NRL round 1 teams early mail: Reynolds to miss Bulldogs selection, Hynes unlikely for Sharks

Josh Reynolds’ fairytale return to the NRL has been put on ice, with the veteran Bulldogs playmaker set to start the season in NSW Cup.

New coach Cameron Ciraldo is set to start the season with Fa’amanu Brown as his utility on the bench, opting to give Reynolds more time in the halves in the lower grades as he continues his transition back to the NRL after a couple of seasons in the Super League.

Josh Reynolds in his first game back in Bulldogs colours, against the Raiders last Sunday.Credit:NRL Photos

Kyle Flanagan has been handed first shot at Canterbury’s No.7 jersey for Saturday’s clash with Manly, but Reynolds has spent most of the preseason training in the halves as a back-up.

Starting the season in NSW Cup will give the former NSW Origin five-eighth time to get comfortable in the position in case he’s called upon, while Brown offers the Bulldogs an option in the middle of the field as a lock – a position Reynolds isn’t accustomed to.

With NRL teams set to drop on Tuesday afternoon, the Herald has spoken to several clubs about some of the selections.

Nicho Hynes’s calf complaint is expected to see him kept in cotton wool for Cronulla’s clash with South Sydney and bring back-up half Brayden Trindall into the halves.

Hynes strained his calf during training last week before the Sharks’ scrimmage against the Roosters and while he may yet be named by Craig Fitzgibbon, the Dally M medal winner’s importance to Cronulla’s cause will mean no chances taken on aggravating the injury.

Wests Tigers recruit John Bateman is not expected to play for his new club against the Gold Coast Titans on Sunday. The Tigers are taking a cautious approach to Bateman, who only arrived in Sydney late last week.

The Wests Tigers are set to hand Charlie Staines his club debut with winger Ken Maumalo injuring his knee in the trials.

Backrower Shawn Blore is expected to make his return from injury in the starting side, with Asu Kepaoa being considered as an option off the bench to be used either in the backrow or backline.

New Tigers skipper Api Koroisau is expected to be named in the starting side but needs to prove his fitness after picking up a calf injury in the preseason.

Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic has passed a fitness test and will play against the Dogs. Kaeo Weekes has won the utility spot on the bench for the Sea Eagles.

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