The Cumberland Throw

The Corner Post – February 16, 2024: The Big NRL Update

As the return to the NRL season approaches, it’s safe to say that fans have certainly been kept occupied during the off season.

Whether it be the preparation for the season ahead, signing scandals or off-field drama, the NRL never ceases to engage fans, even when no football is being played.

To get you all prepared and re-charged for the kick-off to 2024, here’s what’s been happening and what you need to remember before the season begins.


Many NRL players and their NRLW counterparts took significant leaps during this current off-season, making career altering decisions, ultimately determining their footballing futures. Many notable moves this offseason included:

  • Jarome Luai who will play his final season in Penrith in 2024, signing with the West Tigers for 2025.
  • Joseph Manu who is reported to undergo a stint in international Rugby next year, not re-signing with the Roosters beyond this season.
  • Manu

  • Adin Fonua-Blake who will play his final season in New Zealand this year, joining Nicho Hynes and the forward pack in Cronulla for the 2025 season.
  • Kurt Capewell who decided to Join the Warriors on a three year deal, leaving the Broncos effective immediately.
  • Christian Tuipolotu and Raymond Faitala-Mariner who were granted releases from their respective clubs and joined Shane Flanagan’s revitalised Dragons side immediately.
  • Ronald Volkman who was notably picked up by the Dragons and sent back to NZ to have shoulder reconstruction surgery. This has caused mass controversy surrounding the undisclosed nature of his injury by the Warriors prior to releasing him.
  • Ezra Mam who recently extended his stay in Brisbane by 5 years, keeping him a Bronco until 2029.
  • NRLW stars Julia Robinson and Mahalia Murphy recently inked two-year extensions with their current clubs, keeping them Broncos and Eels respectively until 2027.
  • Newcastle Premiership winner Jasmin Strange has made the move to the Sydney Roosters for the 2024 NRLW season, reuniting with Head coach and father John Strange.
  • The Cronulla Sharks have added six-time Black Fern and Rugby Union star Pia Tapsell to their 2024 roster, code switching later this year to kickstart her NRLW career.



Less than three weeks remain until the NRL’s greatest feat takes place, the epic season opener in Sin City Las Vegas.

While the NRL confirmed the clubs travelling overseas months ago, controversy surrounding the experience has stirred again, but not for the reason many might think.

The flights of the teams have been the focal point this last week, with it being revealed that the Roosters were the club randomly selected to take a separate Business class flight straight to Vegas next week. Many have defined the decision as suspicious, with the expected finger pointing at the clubs Chairman, the notorious Godfather of the Roosters; Nick Politis.

This particular flight has been labelled “revolutionary”, offering lower cabin altitude, less turbulence and new filtration, all while the other three clubs will be forced to stop over in Fiji before continuing their venture to Vegas.

As expected, controversies surrounding player withdrawals and selection news have taken priority within the last week, and here’s what you need to remember before organising your fantasy teams and tipping your match winners:

Roosters: Enforcer Jared Warea-Hargreaves is unavailable for selection following a suspension obtained last season. His plea to the judiciary for permission to play in the U.S was rejected just last week, meaning the prop won’t be selected for the big game.

Rabbitohs: South Sydney has faced a string of bad luck in the lead up to Las Vegas and the NRL season. The likes of five eighth Cody Walker, winger Tyrone Munro and backs Campbell Graham and Isaac Thompson have all been ruled out or are in doubt with respective injuries.

Campbell Graham

Munro was one of the most impressive rookies of the 2023 season, and Walker and Graham will also be significant losses, with both involved in State of Origin selection for NSW just last year.

Furthermore, star recruit Jack Wighton has been ruled out for the Rabbitohs following his suspension obtained at the end of his final season in Canberra. He will be eligible for selection in Round 3.

Broncos: The Broncos have announced that Ezra Mam and Jordan Riki have both suffered minor injuries in their preseason preparation, although both players are expected to take the field in the first round of the new season.

In disappointing news for the club, the highly-publicised scrap between Broncos Adam Reynolds and Patrick Carrigan outside a Brisbane establishment has developed a life of its own, with even more footage of the incident emerging in recent days. Both players involved are waiting to hear of potential punishments from the NRL, with their involvement in the early rounds currently up in the air.

Sea Eagles: Manly have enjoyed a positive pre-season, highlighted by their defeat of  the Rabbitohs in a trial match 68-6 just last week. The club has suffered little to no casualties, with the only player expected to miss the Las Vegas thriller being Matthew Lodge who is currently working through a knee injury.



Though other NRL teams might be eyeing off future involvements in the Las Vegas promotion, the job at hand remains the 2nd instalment of the NRL’s “Preseason Challenge”.

Following Manly’s victory in the inaugural series, the attraction of the $100,000 prize for a couple of weeks of trial footy is a tasty icing on the preseason cake.

The first round of NRL trial matches will take place this week, with the Bulldogs kicking the series off with a win against Melbourne in Belmore. 

This week’s team lists demonstrated that all squads have allowed for both the visibility of their clubs juniors, and an opportunity for experienced players to get some much needed football minutes logged for 2024.

Friday night sees the always entertaining and much respected Harvey Norman All Stars clashes, with the NRLW Indigenous vs Māori fixture at 5:50pm, followed by the Mens at 8:10pm. The male Indigenous and Māori sides are looking more imposing than they have in recent years with high profile and experienced players declaring themselves available.

Indigenous: The most notable feature of the Indigenous side is their back line.

The numbers 1 to 5 have incredible strike power; Latrell Mitchell,Josh Addo-Carr, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Kotoni Staggs and Alofiana Khan-Pereira will set the stadium alight. These players are amongst the most elusive and creative outside backs in the league, given the list includes premiership winners, Origin players and rookie speedsters. Expect them to have a big say in the result.

The Hammer

Māori: The strength of the Māori side is found in the forwards. Royce Hunt, Leo Thompson and Joseph Tapine headline the Māori pack, and are regarded as some of the leagues most powerful forwards.

Brandon Smith returns to the dummy half role, with Briton Nikora and Kenneath Bromwich filling the edge positions. Expect the Māori forward pack to bring the power as they look to counteract the pace and creativity of the Indigenous side.

PS – Eels supporters, don’t miss the opportunity to watch the rising stars of PARRAdise in action on Saturday evening, kicking off at 5:55pm.



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5 thoughts on “The Corner Post – February 16, 2024: The Big NRL Update

  1. sixties

    Forty, Clint and I discussed Manu on The Tip Sheet podcast. I’ll still be stunned if he leaves the Roosters. But if he goes, a cashed up Roosters is a scary prospect.

    1. Natasha Soueid

      definitely think it’s a salary cap move.. If he goes he’ll be back within a few years/ after Teddy sees himself out

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