Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Reimis Smith 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Jake Averillo 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Luke Thompson 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Chris Smith.
Interchange: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Kurt Capewell 17. Jack Hetherington.
Reserves: 18. Dean Whare 19. Billy Burns 20. Matt Burton 21. Charlie Staines.
Coach: Ivan Cleary.
Parramatta Eels v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLEelsBroncos); Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta; Friday, September 18. Kick-off: 7:55 pm.
Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jai Field 7. Mitch Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown.
Interchange: 14. Will Smith 15. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi.
Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster 19. Stefano Utoikamanu 20. George Jennings 21. Daniel Alvaro.
Coach: Brad Arthur.
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Richard Kennar 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Te’o 11. David Fifita 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patrick Carrigan (C).
Reserves: 18. Kobe Hetherington 19. Pride Petterson-Robati 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. Jesse Arthars.
Coach: Peter Gentle.
Manly Sea Eagles v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLManlyTitans); Lottoland, Brookvale; Saturday, September 19. Kick-off: 3 pm.
Manly: 1. Tevita Funa 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Abbas Miski 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Jack Gosiewski 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.
Interchange: 14. Morgan Boyle 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka.
Reserves: 18. Haumole Olakau’atu 19. Reuben Garrick 20. Ben Trbojevic 21. Tom Trbojevic.
Coach: Des Hasler.
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Treymain Spry 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor (C) 12. Sam Stone 13. Tyrone Peachey.
Interchange: 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jai Arrow 16. Sam Lisone 17. Jai Whitbread.
Reserves: 18. Darius Farmer 19. Brian Kelly 20. Toby Sexton 21. Nathan Peats.
Coach: Justin Holbrook.
Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers (#NRLStormTigers); Sunshine Coast Stadium, Kawana Waters; Saturday, September 19. Kick-off: 5:30 pm.
Storm: 1. Nicho Hynes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
Reserves: 18. Brandon Smith 19. Issac Lumelume 20. Max King 21. Paul Momirovski.
Coach: Craig Bellamy.
Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Asu Kepaoa 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Sam McIntyre 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal.
Interchange: 14. Zane Musgrove 15. Matthew Eisenhuth 16. Russell Packer 17. Luke Garner.
Reserves: 18. Tommy Talau 19. Michael Chee-Kam 20. Jock Madden 21. Jacob Liddle.
Coach: Michael Maguire.
Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLRoostersSharks); Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park; Saturday, September 19. Kick-off: 7:35 pm.
Roosters: 1. Joseph Manu 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu.
He was slated for a move elsewhere but Alex Johnston has instead decided to stay at the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Blessed with raw speed, Johnston has become a fan favourite in his years in the cardinal and myrtle.
His new deal, which is for two seasons, gives Rabbitohs fans the chance to continue to see him in action.
Johnston, a La Perouse junior, has so far played 138 NRL games and scored 97 tries in that time.
Johnston has also represented both Papua New Guinea and Australia at the international level.
For the Rabbitohs, being able to retain a player of Johnston’s pedigree is pleasing to them.
“Alex is a very important member of our team and we’re very happy that we’ve been able to come to an agreement with him to stay on for at least another two seasons,” Rabbitohs Head of Football Mark Ellison said.
“Alex is a Souths junior, a potent try scorer, and has been a mainstay of our backline for a number of seasons, be it on the wing or at fullback.
“We’re all very happy that we’ve been able to secure Alex to stay with the Club he loves.
“We’re looking forward to seeing him break through the 100-try mark very shortly as we head towards the Finals.”
Johnston is pleased to have his future sorted for at least two more seasons and was quick to praise the fans.
“Firstly I would like to thank all of the Members and fans for their support. It’s been overwhelming to be honest,” Johnston said.
“I’m absolutely stoked to be staying and continuing my dream of being a one-club man.”
With his contract sorted, Johnston just wants to get on with scoring tries and winning premierships.
“I’m relieved to finally have my contract sorted so I can now just concentrate on footy and scoring more tries,” Johnston continued.
“I’m really looking forward to the next couple of years and playing with this group of men we have here at Souths.”
The final stretch is upon us but still spots are up for grabs with round 18 upon us.
It will not be easy but where there’s a will, there’s a way and teams will hope one win can change their fortunes.
So, let us get right into it; here are the teams for round 18 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLTigersSouths); Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta; Thursday, September 10. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.
Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Adam Doueihi 5. Asu Kepaoa 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks (C) 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal.
Interchange: 14. Matthew Eisenhuth 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Sam McIntyre
Reserves: 18. Chris Lawrence 19. Tommy Talau 20. Josh Reynolds 21. Russell Packer.
Coach: Michael Maguire.
Souths:1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Steven Marsters 5. Dane Gagai 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds (C) 8. Liam Knight 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray.
Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Jed Cartwright 16. Patrick Mago 17. Keaon Koloamatangi.
Reserves: 18. Jaxson Paulo 19. Ky Rodwell 20. Troy Dargan 21. Cory Denniss.
Coach: Wayne Bennett.
Canterbury Bulldogs v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLBulldogsManly); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Friday, September 11. Kick-off: 6 pm.
Bulldogs:1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Jake Averillo 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Aiden Tolman 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson.
Reserves: 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Kurt Capewell 20. Matt Burton 21. Charlie Staines.
Coach: Ivan Cleary.
Eels:1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jai Field 7. Mitch Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown.
Interchange: 14. Ray Stone 15. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi.
Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster 19. Stefano Utoikamanu 20. Will Smith 21. Samuel Hughes.
Coach: Brad Arthur.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Canberra Raiders (#NRLDragonsRaiders); WIN Stadium, Wollongong; Saturday, September 12. Kick-off: 3 pm.
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Cody Ramsey 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Kaide Ellis 9. Ben Hunt 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jacob Host 13. Cameron McInnes (C).
Interchange: 14. Billy Brittain 15. Josh Kerr 16. Blake Lawrie 17. Jackson Ford.
Reserves: 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tyrell Fuimaono 20. Brayden Wiliame 21. Max Feagai.
Coach: Dean Young.
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad 2. Semi Valemei 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Jordan Rapana 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Tom Starling 10. Ryan Sutton 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine.
Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Hudson Young 17. Corey Harawira-Naera.
Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Matt Frawley 20. Matthew Timoko 21. Iosia Soliola.
Coach: Ricky Stuart.
Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLTitansBroncos); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Saturday, September 12. Kick-off: 5:30 pm.
Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Beau Fermor 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty (C) 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Sam Stone 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Tyrone Peachey.
Interchange: 14. Erin Clark 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Jai Arrow 17. Sam Lisone.
Reserves: 18. Tanah Boyd 19. Treymain Spry 20. Darius Farmer 21. Nathan Peats.
Coach: Justin Holbrook.
Broncos:1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Richard Kennar 6. Sean O’Sullivan 7. Tom Dearden 8. Rhys Kennedy 9. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patrick Carrigan (C).
Interchange: 14. Cory Paix 15. Ben Te’o 16. Xavier Coates 17. Joe Ofahengaue.
Anthony Griffin will be a head coach in the NRL once more, with the St George Illawarra Dragons signing the veteran coach for two seasons.
Griffin, who was previously at the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos, comes with a specific style and approach.
With a 55.5% win rate to his name and international experience as an assistant with Tonga, the club believe Griffin is their man.
“We are excited to announce that Anthony Griffin will be joining St George Illawarra next season,” said Dragons CEO Ryan Webb.
“Anthony is an experienced operator with a proven track record across his previous seven seasons as a head coach.
“The board of directors were unanimous in their decision on Monday afternoon in appointing Anthony ahead of the other candidates.
“Anthony has missed finals football only once which speaks to the strong discipline and ability to develop young talent of which he has exhibited both throughout his career.”
With their head coach in Griffin now sorted, the Dragons know that getting the pieces around him in the coaching ranks is crucial.
“The next steps for the Dragons are now determining the correct framework and structures to put around Anthony and the football department to ensure his tenure as coach is a successful one,” continued Webb.
Griffin is pleased to start in the role later this year.
“There is no doubt that St George Illawarra is one of the biggest and proudest clubs in the game and I am excited to commence my role as coach later in the year,” Griffin said.
“While results may not have gone in the club’s favour in recent years, I see many a positive in the playing squad and the current crop of juniors currently coming through the ranks.
“My goal is a simple one, to ensure the Dragons are a club that every member, partner and fan can be proud of moving forward.”