Roosters select rookies for NRL Nines bid

Sydney Roosters hooker Sam Verrills is the only established first-grader as the majority of the squad head to England for the World Club Challenge.

Reigning premiers Sydney Roosters are sending a team of rookies and former AFL player Nick Davis to the NRL Nines in Perth this week.

Sam Verrills is the only established first-grader as most of the top squad head to England for the World Club Challenge against Super League winners St Helens on February 22.

Sydney Swans' 2005 premiership player Davis is part of the Roosters' staff and the 39-year-old returns to the game he grew up playing as their marquee player.

Canberra named international second-rower Elliott Whitehead captain, while Sia Soliola and Dunamis Lui are the only other Raiders to have played in last year's NRL grand final.

Former Bulldogs halfback and Super League recruit Matt Frawley joins Sam Williams, Ryan Sutton, Siliva Havili and Michael Oldfield as Canberra remaining first-graders to head west.

Test pivot Cameron Munster is the only Melbourne Storm player who will back up from the 2017 Nines line-up, although centres Marion Seve and Justin Olam and also second-rower Tino Fa'asuamaleaui were part of World Cup 9s teams.

Led by co-captains Tui Kamikamica and Sandor Earl, new signing Brenko Lee will make his first appearance in Storm colours.

The Storm squad includes five development players while halfback Cooper Johns and utility back Nicho Hynes will get their chance to push for round one selection after impressing through the pre-season.

Johns is the 20-year-old son of Newcastle legend Matthew Johns.

Wade Graham leads Cronulla after winning the World 9s with Australia last October and is joined by fellow internationals Josh Morris, Shaun Johnson and Aaron Woods.

Morris had his request to leave the club and join his twin brother Brett at the Roosters denied this week and will be forced to play out the final year of his career at the Sharks.

St George Illawarra are taking Australian Nines duo Ben Hunt and Tyson Frizell, while Cameron McInnes will skipper after recovering from a broken leg.

Damien Cook will captain a South Sydney squad which features 10 internationals, including Kangaroos Cameron Murray and Dane Gagai, plus Tonga's Junior Tatola and Samoa's Jaydn Su'A.

Wests Tigers 2005 premiership hero Pat Richards returns for the club as Moses Mbye leads a squad that includes established NRL trio Corey Thompson, David Nofoaluma and Robert Jennings.

All 16 clubs will travel to Perth for two days of the shortened format.


AAP