NRL.com Daily Blog: Eels lock inks new deal
It's the eve of the 2018 Telstra Premiership season with team lists announced for the opening round of the campaign.
Follow all the big news as it breaks right here.
Refresh this page for the latest updates.
7.40pm AEDT: Thanks for following today's NRL.com daily blog. Thursday is the first game day of 2018 and a new blog will start at 7am.
6.42pm AEDT: On the eve of his debut witgh the Dragons, Ben Hunt has spoken of his State of Origin hopes.
5.25pm AEDT: Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita has spoken out in support of controversial Brisbane signing Matt Lodge ahead of the opening round. Read about the ''pride'' Fifita has in an old friend.
3.50pm AEDT: NRL Fantasy fans, here is the podcast you've been waiting for heading into round one. List
3.05pm AEDT: Newcastle Knights mentor will coach his 200th NRL match on Saturday night Manly visit Newcastle. NRL.com reporter Peter Jolly let Brown know of the milestone.
1.16pm AEDT: Hayley Byrnes reports in from Shark Park ... Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has addressed the media before the team flies north for their Friday night stoush with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Flanagan said Valentine Holmes is enjoying the pressure to retain his role, new recruit Josh Dugan has been helping him a lot and has been giving the Queensland speedster plenty of tips on how to succeed at the back.
1.00pm AEDT: Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has defended the club's signing of Matthew Lodge and backed the return of Todd Carney to the NRL. Story to come this afternoon on NRL.com.
12.50pm AEDT: One for tipsters and Fantasy fans: the NRL casualty ward for round one, 2018.
12.35pm AEDT: Joel Gould reports in from Brisbane ... Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed that veteran forward Sam Thaiday will start at hooker in the blockbuster season opener against St George/Illawarra at Kogarah Oval on Thursday night.
Bennett said the Broncos would "nurse [McCullough] through the next four or five weeks and get him going. After that he'll be full-time".
"He won't start. Sam will start at hooker," Bennett said at his first pre-game press conference of the year at Broncos headquarters.
12.10pm AEDT: Parramatta lock and reigning Eels player of the year Nathan Brown has officially re-signed with the club for three years, keeping him in the blue and gold through to the end of the 2020 season, as reported by NRL.com's Dan Walsh last week.
12.00pm AEDT: New Zealand Rugby League is stepping up its preparations for the planned Test against England in Denver in June, and will seek permission from the United States to allow Manu Ma'u and Russell Packer into the country, Michael Chammas reports. Both players have criminal records.
11.11am AEDT: Here's today's Stat Attack on which team excels in crunch time.
10.47am AEDT: For those of you, who are Married at First Sight fans ...
10.30am AEDT: North Queensland winger Kyle Feldt is one of the best aerial wide men in the game and he's ready to fly again - and with more consistency - after an unusually strong pre-season, according to the Cowboys.
9.25am AEDT: Broncos prop Matthew Lodge has spoken to Fox League about an alcohol-fuelled incident in New York in 2015, which has been the subject of a civil suit in the United States.
"I can't be more sorry to them and I'd happily say I did the wrong thing, they didn't deserve that," he told Fox Sports' League Life.
"They don't deserve any of that behaviour and I'll do anything I can to make up for it.
"…I've done a lot of rehabilitation and self reflection that I probably should have done years ago when I was 18-19 coming through the game."
9.00am AEDT: NRL.com's Michael Chammas talked to Wests Tigers halves Luke Brooks and Josh Reynolds about how their combination will work this year. Watch the video below.
8.30am AEDT: Here's a full rundown on what all yesterday's team lists mean for your NRL Fantasy team, from NRL.com's mysterious Fantasy guru Lone Scout.
8.15am AEDT: Brad Takairangi has made a move from the centres to the forward pack for the Eels after Jarryd Hayne's arrival at the club, putting him in a friendly rivalry with Tepai Moeroa. Here's what they both had to say about it.
8.05am AEDT: A couple of surprise exclusions in yesterday's team lists were Raiders five-eighth Blake Austin, who was relegated to the bench, and Knights hooker Danny Levi, who was dropped from the team's 17 altogether.
Less of a surprise considering his pre-season form was Damien Cook's selection as starting hooker for the Rabbitohs ahead of Robbie Farah, who was named 18th man. New Souths coach Anthony Seibold explains his selection below.
7.45amAEDT: Here's a great interview between Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and NRL.com's Zac Bailey on how he's matured as a leader after the player divide at the Sea Eagles in 2014. Worth a watch.
7.30am AEDT: NRL.com's Newcastle correspondent Peter Jolly recently reported on Chris Heighington becoming the oldest player to make his club debut for the Knights and has looked into the who is the oldest player to ever make a club debut. He thinks he's got a winner: "I've done a bit of digging around and believe the oldest club debutant is Bob Graves who was 38 years and 300 days old when he came out of retirement to play for Annandale in 1919, after the club had been hit hard by the Spanish flu epidemic that hit Sydney at the time."
There you go.
7.15am AEDT: Hear from Josh Papalii on Canberra's preparation for their season opener against the Titans on the Gold Coast here.
7am AEDT: If you haven't seen them yet, the 21-man team lists for all 16 clubs going into round one are right here. They'll be updated with 19-man squads 24 hours before each match, then reduced to the final 17 an hour before kick-off.