geraint Weaver holding his spot at tighthead in front of Nick Dodbson, who has started the majority of games.
Southern Districts have benefited from the recent return of NSW Waratahs front-rowers Andrew Tuala, Joe Cotton and Tetera Faulkner.
"G (Weaver) did really well against Western Sydney," Coleman said. "We will start with him and bring Dobo fresh off the bench to make sure we are strong in the second half as well. Southern Districts have the best front-row in the comp. With our pack, I think we have a good balance between physicality and workers."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN NEWS AND SPORT:
- Newcastle court sentences Gateshead photographer Allan Todd Cameron to a maximum of 12 years over Lake Macquarie model assaults
- Knights coach Adam O'Brien explains why the time is right to blood Tex Hoy in the halves
- NSW-Victoria border restrictions changing, 10 new COVID-19 cases recorded in state
- A-League: Jets against standing down players despite wage deal talks breaking down
- Crown Solicitor's Office pushes for extended supervision order after violent sex offender Craig Hunter Paton released from jail
- Knights draw up coaching hit-list as assistant David Furner tells the players he's leaving