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.

RELATED: NRL trials - full fixtures

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.

RELATED: NRL trials Week 1 - every squad in full

Here are the storylines which will be worth following this weekend in our first instalment of The Set Restart for 2022.

3. Jarrod Croker back on the park, but will he find a way in for Round 1?

Jarrod Croker has had an absolute horror run with injury over the past couple of years.

Once touted as a possible option to represent the New South Wales Blues in the State of Origin arena, Croker has battled with his knee.

There had been some talk that he may have been medically retired, however, with another two seasons - as well as a player option in 2024 - to run on his contract - Croker elected to have potentially career-saving stem cell surgery.

He opened up on it during the week, saying at one point he "couldn't even walk up the stairs."

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Jarrod Croker of the Raiders looks on during the round eight NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

It was something of a surprise to see him fit enough to be named for the opening trial, but the heroic Raider has a role to play in his team from Round 1.

With Jordan Rapana's suspension and Harley Smith-Shield's injury, backline depth at the green machine looks thin, with only Xavier Savage, Nick Cotric, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Sebastian Kris and Matthew Timoko realistically in contention for the Round 1 spots.

It means the veteran Croker could well be needed in Round 1, and while he mentioned he wasn't even looking ahead to next week, his performance on dodgy knees will be intriguing to watch as the Raiders open the official trial period against the Roosters at Leichhardt on Friday.