NRL Round 1 Team Lists: Stars set to shine in Sin City as Walker beats calf strain, Broncos risk young gun

The long wait is over, with the NRL season set to begin this weekend in a way like no other, live from Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon.

All the big guns will be on display, with Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell facing off in an elite battle of the fullbacks in the first game and Reece Walsh and James Tedesco continuing it into the second.

There are few shocks in the team lists, with most teams settling on line-ups before heading to the United States.

One big injury cloud is cleared up with Cody Walker named in the 6 jumper for South Sydney after a calf strain, but the same injury ensured that Josh Schuster did not travel to America. As expected, his replacement in the back row for Manly is Ben Trbojevic.

Spencer Leniu has been named to start on Roosters debut – confirming that he should see far more minutes per game than he did at the Panthers – with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves suspended.

The Broncos have confirmed Deine Mariner as their new winger, with Selwyn Cobbo shifting to centre to replace the departed Herbie Farnworth. Their injury worry, Brendan Piakura, is named, as is Xavier Willison.

Round 1 teams

All times in AEDT.

Sunday 3rd March: Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles, 1.30pm at Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Isaiah Tass, 4. Richard Kennar, 5. Jacob Gagai , 6. Cody Walker, 7. Lachlan Ilias, 8. Tevita Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Sean Keppie, 11. Keaon Koloamatangi, 12. Jai Arrow, 13. Cameron Murray 
Bench: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Jacob Host, 16. Davvy Moale, 17. Thomas Burgess

Walker is the big in, but the Bunnies have been forced into a complete reshuffle on the other edge with Jacob Gagai on NRL debut on the wing with Richie Kennar plugging a gap in the centres due to injuries to Campbell Graham and a suspension for Jack Wighton held over from his last Canberra appearance.

Sean Keppie debuts against his old club as a starter with coach Jason Demetriou opting for a powerful bench of four forwards: Siliva Havili, Tom Burgess, Jacob Host and Davvy Moale.

Sea Eagles: Tom Trbojevic, 2. Jason Saab, 3. Tolutau Koula, 4. Reuben Garrick, 5. Jaxson Paulo, 6. Luke Brooks, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Taniela Paseka, 9. Lachlan Croker, 10. Josh Aloiai, 11. Haumole Olakau’atu, 12. Ben Trbojevic, 13. Jake Trbojevic 
Bench: 14. Karl Lawton, 15. Corey Waddell, 16. Ethan Bullemor, 17. Nathan Brown

Manly’s search for a new winger has led to Jaxson Paulo getting a run against the club he represented between 2020 and 2022, edging out Ray Tuaimalo Vaega and fellow new recruit Tommy Talau.

Another off-season arrival, Nathan Brown, will feature from the bench on club debut after impressing in pre-season and earning a top 30 contract with the Sea Eagles. Luke Brooks will also make his club debut.

Sunday 3rd March: Roosters v Broncos, 3.30pm at Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas

Roosters: Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3. Billy Smith, 4. Joey Manu, 5 Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Sam Walker, 8 Spencer Leniu, 9 Brandon Smith, 10 Lindsay Collins, 11 Sitili Tupouniua, 12 Siua Wong, 13 Victory Radley 
Bench: 14 Sandon Smith, 15 Naufahu Whyte, 16 Nat Butcher, 17 Terrell May

A neck injury keeps Dom Young out, so the backline for the Chooks is expected, with Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii named on the wing and Joey Manu, a late arrival in America due to the birth of his child, set to play at centre.

Connor Watson and Angus Crichton, who missed much of 2023 through injury, are only named in the reserves with Sandon Smith, who deputised last year, given the nod in the 14 jumper. Nat Butcher, the NRL’s leading tackler in 2023, only features on the bench with Sitili Tupouniua preferred in the back row.

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh, 2. Jesse Arthars, 3. Selwyn Cobbo, 4. Kotoni Staggs, 5. Deine Mariner, 6. Ezra Mam, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Corey Jensen, 9. Billy Walters, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Brendan Piakura, 12. Jordan Riki, 13. Patrick Carrigan 
Bench: 14. Tyson Smoothy, 15. Fletcher Baker, 16. Kobe Hetherington , 17. Xavier Willison

Kevin Walters has opted for Corey Jensen as the replacement for Tom Flegler in the front row after his departure to the Dolphins, while Fletcher Baker will make a Brisbane debut against his former club off the bench.

Tyson Smoothy retains the 14 jumper and Kobe Hetherington is preferred to Martin Taupau off the bench, though a reshuffle might be in the works is Brendan Piakura continues to struggle with his knee.

Round 1 predicted teams

Parramatta look set to be without Maika Sivo to start the NRL season, with the Eels winger facing a four-game ban.

The Fijian flyer was hit with a grade-two careless high-tackle charge following their trial win over the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

Owing to his prior misdemeanours, the challenge on AJ Brimson means Sivo will be sidelined for three matches with an early guilty plea.

Parramatta are deliberating whether to challenge the charge against Sivo and will make a decision by noon on Tuesday. Should he winger opt to fight it at the judiciary and lose he will be handed an additional one-game suspension.

Canberra youngster Ethan Strange will be clear to play in round one, escaping with a $1000 fine for a dangerous throw on North Queensland prop Tom Mikaele.

The Dolphins have confirmed a season-ending knee injury for forward Tom Gilbert from the trial loss to the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday with scans showing a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.

The 23-year-old Queensland forward was playing his second trial after recovering from shoulder surgery for an injury that kept him out of action for more than half of last season.

“Tom is now effectively out for the 2024 season because of this injury, which generally requires a nine to twelve month rehab period,” Dolphins head of performance Jeremy Hickmans said. “On a positive note, he has already shown us how dedicated he is and that he is willing to go to all lengths through a long rehabilitation with his comeback from last year’s shoulder surgery.

“I have no doubt he will replicate those efforts and be back ready to go for the 2025 season.”

Cowboys forward Coen Hess also faces a nervous wait to determine the extent of the damage to the knee injury he suffered in Sunday’s trial win over Canberra.

Sharks half Nicho Hynes (thigh) should be fine for Round 1 while St George Illawarra received good news on forwards Jacob Liddle and Blake Lawrie, who failed to finish their trial win over Wests Tigers. Both are aiming to play round one against Gold Coast after Lawrie suffered rib cartilage damage and Liddle picked up a low-grade hamstring injury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.