AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 01: Ben Barba of the Sharks looks on during the round 21 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Cronulla Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

The first Team List Tuesday of the season was cause for great celebration as NRL sides named their starting 17 for the first round.

As always there were a few shock selections, but I don’t ever remembering seeing so many young players named at the expense of more experienced players.

I also couldn’t believe some of the selections made, and judging by social media, I was not the only one.

Below are the top 10 team list ‘shocks’ that have people talking.

10. Ben Barba at fullback

I am overjoyed at this decision and have been predicting it since the nines. Barba has ‘won’ the fullback position over a man who has every attribute to make the centre position at the Sharks his own for the next decade. The Sharks needed to name Barba, Holmes and Bird in the starting line up to tackle the Cowboys, and did. Considering all the media reports that suggested otherwise, it’s still a shock that ‘Flanno’ went the way he did.

9. Cameron McInnes over Damien Cook

Although the Bunnies started the Charity Shield with McInnes in the number nine, I was sure Cook would snag the starting gig. His efforts for the Bulldogs in the late rounds last season were exceptional and Souths couldn’t sign him quickly enough. I’m not a fan of carrying a second number nine on the bench after the reduction of interchange, so I honestly thought Cook would play 80 minutes. He’ll still get his chance, but unfortunately it will be from the bench.

8. Jake Mamo not named

Given Mamo was selected at fullback at the tail end of 2015, it looked as though the fullback role was his. Not only was he overlooked for youngster Jake Feeney but he lost his first grade spot all together under Nathan Brown. Chanel and Pat Mata’utia have filled in the other backline positions with the expected Gagai and Uate, meaning Mamo must bide his time in NSW Cup. The Mata’utia brothers are exciting talents, so perhaps it’s not that big of a shock, but with Brown naming a host of debutants, I expected Mamo’s name to be there somewhere.

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7. Ben Henry over Bodene Thompson

A huge blow for those who play Super Coach with the ever reliable Bodene Thompson dropped to the bench for Ben Henry. I thought Henry’s utility value would land him a bench spot, but I didn’t see Thompson being relegated for the 24 year-old. Unlike a few selections on this list, this is a selection that I find exciting, but it was certainly unexpected. One of several unexpected selections in the Warriors side.

6. Isaah Yeo starting over Elijah Taylor

This is another that will leave Supercoach scrambling, this time at the news that Taylor will come off the bench. Known mainly as a work horse, I fully expected to see Taylor benefit from the reduced interchange. Yeo’s selection isn’t a shock, but most were sure he’d be chosen on the bench. Many Panthers fans were calling for Peachey to start, but given his ability to break games open from the bench, it’s not a huge shock that he was overlooked also for Yeo.

5. Ben Hampton on the bench for Melbourne

I can only think this is so he’s ready to replace Billy Slater should be pull up short before the game, as I can’t see Hampton taking minutes off Cronk, Green or Smith in a utility role. He probably isn’t big enough to play back row, so unless he’s in for a stint on the wing or in the centres, I don’t see a whole lot of reasoning behind this move. My guess is either he starts at fullback if Slater withdraws or there is a late change here. No sense in carrying an out of position hooker for Cameron Smith.

4. Nathan Green in the back row for Manly

After a massive recruitment drive, Manly are busting at the seams with quality forwards, and it was Nathan Green who surprisingly won the run on spot. Jamie Burhrer’s injury opened up a spot I expected to be taken by Mateo, Symonds, Lawrence of Leary. Green has played most of his footy in the backline, although he has bulked up as he filled out. I didn’t think we’d be seeing his name at all this year for Manly, but he’s locked up a starting role in one of the game’s best packs.

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3. Hymel Hunt in the centres for Souths

I did not see this one coming at all. Bryson Goodwin was a lock for one centre spot, but I thought the other would come down to Auva’a or Nielson. Auva’a, despite his off-field troubles is a premiership winning centre, while Nielson has Origin experience. Hunt, despite the odd appearance last season for the Storm didn’t really come into selection for most fans, myself included. He’s got plenty to his game but after the loss of Dylan Walker, I expected the more senior players to be given first crack

2. Blake Austin on the bench

Blake Austin is coming back from injury, everyone was aware of this, but I doubt anyone would have predicted he would resume his NRL comeback from the bench for the Raiders. My guess is he isn’t 100% but after the year he had in 2015, he simply could not be overlooked. That being said, why risk a less than fit Austin when you have a stack of big, mobile forwards to choose from? If he’s fit, he has to play 80 minutes, no question. If not, why risk one of your star players? Strange selection.

1. Blake Ayshford over Konrad Hurrell

This had been suggested, and I even drafted accordingly, but it’s still a shock. I have nothing against Ayshford who is a serviceable NRL player, but I wasn’t sure how a slimmed down and wrecking ball Konral Hurrell would be overlooked for a man who hasn’t played a whole lot of first grade over the past two years. Hurrell is a potential match winner, as is Lolohea, who was named outside Ayshford on the wing. Despite suggestions otherwise, I really didn’t see both being overlooked for the centre spot for the former Shark.

48 COMMENTS

    • +1 we all know opposition coachs like to have a smoke screen to make it harder from oppositions to prepare for them atleast I know the Raiders do….

      It was a lot worse in the David Furner days

      • you’d think if Austins fit he goes to 5/8 and sammy williams goes back to mounties. i’d be surprised if he does come of the bench.

        • It is rare to see a team take to the field as published in the newspapers. It’s too early in the week to make a call on players fitness etc.

          Also, as mentioned above, the smoke screens come thick and fast early in the season.

        • The fact Sammy is wearing the 6 speaks volumes I think, i reckon Austin will start at 6 and sammy will play Mounties or Austin will be given another week and Baptise will play

          No way on a 35 degree day will Hodgson play 80 and using Austin at hooker with the defensive work load and coming back from a bung shoulder won’t happen

    • I don’t think Cappy is our coach to many stupid decision he makes. I mean look at the bench it’s pretty b grade and he’s still picking Jono Wright! FFS he must be suckling his d#$k he’s the worst buy since Neilson!

  1. Should have included Jeff Robson still making a first grade team. I was startled to see his name for the warriors, looks like johnson will be doing all the kicking.

      • Robsons got more finals experience then johnson, and will direct the team while Johnson can do whatever the hell he wants. The warriors were better with Leuluai and Johnson because all leuluai did was make the smart moves as in kicking to touch or the corners, allowing Johnson to play his natural game.

        Townsend and Johnson didn’t really work because Townsend was given the roaming role and Johnson had to change his game for Townsend.

        With Robson, Johnson is allowed to play the roaming 5/8 todd carney/Anthony Milford/Michael Morgan role which is his natural role. We have the potentially one of the best spines in the league and Robsons experience could bring the right balance to the exciting spine we have.

  2. It seems like McFadden is trying to put the wind up a few of the regulars … might not be a bad tactic

  3. I reckon SJ can do better at 5/8. only problem with that is his halves partner and his kicking game

  4. the rabbits look lost there coach don’t know who to play in nthe backline ..clutching at straws …believe that

    • Hi mr beileve,
      One must watch the games for one to comment if a coach is lost. I assume you watched all the trials? Because if you did you would have known that Goodwin and hunt were their two best performed in those spots. I do beileve he will tinker with that b4 kick off. Madge always names 19 and 20 man squads and changes b4 kick off.
      Kind regards,
      THEGREATONE

      • the bunnies coach is one of the best in the comp, they may not break any records but they will be there or there abouts come the pointy end of the season.

      • @thegreatone I know enough about the rabbits to know he hasn’t got a clue who to play this season out there , as you and all the others will see they will struggle and be nowhere near top 8 ny seasons end , however they may win some good games throughout the season but that’s where it will end I predict at best …11th …behind eels and ahead of steelers …believe that

      • thepiston why do you always keep telling yourself to silence ?? must be your immaturity stick to the subject … you don’t want to be barred again do you??? …believe that

        • believethis unlike you #hit #ick ive never been barred .. or as you put it on holidays . you muppet

        • and what’s telling myself to silence mean .. you are a couple of sangas short of a picnic you idiot

  5. Cook need to be hooker for the rabbits… Why wouldn’t they start him??
    And Mamo??WTF he must have an injury or something you could leave him out of the Knights side.
    Dan Nicholls predicted Barba at fullback, Well Done mate!! I hope it works for them I think if he doesn’t have the confidence he wont cut it. Then Coach Dingbat HAS to put Holmes there, Surely!!And Ayshford over Hurrell?? WTF

    • We may get flashes from barbara but some of the best teams will school him. He just isn’t upto NRL standard. I expect flanders to bench him by round 6.

    • Yeah i would have put hurrell over kata though. Do you know how many tries we would leak if we played Kata Lolohea on one side and Hurrell and Big Manu on the other. That would be a stupid move and a guaranteed 40 points for the other teams every week.

      • +1 i hate kata hes to greedy hardly ever passes the ball i know he scores alot of points but we as a team could score more if he passed it, i kniw hurrels not much better the little bit of defence that hurrells got over kata id go with hurrell, and as for ayshford id put him in the centres hes strong defencivly and will run hard lines and will know when to pass, simple but effective dont kniw why the other two cant do that

  6. All the people yesterday that commented on the article that floran wasnt playing .. Its here in black and white . He has been named in the parra run on team . So speculation mean nothing and zero tackle should check there facts before posting articles that are just wrong .Plain and simple

    • In the site description when you google zero tackle it reads

      “All the latest rugby league news, rumours, player movements, signings and contracts!”

      They never claim they are accurate they are just trying to be a central location to get all the rugby league gossip.

      • Piston you are the biggest stain on this site take a permanent holiday. You can’t even comprehend what he site is used for.
        In regards to Foran he did an interview yesterday and said he strained his hamstring on Sunday and will decide at the captains run wether to play or not.
        Just because a player is named doesn’t mean they will play.
        I know you are new to rugby league but you will learn these things.
        P.s keep getting schooled by believe this it’s hilarious.

        • your as thick as your bum chum believethis..i think smoking that KRAK en taking pills has popped you lone brain cell .. so they named him in the team but he is not playing is that what your saying .. and the day believethis schools me in anything i will also be cleaning toilets at shark park .. thats in his wheel housr not NRL just like you CLOWN .. and if its all “All the latest rugby league news, rumours, player movements, signings and contracts!”
          why do you take it so serious and flap you big fat lips all the time .. heres a fact little man you know NOTHING

        • Your typical pesant response full of errors.
          Atleast believe this has a job, I don’t understand your constant need to attack him. You must be compensating for something in your life, bullied at school perhaps? Daddy issues? Molested at Sunday school?
          All fit your personality.
          Don’t bother responding I won’t read it anyway.

        • big man behind your keyboard .. attacking my parents and my up bringing now .. look in the mirror pal .. you know the one on oxford street pubic toilet that you and beleivesquat use to apply your makeup and adjust your bras .. and just cause you dad was a suday school teacher is you prob not mine

        • thepiston talking about your lifestyle again ….whats the story about??? little boy stop dreaming …believe that

  7. because hes named means nothing he is named in the squad but reports are he will not be playing … he has an injury that will never be 100% so you should check your facts before commenting on a fact …believe that

    • believethis “but reports are he will not be playing” reports from who ? if its from you that’s laughable as you are the least credible person on this site .. i didn’t know rolls of dunnie paper talked . thats what you do isnt it .. clean dunnies ? well you left a skid mark on this site so bring a mop with you . #ock snot

      • There is an article on the league live app saying he will be given until tomorrow night otherwise he will sit out. If he sits out broncos by 12

      • thepiston I told u we don’t need to know about your insufficiencies and dunny cleaning stick to the ubject … foran wont be plying believe it or not who cares wha you think nyway …believe that

  8. whats wrong with Ayshford? he’s done a Barba, slimmed down, gained his speed back, and trained the house down , in for a big year LOL, but seriously maybe he is in good stead and has earnt his spot

    • Probably safe to say he earn’t his spot by putting in a solid defensive display at the nines and at training where as hurrell and others looked flimsy again in defense, Kata & lolohea good

      attackers but can’t defend well, Manu the perennial offender of steaming of his line and putting pressure on his inside man, Which makes a very good case for not have another poor defender like hurrell in the line up

      • Ayshford is a nine’s specialist. At the Sharks he was almost player of the tournament but couldn’t find any space, or tackle, in the real deal stuff. I hope he succeeds, but I’d be picking Hurrell

      • I think its safe to say most of the warriors team was a shock.

        1. Kata and Ayshford over Hurrell: I thought Hurrell did just enough to nab a spot somewhere.

        2. Roache on the Bench: Even though he was one of the warriors best at the nines i expected Isaac Luke to play the 80 with Henry on the bench just in case.

        3. Henry over Bodene Thompson: Thompson was close to Warriors best last year, however bringing in Henry means a more defensive minded approach to the forward pack and more impact off the bench.

        4. Gavet over Vete/Faitala Mariner/Gubb: I thought the latter 3 showed a lot of promise then Gavet, so im expecting a lot from him. Forward depth looking good though.

  9. Really excited by 1. Barba 2. Holmes 3. Bird. Feels like the Peachey / Rogers / ET of old.

    Just relieved Flanno saw sense and put Bird in the centres.

  10. I have another Foxsports Daily Telegraph, Courier Mail Supercoach league with a some spots left. Anyone who wants to join the code is 11 39 12.

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