Last weekend was an eventful debut for yours truly on the Late Mail scene. If that’s the sort of thing Stilesy has to go through on a weekly basis, then we’re not paying him enough.
It’s looking like another round of changes as we head into the meat of round 8. We’ve already seen the return of Wade Graham last night. And still to come is news on Jayden Campbell, Josh Schuster, Jack Bird and many more. Let’s dig into it.
TITANS v PANTHERS
Friday, 6.00pm, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
TITANS: Phillip Sami was out at the 24 hour cuts, his knee still giving him some issues. Fortunately, Holbrook has put Corey Thompson on the wing in his place instead of the bullsh*t he tried last week. Dave Fifita remains an edge forward (tough break CTW hopers).
Even after getting through his return game in reserve grade, and the Titans abysmal showing against the Cowboys, Jayden Campbell was cut from the extended bench. So the Titans should run out as named from here.
24 Hour Cuts: Phillip Sami, Jarrod Wallace, Esan Marsters, Paul Turner, Jayden Campbell
PANTHERS: The Panthers remain unchanged. Throw your VC’s on Cleary, May, or Tago (in that order).
24 Hour Cuts: J’maine Hopgood, Lindsay Smith, Mitch Kenny, Christian Crichton, Sean O’Sullivan
RABBITOHS v SEA EAGLES
Friday, 7.55pm, Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
RABBITOHS: Hame Sele was cut 24 hours out from the game after failing to recover from his R7 concussion in time. Latrell’s big brother Shaq Mitchell will make his debut off the bench.
Isaiah Tass has been named for his second game of the season, however it should be noted that the Bunnies have Jaxson Paulo lurking on the extended bench. Tass should be there when Souths run out tonight, but whoever takes the spot there, it will only be for this week while Milne is suspended.
Cody Walker is playing his 150th here so will be very eager to have a big night. Unlike Talakai in his 50th last night.
24 Hour Cuts: Hame Sele, Richard Kennar, Dean Hawkins. Peter Mamouzelos, Josiah Karapani
SEA EAGLES: Manly physio Chris Bailey has stated that Josh Schuster’s ankle is, and I quote, “responding really well and is now returning to train and gaining his fitness and available for selection”, and he survived the first round of cuts made yesterday evening. All things considered, I expect he’ll come into the side but just at what capacity, I’m still not sure. Could be straight into the starting side at Bullemor’s expense or potentially on the bench as he continues to build match fitness.
24 Hour Cuts: Jorge Taufua, James Roumanos, Viliami Fifita, Kaeo Weekes, Jacob Sykes
WARRIORS v RAIDERS
Saturday, 3.00pm, Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe
WARRIORS: Spare a thought for Chanel Harris-Tavita, who literally busted a nut in the Warriors loss last week. He played 45 minutes with a ruptured testicle despite conceding close to 60 points in that time. I have tears in my eyes. He’s out for 3-4 weeks and since Kodi Nikorima is still away from the team (COVID), expect to see the club debut of Daejarn Asi, who is on the extended reserves after moving over from the Cowboys mid-week.
Nathan Brown has also given indication that Ben Murdoch-Masila will come into the Warriors 17 this week. Jack Murchie would be the man to make way.
Rumour: I’ve seen some rumours of a calf complaint for Euan Aitken that would rule him out, but haven’t found anything substantial. Something to keep an eye on over the weekend.
RAIDERS: No changes expected from the Raiders side heading into this one. Rapana will stay at fullback and CNK on bench.
BULLDOGS v ROOSTERS
Saturday, 5.30pm, Accor Stadium, Sydney
BULLDOGS: The Dogs will be without the lock and captain Josh Jackson, who has tested positive to COVID. His replacement will either be Joe Stimson or Max King. SuperCoaches everywhere are praying it’s the latter. Jackson Topine comes onto the bench. No one else has tested positive so those should be the only changes. RIP Jacob Kiraz for the time being.
ROOSTERS: The swaps of JWH and Radley to bench for SST and Butcher last weekend was due to the former pair battling an illness leading into the game. Over that now, they’ll run out along with the rest of the 17 named on Tuesday.
EELS v COWBOYS
Saturday, 7.35pm, TIO Stadium, Darwin
EELS: Despite being named in the centres, Dylan Brown could yet return to the halves on game day. It all depends on the fitness of Tom Opacic, who’s been named in the extended squad. If he passes fit, he’ll come into the starting side and Brown will go back into the halves. Arthur would be pushed back to the bench.
COWBOYS: The Cowboys have named the same team that beat the Titans last week. But considering Todd Payten’s penchant for late changes, it’s more likely than not the same will happen this week. I expect a move of Hess to bench, Lolo to prop, Cotter to lock and also a potential Luki/Gilbert swap as has been the case the past two games.
KNIGHTS v STORM
Sunday, 2.00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
KNIGHTS: Brodie Jones hyperextended his elbow last week and is still under an injury cloud. He’ll have to make it through the captains run to take his place though Barry Toohey has suggested Jones is a “good chance by the sound of things”. O’Brien will also switch the Saifiti twins on game day: he does it every week.
STORM: The only change for the Storm from last weeks big win is Tyran Wishart for Chris Lewis. It could be that Lewis comes back into the top 17 considering Brandon Smith can fill in for Harry Grant if need be, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that’s the case for now. Reimis Smith is in concussion protocols after failing to finish the game on ANZAC day. He’ll need to pass through all the steps without stumbling in order to take up his spot in the team. Marion Seve in the reserves would be the one to watch.
DRAGONS v TIGERS
Sunday, 4.05pm, WIN Stadium, Wollongong
DRAGONS: In a shock to absolutely no one, Jack Bird will be withdrawn because of his arm. The Dragons have apparently received some better than expected news on it but considering they originally thought it was broken, he was still a long shot to play. Talatau Amone will be brought in to the halves. It’s unclear who comes onto the bench.
TIGERS: Michael Chammas reported on Friday that Ken Maumalo is being withdrawn from this game. AJ Kepaoa makes his first start of the season. Though Jake Simpkin could come onto the bench after recovering from his ankle injury..