NRL Team list Tuesday: Winners and losers

The first team lists of 2018 have dropped and, as ever, there are some big early winners and some intriguing losers.



Winners

  1. 1 Damien Cook

    Anthony Seibold named his first side as South Sydney Rabbitohs head coach and while he went with Damien Cook at hooker as expected, he threw in a bit of a bombshell by punting veteran rake Robbie Farah to the reserves.

    Many experts expected Farah would see game time from the bench like he did at the back end of 2017 but it appears his time chewing up minutes from the enigmatic young Cook is over for now.

  2. 2 Alex Johnston

    Sticking with the Bunnies, Seibold has opted to shift Greg Inglis to the centres on his return from a serious knee injury in order to keep Alex Johnston as the custodian at the back and that says plenty about how well he performed in the role without Inglis in 2017.

    Johnston bagged 22 tries in 22 games last season and looked an absolute superstar at the back for Souths, so it's refreshing to see a first-year head coach like Anthony Seibold stick with him and shuffle a star like Greg Inglis around in an attempt to get the best out of both star players.

  3. 3 Viliame Kikau

    There are plenty of huge wraps around the young Fijian out west and the westies got a small taste of the boy they call Bill last season.

    This year, Vili Kikau has been handed a starting backrow berth to start the reason, relegating the impressive Corey Harawira-Naera to the bench in a show of strength and depth at the position.

    While he's got some errors in his game, Kikau has shown he has the capacity to dish out big hits and run the ball as hard as anyone in the game. Coming off a strong World Cup with Fiji, 2018 could the year of Kikau at the foot of the mountains.

  4. 4 Lachlan Croker

    While it's a position that will come with plenty of pressure and scrutiny, the halves role alongside Daly Cherry-Evans could also catapult a young rookie into rugby league superstardom.

    The first man to get a crack at playing five-eighth on the northern beaches this year, Lachlan Croker will have the weight of expectation on his shoulders, but if he gets off to a good start, and that's very possible against a new-look Newcastle side, things could be very good for the young pivot.

Losers

  1. 1 David Nofoaluma

    The Wests Tigers' speedy winger David Nofoaluma has surprisingly found himself amongst the reserves for the first week of the 2018 season.

    'Nofa' has been overlooked by head coach Ivan Cleary who instead opted for Tui Lolohea at fullback and Corey Thompson on the wing as his side tackle pre-season premiership favourites, the Sydney Roosters.

    2017 was a poor year for the Tigers so it's understandable that Cleary would look to shake things up and with so many freshfaces at the club one of the old boys has seemingly fallen out of favour.

  2. 2 Robbie Farah

    With Damien Cook listed amongst the 'winners' on this list, it's natural that veteran hooker Robbie Farah would find himself on the wrong side of the equation.

    Sensationally dumped to the reserves by first-year coach Anthony Seibold, Farah could find it very difficult to work his way back into the first grade side at Redfern this season.

    There have already been reports he's unhappy and is seeking a release to join the Raiders who are desperate for experience at the position, but for now, Farah finds himself amongst the losers from the first team listing of 2018.

  3. 3 Aiden Tolman

    Long amongst the best and most consistent performers at Belmore, prop forward Aiden Tolman finds himself pushed to the bench to make way for new recruit Aaron Woods.

    Woods will start alongside New South Wales Blues teammate David Klemmer in the engine room for the Bulldogs while Tolman starts 2018 in the #15 jersey alongside fellow veteran forward Greg Eastwood on the bench.

    It's far from the end of the world for the likeable big man, but with James Graham punted over the off-season he would have liked his chances of adding a few more minutes to his workload each week, which might be a little harder coming from the bench.

  4. 4 Blake Austin

    It wasn't all that long ago that pundits were discussing Blake Austin's chances of donning the sky blue and representing his state in the State of Origin arena. This week he finds himself starting from the bench with Sam Williams preferred as the partner to Aidan Sezer and Siliva Havili handed the starting hooker role.

    Austin could yet still earn minutes from the bench as backup to Havili or if the Williams/Sezer combo struggles big time but his demotion to riding the pine will come as a blow to the enigmatic young playmaker.

    Who are the biggest winners and losers from the first team list Tuesday? Let us know in the comments below.

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