Being the last article of the week, you’ve already heard from the other SCTalk lads how great it was to get the gang together for Magic Round, meet the punters and take in a huge slate of live games. This is particularly true for me as the newest contributor and it was fantastic to finally be able to put some faces to names and Twitter handles.
But it wasn’t all footy, beers and burgers for me. Your boy Stilesy was still on the clock from his seat in Suncorp: beer in one hand and phone in the other pumping out team updates to the masses. There’s a reason it’s called News and not Olds, and hopefully I was able to get you the latest wherever you happened to find yourself on Magic Round.
Wenin has again deftly handled all of the enormous news that TLT handed down in his teams analysis, but as usual there is a lot of SC relevant Late Mail to be aware of so here is what you should be keeping an eye on.
Penrith Panthers vs New Zealand Warriors, Friday 6:00pm (Panthers Stadium)
Any hope Reagan Campbell-Gillard had of earning a reprieve this round was dashed when he and Hame Sele dropped from the interchange 24 hours out. No other changes are expected for the side that is barely recognisable from the previous round.
The Warriors were dealt a blow with yet another back-injury sidelining Nathaniel Roach, which sees Issac Luke earn a reprieve and assume the starting hooker role. Tohu Harris and Jazz Tevaga didn’t train earlier in the week but got through Thursday’s captain’s run and should play. Chanel Harris-Tevita was the other man to drop from the side on Thursday night, though Adam Blair is still lurking in the reserves and could be a late inclusion.
Brisbane Broncos vs Sydney Roosters, Friday 7:55pm (Suncorp Stadium)
New signing James Segeyaro will make his Broncos debut off the bench on Friday night, with an ill Alex Glenn the man most likely to make way. If Glenn pulls up well on Friday, then Carrigan will be the likely omission. James Roberts and Jaydn Su’a drop out 24 hours out.
For the Roosters, Coach Robinson confirmed that Latrell Mitchell will start despite picking up a groin injury in Magic Round, however as we have seen with other kickers who’ve had similar injuries (Cameron Smith, Brodie Croft and Shaun Johnson spring to mind this season) it would not surprise me to see Siosiua Taukeiaho take on the kicking duties this round. Daniel Tupou has been ruled out with a neck injury and although Robinson hasn’t named a replacement yet, the Rooster’s social media team was hyping Ryan Hall’s return during the week so the Englishman will likely make his first grade debut. Brock Lamb is the other man to drop out Thursday night.
Gold Coast Titans vs Canterbury Bulldogs, Saturday 3:00pm (Cbus Super Stadium)
The Titans lose Shannon Boyd due to a concussion, which will see Jai Whitbread join the bench in the only change expected for a side that loves to put up points at home.
On paper, the Bulldogs seem set to run out 1-17 with Lachlan Lewis unavailable for a recall due to the birth of his child. But with Dean Pay at the helm you just never know what might happen come Saturday afternoon. Pay himself might even be a late out if Carlos ever bumps into him in a parking lot.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Parramatta Eels, Saturday 5:30pm (1300SMILES Stadium)
Despite several Cowboys having to pass concussion protocol, all are expected to play and the side should run out 1-17 in front of their home crowd.
The Eels are also expected to come into round 10 as named on Tuesday after a trouncing at the hands of the Storm last weekend. Clint Gutherson’s mind should be firmly on football after finalising a 3-year deal with the Eels on Thursday.
Canberra Raiders vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, Saturday 7:35pm (GIO Stadium)
The only player in some doubt for the Green Machine is Siliva Havili (concussion) but he is expected to play. The Raiders will be hoping to get through this round unscathed because they are starting to burn through players faster than I’m burning through trades.
The Rabbitohs have a few concerns leading into this one, headlined by glass cannon Origin hopeful Adam Reynolds. Reynolds must get through the captain’s run to be considered, however he is expected to play along with John Sutton (ribs) and Tom Burgess (foot). Kyle Turner is the most in doubt with a concussion and will be replaced by Jacob Gagan should he be ruled out. We can also expect George ‘Tevita Tatola’ Burgess and Tevita ‘George Burgess’ Tatola to change places again.
St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Newcastle Knights, Sunday 2:00pm (Glen Willow Oval)
Korbin Sims is firming to be a late inclusion after recovering from the broken arm that has kept him sidelined for over a month, which would likely see Luciano Leilua drop out of the 17. No other changes are expected for the Dragons.
Injury clouds loom over Knights pair Connor Watson (foot) and Edrick Lee (Achilles), with neither training during the week. Watson would be replaced by either Mason Lino or Kurt Mann in the halves, while Lee would be covered by Sione Mata’utia with Josh King likely joining the interchange should he be unable to go.
Cronulla Sharks vs Many Sea Eagles, Sunday 4:05pm (PointsBet Stadium)
Andrew Fifita is the big name in doubt in this one, with the big unit having until captain’s run to overcome a hamstring injury that saw him bow out of Magic Round early. Make sure you place him in your reserves and can cover him should he bow out in the last game of the round. Matt Prior will play despite picking up a neck injury.
Addin Fonua-Blake, Lachlan Croker and Apisai Koroisau must all get through captain’s run to be considered, with the former being a good chance to play. The Sea Eagles have a surprisingly strong record against the Sharks, winning 15 of their past 17.