Trent Copeland headlined with a three-wicket haul as The NSW Blues’ pre-season preparations kicked up a gear with the first of two intra-squad matches taking place at Howell Oval on Saturday.

After a long pre season time out in the middle was the goal for The Blues, with all available players taking part in the pre-season hit out. The players made the most of the opportunity, with Ed Cowan and Jay Lenton both notching up half centuries in the 50 over practice match. Cowan picked up where he left off last season, looking strong and confident in the middle with his half ton coming off just 72 balls.

The NSW quicks were impressive across the board, a hearting sign for the Blues coaching staff, who have worked on the fitness and strength of their bowlers throughout the pre-season.

Copeland was the leading wicket taker on the day, conceding a miserly 19 runs off 10 overs to go with his four-wicket haul. Liam Hatcher and Gurinder Sandhu were also among the wicket takers with two wickets apiece, while a fully fit Mickey Edwards was a welcome sight for Blues fans with the tall quick also claiming two scalps.

The Blues travel to Hurstville on Saturday for their next intra-squad game before heading to Brisbane for a pre-season camp in September.