This week is Multicultural Round so I’d like to kick things off by acknowledging the different cultures that make up our great game and their significant contributions to the game’s past, present and future.
Also, forgive the lack of article activity last round – I am coming off another bout of the spicy cough which has been almost as unenjoyable as the Knights v Tigers last round. On the tail end now but energy levels are still pretty low, but not low enough to keep my away from the all important mail.
It’s shaping to be the kind of week where NRL Physio’s Patreon pays for itself with blokes like Cheese, Doueihi and Pat Carrigan (all of whom are in my side) in doubt. Yuck.
As usual I’ll keep the article updated across Thursday evening/ Friday and will the updates across the round will be over on Twitter @AStilesAuthor
Best of luck for one of the biggest rounds this year – the price changes!
SEA EAGLES V EELS, THURSDAY 7:00PM AEST / 8:00PM AEDT
SEA EAGLES: Coming off the bye the Manly boys should be fresh and ready to go. Expecting 1-17 here.
24 hour cuts: Johns, Harper, Condon
EELS: Nobody named is in any doubt, should also be 1-17.
24 hour cuts: Dunster, Rodwell, Lumelume
KNIGHTS V DOLPHINS, FRIDAY 5:00PM AEST / 6:00PM AEDT
KNIGHTS: Jack Johns drops off the bench and has been replaced by debutant Thomas Cant. There will again be no Greg Marzhew sighting, with the winger cut 24 hours out.
24 hour cuts: Johns, Marzhew, Talty
DOLPHINS: Jarrod Wallace dropped out of the squad 24 hours out, and has been replaced at prop by Connelly Lemuelu (who has presumably passed concussion protocols) with Mason Teague joining the bench.
24 hour cuts: Wallace, Collins, Milford
ROOSTERS V RABBITOHS, FRIDAY 7:00PM AEST / 8:00PM AEDT
ROOSTERS: Brandon Smith is the major watch here after having his ribs absolutely smashed two weeks in a row and sitting out the majority of training during the week. The Roosters have been decimated so they surely want all able bodies on the field for a big match against rivals South Sydney, but they also have the bye next week and the two weeks of rest could really benefit him. 24 hour cuts will be key and I will update accordingly. Jake Turpin assuredly slots in at hooker if he isn’t good to go. Presently, nobody else is in any doubt.
24 hour cuts: Thomas, Sandon Smith, Wong
RABBITOHS: Hame Sele looks set to return from his calf issue barring any setbacks. The rest of the squad looks good to go with Latrell Mitchell making it through the full 80 last weekend despite the earlier injury concerns.
24 hour cuts: Lovett, Milne, Mamouzelous
TITANS V STORM, SATURDAY 2:00PM AEST / 3:00PM AEDT
TITANS: No changes expected for the Gold Coast at this stage.
STORM: Another team pillaged by injuries but should have some a host of cavalry returning should they all make it through captain’s run, including Justin Olam, Xaiver Coates, Tui Kamikamica and Tariq Sims. NRL Physio seems to have concerns about all but Olam, so I’ll keep an eye on them as the round progresses.
COWBOYS V WARRIORS, SATURDAY 4:30PM AEST / 5:30PM AEDT
COWBOYS: Carrying some injuries and suspensions though named accordingly on TLT. I heard some chat about Val Holmes moving to fullback but at this stage I’ll put that down to hopeful SuperCoach owners and nothing concrete in the media. I’m excited to see Tom Chester though part of me was disappointed to not get FLB Granville mk 2. Heilum Luki is named on the extended bench though I’m not expecting him to slot straight in this week as he rehabs from his ACL reconstruction.
WARRIORS: Another team struggling through injuries though named accordingly. Rocco Berry’s name stands out on the extended bench as he tries to return from a foot fracture though I’m unsure where he sits in the new pecking order when healthy.
BRONCOS V DRAGONS, SATURDAY 6:35PM AEST / 7:35 AEDT
BRONCOS: Pat Carrigan was admitted to hospital earlier in the week with what was later revealed as a wisdom tooth infection. His face is apparently still swollen and is in doubt, and would be a big blow to the 2-0 juggernauts if he is ruled out. Nobody else is in doubt at this stage.
DRAGONS: Toby Couchman copped a head knock last round and needs to pass protocols to play, though the rest of the side looks as though it will be unchanged after a strong opening performance.
BULLDOGS V TIGERS, SUNDAY 3:05PM AEST / 4:05PM AEDT
BULLDOGS: Another side coming off a big unexpected victory last round, and aren’t carrying any issues into this one. Expecting 1-17 with Jacob Preston already named to start.
TIGERS: Lots to keep an eye on here. Adam Doueihi has sat out training this week with apparent foot bruising, and I would be hoping for some concrete info on his availability given they play on Sunday and most owners’ backup 5/8 – Isaiya Katoa – will have already played if he is in fact ruled out. If you have the cahones, you could put Katoa as your starter against the Knights with the reserve on Doueihi if you have any Sunday pivots to avoid a potential AE, though at this stage I’m hopeful he’ll be there on game day. John Bateman has also been named on the extended bench and given the somewhat bizarre conflicting info about his status from within the club, I’ll be waiting until an hour out to know if he’s lining up or not unless 24 hour cuts reveal anything. His inclusion would trigger a big shuffle in the forwards on the bench. Shawn Blore is on week two of his concussion turnaround so is presumably good to go.
RAIDERS V SHARKS, SUNDAY 5:15PM AEST / 6:15PM AEDT
RAIDERS: Have been surprisingly 1-17 two weeks in a row so I’ll expect more of the same here,
SHARKS: Also looking unchanged this round. Nicho Hynes has declared himself on track to return next round but this seems a bit up in the air based on other things I’ve heard/read around the community.