NRL test team lists 2023
Bantamweight duo Joey Manu and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are the latest players to be dropped from the upcoming All-Stars game.
A club statement revealed Waerea-Hargreaves had a hamstring complaint, as well as a flare-up of a lower back problem, and Manu suffered a minor facial fracture during training. The Golden Boot winner is expected to need four weeks of recovery, which should still make him available for the first round.
It comes after Josh Addo-Carr announced on Friday he would be out of the game after a long season last year that ran until November as part of Australia’s World Cup campaign.
The Canterbury winger’s withdrawal is a blow to the promoters for the match at Rotorua International Stadium next Saturday.
Addo-Carr, hailed as the fastest player in the NRL, has played three games for the Indigenous All Stars in recent years, but the Sydney Morning Herald reported that he pulled out to ensure he was fresh for the Bulldogs’ 2023 campaign.
Canterbury’s new side led by incoming coach Cameron Ciraldo will face Manly at Brookvale in Round 1 on March 4.
Maori are hosting the All Stars event in New Zealand for the first time with the women’s game starting the schedule at 1.30pm AEDT before the men’s game at 3.45pm.
Bird, Martin hampered by injuries
The Dragons may have to deploy their fourth-choice five-eights at the start of the NRL season after Jack Bird became their latest victim of their playmaking curse.
Bird felt a pinch in his knee during a kick at the end of a recent training session and is now a serious doubt for their season opener after undergoing a meniscus cleaning.
He was already the third choice for the role, but was reinstated after the exclusion of Junior Amone and Jayden Sullivan.
Amone is missing under the NRL’s no-fault removal policy after being charged with reckless grievous bodily harm stemming from an off-season incident where he allegedly attacked a trader with a hammer. He was released on bail in January but cannot play in the NRL or pre-season games.
Sullivan is also out for the start of the season after a hamstring strain in preseason training. Additionally, the Dragons will be without favorite full-back Cody Ramsey, with an intestinal complaint forcing him out of the field for the entire 2023 season.
The Dragons have the first-round bye and hope to bring Bird back in time for their season opener against the Gold Coast Titans. If he fails to do so, Moses Mbye is likely to drop to 6 to cover.
Elsewhere, Panthers backrower Liam Martin is a major doubt for their World Club Challenge tie against Super League champions St Helens after suffering a shoulder injury.
The Blues and Kangaroos star, who signed a new contract with Penrith earlier this week, will face a few weeks on the sidelines due to the joint AC complaint, suffered during a wrestling session.
There is minor doubt for the Panthers’ first-round clash with Brisbane, but with an expected recovery time of 2-4 weeks, the world title game will likely come too soon.
The Saints travel to Bluebet Stadium on Saturday February 18, with Martin no longer likely to feature in the Australian and British champions’ first meeting since 2020 and first on Australian soil since 2018. The Panthers have never won the title World Cup, after losing to Wigan. in 1991 and Bradford in 2004.
Dolphins deploy young guns for Capras trial
The Dolphins have named the Tongan playmaker Isaia Katoa and wrecking ball Valynce Te Whare in their inaugural squad to play CQ Capras on a tryout at Gladstone.
Katoa, 18, formerly in the Penrith system, is seen as the most promising young player on the NRL’s new club roster.
Te Whare, 22, is a rugby convert who enjoyed a stellar Queensland Cup season for the Redcliffe Dolphins last year where he was the center of the competition of the year in his first rugby season at XIII.
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Te Whare rides like a runaway train and has left a trail of carnage in its wake, earning it the nickname “Val Meninga”. In 14 games, he scored 12 tries and averaged 147m per game while making 17 line breaks and 85 tackle jumps.
It’s still officially listed as 108kg, but an NRL pre-season at the Dolphins saw him boast a more streamlined frame.
All eyes will be on Katoa in a squad full of fringe freshmen and Queensland Cup players on Saturday after impressing in three Tests at the World Cup as he played five round of 16 for Tonga.
Dolphins: 1. Trai Fuller, 2. Setu Tu, 3. Valynce Te Whare, 4. Jack Bockstock, 5. Brenton Baira, 6. Kurt Donoghoe, 7. Isaiya Katoa, 8. JJ Collins, 9. Harrison Graham, 10. Poasa Faamausili , 11. Jeremiah Simbiken, 12, Jackson Frei, 13. Mason Teague, 14. Brayden McGrady, 15. Cody Hunter, 16. Tyler Szepanowski, 17. Lachlan Hubner, 18. Judah Rimbu, 19. Rodrick Tai, 20. Sherwin Tanabi , 21. Taniela Otukolo, 22. George Fai.
THE 2023 NRL PRE-SEASON CHALLENGE
When: February 9-12 and February 17-19
Prize money: $100,000 Winner Takes All
Teams: All 17 NRL clubs, plus Super League champions St Helens
TV: All matches live and exclusive on Fox League
– 80 minute games
– No extra time or gold points. A draw will be declared if the scores are equal
– Squad size: Up to 28 players for week one matches and 26 for week two matches
– Unlimited exchange
* The World Club Challenge will have 17-player teams with an 18th player for concussion protocols and 10 trades
– A referee
– Bunker in use
– 12 for a win
– Six for a draw
– None for a loss
One bonus point available for each of the following:
– Score five or more tries
– Make five or more line breaks
– Do 10 or more unloads
Teams can earn a maximum of 15 points for a win, nine for a draw, and three for a loss.
The overall winner will be determined by the highest number of competition points.
– For and against (point differential), then if still tied;
– The highest percentage of points scored for and against, then if still tied;
– The most tries scored, then if they are still tied;
– Most goals kicked, then if still tied;
– Most lost goals kicked, then if still tied;
– The smallest number of penalties conceded over the two matches, then if still tied;
– The draw
NRL pre-season 2023
Every hour in AEDT
Thursday February 9
Warriors vs. Tigers, Mt Smart Stadium, 6 p.m.
Friday February 10
Knights v Sharks, Central Coast Stadium, 5:55 p.m.
Rabbitohs vs. Sea Eagles, Central Coast Stadium, 8 p.m.
Saturday February 11
Maori vs Indigenous All Stars – Women, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, 1.30pm
Maori vs Indigenous All Stars – Men, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, 3.45pm
Eels vs Panthers, BlueBet Stadium, 6 p.m.
Dragons v St Helens, WIN Stadium, 8:05 p.m.
Sunday February 12
Storm vs Roosters, GMHBA Stadium, Geelong, 1.50pm
Raiders vs. Bulldogs, Ack Weyman Oval, Moruya, 3:55 p.m.
Cowboys vs Dolphins, Barlow Park, Cairns, 6 p.m.
Broncos vs. Titans, Sunshine Coast Stadium, 8:05 p.m.
Friday February 17
Knights vs. Eels, Central Coast Stadium. 5:55 p.m.
Roosters vs. Sea Eagles, Central Coast Stadium. 8 p.m.
Saturday February 18
Dragons vs Rabbitohs, Glen Willow Stadium, Mudgee, 3.30pm (Charity Shield)
Panthers vs St Helens, BlueBet Stadium, 6pm (World Club Challenge)
Broncos vs. Cowboys, Sunshine Coast Stadium, 8:10 p.m.
Sunday February 19
Warriors v Storm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch, 12.50pm
Tigers vs Raiders, Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney, 2.55pm
Bulldogs vs Sharks, Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney, 5pm
Dolphins v Titans, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe, 7.05pm
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