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NRL Round 1 teams: Clubs roll the dice with selection gambles galore

Martin GaborNCA NewsWire
Jackson Hastings and Tyson Gamble will be the Knights’ first halves partnership of the year.
Camera IconJackson Hastings and Tyson Gamble will be the Knights’ first halves partnership of the year. Credit: Supplied

There are gambles up and down the team lists for the rest of the opening round with injuries and questions galore ahead of the remaining six games of the NRL season-opener.

The Knights didn’t travel to Las Vegas but they’ve rolled the dice with Tyson Gamble winning the race to partner Jackson Hastings in the halves, with new recruit Jack Cogger to start on the bench for Thursday’s game against Canberra.

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Gamble and Hastings combined to help the Knights storm into the finals last year, but there was a firm belief that Cogger would slot straight into the starting side after his performance for Penrith in the grand final.

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The Raiders have also made some massive calls with Ethan Strange replacing Jack Wighton in the halves, while Kaeo Weekes has missed out on the 17.

It’ll be a new-look forward pack with skipper Elliott Whitehead set to miss 3-4 weeks with a calf injury, which sees new recruit Zac Hosking start in the back row, with Englishman Morgan Smithies named at lock.

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The Bulldogs have opted not to go with Bronson Xerri in what would have been his first NRL game since 2019, with the speedster named in reserve grade where he’ll play centre.

There’s better news for the other key recruits with Stephen Crichton to play left centre which means Blake Taaffe will get first crack at fullback.

Drew Hutchison partners Matt Burton in the halves, while Jaeman Salmon starts at lock with Josh Curran to come off the bench.

The Eels have been forced into a backline reshuffle with Bailey Simonsson shifting to the wing to replace the suspended Maika Sivo, which means Morgan Harper will make his club debut at left centre.

He’s not the only man set to play his first game for Parramatta, with Kelma Tuilagi named on the bench alongside Brendan Hands who has lost his starting spot to Joey Lussick.

There’s mixed news for the Panthers, with Jarome Luai set to overcome a shoulder injury for Friday’s trip to Melbourne, but the defending premiers will be without the injured Scott Sorensen.

Winger Sunia Turuva has overcome a knee injury he sustained in the World Club Challenge, while Luke Sommerton replaces the suspended Mitch Kenny at hooker.

Storm star Cameron Munster has been battling a groin injury but has been named to play, with Joe Chan winning the race to start on the left edge now that trent Loiero has moved to lock.

Meanwhile, veteran coach Wayne Bennett has made some shock calls with new recruit Jake Averillo overlooked for the Queensland derby, with Tesi Niu to start.

All the teams for the remainder of the first round of the NRL season.

Knights Vs Raiders — Thursday March 7, 8pm @ McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

KNIGHTS | 1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Enari Tuala 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Dylan Lucas 13. Adam Elliott

Interchange: 14. Jack Cogger 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Kai Pearce-Paul Reserves: 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Thomas Jenkins 20. Will Pryce 21. Brodie Jones 22. Thomas Cant

RAIDERS |1. Jordan Rapana 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Albert Hopoate 5. Xavier Savage 6. Ethan Strange 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Zac Hosking 13. Morgan Smithies

Interchange: 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Ata Mariota 17. Reserves: Pasami Saulo 18. Kaeo Weekes 19. Simi Sasagi 20. Zac Woolford 21. James Schiller 22. Trey Mooney

Jackson Hastings and Tyson Gamble will be the Knights’ first halves partnership of the year.
Camera IconJackson Hastings and Tyson Gamble will be the Knights’ first halves partnership of the year. Credit: Supplied

Warriors Vs Sharks — Friday March 8, 6pm @ Go Media Stadium, Auckland

WARRIORS | 1. Taine Tuaupiki 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Tohu Harris

Interchange: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Tom Ale 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Dylan Walker 18. Adam Reserves: Pompey 20. Jazz Tevaga 21. Te Maire Martin 22. Ali Leiataua 23. Jacob Laban

SHARKS | 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Oregon Kaufusi 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Cameron McInnes

Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane 15. Jack Williams 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Thomas Hazelton

Reserves: 18. Kayal Iro, 19. Tuku Hau Tapuha, 20. Daniel Atkinson, 21. Mawane Hiroti, 22. Jayden Berrell

Storm Vs Panthers — Friday March 8, 8:05pm @ AAMI Park, Melbourne

STORM | 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Nick Meaney 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Josh King 11. Joe Chan 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Trent Loiero

Interchange: 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Christian Welch 16. Chris Lewis 17. Alec MacDonald

Reserves: 18. Shawn Blore 19. Kane Bradley 20. Jonah Pezet 21. Marion Seve 22. Sualauvi Faalogo

PANTHERS | 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Taylan May 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Luke Sommerton 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Luke Garner 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo

Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Liam Henry 17. Matt Eisenhuth

Reserves: 18. Daine Laurie 19. Soni Luke 20. Brad Schneider 21. Preston Riki 22. Mavrik Geyer

Jarome Luai has been named to start. Photo: Joseph Richardson / Supplied
Camera IconJarome Luai has been named to start. Photo: Joseph Richardson / Supplied Credit: Supplied

Eels Vs Bulldogs — Saturday March 9, 5:30pm @ CommBank Stadium, Sydney

EELS | 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Morgan Harper 5. Sean Russell 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. J’maine Hopgood

Interchange: 14. Brendan Hands 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Kelma Tuilagi Reserves: 18. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Daejarn Asi 20. Luca Moretti 21. Makahesi Makatoa 22. Blaize Talagi

BULLDOGS | 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Drew Hutchison 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Poasa Faamausili 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Jacob Preston 13. Jaeman Salmon

Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Samuel Hughes 16. Josh Curran 17. Kurtis Morrin

Reserves: 19. Bronson Xerri 20. Toby Sexton 21. Jake Turpin 22. Connor Tracey 23. Kitione Kautoga

Titans v Dragons — Saturday March 9, 7:35pm @ Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast

TITANS | 1. Keano Kini 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. AJ Brimson 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Klese Haas 12. Beau Fermor 13. Keenan Palasia

Interchange: 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Erin Clark 17. Jaimin Jolliffe

Reserves: 18 Joe Stimson 19 Jojo Fifita 20 Jacob Alick 21 Harley Smith-Shields 22 Josiah Pahulu

DRAGONS | 1 Tyrell Sloan 2 Zac Lomax 3 Moses Suli 4 Jack Bird 5 Mikaele Ravalawa 6 Kyle Flanagan 7 Ben Hunt 8 Francis Molo 9 Jacob Liddle 10 Blake Lawrie 11 Tom Eisenhuth 12 Jaydn Su’A 13 Jack de Belin

Interchange: 14 Connor Muhleisen 15 Michael Molo 16 Viliami Fifita 17 Raymond Faitala-Mariner

Reserves: 18 Ben Murdoch-Masila 19 Christian Tuipulotu 20 Jesse Marschke 21 Ryan Couchman 22 Mathew Feagai

Dolphins Vs Cowboys — Sunday March 10, 4:05pm @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

DOLPHINS | 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Tesi Niu 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jack Bostock 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Connelly Lemuelu 13. Ray Stone

Interchange: 14. Josh Kerr 15. Max Plath 16. Kenny Bromwich 17. Mark Nicholls

Reserves: 18. Jarrod Wallace 19. Jake Averillo 20. Oryn Keeley 21. Euan Aitken 22. Isaiya Katoa

COWBOYS | 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Zac Laybutt 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Jason Taumalolo 11. Heilum Luki 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter

Interchange: 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki

Reserves: 18. Tomas Chester 19. Thomas Mikaele 20. Semi Valemei 21. Jack Gosiewski 22. Jake Clifford

BYE: Wests Tigers

Originally published as NRL Round 1 teams: Clubs roll the dice with selection gambles galore

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