General NRL 2016 Round 1 - General Discussion

What game are you most looking forward to (besides the Warriors)?

  • Eels vs Broncos

  • Manly vs Bulldogs

  • Raiders vs Panthers

  • Cowboys vs Sharks

  • Roosters vs Rabbitohs

  • Titans vs Knights

  • Storm vs Dragons

Results are only viewable after voting.

NRL 2016 Round 1 - General Discussion
R1 2016

A thread for all 2016 Round 1 team lists, discussions, news and views. A new like this thread will open every Tuesday for team list Tuesday.
Feel free to add team lists as they become available people. Thank you.

Below are actual team lists as they ran out...



1 Michael Gordon
2 Semi Radradra
3 Michael Jennings
4 Brad Takairangi
5 Clint Gutherson
6 Corey Norman
19 Luke Kelly
8 Junior Paulo
9 Nathan Peats
10 Tim Mannah (c)
11 Manu Ma'u
12 Beau Scott
13 Tepai Moeroa

15 Peni Terepo
16 Daniel Alvaro
17 Ken Edwards
18 Kaysa Pritchard

Coach: Brad Arthur

1 Darius Boyd
2 Corey Oates
3 Jordan Kahu
4 James Roberts
5 Greg Eden
6 Anthony Milford
7 Ben Hunt
8 Josh McGuire
9 Andrew McCullough
10 Adam Blair
11 Alex Glenn
12 Matt Gillett
13 Corey Parker (c)

14 Jarrod Wallace
15 Sam Thaiday
16 Joe Ofahengaue
17 Kodi Nikorima

Coach: Wayne Bennett


Sea Eagles

5 Tom Trbojevic
2 Jorge Taufua
3 Jamie Lyon (c)
4 Steve Matai
20 Brayden Wiliame
6 Dylan Walker
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Jake Trbojevic
9 Apisai Koroisau
10 Nate Myles
11 Lewis Brown
12 Nathan Green
13 Martin Taupau

14 Matt Parcell
15 Blake Leary
16 Darcy Lussick
18 Siosaia Vave

Coach: Trent Barrett

1 Will Hopoate
2 Curtis Rona
3 Josh Morris
4 Chase Stanley
5 Sam Perrett
6 Josh Reynolds
7 Moses Mbye
8 Aiden Tolman
9 Michael Lichaa
10 James Graham (c)
11 Josh Jackson
12 Tony Williams
13 Greg Eastwood

14 Sam Kasiano
16 Tim Browne
17 Adam Elliott
22 Lloyd Perrett

Coach: Des Hasler



1 Jack Wighton
2 Edrick Lee
3 Jarrod Croker (c)
4 Joseph Leilua
5 Jordan Rapana
14 Blake Austin
7 Aidan Sezer
8 Shannon Boyd
9 Josh Hodgson
10 Frank-Paul Nuuausala
11 Josh Papalii
12 Elliot Whitehead
13 Shaun Fensom

15 Iosia Soliola
16 Paul Vaughan
17 Jeff Lima
18 Kurt Baptiste

Coach: Ricky Stuart

1 Will Smith
2 Josh Mansour
3 Waqa Blake
4 Peta Hiku
5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
6 Jamie Soward
7 Peter Wallace
8 Sam McKendry
9 James Segeyaro
10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
11 Bryce Cartwright
12 Isaah Yeo
13 Trent Merrin

14 Tyrone Peachey
15 Jeremy Latimore
16 Suaia Matagi
20 James Fisher-Harris

Coach: Anthony Griffin


Wests Tigers
1 James Tedesco
2 David Nofoaluma
3 Tim Simona
4 Kevin Naiqama
5 Jordan Rankin
6 Mitchell Moses
7 Jack Littlejohn
8 Aaron Woods (c)
14 Kyle Lovett
10 Tim Grant
11 Curtis Sironen
12 Chris Lawrence
13 Sauaso Sue

9 Manaia Cherrington
15 Josh Aloiai
16 Ava Seumanufagai
17 Jack Buchanan

Coach: Jason Taylor


1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2 Tuimoala Lolohea
3 Blake Ayshford
4 Solomone Kata
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Shaun Johnson
7 Jeff Robson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Issac Luke
16 James Gavet
11 Ben Henry
12 Ryan Hoffman (c)
13 Simon Mannering

10 Ben Matulino
14 Nathaniel Roache
15 Sam Lisone
17 Bodene Thompson

Coach: Andrew McFadden


1 Lachlan Coote
2 Kyle Feldt
3 Justin O'Neill
4 Kane Linnett
5 Antonio Winterstein
6 Michael Morgan
7 Johnathan Thurston (c)
8 Matthew Scott (c)
9 Jake Granville
10 James Tamou
11 Gavin Cooper
12 Ethan Lowe
13 Jason Taumalolo

14 Rory Kostjasyn
15 John Asiata
16 Scott Bolton
17 Ben Hannant

Coach: Paul Green

1 Ben Barba
2 Sosaia Feki
3 Jack Bird
4 Ricky Leutele
5 Valentine Holmes
6 James Maloney
7 Chad Townsend
8 Andrew Fifita
9 Michael Ennis
15 Matt Prior
11 Luke Lewis
12 Wade Graham
13 Paul Gallen (c)

10 Sam Tagataese
14 Chris Heighington
16 David Fifita
17 Jayson Bukuya

Coach: Shane Flanagan


1 Blake Ferguson
19 Joe Burgess
3 Dale Copley
4 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
5 Latrell Mitchell
6 Jayden Nikorima
7 Jackson Hastings
8 Kane Evans
9 Jake Friend (c)
10 Dylan Napa
11 Aidan Guerra
12 Mitchell Aubusson
13 Isaac Liu

14 Sio Siua Taukeiaho
15 Sam Moa
16 Ian Henderson
17 Vincent Leuluai

Coach: Trent Robinson

1 Greg Inglis (c)
2 Alex Johnston
3 Bryson Goodwin
4 Hymel Hunt
5 Aaron Gray
6 Cody Walker
7 Adam Reynolds
8 Sam Burgess
9 Cameron McInnes
10 David Tyrell
11 Paul Carter
12 John Sutton
13 Kyle Turner

14 Damien Cook
15 Jason Clark
16 Chris Grevsmuhl
17 Zane Musgrove

Coach: Michael Maguire


5 David Mead
2 Anthony Don
3 Josh Hoffman
4 Nathan Davis
20 John Olive
6 Tyrone Roberts
7 Ashley Taylor
8 David Shillington
9 Nathan Friend (c)
10 Agnatius Paasi
11 Zeb Taia
12 Chris McQueen
13 Greg Bird

14 Eddy Pettybourne
15 Ryan James
16 Leivaha Pulu
17 Daniel Mortimer

Coach: Neil Henry

1 Jaelen Feeney
2 Chanel Mata'utia
3 Dane Gagai
4 Pat Mata'utia
5 Akuila Uate
6 Jarrod Mullen
7 Trent Hodkinson (c)
8 Kade Snowden
9 Tyler Randell
10 Sam Mataora
11 Jacob Safiti
12 Robbie Rochow
13 Jeremy Smith (c)

14 David Bhana
15 Korbin Sims
17 Pauli Pauli
18 Daniel Safiti

Coach: Nathan Brown

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Shame we could only vote for one game as I'm also interested to see how the Eels will go against Broncos as Eels with Kieran Foran and all the dramas against last years runners up. But chose Storm as I really want to see how Rusty will go in his new home and the Drag Queens have a very strong team on paper.
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This poll will be quite interesting. As I write this there are four votes, one for each of four different games...

I voted Cowboys vs Sharks because a) I'm interested in how the Cowboys will back up, b) how the Sharks new side stacks up, and c) how Taumalolo goes. But easily could have gone Storm v Dragons, Eels v Broncos, or Rabbitohs vs Roosters (the return of Rusty, new look eels side, and the return or Surgess).

Manly v Dogs is usually a nice Hasler grudge match too, with a new looking Manly side.

Probably why the NRL is so fun to watch. No easy to pick games.
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One game that has lost a bit of luster is rabbits roosters, roosters might struggle to get to 12 points with an all new backline, s.burgess won’t be at full gallop yet, and souths should revert back to full on neanderthal football this year with no Issac or Dylan Walker to enliven things.

Titans knights is the saddest of all games.

I hate the reading into early season games, the eels may well fire up and beat the broncos in parra, then its oh crap we have to go into the lion’s den on a Friday night with home town refs and the vomitus duo of Hadley and Lewis riding the broncos home on commentary.
The Broncos game. We play them in round two.
I always watch next weeks opponent, so the weekend we play Brisbane....I will prioritize watching the Storms game....and so on.
What's do you do for round 26? It's been pretty lean

I chose Eels v Broncos, Eels have a strong side and it'll be interesting to see how the Broncos go early season after a trip to England which normally is very testing on any team returning to the NRL
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I went Titans v Knights, I don't think either are as bad as many think and they have pretty good packs, both teams will be giant killers at some stage in the year IMO.

Im interested to see if Danny starts, will Gagai be FB, is Iggy going to carry on his pre-season form, who will partner Roberts.
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I went Raiders v Panthers. Last year the Panthers were decimated by injury after coming top 4 the year before. Meanwhile the Raiders at times looked like they were world beaters last year and have added some good buys to their squad. Both teams are capable of a lot and will want to start strong.

Plus, styles make fights, and I think the way these two sides play will be for some damn entertaining RL if they're not too rusty.
Gone for Raiders v Panthers

Really interested to see the halves combo of Seizer and Austin - A good start to the season may see this duo be given the NSW Origin halves positions. Daley has made it clear he likes to go with combinations and I can't see Pearce and Hodkinson making it back this year.
Thought this was interesting. Apologies if it is posted elsewhere.
NRL writers pick likely teams for round one. Source

As the off-season continues we at have taken a shot at naming each club's likely starting side for Round 1, 2016.

Check out who is expected to start for your team this season, and keep this page in mind when selecting your 2016 NRL Fantasy squad.

These team lists will be updated during the pre-season as more player signings are announced.

Confirmed player moves for 2016

Parramatta Eels v Brisbane Broncos, Thursday March 3, 8.05pm AEDT, Pirtek Stadium. Buy tickets

Eels: 1. Michael Gordon, 2. Semi Radradra, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Clinton Gutherson, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Kieran Foran (c), 8. Tim Mannah (c), 9. Nathan Peats, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Beau Scott, 12. Manu Ma'u, 13. Anthony Watmough. Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois, 15. Tepai Moeroa, 16. Danny Wicks, 17. David Gower.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Jordan Kahu, 4. James Roberts, 5. Greg Eden*, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Adam Blair, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Sam Thaiday, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Matthew Gillett, 13. Corey Parker. Interchange: 14. Kodi Nikorima, 15. Josh McGuire, 16. Joe Ofahengaue, 17. Jarrod Wallace.
* Jack Reed and Lachlan Maranta will miss the early rounds through injury.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Friday March 4, 8.05pm AEDT, Brookvale Oval. Buy tickets

Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart, 2. Jorge Taufua, 3. Jamie Lyon (c), 4. Steve Matai, 5. Tom Trbojevic, 6. Dylan Walker, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Nate Myles, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. Jake Trbojevic, 11. Tom Symonds, 12. Lewis Brown, 13. Martin Taupau. Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo, 15. Brenton Lawrence, 16. Darcy Lussick, 17. Blake Leary*.
*Jamie Buhrer will miss the early rounds through injury.

Bulldogs: 1. Brett Morris, 2. Curtis Rona, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Will Hopoate, 5. Sam Perrett, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Moses Mbye, 8. James Graham (c), 9. Michael Lichaa, 10. Aiden Tolman, 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Tony Williams, 13. Greg Eastwood. Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano, 15. David Klemmer, 16. Shaun Lane, 17. Tim Browne.

Canberra Raiders v Penrith Panthers, Saturday 5 March, 3pm AEDT, GIO Stadium. Buy tickets

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Sisa Waqa, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Edrick Lee, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Paul Vaughan, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Josh Papalii 13. Shaun Fensom. Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale, 15. Elliot Whitehead, 16. Jeff Lima, 17. Shannon Boyd.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan (c), 2. Josh Mansour, 3. Dean Whare, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6. Jamie Soward, 7. Peter Wallace, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. James Segeyaro, 10. Sam McKendry, 11. Bryce Cartwright, 12. Elijah Taylor, 13. Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey, 15. Jeremy Latimore, 16. Isaah Yeo, 17. Suaia Matagi.

Wests Tigers v New Zealand Warriors, Saturday March 5, 5.30pm AEDT, Campbelltown Stadium. Buy tickets

Wests Tigers: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Justin Hunt, 3. Tim Simona, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 5. David Nofoaluma, 6. Mitch Moses, 7. Jack Littlejohn*, 8. Aaron Woods (c), 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Tim Grant, 11. Curtis Sironen, 12. Chris Lawrence, 13. Sauaso Sue*. Interchange: 14. Ava Seumanufagai, 15. Josh Aloiai, 16. Manaia Cherrington**, 17. Kyle Lovett.
*Luke Brooks and Dene Halatau are suspended for the start of the 2016 season.
** Matt Ballin will miss the early rounds through injury.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Jonathan Wright, 3. Solomone Kata, 4. Tuimoala Lolohea, 5. Manu Vatuvei, 6. Jeff Robson, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Ben Matulino, 11. Ryan Hoffman (c), 12. Bodene Thompson, 13. Simon Mannering. Interchange: 14. Thomas Leuluai, 15. Ben Henry, 16. Sam Lisone, 17. Albert Vete.

North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, Saturday MArch 5, 6.30pm local time(7.30pm AEDT), 1300Smiles Stadium. Buy tickets

North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Kane Linnett, 4. Justin O'Neill, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Matt Scott (c), 9. Jake Granville, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjasyn, 15. Scott Bolton, 16. Ben Hannant, 17. John Asiata.

Cronulla Sharks: 1. Jack Bird, 2. Valentine Holmes, 3. Gerard Beale, 4. Ricky Leutele, 5. Sosaia Feki, 6. James Maloney, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Sam Tagataese 9. Michael Ennis, 10. Andrew Fifita, 11. Luke Lewis, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen (c). Interchange: 14. Chris Heighington, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16. Ben Barba, 17. Jayson Bukuya.

Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs, Sunday March 6, 4pm AEDT, Allianz Stadium. Buy tickets

Roosters: 1. Blake Ferguson, 2. Joe Burgess, 3. Dale Copley, 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 5. Daniel Tupou, 6. Jackson Hastings, 7. Jayden Nikorima*, 8. Sam Moa**, 9. Jake Friend (c), 10. Dylan Napa, 11. Mitchell Aubusson**, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Isaac Liu. Interchange: 14. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 15. Ian Henderson, 16. Kane Evans, 17. Vincent Leuluai.
*Mitchell Pearce currently stood down by the Roosters.
** Jared Warea-Hargeaves and Boyd Cordner will miss the early rounds through injury.

Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis (c), 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Bryson Goodwin, 4. Kirisome Auva'a, 5. Aaron Gray, 6. Cody Walker*, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. George Burgess, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. Dave Tyrrell, 11. Kyle Turner, 12. John Sutton, 13. Sam Burgess. Interchange: 14. Tom Burgess, 15. Chris Grevsmuhl, 16. Jason Clark, 17. Damien Cook.
*Luke Keary is suspended for Round 1.

Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights, Sunday March 6, 5.30pm local time (6.30pm AEDT), Cbus Super Stadium. Buy tickets

Titans: 1. Will Zillman (c), 2. Anthony Don, 3. Josh Hoffman, 4. Nathan Davis**, 5. David Mead, 6. Tyrone Roberts, 7. Ashley Taylor, 8. Ryan James*, 9. Nathan Friend (c), 10. David Shillington, 11. Chris McQueen, 12. Greg Bird, 13. Agnatius Paasi. Interchange: 14. Daniel Mortimer, 15. Eddy Pettybourne, 16. Zeb Taia, 17. Lachlan Burr.
*Luke Douglas is suspended for the start of the 2016 season.
** Nene Macdonald unlikely for Round 1.

Knights: 1. Jaelen Feeney, 2. Jake Mamo, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Pat Mata'utia*, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Jarrod Mullen, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Kade Snowden, 9. Tyler Randell, 10. Jack Stockwell, 11. Robbie Rochow, 12. Korbin Sims*, 13. Jeremy Smith. Interchange: 14. Danny Levi, 15. Mickey Paea, 16. Sam Mataora, 17. Pauli Pauli.
*Tariq Sims and Sione Mata'utia are suspended for the start of the 2016 season.

Melbourne Storm v St George Illawarra Dragons, Monday March 7, 7pm AEDT, AAMI Park. Buy tickets

Storm: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Marika Koroibete, 3. Richard Kennar*, 4. Will Chambers, 5. Young Tonumaipea, 6. Blake Green, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Tohu Harris Harris, 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Tim Glasby, 15. Kenny Bromwich, 16. Matt White, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
* Cameron Munster will miss the early rounds through injury.

Dragons: 1. Kurt Mann, 2. Peter Mata'utia, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop (c), 7. Benji Marshall, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Russell Packer, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Joel Thompson, 13. Mike Cooper. Interchange: 14. Ben Creagh (c), 15. Dunamis Lui, 16. Will Matthews, 17. Jack de Belin.
Luke Brooks suspended for Round 1

Warriors playing weakened opposition

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden says centre pairing is a tough decision for NRL opener


One of the big talking points in Andrew McFadden's starting team for the NRL opener against the Wests Tigers will undoubtedly be the centre pairing.

The Warriors coach, who knows he is under pressure to deliver in the defining season of his career, named his strongest possible team for last week's trial against the St George-Illawarra Dragons on Saturday.

The chosen centres were Tuimoala Lolohea and new signing from the Sharks Blake Ayshford, while Konrad Hurrell was named on the extended interchange bench.

McFadden had no thought of changing up the midfield line-up for the Tigers next Saturday after the team went down 46-10 in Nelson.

"I don't think we had too many good performers so it is hard to read any form around that," McFadden said at Warriors training on Thursday.

McFadden said the centre pairing was one of the toughest selections in their starting XIII because of the depth they have in that position.

All of the contenders have been training hard and the coach will narrow down his focus to the likely starters for round one this week.

"We have been training certain ways throughout the preseason so we have a fair idea of what we are going to go with and we will wait and see in the next few days."

Hurrell has reportedly trained the house down over the summer and McFadden said at the announcement of the Nines team that he was in "the best shape of his life".

But the controversial centre, who was rumoured to be leaving the club in 2015, has not done enough to secure a starting berth just yet.

"It is the same story with Konnie," said McFadden. "He has done a terrific job preparing for this season. He is in great shape, but that centre position is pretty hotly contested so it will be a very difficult decision going into round one."

Defence has been a work on for the Warriors in the break and McFadden said the experience of Ayshford on the right edge was invaluable.

"Blake's experience gives him that composed attitude out on the field and that is pretty important," said McFadden.

The 27-year-old, who played only four games for the Sharks in 2015, joined Cronulla following five years with the Wests Tigers where he made 104 appearances and scored 33 tries.

On his signing, McFadden said Ayshford had all the qualities the club was after.

"While we're always seeking to create depth and competition, we have also identified the need for more experienced and durable players with the level of professionalism we're after. Blake will bring those qualities to the club. He has been on the NRL scene for several seasons now and has demonstrated just what we need from our signings."

To complicate matters, Solomone Kata, who played on the right wing with Manu Vatuvei on the other in the trial, is hoping to get a chance at centre at some stage this season.

"I prefer to play centre but I don't mind whatever position the coach puts me in, I will do my best for the team," he said.

"I played most of my league at centre and I feel more comfortable there, and if there is any chance to put me back there I am sure the coach will do that. I hope so."

Kata, one of the most dynamic ball runners for the home side when they went all the way to the final of the Auckland Nines, says the role on the wing was much simpler.

"I just like running with the ball. It is easier on the wing. You just catch the ball and run. It is more easy and I enjoy that. I am just trying to take my opportunities."

McFadden has plenty of champion players at his disposal the key question is can he get them to gel and become a champion team.

The centre pairing is a talking point in round one and the coach hopes whoever he chooses delivers so the team can enjoy a settled midfield combination for a consistent 2016 season.
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It is no secret that the New Zealand Warriors have purchased well in the off-season, however it is also no secret that they are as inconsistent as a potato scallop from a fish and chip shop.

Sometimes they can be amazing, but other times they are just a horrible, disjointed mess.

After a horror slide down the ladder last year where the Warriors lost their last eight games, putting on dismal performance after dismal performance following the loss of Shaun Johnson, the Warriors come into 2016 with an improved side.

They gained Issac Luke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jeff Robson, Ligi Sao, James Gavet and Blake Ayshford (aka the GOAT) and lost really only Sam Tomkins, Chad Townsend and Nathan Friend.

Tomkins was crap so he is no loss especially given how deadly Tuivasa-Sheck is, Townsend was good for the first half of the year but is too inconsistent and Luke is a huge improvement over Friend.

Their side, which was already top eight material last year, has become even stronger, so the question is, will they finally be able to make the eight for the first time since 2011? Or will they once again disappoint?

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2. Tuimoala Lolohea
3. Konrad Hurrell
4. Solomone Kata
5. Manu Vatuvei
6. Jeff Robson
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Jacob Lillyman
9. Issac Luke
10. Ben Matulino
11. Ryan Hoffman
12. Bodene Thompson
13. Simon Mannering
14. Ben Henry
15. Ligi Sao
16. Albert Vete
17. Sam Lisone

First off the bat, that spine is irresistable. Tuivasa-Sheck was the best fullback in the game last year, completely outperforming every other number one.

I have heard a lot of people saying, ‘Oh I hope the Warriors don’t screw up his development’, but the problem I have with that statement is that he is already developed. He spent 2013 and 2014 developing, so the Warriors can’t do a damn thing to his development without some sort of time machine.

Tuivasa-Sheck may have looked lacklustre in the Auckland Nines, but he will be very good this season, even if he takes a step down from his form last year.

Then you have Shaun Johnson. This guy is basically a likable Chris Sandow, with a much higher ceiling. However, with his ridiculous ceiling it is impossible to argue that he isn’t a positive to this side.

When he actually tries he is electric and just amazing to watch. To be fair to him he puts more effort into games than Sandow, but he will have periods that can last months where he consistently does nothing. Still, with a player this good the troughs are worth it for the peaks.

Then you add Robson. A lot of people aren’t the biggest fan, but he is just what this side needs. For all of Robson’s faults, like his lack of speed and poor running game, you know what you are getting with him. He may be incredibly average, but he is consistent and if there is one thing the Warriors need it is consistent players.

As a foil to the erratic Johnson, Robson will be a very handy pickup. And his form in the Auckland Nines was pretty damn good.

And as the final piece of the spine, you have Luke who is the second best dummy half in the game, behind Cameron Smith. Losing Luke was a huge loss for the Rabbitohs, and a big gain for the Warriors.

No offence to Friend, who is very solid, but Luke is the first genuinely world class and impressive dummy half that the Warriors have had in a very long time. His spark around the ruck will really help their forwards get a roll on.

Not only that, but he is a passionate player and really will lead by example next year, helping the Warriors fight their inconsistency issue. Also, he is a genuine 80-minute player meaning the Warriors won’t need to run a utility and can run a bench of forwards. That will help them a lot, since their bench needs all the help it can get.

Solomone Kata was one of last year’s better rookies and fills a role in the team that the Warriors have been lacking for years. Ever since Brent Tate left, the Warriors have never had a quality centre, with the closest being the inconsistent as all hell Konrad Hurrell.

However Kata has finally filled that void, bringing dynamic running and skills with the ball in-hand to the table. He promises to be a very good player for the Warriors for years to come.

Manu Vatuvei is one of the better wingers in the game, he is just too big to defend against one on one and it really is unfair. At the age of 29 he already has 146 tries and is the most prolific New Zealand try-scorer of all time, with more than 10 tries a season for the last 10 campaigns.

Vatuvei may have had consistency problems when he was younger, but he is over most of that. However, his best feature is just the influence he has over that side, you can really see the intensity levels of the side drop in games where he is injured.

The starting props are quite good. Jacob Lillyman may be ageing but he is still a current Queensland representative player, and provides very solid performances with solid defence and solid metres.

Ben Matulino is one of the better younger props in the game, and has incredible amounts of first-grade experience considering how young he is. He is the main source of go-forward that the Warriors have, consistently bending the line with his footwork and offloads.

Last year Matulino made 155 metres per game on average and released 53 offloads. His stellar performances have earned him a lot of well-deserved praise from many fans.

Heck, the starting second row is also incredible. In a sea of fluctuating players, Ryan Hoffman and Simon Mannering are two solid and consistent performers. The two put in 100 per cent every week but both play different roles that complement each other well.

Hoffman runs hard and smart while Mannering just puts his head down and tackles his skin off in defence, with both of them always rallying the troops to follow their lead. There is a reason these two players are established representatives, they are very good.

Then there is Bodene Thompson, one of the real finds of 2015. He was another very consistent player for the Warriors in 2015, and his combination with Johnson at times reminded me of the Cooper and Thurston partnership.

With a huge roster overhaul, those combinations are very important to keep and his service in 2015 will be invaluable to the squad.

Tuimolola Lolohea was picked in the side not just because he needs to be, but he is better than any of the other wingers the Warriors have on their book, despite him being a half.

Matt Allwood and Jonathan Wright are not first-grade level players and the Warriors don’t have any other real outside backs. The lack of quality is very frightening.

Hurrell is the embodiment of the Warriors. He is up there with Sandow as the the most consistent player I have ever seen. Not only that but he is almost comically lazy.

Hurrell will go from running over the top of blokes one week to floundering around the next. He debuted back in 2012 and has shown no improvement whatsoever in the three years since. There were a lot of reports a while ago that the Warriors wanted to axe him and I don’t blame them, the guy is just not good enough.

His running style is dangerous, too.

The bench is also very mediocre, especially when you compare it to the strength of the starting side. The Warriors’ intensity starts to slip when the interchanges are in action.

Ben Henry is more or less untested in first grade, Ligi Sao didn’t look too impressive in a very poor Manly pack last year, Albert Vete is promising but I think he lacks that consistency and Sam Lisone is very inexperienced.

The bench just doesn’t do enough for me, and the quality of your bench is now incredibly important with the reduced interchanges.

But here we get to the big issues at the Warriors.

Firstly, there is Andrew McFadden. He may have little experience as a first-grade coach and hasn’t had much time to show off his skills, however he has to go. The players don’t respect him – we all saw the Warriors’ capitulation after Johnson went down injured against Manly. The second he went down, it was like the players just gave up.

If you are a respected coach, who knows how to motivate your players, that doesn’t happen. Look at coaches like Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy – could you really see the Broncos or Melbourne ever giving up like that?

The fact the Warriors stopped caring shouts to me that this is a team that doesn’t care what their coach thinks. This is very similar to the Rick Stone situation at Newcastle, Stone needed to be pushed out and so does McFadden.

Half the club wants him gone already. With constant reports that if he doesn’t get off to a flying start the Warriors will fire him to bring back Ivan Cleary (who was the last coach to get them into the eight) it is hard to imagine he will stay out the year.

This means there will be an early coaching change, which cannot be a good thing because the tactics would change drastically. On-field cohesion will suffer.

It seems the club do not have the balls to sack McFadden, so they are waiting for bad results for an excuse. It should have already happened in the off-season, not in the middle of the campaign.

Finally, the biggest issue with the Warriors is that they are the Warriors. I’ve already mentioned this, but they are too inconsistent. They have always been that way, it is ingrained in the club’s culture.

I really want to see a top nine introduced. It was so hard choosing a side to come ninth and I really didn’t want to put the Warriors here. However, with their lack of consistency, poor bench, questionable attitude and confusion over the coaching situation I cannot put them into the eight, despite how stacked their side is.

They will miss on points differential because the other teams just… well they deserve to be in the top eight more. So I will reluctantly put the Warriors at ninth.

There is no way McFadden will last until the end of the year, and don’t be surprised at all if Cleary replaces him. Although they may miss the eight by a ridiculously small margin this year, with a stable coach and a year for the spine to properly gel then they will cruise into the eight in 2017.
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Tedesco & Simona are their biggest threats. If we can limit their impact we should go ok.

I reckon our boys are gonna smash them. Man for man we piss all over their team.

This game will set the tone for our season.. we need instant momentum to build confidence.
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