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Raiders name Dave Taylor for NRL trial

Raiders name Dave Taylor for NRL trial
Former Gold Coast Titan Dave Taylor. Credit: Colin Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos.

Dave Taylor will get his biggest chance yet to prove he is worthy of another NRL shot after being named in a near full-strength squad for Canberra's trial against Newcastle.

All 16 NRL clubs are set to trot out the majority of their stars this weekend in what will be their final hitout before the new season kicks off on March 2.

Former Queensland Origin star Taylor was on Tuesday named in a 32-man Raiders squad that included stars Blake Austin, Josh Hodgson, Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii.

Taylor remains on a pre-season contract with the Raiders as he attempts to make a comeback to the NRL following a one-year stint in the Super League last year.

 


In other team news, Melbourne veteran Billy Slater is unlikely to make his comeback by round one after failing to be named in the Storm's 24-man trial team to face Canterbury in Hobart.

The other two members of their big three in captain Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk will make their first appearance of the pre-season, with Cameron Munster named at five-eighth.

Young Tonumaipea starts in the No.1 jersey where he is likely to begin the year.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler pencilled in his best 17 to take on the Storm, with Brenko Lee and Kerrod Holland starting in the side's vacant centre and wing slots respectively.

Warriors veterans Ryan Hoffman and Issac Luke get their first hitouts in a team that has young gun Ata Hingano partnering Shaun Johnson in the halves to meet Gold Coast.

Tuimoala Lolohea is on the wing and new captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback for the clash in Palmerston North, although the Titans name their team on Wednesday.

The Sydney Roosters have also selected their top squad, naming new recruit Michael Gordon at fullback and Latrell Mitchell in the three-quarter line to take on Manly on the Central Coast.

Wests Tigers will host the first trial against North Queensland at Campbelltown on Friday, although key men Mitchell Moses (heel), Luke Brooks (teeth) and Matt Ballin (knee) are out.

South Sydney captain Sam Burgess is set to step onto the field for the first time this year in their annual Charity Shield fixture against St George-Illawarra on Sunday.

Rabbitohs coach named his star forward along with Adam Reynolds, George Burgess, Robbie Farah and Alex Johnston, who is deputising for a rested Greg Inglis at fullback.

They'll take on a full-strength Dragons side that has skipper Gareth Widdop, Josh Dugan, Jason Nightingale, Russell Packer and Paul Vaughan for the first time this year.

"While we'll still going to give some guys some opportunities to impress, it'll be close to our starting side," assistant coach Ben Hornby said.

"This trial is more about getting those combinations going before the season starts. It'll be a good start for the boys to get into competition-mode."

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