Young Eel firming for NRL debut, Tigers forced into backline change, Raiders to name new halves combo: NRL Team Talk: Round 8

    Nathan Cleary and Kalyn Ponga headline the additions and losses.

    Ethan Lee Chalk

    Entering Round 8, some NRL clubs are set to receive significant boosts to their team, while others have lost key players as they look to clinch the two points.

    Some big additions this week include Nathan Cleary, Dominic Young and Jai Arrow, while Kalyn Ponga, Junior Tupou and Jamal Fogarty headline the losses.

    Teams will be named on Tuesday at 4pm (AEST), but here is all the latest in news and rumours.

    NRL Rd 2 - Roosters v Warriors
    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Dylan Walker of the Warriors passes during the round two NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors at Allianz Stadium on March 11, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    New Zealand Warriors

    For the first time in a while the New Zealand Warriors have suffered no injuries last week meaning they could go into the clash as an unchanged side.

    However, while utility playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita (leg) sustained an injury last week and was a late withdrawal from the team, Dylan Walker (ankle) may finally make his long-awaited return to the interchange bench.

    The club's injury list currently includes Harris-Tavita, Jazz Tevaga (hamstring), Bunty Afoa (hamstring), Demitric Sifakula (knee), Dylan Walker (ankle), Freddy Lussick (suspension), Luke Metcalf (leg), and Marata Niukore (foot).

    Projected Round 8 Team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitch Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Tom Ale 16. Jacob Laban 17. Adam Pompey

    Gold Coast Titans

    The Gold Coast Titans could make some changes depending on the availability of Phillip Sami (ankle). A chance to return, Sami's inclusion into the side will cause a complete shake-up in the backline.

    If available, Sami is likely to slot into the fullback position at the back of the field, causing AJ Brimson to shift into the halves at the expense of Tanah Boyd.

    However, Sami may also move into the centres which would see Brimson remain at fullback and Boyd remain in the halves alongside Kieran Foran.

    In good news for Titans fans, Keenan Palasia (quad) should make his return to the NRL this week and will take a spot on the interchange bench with Josiah Pahulu, the likely player to make way.

    Projected Round 8 Team: 1. Phillip Sami 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Jojo Fifita 6. AJ Brimson 7. Kieran Foran 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Sam Verrills 15. Erin Clark 16. Klese Haas 17. Keenan Palasia


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