NRL Rd 18 - Raiders v Sharks
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Xavier Savage of the Raiders is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Cronulla Sharks at Cbus Super Stadium, on July 17, 2021, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Regi Varghese/Getty Images)

The team lists for Round 1 of the 2022 NRL season have officially been named, with plenty of surprises across the board.

Here are the big talking points from the Round 1 edition of team list Tuesday.

No Reynolds, plenty of worries for Brisbane

It has been a case of "will they or won't they" for most of the last week, with Adam Reynolds first in strife with a knee problem which kept him out of both trials, then testing positive to COVID last Wednesday.


While his isolation period ends 48 hours before the Brisbane Broncos kick-off their season against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Reynolds has been withdrawn from the match, alongside Kobe Hetherington, who also tested positive.

Billy Walters and Albert Kelly won the race for the two halves spots, with Ezra Mam missing out, but named among the reserves nonetheless. Tyson Gamble missed out altogether, while, in a worrying sign for fans, Kevin Walters seemingly isn't quite sure on the final make up of his side with Tyrone Roberts on the bench.

Their lack of attack in the trials was a serious cause for concern, and Reynolds being out could open them up to a big first-start loss.

Brisbane Broncos Training Session
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 07: Adam Reynolds passes the ball during a Brisbane Broncos NRL training session at the Clive Berghofer Centre on February 07, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

A Mean half for the Storm

Nick Meaney's move from the Canterbury Bulldogs to the Melbourne Storm during the off-season had most believing he was going to be picked as a back up in the backline, able to play fullback and wing.

Not many would have seen him lining up in the halves for his first game in the purple and white.

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Cameron Munster and Cooper Johns both being out means the Storm had to get a little bit creative, naming Meaney to share the playmaking duties with the ever professional Jahrome Hughes in what can only be described as a surprise move.

Ryan Papenhuyzen has seemingly passed fit though in a big boost, being named in the number one jumper.

Raiders make shock call on Savage

It was heavily speculated that Xavier Savage wasn't going to be handed the number one jersey despite an off-season of hype, but few saw him not being in the 17 altogether coming.

Ricky Stuart's team to take on the Sharks this Friday evening features a backline with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at fullback, as expected, but Savage missing.

Nick Cotric and Semi Valemei have instead been selected on the wings, while Matthew Timoko and James Schiller have been picked in the centres. That means Sebastian Kris has also been looked over, as has Jarrod Croker. Croker and Savage appear amongst the reserves.

Dragons go into the Woods

Aaron Woods has been named to start for the Dragons on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday afternoon against the Warriors, following the surprise confirmation last night that Tariq Sims would miss out, pushing Jack Bird from lock to second row, and Jack de Belin from prop to lock.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Aaron Woods of the Sharks looks dejected during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Cronulla Sharks at Allianz Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The open spot has been claimed by Woods, who was signed by the club during the off-season.

It means Francis Molo and Josh Kerr are coming of the bench, with the club opting to leave out George Burgess, but the starting spot for Woods is sure to raise eyebrows.

Jimmy the Jet back on deck for Tigers

In a shock move, James Roberts has been picked to play for the Tigers.

Seemingly dumped by the club at the end of last season, he has impressed over the summer on a train and trial deal, and then did the same when given an opportunity in a Round 1 trial.

While it was thought Starford To'a or William Kei could be given an opportunity in Michael Maguire's three-quarter line, it's Roberts who will line up in the centres, with Oliver Gildart on the other side of the park.

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A genuinely intriguing development in the ongoing Roberts relationship with the Tigers, his performance against Melbourne will be something to watch this weekend.

Proctor clinging to a spot as Wallace dumped

Kevin Proctor and Jarrod Wallace are two of the elder statesmen at the Gold Coast Titans, but neither have started their season all that far on the front foot.

Proctor, who has been a locked down starter on the right edge at the Titans for as long as he has been at the club, has been demoted to the bench, following his loss of the captaincy a few weeks ago to gun forward Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.

In his place, Beau Fermor will start in a damaging second row combination with David Fifita.

The news is worse for Jarrod Wallace. He had an excellent finish to last year, but has lost even a bench spot to Sam Lisone and Jaimin Jolliffe, with Wallace seemingly in the next tier of forwards alongside Herman Ese'ese and Sam McIntyre.

Off the Drink: Cowboys opt for Dearden and Townsend

Scott Drinkwater is nowhere to be seen in the Cowboys team list for their opening clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 09: Chad Townsend of the Sharks runs the ball during the round 21 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Cronulla Sharks at Panthers Stadium on August 09, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Instead, big-money recruit Chad Townsend will partner Tom Dearden in the halves, with the duo needing a point of difference if they are to succeed.

Dearden showed some impressive signs in the Cowboys' second trial victory over the Brisbane Broncos, but plenty will have to go right for the Cowboys, with many feeling Drinkwater should have been the one picked.

No room for Ash Taylor

The Warriors have gone down the intriguing road of starting Kodi Nikorima and not playing Ashley Taylor. Chanel Harris-Tavita, as expected, will start the year at fullback in place of Reece Walsh.

But it's Nikorima who is the most intriguing selection in the side, with the utility to start in the halves alongside Shaun Johnson, potentially leaving Nathan Brown's side a little short if an injury strikes.

Bayley Sironen is a versatile option off the bench, but not in the same way as Nikorima.

Intriguingly, Josh Curran has been selected at lock to be Tohu Harris' replacement, despite his staggeringly good finish to the year on the edge last year.

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