NRL Trials Week 1: Every club's standout performers

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NRL pre-season trials are officially underway, with all 16 clubs set to play over the weekend as they prepare for the upcoming season. 

Many clubs will trot out strong outfits over the weekend, while others will use the opportunity to give experience to some younger players before the season begins.

Here's who shined for each side over the first weekend of NRL trials. 



Jayden Hodges: A perfectly weighted grubber was a highlight of the match, as Hodges nicely set up Jordan Lipp for a try. His 31 tackles were also the most in the team. The 28-year-old was calm and measured, likely making a very positive impression on the Cowboys coaching staff. 

Daejarn Asi: He put on a very competent performance in the half, dictating play. Notably, he made all four of his conversions. 

Iosefo Baleiwairiki: The Olympian and Fiji rugby sevens player was proactive throughout the match, despite not scoring a try. His pace on the wing was evident and will be a useful squad member for the Cowboys this season.


Davvy Moale: A very physical performance from the South Sydney prop, who made an obvious impact in defence. He also made 36 tackles - the most of anyone on the field. 

Josiah Karapani: No tries, but 157 run metres is impressive regardless. He never stopped trying ... or running, for that matter.

Zane Bijorac: Playing on the wing, Bijorac scored his side's first try of the match. He also made two line breaks and threatened all match.



Reece Walsh: Arguably player of the match, the 19-year-old put on a show against the Storm. He scored in the 38th minute to give his side the lead and made a crisp pass to pick up a try-assist in the second half. His pace, athleticism and skill were on display, with and without the ball.

Marcelo Montoya: The Warriors centre lead his side in run metres and line breaks this game, aiming to make something happen every time he touched the ball. A first-half double was entirely deserved.

Jazz Tevaga: He made 27 tackles - the most of any Warrior - and was consistent in defence and attack. The 26-year-old may not be a 'big name' player, but he showed he can make big contributions regardless.


Xavier Coates: The Storm's new winger immediately made himself known with an impressive try to open the scoring. He cleverly bounced around defenders to crash over in the corner, and grab his first four points as a Melbourne player. He was quiet from there on, however.

Cameron Munster: Following the white powder scandal in the off-season, the Storm's No. 6 has hit the ground running. He appeared in control every time he had the ball and orchestrated play nicely. 

Brandon Smith: 'The Cheese' shined in the lock position - a role he will likely take up full-time in 2022. Similarly to Munster, he appears to have settled back into rugby league well following the off-season scandal. 



Xavier Savage: The young fullback's footwork was incredible and played the majority of the 80 minutes. Scored a nice solo try from a grubber kick early on and made a couple of half breaks as well. Saved a try in defence but let one in as well during the first half. Continued to pop up everywhere and look threatening whenever he touched the ball, finishing with 176 metres, two linebreaks and five tackle-breaks. He will give Ricky Stuart something to think about in the next couple of weeks in regards to the fullback position. 

Brad Schneider: Created and finished off a nice try in the first half. Took over the dominant half role with Sam Williams and Matt Frawley both going down a few hours before kickoff and handled himself very well, still looking to run the ball plenty and control the kicking game. Finished with over 100 running metres and close to 200 kick metres. 

Emre Guler: Set the tone early doors for Canberra with some tough carries and strong defence. Finished with 13 runs for 89 metres, as well as 28 tackles. Looks to be in good touch and is a very good chance of starting in the front row for the Green Machine this year. 


Ronald Volkman: Looked the best of the halves for the Roosters despite coming off the bench. His kicking game was fantastic, starting with a picture-perfect 40/20, a try assists from a nice grubber and a towering bomb that Savage put down at the back. Loves the contact as well, never shying away from taking the ball to the line or digging his shoulder in while defending. Really promising performance in a limited time for the young playmaker. 

Terrell May: A clear standout for the Roosters as soon as he came off the bench - a big strong lad with a nice offload and had a huge impact. Did some ball-playing but was extremely hard to handle when he ran the ball. Finished with 119 metres, four offloads and 15 tackles without a miss in the middle of the field. Terrell is a brother of Panthers winger Taylan - you only need to look at the haircut to pick it out. 

Naufahu Whyte: Scored a nice try in the first half, showing his agility and skill close to the line. Didn't have a heap of involvement with just but did look dangerous when he saw the ball, made three tackle breaks, and defended soundly on the edge. 


Sea Eagles (excluding Tom Trbojevic):

Tolu Koula: Exciting prospect and looked dangerous every time he got his hands on the ball. Replaced superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic for the second half and certainly didn't look out of place, running for over 100 metres, breaking a handful of tackles and laying on two tries for his winger late in the game after moving to the centres. Will find it hard/impossible to crack the side in the No.1 jumper due to Trbojevic, but his size and footwork could see him fight for a spot in the centres. 

Raymond Tuaimaulo Vaega: Scored a hat-trick, including a freakish solo effort and two acrobatic diving finishes in the corner. A really solid and stocky winger who is hard to handle and a noted strong defender out wide. Finished with well over 100 run metres and three tackle breaks. If you're a winger in a trial game, this is the exact type of performance you'd be hoping for. 


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