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St Helens name strong squad for NRL friendly

Last night saw the NRL release their first team lists of 2023 ahead of the first round of the pre-season challenge.

This competition sees Super League Champions St Helens provide the extra team to take it 18 after the introduction of new club The Dolphins to the NRL.

As such, according to, the Saints have named their squad for the game and have no injury concerns with the Saints naming the strongest squad for the contest.

This means all of St Helens’ star players are set to feature at least some what in the clash against St George Illawarra Dragons on Saturday ahead of their World Club Challenge clash with Penrith Panthers a week on Saturday.

The likes of Mark Percival and Will Hopoate might be managed after injury concerns however but they have been named in the squad for this weekend’s game according to the NRL.

Here is the squad in full:

1 Jack Welsby, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Will Hopoate, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Jon Bennison, 6 Jonny Lomax, 7 Lewis Dodd, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 Matty Lees, 11 Sione Mata’utia, 12 Joe Batchelor, 13 Morgan Knowles, 14 Joey Lussick, 15 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16 Curtis Sironen, 17 Agnatius Paasi, 18 Jake Wingfield, 19 James Bell, 20 Dan Norman, 21 Ben Davies, 22 Sam Royale, 23 Konrad Hurrell, 24 Lewis Baxter, 25 Tee Ritson, 26 Dan Hill.

The side who performs the best in the two games of the pre-season challenge will receive $100,000 in prize money.

But after two games, a lot of sides are going to be level on points which us why bonus points are in place to reward teams for making offloads, making breaks and scoring tries.

However, if teams are still level there is a chance that the winner could be decided by a flip of a coin.

So, there’s a chance that these bizarre bonus points or the toss of a coin could give Saints $100,000.

Here’s everything you need to now about the 2023 NRL Pre-Season Challenge:

When: February 9-12 and February 17-19

Prizemoney: $100,000 winner takes all

Teams: All 17 NRL clubs, plus Super League champions St Helens

TV: All games live and exclusive on Fox League


– 80-minute games

*World Club Challenge will have 17-man squads with an 18th player for concussion protocols, and 10 interchanges

– One referee

– Bunker in use


Competition points

– 12 for a win

– Six for a draw

– None for a loss


A bonus point available for each of the following:

– Scoring five or more tries

– Making five or more linebreaks

– Making 10 or more offloads

Teams can earn a maximum 15 points for a win, nine for a draw and three for a loss.


The overall winner will be determined by the most competition points.

– For and against (points differential), then if still equal;

– The greater percentage of points scored in for and against, then if still equal;

– Most tries scored, then if still equal;

– Most goals kicked, then if still equal;

– Most drop goals kicked, then if still equal;

– Least amount of penalties conceded across both games ,then if still equal;

– The toss of a coin

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