NRL Round 16: Team lists, Latrell Mitchell, Jack Wighton return, KFC SuperCoach NRL analysis

Dean RitchieNews Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
Fonua Pole will make his NRL deebut for the Tigers against the Warriors on Sunday. David Swift
Camera IconFonua Pole will make his NRL deebut for the Tigers against the Warriors on Sunday. David Swift Credit: News Corp Australia

Keep fit, stay disciplined, respect the referee and use your noggin.

These are the words Rabbitohs legend Mario Fenech imparted on Latrell Mitchell just days before the champion South Sydney fullback makes a highly anticipated return against Parramatta on Saturday night.

A bold performance would thrust Mitchell, who missed the club’s last game against St George Illawarra due to Covid, into contention for the Origin decider in Brisbane on July 13.

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Fenech, who played 181 games at Redfern between 1981 and 1990, was invited onto the field for Souths’ 75-minute training session on Tuesday.

He chatted, high-fived and hugged most Souths players but took a special interest in Mitchell, who has played just three matches in almost 11 months through suspension, Covid and knee and hamstring injuries.


“Latrell is as fit as a fiddle,” Fenech said. “I like to compliment people that keep fit and look good. I told him: ‘You looked great, fantastic, good on you, keep moving and keep fit’.

“When I was with Latrell, I also told him to use his noggin on the field and make sure he makes the right decisions. I also told him not to give away penalties and to respect the referee. If you don’t do that, the ref will say: ‘See you later’. You have to stay calm.

“He is a good bloke. I really like Latrell, he’s an incredible player. You can underestimate the size of him, he’s huge. When Latrell was out, it affected the team dramatically.

“I talked to the boys, influenced them a bit and tried to make sure they were doing the right thing, not the wrong thing; just simple things that mean a lot. I’d do anything for Souths. Why wouldn’t I? Souths are my great club.”

Blues selectors may be reluctant to select Mitchell after just one game back but the Souths champion — now fit and fresh — is ready to rock the NRL once again

NSW could opt to recall Jack Wighton ahead of Mitchell, who spent a fortnight in America, at considerable cost to Souths, working on his troublesome hamstring with Philadelphia training guru Bill Knowles.

“Like any other player, if Latrell can prove his fitness this week at club level and the Origin coach and selectors think he is ready, we support him playing,” Souths CEO Blake Solly said.

“Provided Latrell is happy with his return, and provided Jason (Demetriou, Souths coach) and the NSW selectors are happy, then that should be enough for everyone.

“He is one of the great players in the game at the moment, so having him back on the field will be a lift for everyone around him and everyone at the club. I think the additional couple of weeks’ recovery from Covid will be very helpful for Latrell, too.

“Had it not been for Covid, Latrell was likely to have played club games before Origin II but Covid unfortunately ruled him out.

“Anyone who has seen or spoken to Latrell in the last month would realise he is itching to get back. He can’t wait to show the Rabbitohs’ members and fans his tremendous skills.”

Since returning to Australia, Mitchell has continued to implement the methods and techniques from Knowles.

“Latrell picked up an awful lot of knowledge over there. He is a smart kid and is putting all that he learned into practice every time he trains,” Solly said.

There will also be interest in halfback Lachlan Ilias, who was dragged after 29 minutes during South Sydney’s heavy loss to St George Illawarra in Wollongong on June 16.

Daunting test for Tigers rookie

Rookie frontrower Fonua Pole is set to be handed his first grade debut for Wests Tigers against the Warriors at a sold-out Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

The Victorian-born prop, who re-signed with the Tigers for a further two years in February, has been blooded by interim coach Brett Kimmorley for the daunting trip across the Tasman.

Pole came through the club’s feeder system and has been earmarked as one of their players of the future. He was named SG Ball forward of the year by Balmain last season but now gets the chance to test himself in the NRL.

Pole is among a host of new faces in Kimmorley’s line-up following their last-start loss to Canterbury, which includes the return of James Roberts and Stefano Utoikamanu, while Fa’amanu Brown has been given the start at hooker over Jacob Liddle.

SG Ball - Tigers v Knights
Camera IconFonua Pole will make his NRL deebut for the Tigers against the Warriors on Sunday. David Swift Credit: News Corp Australia

Adam Doueihi also remains on the bench, with Luke Brooks given another chance in the halves alongside Jackson Hastings.

Meanwhile, a number of big names were named in extended squads following representative round, including David Fifita (knee), Daniel Saifiti (knee), Ryan Papenhuyzen (Covid), Jack Wighton (Covid), Victor Radley (ankle), Stefano Utoikamanu (foot), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (hamstring) and Bradman Best (elbow).

Luciano Leilua will also make his club debut for North Queensland after his mid-season move from the Tigers. The game also marks Leilua’s 100th in the NRL.

Newcastle utility Tex Hoy will stand in for Kalyn Ponga (concussion), while Sydney Roosters star Luke Keary remains sidelined as he continues his own recovery from a head knock.



Thursday, 7.50pm, Brookvale Oval, Sydney

Sea Eagles

1. Reuben Garrick, 2. Jason Saab, 3. Morgan Harper, 4. Tolutau Koula, 5. Christian Tuipulotu, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Sean Keppie, 9. Lachlan Croker, 10. Toafofoa Sipley, 11. Haumole Olakau’atu, 12. Andrew Davey, 13. Jake Trbojevic

Bench: 14. Dylan Walker, 15. Josh Schuster, 16. Martin Taupau, 17. Taniela Paseka

Reserves: 18. Ben Trbojevic, 19. Kurt De Luis, 20. Ethan Bullemor, 21. Jorge Taufua, 22. Kaeo Weekes

TEAM NEWS: Josh Aloiai (concussion) is ruled out after a head knock playing for Samoa on Saturday. Sean Keppie moves into the starting lineup, Taniela Paseka onto the bench.


1. Nick Meaney, 2. Dean Ieremia, 3. Marion Seve, 4. Justin Olam, 5. Grant Anderson, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Josh King, 11. Chris Lewis, 12. Kenny Bromwich, 13. Brandon Smith

Bench: 14. Jayden Nikorima, 15. Tui Kamikamica, 16. Tom Eisenhuth, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Reserves: 18. Alec MacDonald, 19. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 20. Tyran Wishart, 21. Jordan Grant, 22. Bronson Garlick

TEAM NEWS: In a surprise move, the Storm have named Cameron Munster to start, though he is expected to be ruled out after injuring his AC joint in Origin II. Felise Kaufusi (personal reasons) is out with Chris Lewis named to start on an edge in his place. Josh King starts at prop, Brandon Smith at lock but all eyes on Ryan Papenhuyzen who lurks in the reserves and is a strong chance to play on Thursday night.


Friday, 6pm, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle


1. Tex Hoy, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Enari Tuala, 5. Dominic Young, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Adam Clune, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Chris Randall, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Mitch Barnett, 13. Kurt Mann

Bench: 14. Simi Sasagi, 15. Leo Thompson, 16. Mat Croker, 17. Pasami Saulo

Reserves: 18. Jake Clifford, 19. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 20. Bradman Best, 21. Hymel Hunt, 22. Daniel Saifiti

TEAM NEWS: Kalyn Ponga (concussion) is out after a head knock in Origin II with Tex Hoy starting at fullback in his place. Some big names in the reserves in Bradman Best and Daniel Saifiti so watch for late changes.


1. AJ Brimson, 2. Greg Marzhew, 3. Brian Kelly, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Paul Turner, 7. Toby Sexton, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Erin Clark, 10. Isaac Liu, 11. Sam McIntyre, 12. Beau Fermor, 13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui

Bench: 14. Tanah Boyd, 15. Moeaki Fotuaika, 16. Jaimin Jolliffe, 17. David Fifita

Reserves: 18. Corey Thompson, 19. Herman Ese’ese, 20. Aaron Booth, 21. Kevin Proctor, 22. Sosefo Fifita

TEAM NEWS: David Fifita is back, if only via the bench. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will back up after Origin.


Friday, 7.55pm, BlueBet Stadium, Penrith


1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Taylan May, 3. Izack Tago, 4. Stephen Crichton, 5. Brian To’o, 6. Jarome Luai, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Moses Leota, 9. Api Koroisau, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Liam Martin, 13. Isaah Yeo

Bench: 14. Mitch Kenny, 15. Scott Sorensen, 16. Spencer Leniu, 17. Jaeman Salmon

Reserves: 18. Robert Jennings, 19. Matt Eisenhuth, 20. Chris Smith, 21. Sunia Turuva, 22. Sean O’Sullivan

TEAM NEWS: All of Penrith’s Origin septet have been selected to backup as have all the other players who represented their nations in rep round. Just two changes from the team that played last round and both are in the reserves with Sunia Turuva and Sean O’Sullivan joining the team.


1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Billy Smith, 4. Joey Manu, 5. Joseph Suaalii, 6. Drew Hutchison, 7. Sam Walker, 8. Lindsay Collins, 9. Sam Verrills, 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Victor Radley

Bench: 14. Connor Watson, 15. Nat Butcher, 16. Egan Butcher, 17. Fletcher Baker

Reserves: 18. Paul Momirovski, 19. Daniel Suluka-Fifita, 20. Adam Keighran, 21. Terrell May, 22. Lachlan Lam

TEAM NEWS: Luke Keary has not recovered from his lingering concussion issues which sees Sam Walker shift to halfback and Drew Hutchison start at five-eighth. Victor Radley returns (ankle) and slots straight into the starting side at lock displacing Nat Butcher. Egan Butcher (concussion) has recovered and his brother joins him on the bench.


Saturday, 3pm, CommBank Stadium, Parramatta


1. Jake Averillo, 2. Jacob Kiraz, 3. Aaron Schoupp, 4. Corey Allan, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Matt Burton, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Max King, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Josh Jackson, 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13. Tevita Pangai Jr

Bench: 14. Zach Dockar-Clay, 15. Corey Waddell, 16. Joe Stimson, 17. Kurtis Morrin

Reserves: 19. Declan Casey, 20. Bailey Biondi-Odo, 21. Jayden Tanner, 22. Harrison Edwards, 24. Jackson Topine

TEAM NEWS: Winning form is good form and the Bulldogs are unchanged after last round. Kurt Morrin holds onto his spot despite reports he had dislocated his shoulder in round 15 against the Tigers.


1. Will Kennedy, 2. Sione Katoa, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Siosifa Talakai, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Nicho Hynes, 8. Toby Rudolf, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Royce Hunt, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Cameron McInnes

Bench: 14. Aiden Tolman, 15. Dale Finucane, 16. Teig Wilton, 17. Andrew Fifita

Reserves: 18. Connor Tracey 19. Braydon Trindall, 20. Kade Dykes, 21. Jesse Colquhoun, 22. Lachie Miller

TEAM NEWS: No changes for the Sharks.


Saturday, 5.30pm, QCB Stadium, Townsville


1. Scott Drinkwater, 2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 3. Valentine Holmes, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. Murray Taulagi, 6. Tom Dearden, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Jordan McLean, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Coen Hess, 11. Tom Gilbert, 12. Jeremiah Nanai, 13. Jason Taumalolo

Bench: 14. Jake Granville, 15. Luciano Leilua, 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 17. Griffin Neame

Reserves: 18. Ben Condon, 19. Brendan Elliot, 20. Kane Bradley, 23. Iosefo Baleiwairiki, 24. Kyle Feldt

TEAM NEWS: Luciano Leilua is named on the bench after joining the Cowboys from the Tigers mid-season. Tom Gilbert is named to start pushing Jamayne Taunoa-Brown to the bench and Connely Lemuelu right out of the squad.


1. Te Maire Martin, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Brenko Lee, 5. Selwyn Cobbo, 6. Ezra Mam, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Corey Jensen, 9. Billy Walters, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Kurt Capewell, 12. Jordan Riki, 13. Pat Carrigan

Bench: 14. Jake Turpin, 15. Kobe Hetherington, 16. Thomas Flegler, 17. Keenan Palasia

Reserves: 18. Jordan Pereira, 19. TC Robati, 20. Tyson Gamble, 21. Delouise Hoeter, 22. Rhys Kennedy

TEAM NEWS: Adam Reynolds is back and comes straight into the halves to partner Ezra Mam at the expense of Tyrone Roberts. Payne Haas is named to start despite picking up an ankle injury to go with his matching AC shoulder joint worries. Haas is joined by all the Broncos Origin contingent.

Payne Haas has been named but is under an injury could. NRL Photos
Camera IconPayne Haas has been named but is under an injury could. NRL Photos Credit: Supplied


Saturday, 7.35pm, Accor Stadium, Sydney


1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Taane Milne, 4. Campbell Graham, 5. Jaxson Paulo, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Lachlan Ilias, 8. Tevita Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Mark Nicholls, 11. Keaon Koloamatangi, 12. Jai Arrow, 13. Cameron Murray

Bench: 14. Kodi Nikorima, 15. Thomas Burgess, 16. Siliva Havili, 17. Hame Sele

Reserves: 18. Blake Taaffe, 19. Isaiah Tass, 20. Liam Knight, 21. Ben Lovett, 22. Davvy Moale

TEAM NEWS: Latrell Mitchell returns after a lengthy absence, Kodi Nikorima goes to the bench, Blake Taaffe to the reserves. Lachlan Ilias retains his starting position despite being hooked last round. Mark Nicholls is named to start at prop with Tom Burgess on the bench.


1. Clint Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Will Penisini, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Bailey Simonsson, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Isaiah Papali’i , 13. Ryan Matterson

Bench: 14. Makahesi Makatoa, 15. Marata Niukore, 16. Oregon Kaufusi, 17. Ky Rodwell

Reserves: 18. Tom Opacic, 19. Jake Arthur, 20. Nathan Brown, 21. Bryce Cartwright, 23. Hayze Perham

TEAM NEWS: While Ryan Matterson has been named, however, early mail is Matterson is not expected to play on Saturday night due to a rib injury.


Sunday, 2pm, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland


1. Reece Walsh, 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3.Jesse Arthars, 4. Euan Aitken, 5. Marcelo Montoya, 6. Ronald Volkman, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Bunty Afoa, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Jazz Tevaga, 11. Jack Murchie, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Josh Curran

Bench: 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15.Bunty Afoa, 16. Eliesa Katoa, 17. Bayley Sironen

Reserves: 18. Adam Pompey, 20. Aaron Pene, 21. Rocco Berry, 22. Freddy Lussick, 23. Daejarn Asi

TEAM NEWS: Euan Aitken returns - and turns back the clock - selected in the centres for the Warriors which sees Adam Pompey move to the reserves. Bunty Afoa comes on to the bench (and will play his 100th game) relegating Aaron Pene to the reserves. Eliesa Katoa also joins the bench, with Dunamis Lui the one left out.


1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Starford To’a, 4. James Roberts, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Luke Brooks, 7. Jackson Hastings, 8. James Tamou, 9. Fa’amanu Brown, 10. Zane Musgrove, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Kelma Tuilagi, 13. Joe Ofahengaue

Bench: 14. Stefano Utoikamanu, 15. Adam Doueihi, 16. Alex Seyfarth, 17. Fonua Pole

Reserves: 18. Asu Kepaoa, 19. Junior Tupou, 20. Austin Dias, 21. Jacob Liddle, 22. Justin Matamua

TEAM NEWS: Get excited Tigers fan — James ‘Jimmy the Jet’ Roberts is back and slots into the centres. ‘Nu Brown starts at hooker in place of Jacob Liddle. Stefano Utoikamanu returns after finally rehabbing his foot injury and will be worked back via the bench, upon which he is joined by debutant Fonua Pole. Alex Twal (concussion) is out indefinitely.


Sunday, 4.05pm, WIN Stadium, Wollongong


1. Cody Ramsey, 2. Mathew Feagai, 3. Moses Suli, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Mikaele Ravalawa, 6. Talatau Amone, 7. Ben Hunt, 8. Jack De Belin, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Blake Lawrie, 11. Jack Bird, 12. Jaydn Su’A, 13. Tariq Sims

Bench: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Francis Molo, 16. Aaron Woods, 17. Michael Molo

Reserves: 18. Josh Kerr, 19. Tautau Moga, 20. Jayden Sullivan, 21. Jaiyden Hunt, 22. Billy Burns

TEAM NEWS: No changes for the Dragons, though Ben Hunt is on injury watch.


1. Xavier Savage, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Matt Timoko, 4. Sebastian Kris, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Jamal Fogarty, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Zac Woolford, 10. Joseph Tapine, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Adam Elliott

Bench: 14. Tom Starling, 15. Ryan Sutton, 16. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 17. Corey Horsburgh

Reserves: 18. Matt Frawley, 19. Corey Harawira-Naera, 20. Trey Mooney, 21. Semi Valemei, 22. Adrian Trevilyan

TEAM NEWS: Jack Wighton (Covid) returns and comes straight into the halves with Matt Frawley going to the reserves. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (hamstring) also returns, luckily for Xavier Savage’s SuperCoach owners it is via the bench, replacing James Schiller, not at fullback.

Originally published as NRL Round 16: Team lists, Latrell Mitchell, Jack Wighton return, KFC SuperCoach NRL analysis

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