Forgive me for the shortened intro this week, I’ve been smashing out at the Late Mail from both a hotel in Perth and on aeroplane Wi-Fi on my phone as I’ve been away on a work trip. Interestingly, our office over here has a Sea Eagles photo on the wall – a strange style decision or the prelude to the team moving west? Hmm. But the news waits for nobody, so here is what’s on the cards for Round 24.
New Zealand Warriors vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, Friday 6:00pm (Mount Smart Stadium)
Both Blake Green and Leeson Ah Mau are in some doubt with knee injuries but are expected to play. Blayke Ayshford and Adam Keighran dropped out of the squad Thursday night.
Sam Burgess and Alex Johnston have both been cleared to return from injury with no changes expected for the Rabbitohs. Tom Amone and Bayley Sironen were omitted 24 hours out.
Brisbane Broncos vs Parramatta Eels, Friday 7:55pm (Suncorp Stadium)
Joe Ofahengaue has been ruled out with a calf injury, which will shift Patrick Carrigan to lock and Rhys Kennedy to the interchange. The Broncos were granted an exemption by the NRL to include Shaun Fensom on their extended bench as cover but he is unlikely to make the final side. Tom Flegler missed training through illness but is set to play. Izaiah Perese was the other man to miss the first team cut.
Blake Ferguson has been cleared to return from his leg infection for the Eels. Tepai Moeroa is also being tipped to come into the side, either in place of Brad Takarangai (ribs) or as a straight swap for Peni Terepo. Ray Stone and Stefano Utoikamanu were omitted Thursday night.
Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans, Saturday 3:00pm (McDonald Jones Stadium)
No changes expected for the Knights, with Connor Watson cleared of the knee injury that kept him out last round.
For the Titans, Jesse Arthars must overcome concussion protocol to play and will be replaced by Anthony Don should he be ruled out.
Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm, Saturday 5:30pm (Lottoland)
Moses Suli has been cleared of a serious syndesmosis injury but will still miss this week, with Brad Parker likely to replace him if he is cleared to return from an injury of his own.
Will Chambers is in doubt for the Storm with the ankle injury that saw him miss last week’s match, with Curtis Scott again the first in line to replace him should he be unable to go.
Sydney Roosters vs Penrith Panthers, Saturday 7:35pm (Sydney Cricket Ground)
Boyd Cordner will not be a late inclusion this round after being ruled out with ongoing injuries. Latrell Mitchell will play unless he suffers any setbacks at captain’s run. Cooper Cronk ruled out and will be replaced by Drew Hutchinson.
Mitch Kenny was sent for scans during the week after suffering an arm injury at training and has since been ruled out for the season. Wayde Egan
Cronulla Sharks vs Canberra Raiders, Sunday 2:00pm (PointsBet Stadium)
Matt Moylan has been named on the extended bench but is highly unlikely to be a late inclusion as he continues to suffer from a recurring hamstring issue with teammate Aaron Woods rating him “about a 30 percent chance”. No other late changes are expected.
No late changes on the cards for the Raiders, should run out 1-17.
St George-Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers, Sunday 4:05pm (Sydney Cricket Ground)
Bent Hunt has been named on the extended bench but seems set to return from a concussion, which would shift Corey Norman back to fullback and Tristan Sailor potentially out of the side altogether depending on whether Mary wants to give him minutes this week.
Josh Reynolds has been named at hooker, but we could see a similar late change to last week with him dropping to the interchange and Ryan Matterson changing positions and Matt Eisenhuth starting. There is some doubt surrounding Matterson after he came from the field last week for an HIA, however with the eight-day turnaround he is expected to play. Captain’s run information will be key for those sweating on his availability.