Covid’s ongoing impact has brought about a change to the NRL’s team naming process this season.
It was first evidenced on Tuesday with clubs able to name 24 players when teams were officially revealed for the opening round of the 2022 NRL season.
In recent years, clubs have been required to list 21 players when announcing their line-ups on Tuesday afternoon before each round.
Then 24 hours before their games, clubs had to omit two players in trimming their squads to 19.
An hour before kick-off, a final 17 had to be declared with one of the two players left out nominated as 18th man.
In catering for the possibility of positive Covid cases affecting squad numbers this year, the NRL decreed clubs would be able to name 24 players on ‘Team List Tuesday’.
Line-ups must be selected 1-17 including captain/s plus a listed replacement player (18th man) and six reserves.
As per existing requirements, teams will still be reduced to 19-man squads 24 hours before kick-off (meaning five players are taken out now) and to 17 plus the 18th man one hour before kick-off.
The NRL has stipulated 24-man squads are to be selected until further notice.