Footy is finally here. We might be three weeks away from the real thing, but trials will give fans their first taste of action for the 2022 season, getting underway this weekend.
It all kicks off on Friday night with a pair of games at Leichhardt, and with every game televised live this year (unlike previous years) it’ll be easier than ever for fans to get answers about their stars, and to get a look at the young guns who will be running around.
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In the grand scheme of things, trials mean nothing to the season itself, but that doesn’t mean certain players won’t be treating the next fortnight as possibly the biggest of their lives with many clubs still confirming their list of top 30 contracted players and development lists for the season ahead.
Most teams have named enormous squads for the opening week of trials, which, in some ways, makes it difficult to know which way to look.
And while a majority of the players on display this weekend will be fringe first graders and youngsters who will be stars of the future, there will still be plenty of storylines that will impact first grade this season.
Here are the storylines which will be worth following this weekend in our first instalment of The Set Restart for 2022.
2. Ramsey, Sloan and the Dragons battle at the back
One of the stranger calls during the final team lists to be named on Thursday afternoon was that from the newly re-signed Anthony Griffin at the St George Illawarra Dragons, who has taken the option to name Cody Ramsey at fullback and Tyrell Sloan on the wing.
Sloan played a handful of games at the back end of the year and didn't fail to score in any of them, impressing immensely on his debut performances at the top grade.
He might have played on the wing in a stacked Indigenous All Stars team last Saturday, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be taking the number one jersey at club level.
The Dragons need a spark in 2022, and following the re-signing of Anthony Griffin, the pressure will be on more than ever.
Given Ramsey's noted struggles during his time at fullback, but also his excellent performances on the wing, the decision to name him at the back ahead of Sloan makes little sense.
It could be that the duo will switch between fullback and the wing during the game, but concerning would be the only word that could be used to describe Dragons' fans general reaction to the selection.