Bronson Xerri will take his first steps towards an NRL return later this week after being named to start in Canterbury’s pre-season trial against Melbourne.
Xerri will line up at centre at Belmore Oval on Thursday to face a Storm outfit boosted by the inclusion of Ryan Papenhuyzen following his season-ending ankle break.
It will be the first time Xerri, 23, has taken the field since 2019 after he was sidelined from the game on a four-year doping ban for taking banned substances.
Xerri is not the only player making a comeback to the game this weekend with the Warriors naming Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the centres following his brief dalliance in rugby union.
Chanel Harris-Tavita, who took a year-long sabbatical from the NRL, also returns for the Kiwi outfit in Sunday’s trial against Wests Tigers in Christchurch.
Barring John Bateman and new recruit Justin Olam, the Tigers are at near full strength with Aiden Sezer and Jayden Sullivan paired together in the halves.
Sullivan’s battle to win the race for the Tigers No.6 jersey is one of many subplots across the trial teams named for this weekend.
Zac Lomax will start on the wing for St George Illawarra in the Charity Shield, while young gun Chevy Stewart appears to have beaten Xavier Savage to the fullback berth as Canberra take on a youthful Parramatta outfit on Saturday.
The Sydney Roosters have put out an imposing side to face Manly in Gosford on Sunday, with Joseph Suaalii set to get a crack at centre in what is his final season before switching to rugby union.
The Sea Eagles have benched Josh Schuster, who will be keen to impress as he seeks to overcome a pre-season campaign beset by injury ahead of their season opener in Las Vegas.
The Broncos, who meet North Queensland in Mackay on Sunday, have named Adam Reynolds and Patrick Carrigan after footage emerged of them brawling in the streets of Brisbane earlier this week.
The Dolphins will get their first look at former Broncos duo Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler, who have been picked to start in their Sunshine Coast meeting with Gold Coast.