Preseason Challenge R1 Teams: Paps and RTS in, Carrigan & Reynolds play, Lomax in Dragons shakeup
Pat Carrigan and Adam Reynolds have been named to start for the Broncos while Ryan Papenhuyzen will make his return from injury in the number 1 jumper for the Melbourne Storm to start the 2024 Preseason Challenge.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Chanel Harris-Tavita will also make rugby league returns and while Des Hasler, Shane Flanagan and Benji Marshall haved named their first teams at their new clubs.
Paps will be part of an otherwise youthful Storm outfit to take on the Bulldogs at Belmore, with only a handful of regular starters set for a run.
Sua Faaologo, who announced himself in last year’s trials and was expected to challenge Papenhuyzen and Nick Meaney for backline spots, will sit out the first week.
Cameron Ciraldo has named several big names in his Doggies side, with Matt Burton and Reed Mahoney featuring, as well as Bronson Xerri, who returns to the NRL after a two-year drug ban.
In what might be a sign of the coach’s thinking, Drew Hutchison gets first crack at the 7 jumper ahead of Toby Sexton, who will wear the 14. Another new arrival, Blake Taaffe, starts in the 1 with Stephen Crichton not named.
The Roosters are set to unleash their new backline in the first week of trials with an almost full strength squad named – with one key exception.
With all the preseason chatter over the five-into-four conundrum in the outside backs, Joey Manu is the man to miss out with Daniel Tupou and new man Dom Young named on the wings and Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii and Billy Smith as the centre. Manu will wear the 18 jumper and only feature from the extended bench.
They will face a Manly side with Ben Trbojevic in the backrow and Josh Schuster on the bench, a move predicted by many given the Samoa international’s injury issues and Burbo’s impressive form in last week’s win over Souths.
They will be among the few big names who do play, with Anthony Seibold opting to sit most of his stars ahead of the Vegas season opener.
Souths will be without Latrell Mitchell (All Stars) and Cody Walker (injured) but have otherwise named a strong side for the Charity Shield, featuring an almost full strength pack that includes Cameron Murray, Tevita Tatola and new arrival Sean Keppie.
The Dragons will go in all guns blazing a full side selected, at least to start, including new look halves pairing Ben Hunt and Kyle Flanagan, Tyrell Sloan at fullback and Zac Lomax on the wing.
Newcastle will look to keep their halves from 2023 stable despite new arrivals, with Tyson Gamble preferred over Jack Cogger to partner Jackson Hastings.
Kalyn Ponga sits out, but new import Will Pryce is in the extended squad and may feature at fullback and Tom Jenkins gets first dig at the wing spot vacated by Dom Young.
They will face a Cronulla side with plenty of talent, including the return of Kade Dykes from an ACL injury at fullback, though Nicho Hynes is away on All Stars duty.
Parramatta will give first appearances to ex-Manly duo Kelma Tuilagi and Morgan Harper against Canberra, while young gun Ethan Sanders starts at halfback with Mitch Moses and Dylan Brown held back.
He will face his NSW u-19s teammate Ethan Strange, who starts for the Raiders in the 7 jumper alongside another former Sea Eagle, Kaeo Weekes, at 6. Chevy Stewart is the 1 and Xavier Savage gets a wing jumper alongside Nick Cotric.
The Warriors will welcome back Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to rugby league and Chanel Harris-Tavita to the NRL after a year’s sabbatical. RTS is named in the centres and CHT starts at five eighth alongside Luke Metcalf.
The face a Wests Tigers side with a new-look halves pairing that has Jayden Sullivan at 6 and Aidan Sezer at 7, behind an almost full-strength pack including captain Api Koroisau, NSW rep Stefano Utoikamanu, Isaiah Papali’i and David Klemmer.
The Broncos will move on from their week of strife immediately with Carrigan and Reynolds named alongside Reece Walsh, Payne Haas and, in the centres, Selwyn Cobbo.
They face a Cowboys team who are a little more light, with the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Chad Townsend and Scott Drinkwater all sat down for another week.
Tom Chester, off the back of an ACL, gets a crack at fullback and Jake Clifford returns to the club in the five eighth role.
In the final game, a strong Dolphins side will take on the Titans with Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler in line for club debuts and Isaiya Katoa and Sean O’Sullivan selected in the halves. Valynce Te Whare, after his off-season fitness issues, is named on the bench.
Des Hasler’s first Gold Coast lineup is more youth-oriented, with only Aaron Schoupp and Ken Maumolo among the more senior names in the run-on. New arrival Harley Smith-Shields is in the extended bench and Tom Weaver, who many expect to have a crack at the halfback role, wears the 14.