Week 2 of the NRL Trials is behind us and we look ahead now to a crucial round of trial games this weekend as teams face a race against the clock to be ready for Round 1, which is just a little bit over two weeks away….
There are plenty of teams that have yet to name their squads so we will update these progressively throughout the week.
Should you need to get up to speed with all the relevant SuperCoach information then make sure you check out Justin’s tremendous review here.
Warriors v Wests Tigers
5pm (3pm AEDT) at Northland Events Centre, Whangarei
Wests Tigers: TBC
Knights v Sharks
5.30pm at Maitland Sports Ground
Knights: 1. Connor Watson, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Sione Mata’utia, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Kalyn Ponga, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Danny Levi, 10. James Gavet, 11. Mitchell Barnett, 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: Herman Ese’ese, Aidan Guerra, Daniel Saifiti, Kurt Mann, Hymel Hunt.
Teams Analysis: The Knights have once again named a strong line-up to take up the Sharks.
All eyes will be on the Ponga / Fitzgibbon combination or Pongibbon as cleverly framed by Carlos last year. Hopefully, both players can get extended minutes this weekend.
The naming of Tim Glasby at lock is intriguing, however, Aiden Guerra may rotate through the middle at some stage given that he played 11 games at this position last year. With a historical PPM hovering around 1, Glasby could see a price rise close to $150k if he was to play 55+ minutes. He’s definitely one to monitor for the rest of the pre-season,
The mail is seemingly true with James Gavet once again named to start at prop after impressing this pre-season.
Roosters v Sea Eagles
7pm at Central Coast Stadium
Sea Eagles: TBC
Panthers v Eels
7pm at Panthers Stadium
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Josh Mansour, 3. Waqa Blake, 4. Dean Whare, 5. Malakai Watene-Zalezniak, 6. James Maloney, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. James Tamou, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11. Jack Hetherington, 12.
Teams Analysis: Jack Hetherington gets the first crack at the edge spot vacated by the injured Viliame Kikau (who will be missing for the next six weeks with a medial ligament strain). Hetherington starts the year priced at $257k and is importantly available FRF, which is a lot thinner that 2RF this season. In 13 games last year he averaged 27 PPG at a rate of 0.89 PPM.
PANTHER FANS: Viliame Kikau has scans today. He has suffered a high grade 2 MCL injury. He will be missing from action for approx 6 weeks. It’s part of what we do. He will rehab strongly and come back better than ever.— Phil Gould (@PhilGould15) February 25, 2019
Nathan Cleary is back after missing last week’s trial, while Sione Katoa looks to be the sides starting hooker come Round 1.
Titans v Broncos
7.30pm at Cbus Super Stadium
Titans: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Brenko Lee, 3. Tyrone Peachey, 4. Brian Kelly, 5. Phillip Sami, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ash Taylor, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Bryce Cartwright, 13. Jai Arrow. Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein, 15. Moeaki Fotuaika, 16. Max King, 17. Will Matthews, 18. Jack Stockwell, 19. Alexander Brimson, 20. Anthony Don, 21. Dale Copley, 22. Treymain Spry, 23. Ryley Jacks, 24. Jesse Arthars
Teams Analysis: The Titans welcome back Michael Gordon and Tyrone has been named in the halves, which at this stage leaves no room in the first-grade side for AJ Brimson. Despite a strong performance last weekend, Mitch Rein makes way for the incoming Nathan Peats at hooker.
Bryce Cartwright holds onto his starting edge position, but Ryan James is out injured with a medial ligament injury. Reports are that James is touch and go to be right for Round 1. When James does return you would think that it would be Cartwright dropping back to the bench and not Kevin Proctor.
Jarrod Wallace and Shannon Boyd will team up together for the first time in the front-row, and this sees another strong performer from last weekend, Moeaki Foruaika relegated to the bench.
Brenko Lee has nudged out club stalwart, Anthony Don for a wing spot.
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (c), 2, Corey Oates, 3. James Roberts, 4. Jack Bird, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Sean O’Sullivan, 7. Kodi Nikorima, 8. Matt Lodge, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Joe Ofahengaue, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. David Fifita, 13. Matt Gillett. Interchange: 14. Kotoni Staggs, 15, Jaydn Su’A, 16. Thomas Flegler, 17. Shaun Fensom, 18. Patrick Carrigan, 19. Jake Turpin, 20. Richie Kennar, 21. Gehamat Shibasaki, 22. Tom Dearden.
Teams Analysis: The big boys are back for the Broncos! However, with Anthony Milford out injured, Sean O’Sullivan has retained his starting halves spot.
David Fifita has been named in the #12 jersey, however, Matt Gillett could shift back to that position come Round 1 (assuming that TPJ is fit). It’s unlikely that both of these guys will be SuperCoach relevant in 2019, but one very may well be. Tom Flegler has been named on the bench ahead of Patrick Carrigan, but unfortunately or us Flegler is only available at 2RF.
I’m loving the Joe O pick right now and here’s a shameless plug. Check out the Player of Interest article that I wrote on him here.
Rabbitohs v Dragons – Charity Shield
7.30pm at Glen Willow Stadium
Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston, 2. Campbell Graham, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Braidon Burns, 5. Corey Allan, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Connor Tracey, 8. Junior Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. John Sutton, 12. Sam Burgess (c), 13. Cameron Murray. Interchange: 14. Ethan Lowe, 15. Matt McIlwrick, 16. Tom Amone, 17. Rhys Kennedy, 18. Bayley Sironen, 19. Cory Denniss, 20. Kyle Turner, 21. Liam Knight, 22. Mawene Hiroti
Teams Analysis: The Rabbitohs have named another strong side to take on the Dragons in this year’s Charity Shield.
Corey Allen retains his wing spot ahead of Jacob Gagan with Campbell Graham coming into the side on the other wing.
Ethan Lowe has been named to make his South’s debut following his transfer from the Cowboys yesterday. His signing is may not be good news for those who had hoped that Sam Burgess was set to turn back the clock this year. It may also not be good news for Cameron Murray should Burgess shift to lock in the forward rotation.
Dragons (squad): Euan Aitken, Matt Dufty, Jai Field, Tyson Frizell, James Graham Jacob Host, Ben Hunt, Josh Kerr, Tim Lafai, Jeremy Latimore, Blake Lawrie, Luciano Leilua, Zac Lomax, Cameron McInnes, Corey Norman, Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa, Reece Robson, Korbin Sims, Tariq Sims, Lachlan Timm, Paul Vaughan, Gareth Widdop.
Teams Analysis: The first of the clubs to have only named a squad. It is, however, a strong lineup for the Charity Shield with Tyson Frizell and James Graham added to last weeks side.
After a strong performance last weekend, I’ll be keeping tabs on Paul Vaughan’s output this weekend. He played limited minutes last weekend, but still scored close to 60 SuperCoach points thanks in part to a try. 2018 saw his average dip by 15 PPG from 2017 despite his MPG remaining the same. At $493k this year and a probable club suspension for JDB looming he could start the season undervalued.
Mikaele Ravalawa shapes as a possible CTW cheapie and another strong performance will put in with a chance of a Round 1 spot.
Cowboys v Storm
7pm (8pm AEDT) at BB Print Stadium, Mackay
Cowboys: 1. Jordan Kahu, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Ben Hampton, 5. Nene Macdonald, 6. Te Maire Martin, 7. Michael Morgan, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Jason Taumalolo, 12. Coen Hess, 13. Josh McGuire. Interchange: 14. John Asiata, 15. Gavin Cooper, 16. Mitch Dunn, 17. Scott Bolton, 18. Tom Opacic, 19. Jake Clifford
Teams Analysis: This could very well be the Cowboys Round 1 side here.
Jason Taumalolo has surprisingly been the one to make way for Josh McGuire in the forward pack with Lolo shifting to the edge. However, don’t be surprised to see Lolo rotating through the middle at some stage in place of the likes of Matthew Scott.
Jake Clifford hasn’t been able to hold onto his starting halves spot despite a hat-trick last weekend.
Jordan Kahu will play his first game for the Cowboys in the fullback position. Should he kick goals for his new club then he possibly becomes SuperCoach relevant at just $278K.
Storm: 1. Scott Drinkwater, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Marion Seve, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Christian Welch, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenny Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Tom Eisenhuth, 16. Tui Kamikamica, 17. Jesse Bromwich, 18. Tino Fa’A, 19. Joe Stimson, 20. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 21. Sandor Earl, 22. Billy Walters, 23. Justin Olam, 24. Cheyse Blair, 25. Patrick Kaufusi
Teams Analysis: The stars return for the Storm with Cameron Smith, Cameron Munster and Josh Addo-Carr back.
Scott Drinkwater retains his starting fullback role ahead of Jahrome Hughes, who will miss this trial due to picking up a minor injury at training today. However, there are reports circulating, such as this one, that Drinkwater is in the box seat for the #1 jersey.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona shifts from lock to prop with the return of Dale Finucane, while Joe Stimson drops back to the bench with Kenny Bromwich favoured this weekend on the edge. Stay tuned!