There will be plenty of familiar faces in action this weekend as the NRL clubs kick off their season 2022 preparations with trial matches being held across the country.
Two matches in particular will feature plenty of Hostplus Cup talent, with the Melbourne Storm versus Warriors match and Gold Coast Titans versus Brisbane Broncos games brimming with familiar faces.
Mixed in amongst the State of Origin and Test stars are some emerging talents and young stars who will be looking to put their best foot forward for the Storm this season, with the likes of Sunshine Coast Falcons regulars Jack Howarth, Chris Lewis, Trent Loiero and Patrice Siolo named alongside new signings Jayden Nikorima (signed from Redcliffe Dolphins) and 2021 Hastings Deering Colts premiership winner Alec MacDonald from Wynnum Manly Seagulls.
Jack Howarth is one to watch
A number of Brisbane Tigers who have been enjoying the opportunity to undertake pre-season training with the Storm and have been named as part of the extended squad include Wesley Lolo and William Samuel.
Opposing team, the Warriors, also have a number of players to watch listed in their squad for Saturday’s game, including some who donned a Redcliffe Dolphins jersey last season in Rocco Berry, Viliami Vailea, Taniela Otukolo, Kina Kepu and Peesi Kepu.
Jayden Corrigan has moved from Northern Pride to take part in pre-season training with the Warriors and has been named in the reserves alongside Garrett Smith and Adam Cook who both featured for Mackay Cutters last season.
'It's been a bit of a journey so far' - Corrigan
Both the Gold Coast Titans and Brisbane Broncos have named strong squads for their Saturday night encounter and viewers are in for a treat.
Cup fans will looking forward to seeing the speed of former Tweed Seagulls fullback Jayden Campbell up against Wynnum Manly Seagulls youngster Selwyn Cobbo, while in the forwards former Souths Logan Magpie and new Burleigh Bears signing Jacob Alick will start in the second row and come up against the likes of Kobe Hetherington (Magpies) and TC Robati (Wynnum Manly).
Player to bank on - Deine Mariner
The reserves list for both features plenty of QRL statewide competitions talent, with the likes of Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup winning halfback Tom Weaver joining fellow Tweed Seagulls players Oskar Bryant and Jaylan De Groot in the line-up for the Titans.
Deine Mariner, who starred during the finals series for Tweed last year, will line up against his former team mates as part of the Brisbane squad which also features Souths Logan talents Ezra Mam, Ethan Quai-Ward and Logan Bayliss.
Jason Demetriou comes full circle in Cairns
Up north at Barlow Park, former premiership winning Northern Pride coach Jason Demetriou returns to familiar territory as coach of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and brings with him last year’s Intrust Super Cup five-eighth of the year winner Jack Campagnolo.
The former Pride and Wynnum Manly Seagulls half will face off against a North Queensland Cowboys squad that features some of the best young talent from the region, including some who featured in last year’s Colts grand final for Townsville Blackhawks. Jake Bourke, Jordan Lipp and Tomas Chester will be joined by Zac Laybutt who lines up alongside his brother Kyle in the squad.
Cup captains for Ross Bella (Mackay Cutters) and Jayden Hodges (Northern Pride) have also been named.
Some other players who featured in the QRL’s statewide competitions who are in action for the opening week of NRL trials include former Western Clydesdales captain Xavier Va’a who has been named on the reserves for Sydney Roosters in their match against Canberra Raiders tonight and former Souths Logan Magpies young gun Creedence Toia who is a reserve for the Bulldogs in their game against Newcastle Knights on Monday.
Reigning 2021 Petero Civoniceva Medal winner Jayden Berrell will also make his first appearance in his new colours and has been named as starting hooker for Cronulla Sharks in their match against the Penrith Panthers on Sunday.
Hostplus Cup clubs will also be in action this weekend, with a full Saturday of games on the menu.