The NRL Pre-Season Challenge will get underway this week, and Zero Tackle has you covered with all the latest team news.
Players that will line up for their respective teams include Blake Taaffe, Spencer Leniu and Dominic Young, while fans will have to wait to get their first look at Daly Cherry-Evans, Stephen Crichton and Ryan Papenhuyzen for the 2024 season.
Blake Taaffe will be handed the fullback jersey and is currently the number-one contender to start in the position when the season starts. However, News Corp reports that other contenders, Connor Tracey and Stephen Crichton, will not take part in the game. Viliame Kikau will also not be present.
After spending over 12 months on the sidelines with an ACL injury, Kade Dykes is close to making his return to the Sharks and playing on the weekend. It is understood that club officials are hoping he will be able to feature in their game on Sunday against the Newcastle Knights, per News Corp.
As confirmed by News Corp, Manly will be resting three of their star players for this weekend's game. Halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers, Jake and Tom, will be rested by the club.
After being plagued by injuries during the pre-season, Josh Schuster is likely to be in the line-up against the Roosters but is not confirmed.
“We're not going to specifically prepare for the trials,” Seibold said.
“We are going to prepare our round zero team as much as possible.
“There is still some competition for spots so those guys will play potentially two of the trials. But we fly two days after the first official trial and what we don't want to do is put anyone at risk who has already solidified their spot in the team.
“Against the Roosters we will only play players who are competing for bench spots or spots on the plane to go to Vegas.
"There will be players like Chez (Cherry-Evans), Jake and Tom who won't play the trials. We train every specifically for footy …. so they will be ready to go.”
“You can see the training in contact and training around the back of shape. Around the team you can feel a big buzz around him. All the boys are happy for him," Cameron Munster said via The Daily Telegraph.
“Having that ankle injury, gave him a boot more time for that knee to heal and give him a bit more confidence.
"In hindsight it has probably been beneficial for him to have another off season. I think you are going to see a nice little Paps from 2020.”
While the duo will feature against the Sharks, it is understood that English international Kai Pearce-Paul will not be available but should be back for the second week of the Pre-Season Challenge as he recovers from a toe injury.
It is understood that Ben Hunt will play a fraction of the game during the Charity Shield match whilst recruit Raymond Faitala-Mariner is still on the comeback trail from injury and won't be available for selection, per News Corp.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, high-profile recruits Dominic Young and Spencer Leniu will play against the Sea Eagles this week, while former representative centre Michael Jennings will not make his rugby league return via the trials but will do so through the NSW Cup.
Playmaker Lachlan Galvin, forward Fonua Pole and hooker Tallyn Da Silva will all be a part of the club's squad for the first trial game after being spotted catching a plane to New Zealand to face the Warriors.
Looks like Fonua Pole, Lachlan Galvin and Tallyn Da Silva all part of the squad for Trial #1 in NZ pic.twitter.com/Q6vHPsSbgt
— NBWT (@NBWT__) February 11, 2024