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When NRL clubs return for pre-season

NZN 20/10/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Robbie Farah, Jamie Buhrer and Luke Keary headline a long list of star recruits that will be asked to front up on the first official day of the NRL pre-season on November 1.

As Cronulla continue to lap up their maiden NRL premiership, six of the competition's 16 clubs return to the paddock within the next fortnight as preparations begin for the 2017 campaign.

Premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan isn't wasting time on attempting to become the first team in over 20 years to go back-to-back, calling new recruits and rookies to check in on November 4.

Fellow grand-finalists Melbourne are due back three days later, while top-eight sides Gold Coast, Penrith, North Queensland and Brisbane trickle in from mid to late November.

The Broncos' pre-season could centre on the possible recruitment of off-contract playmaker Benji Marshall, who is closing in on signing a deal with the club.

With Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt entrenched in the halves, NSW State of Origin coach Laurie Daley believes the 31-year-old Marshall could be a handy utility.

"If he's not in the seven or six position, he'd be a good person to bring off the bench," Daley said.

"He'd give you a roving type role where you just tell him to play on the ball. He doesn't really have to worry about getting the offence right, he's just got to worry about getting himself into the game and that's probably something that he's struggled with over the past couple of years.

"Allowing to do what he wants to do and let that natural flair come out, I think that'd be the best way to go."

The biggest improvers of 2016, Canberra, are the final team to come back on November 21.

The Four Nations tournament in England is also expected to wreak havoc with a number of clubs' pre-season schedule, with 53 NRL stars taking part in the tournament.

Most NRL participants from Australia, New Zealand, England and Scotland aren't expected to re-join their clubs until after the new year.

WHEN THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN

Nov 1 - Manly, Newcastle, South Sydney, Canterbury, Parramatta, Sydney Roosters

Nov 2 - Warriors

Nov 4 - Cronulla

Nov 7 - Melbourne, St George-Illawarra, Wests Tigers

Nov 14 - Gold Coast, Penrith

Nov 16 - North Queensland

Nov 17 - Brisbane

Nov 21 - Canberra

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