2016 NRL

Former Titan returns a changed man

Speaking for the first time since joining the Rabbitohs midway through last season, Carter will start on the bench on Saturday against his former club, the Titans, the club that sacked him just months after proclaiming him their 2014 rookie of the year.

The former Australian Schoolboy exceeded all expectations by playing 21 games in his first season at the Titans two years ago, but two drink driving convictions in the space of six months saw the club tear up his contract.

Mead ready to lead Titans young guns

Heading into the 2016 season Mead and co-captain William Zillman are the only two backs who have played more than 100 games for the Titans, Mead's connection stretching back nine seasons to Gold Coast's inaugural under-20s team in 2008.

Named on the wing for Saturday night's trial against the Rabbitohs at Pizzey Park, the 27-year-old will be surrounded by youngsters pushing for inclusion in Neil Henry's Round 1 team to face the Knights.

Souths hooker battle heating up

Cook was one of the Rabbitohs' best in an otherwise dour Charity Shield, providing the side with an immediate spark from the moment he entered the fray.

To his credit, the team's starting hooker, Cameron McInnes, was more than solid, setting up John Sutton for the game's opening try, and forcing a line dropout with a well-placed grubber.

Cook was full of praise for his 22-year-old teammate, crediting him for Souths' solid start.

"Cam is really good at that," Cook said following his side's 18-14 win over the Dragons.

Barba close to his best

On the back of his Dally M Medal-winning season of 2012 Barba scored three tries and was named man of the match in the 2013 All Stars game but two weeks later was stood down by the Bulldogs for behavioural issues and breaking the club's code of conduct.

His personal life became newspaper fodder and by the end of the season he had requested a release from Canterbury to join the Broncos and reunite with his young family.

Wests Tigers name stars for trial

Plenty of new recruits including Tim Grant, Michael Chee Kam, Jack Littlejohn, Rod Griffin, Jordan Rankin and Jesse Parahi will also suit up for their first 13-a-side game in black and gold after many featured at last weekend's Downer Auckland Nines.

Wests Tigers team:

1. Jordan Rankin

2. David Nofoaluma

3. Nathan Milone

4. Michael Chee Kam

5. Josh Addo-Carr

6. Mitchell Moses

7. Luke Brooks

8. Tim Grant

9. Robbie Farah

10. Dallas Graham

11. Josh Aloiai

12. Kyle Lovett

13. Jesse Parahi

New rule interpretations introduced for 2016 NRL

NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said referees would be encouraged to strictly police the new interpretations to ensure players were penalised for failing to play the ball correctly.

Mr Greenberg said NRL match officials had worked with the clubs through the pre-season on ensuring their understanding of the change was clear.

"This has been identified as an area which needs to be addressed and there clearly needs to be some increased regulation of the play-the-ball," Mr Greenberg said.