NRL 2024: Teams named for NRL pre-season challenge


Melbourne Storm are set to unleash Ryan Papenhuyzen in his first game back from a shocking leg injury against the Bulldogs on Thursday night where Blake Taaffe has seemingly won the fullback battle with the new recruit named in the No.1 jersey for Canterbury’s pre-season challenge clash at Belmore.

Taaffe isn’t the only fresh face at the Bulldogs set to start on Thursday night, with former Rooster Drew Hutchison to partner Matt Burton in the halves, with Jaeman Salmon named at lock.

Triple premiership winner Stephen Crichton won’t play this week, with former Panthers teammate Viliame Kikau also left out of the squad that will be keen to impress Cameron Ciraldo after last year’s horror show.

The Storm will be without big names Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and newly-appointed skipper Harry Grant for the trip to Belmore, but Papenhuyzen has been cleared to play roughly six months after his devastating injury in Brisbane.

A Sunday night scuffle hasn’t stopped the Broncos from naming Adam Reynolds and Patrick Carrigan for their game against the Cowboys as the club waits for the integrity unit to announce any possible sanctions.

They’re part of a very strong squad headlined by Reece Walsh at the back and Selwyn Cobbo making the move to the centres as they look to avenge their grand final loss.

The Roosters are keen to avoid another slow start to the NRL season, with Trent Robinson naming pretty much his strongest squad for the game against Manly.

James Tedesco and Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii headline an all-star backline which includes key signing Dom Young on the right wing, with Joseph Manu named in the reserves.

They face a Sea Eagles side missing Tom and Jake Trbojevic, with younger brother Ben named to start in the back row with Josh Schuster set to come off the bench.

Ben scored three tries in last week’s trial win and is tipped to start the season on the left edge next to Luke Brooks, with Schuster forced to win a spot on the bench after a challenging pre-season where he dealt with three injury and illness setbacks.

A massive question has been answered at the Dragons with Tyrell Sloan winning the starting fullback spot over Zac Lomax who has been named on the left wing.

It’s a big test for both men to deliver under new coach Shane Flanagan who will be desperate to unlock their attacking brilliance.

Kyle Flanagan will partner skipper Ben Hunt in the halves, while veteran Jack Bird is hoping to ditch the utility tag once and for all and lock down a spot in the centres.

They face a Rabbitohs side who will be without the injured Cody Walker for the Charity Shield, while Latrell Mitchell is away with the Indigenous All Stars.

With Tyrone Munro and Campbell Graham also injured, Isaiah Tass and Richie Kennar have been named in the centres while Taane Milne is on the wing as the trio fight for a potential starting spot.

There’s a familiar face across the ditch with former Dally M winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck set to make his rugby league return in the centres against the Wests Tigers.

The Benji Marshall era begins with Aidan Sezer and Jayden Sullivan forming a new halves pairing, with young gun Lachlan Galvin to come off the bench.

And Kade Dykes has been named to return from a heartbreaking ACL injury at fullback for the Sharks, while Chevy Stewart will get the chance to impress Ricky Stuart after he was named in the No.1 jersey ahead of Xavier Savage who will play on the wing against Parramatta.

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