Teams have been announced for Round 2 of the NRL season, highlighted by the return of several marquee stars from injury and suspension.
Several teams have been forced to shuffle their line-ups after injuries and head knocks sent many players to the sidelines in last week’s season-opening matches.
Newcastle have been dealt a huge blow with captain Kalyn Ponga ruled out of Sunday’s stoush with Wests Tigers after suffering a knee injury last week against the Roosters. Tex Hoy will replace him at fullback.
Canterbury coach Trent Barrett on Friday said forward recruit Tevita Pangai jnr looked on track to play on Sunday night against Brisbane after missing the Round 1 win over the Cowboys but still had to convince officials he was fully over his hamstring strain. Reserve forward Chris Patolo has been ruled out after failing his concussion protocols but Barrett expects his team will be 1-17.
Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon said Cameron McInnes had made it through training on Thursday but would wait to see how he recovers from Friday’s captain’s run before deciding whether he will make his comeback from an ACL tear in Saturday night’s homecoming against Parramatta.
“He’s trained well and we’re just going to see how he pulls up. He had a little setback but he’s come back and bounced out of that really well, but he’s still got a few hurdles to jump.”
Roosters duo Victor Radley and Billy Smith have been cleared to face Manly on Friday night, with coach Trent Robinson confident communication will become clearer between the bunker and club doctors after largely backing the system.”They passed their tests during the game, after the game and the next day,” Robinson said. “Victor should have come off the field, there is no doubt about that. But with assessment with orange shirt and doctor he would have been cleared because there was no concussion.”
NSW forward Tariq Sims, who has been out of favour at the Dragons and not selected in Round 1, is reportedly set to come into the starting side with Jack de Belin benched for Friday’s Kogarah clash with Penrith, according to an SMH report. He had been selected on the extended bench in jersey No.20.
As part of their tribute to Immortal Norm Provan, who died in October, the Dragons have retired the No.9 jersey he made famous in the 1950s and ’60s for their first home game since his passing. Starting hooker Andrew McCullough will wear the No.19 jersey instead.
Gold Coast have a few question marks heading into Saturday’s stoush with the Warriors with three members of their spine under a cloud.
Star five-eighth AJ Brimson declared on Thursday that he would be good to go to make his comeback from a groin injury that kept him out of Round 1 but fullback Jayden Campbell and hooker Erin Clark are being hampered by knee complaints. Will Smith and Tanah Boyd are in line to come into the starting 13 if there are any late withdrawals.
Canterbury have named all four of their players who were replaced due to concussions in their win over North Queensland – Chris Patolo, Braidon Burns, Brent Naden and Jeremy Marshall-King – in their squad to face Brisbane in Round 2 on Sunday. Patolo has been relegated to the reserves with star recruit Tevita Pangai jnr set to make his club debut after a hamstring strain.
Maroons hooker Harry Grant and utility forward Chris Lewis are back for the Storm after serving suspensions in Round 1 along with Warriors duo Matt Lodge and Reece Walsh and Tigers co-captain James Tamou, while Adam Reynolds will make his first appearance for the Broncos after sitting out last week’s win over Souths due to COVID protocols.
Storm: The return of Cameron Munster and Harry Grant from suspension and Jesse Bromwich (COVID) is massive for Melbourne, particularly with Christian Welch, Brandon Smith and George Jennings sidelined long term.
Dean Ieremia has taken Jennings’ wing berth with Nick Meaney surprisingly named in the reserves.
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Josh King
Interchange: 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Trent Loiero 17. Tepai Moeroa 18. Chris Lewis 19. Nick Meaney 20. Bronson Garlick 21. Jayden Nikorima 22. Jonah Pezet 23. Jack Howarth 24. William Warbrick
Rabbitohs: Latrell Mitchell comes back from his six-game ban at fullback, which is timely given Blake Taaffe won’t be fit for a couple of weeks due to his ankle problem. Alex Johnston goes back to his wing with Josh Mansour on the reserves.
1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Jaxson Paulo 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray
Interchange: 14. Jacob Host 15. Siliva Havili 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Michael Chee Kam 18. Davvy Moale 19. Josh Mansour 20. Liam Knight 21. Richard Kennar 22. Peter Mamouzelos 23. Isaiah Tass 24. Dean Hawkins
Dragons: St George Illawarra looked like they found a few combinations in their win over the Warriors last weekend. Veteran prop Aaron Woods (hamstring) has been ruled out, replaced by former Cowboy Francis Molo. Former Rabbitohs front-rower George Burgess comes onto the bench after making his comeback in the NSW Cup last week. Tariq Sims was picked in the reserves but looks set to play.
1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 19. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin
Interchange: 14. Moses Mbye 15. Josh Kerr 16. Jack Gosiewski 17. George Burgess 18. Jackson Ford 20. Tariq Sims 21. Mathew Feagai 22. Daniel Alvaro 23. Poasa Faamausili 24. Tautau Moga 25. Jaiyden Hunt
Panthers: Prop Moses Leota is out for a couple of months due to a shoulder problem. Spencer Leniu will start for him with Matt Eisenhuth added to the interchange.
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Spencer Leniu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo
Interchange: 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. J’maine Hopgood 19. Chris Smith 20. Robert Jennings 21. Taylan May 22. Lindsay Smith 23. Soni Luke 24. Kurt Falls
Roosters: Victor Radley and Billy Smith have passed the concussion protocols to play, according to coach Trent Robinson on Thursday.
1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Paul Momirovski 6. Sam Walker 7. Luke Keary 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Connor Watson 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley
Interchange: 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Nat Butcher 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho 18. Kevin Naiqama 19. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Naufahu Whyte 22. Adam Keighran 23. Renouf Atoni 24. Ben Marschke
Sea Eagles: After a disappointing 28-6 loss to Penrith to start the season, Manly cannot afford another heavy defeat against another title contender. Dylan Walker is over his leg injury, replacing rookie Tolu Koula on the bench.
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Toafofoa Sipley 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Ethan Bullemor 13. Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Andrew Davey 20. Tolutau Koula 21. Jorge Taufua 22. Alec Tuitavake 23. Christian Tuipulotu 24. James Roumanos
Titans: Star five-eighth AJ Brimson said he will be right to make his comeback from a groin injury that kept him out of Round 1 but fullback Jayden Campbell and hooker Erin Clark are being hampered by knee complaints.
Will Smith and Tanah Boyd are in line to come into the starting 13 if there are any late withdrawals.
1. Jayden Campbell 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Alexander Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Isaac Liu 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
Interchange: 14. Will Smith 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Kevin Proctor 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Tanah Boyd 20. Herman Ese’ese 21. Esan Marsters 22. Sam McIntyre 23. Paul Turner 24. Sosefo Fifita
Warriors: Reece Walsh and Matt Lodge make their return from suspensions while there is a new-look halves pairing after Kodi Nikorima has been dropped and Shaun Johnson has been sidelined with a pectoral injury.
Chanel Harris-Tavita has switched to five-eighth after filling in at fullback for Walsh in last Saturday’s loss to St George Illawarra while former Titans playmaker Ash Taylor has been selected to make his club debut at halfback. Utility back Jesse Arthars, who switched to the club from Brisbane in the off-season, will also play his first match as a Warrior, lining up in the centres to replace Viliami Vailea (knee). Adam Pompey has been elevated to the wing for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who is out with a broken thumb.
1. Reece Walsh 2. Adam Pompey 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Rocco Berry 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Ash Taylor 8. Addin Fonua-Blake (c) 9. Wayde Egan 10. Matt Lodge 11. Euan Aitken 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh Curran
Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Aaron Pene 17. Bayley Sironen 18. Kodi Nikorima 20. Ben Murdoch-Masila 21. Jack Murchie 22. Pride Petterson-Robati 23. Taniela Otukolo 24. Junior Ratuva 25. Edward Kosi
Sharks: Cameron McInnes looks set to make his first appearance as a Shark after he missed the entire 2021 season at the Dragons due to a torn ACL. Connor Tracey, who missed the season opener with a leg problem, is on the reserves and could be elevated to centre on game day.
1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Ronaldo Mulitalo 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Aiden Tolman 15. Siosifa Talakai 16. Royce Hunt 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Luke Metcalf 19. Cameron McInnes 20. Connor Tracey 21. Jenson Taumoepeau 22. Lachlan Miller 23. Jayden Berrell 24. Franklin Pele
Eels: Sean Russell’s absence due to a fractured lung continue’s Parramatta’s wretched run of luck with wingers. Waqa Blake has moved to a flank with Tom Opacic named at centre. Oregon Kaufusi will start at lock while Nathan Brown has returned to the interchange after a stint in NSW Cup last week with Ryan Matterson out with a hamstring problem.
1. Clint Gutherson 2. Waqa Blake 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Oregon Kaufusi
Interchange: 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Ray Stone 17. Nathan Brown 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Mitch Rein 20. Ky Rodwell 21. Hayze Perham 22. Wiremu Greig 23. Solomone Naiduki 24. Samuel Loizou
Cowboys: Todd Payten was forced to switch Jason Taumalolo to prop last week in the 8-6 loss to Canterbury but he’s back to lock. Jordan McLean replaces Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (knee) in the starting side.
1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo
Interchange: 14. Jake Granville 15. Heilum Luki 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. Griffin Neame 18. Reuben Cotter 19. Scott Drinkwater 20. Connelly Lemuelu 21. Brendan Elliot 22. Ben Condon 23. Emry Pere 24. Daejarn Asi
Raiders: The absence of rookie halfback Brad Schneider due to a bout of COVID means Ricky Stuart is now down to his third choice at No.7 following Jamal Fogarty’s pre-season knee injury. Matt Frawley will start at halfback with Tom Starling at hooker for Josh Hodgson (knee). Back-up hooker Adrian Trevilyan is set to make his NRL debut via the interchange.
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Semi Valemei 5. James Schiller 6. Jack Wighton 7. Matt Frawley 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Tom Starling 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Elliott Whitehead
Interchange: 14. Adrian Trevilyan 15. Emre Guler 16. Adam Elliott 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Xavier Savage 19. Sebastian Kris 20. Sam Williams 21. Ryan Sutton 22. Peter Hola 23. Trey Mooney 24. Harry Rushton
Knights: The Newcastle side produced the big upset of Round 1 by beating the Roosters. Jacob Saifiti, will notch up 100 games in the NRL as the Knights retain the same 17 players who shone last Saturday.
Kalyn Ponga has been ruled out with a knee injury, replaced by Tex Hoy at fullback.
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Enari Tuala 6. Jake Clifford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Kurt Mann
Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Mitchell Barnett 16. Leo Thompson 17. Jirah Momoisea 18. Mathew Croker 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Tex Hoy 21. Simi Sasagi 22. Brayden Musgrove 23. Dylan Lucas 24. Daniel Saifiti
Tigers: After pushing Melbourne most of the way in their season opener, the Tigers now have prop James Tamou back on deck after he missed the match due to a dangerous contact ban.
1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Oliver Gildart 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Jackson Hastings 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Stefano Utoikamanu 11. Kelma Tuilagi 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue
Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Alex Twal 16. Zane Musgrove 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Thomas Mikaele 19. Luke Garner 20. Starford To’a 21. Tukimihia Simpkins 22. Jock Madden 23. Austin Dias 24. Jacob Liddle
Bulldogs: Tevita Pangai jnr (hamstring) was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s win over North Queensland but will make his debut this weekend in the second row. Chris Patolo, Braidon Burns, Brent Naden and Jeremy Marshall-King, who suffered concussions in Round 1, were named in the squad with Patolo back in the reserves with Pangai available. Patolo has been ruled out due to his head knock but Trent Barrett said on Friday the rest of his team should be right to go.
1. Matt Dufty 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Braidon Burns 4. Brent Naden 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Jake Averillo 8. Luke Thompson 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jack Hetherington 12. Tevita Pangai jnr 13. Josh Jackson
Interchange: 14. Bailey Biondi-Odo 15. Corey Waddell 16. Max King 17. Ava Seumanufagai 19. Chris Patolo 20. Brandon Wakeham 21. Joe Stimson 22. Kyle Flanagan 23. Reece Hoffman 24. Josh Cook 25. Aaron Schoupp
Broncos: Adam Reynolds will make his long-awaited Broncos debut with his return prompting Kevin Walters to tweak his halves. Billy Walters has been relegated to the bench with Albert Kelly retained at five-eighth.
Tesi Niu will make a return from a hamstring strain, sending Jamayne Isaako to the reserves.
1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Albert Kelly 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan
Interchange: 14. Ryan James 15. Kobe Hetherington 16. TC Robati 17. Billy Walters 18. Brenko Lee 19. Rhys Kennedy 20. Corey Jensen 21. Jordan Pereira 22. Cory Paix 23. Jamayne Isaako 24. Tyson Gamble