How good is it to have footy back in our lives! It’s felt like a long offseason but now that we’re here, I wish I had another week post-TLT to tinker with my side. But the game stops for nobody and neither does the late mail and already we have some things of interest to keep our eyes on before the first kickoff.
As with every season, I will update the mail across Thursday night / Friday morning and will Tweet all the 24 hour and game day updates @AStilesAuthor
EELS V STORM, THURSDAY 7:00PM AEST / 8:00PM AEDT
EELS: Bailey Simonsson has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, with Isaac Lumelume replacing him on the wing. Mitch Rein dropped off the extended bench 24 hours out which is interesting for the minutes of Josh Hodgson, though there has been some chat that J’Maine Hopgood could spend some minutes at hooker. Brad Arthur was also in the media saying that Matt Doorey hasn’t done a lot of 80 minute work, but that will be the expectation at some stage. Reading between the lines, he may not play the full game out of the gates but seems to be locked in for that edge role moving forward.
24 hour cuts: Simonsson, Rein, Ogden
Final team: Simonsson out, Lumelume wing, Arhutr 18th man
STORM: Nothing relevant happened 24 hours out with Sualauvi Faalogo, Joe Chan and Jonah Pezet all dropping out. Bellamy is known to shuffle his pack on game day but with it being round one, he likely holds firm with the team as named.
24 hour cuts: Faalogo, Chan, Pezet
Final team: Lewis drops to 18th man. Garlick bench
WARRIORS V KNIGHTS, FRIDAY 5:00PM AEST / 6:00PM AEDT
WARRIORS: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been ruled out after failing to recover from a calf injury sustained in the trials. Edward Kosi takes his spot on the wing.
24 hour cuts: Watene-Zelezniak, Volkman, Tuaupiki
KNIGHTS: I think my phone still auto-predicts ‘Mann bench’ from last year, so I’ll be keeping an eye on Adam Elliott, who is nursing himself back to health after injury. If Mann drops back to the bench utility it could mean Phoenix Crossland is replaced with another forward. It has also been confirmed that Greg Marzhew missed the team due to a slight hip pointer injury which isn’t considered serious, so he could be back soon. Dane Gagai is also eying a round two return, making Hymel Hunt a very risky selection in your SuperCoach sides.
24 hour cuts: Jones, Lucas, Hodgson
PANTHERS V BRONCOS, FRIDAY 7:05PM AEST / 8:05PM AEDT
PANTHERS: Zac Hosking was the main pre-season threat to Luke Garner and he has been named on the extended bench, though is a watch none-the-less on the very outside chance he comes into contention on game day. No other changes expected at this stage.
24 hour cuts: Eisenhuth, Peachey, Smith
BRONCOS: Cory Paix was tipped early in the week to have won the starting hooker gig but was eventually named on the bench. He may swap with Billy Walters an hour out but that won’t really alter anyone’s SuperCoach plans.
24 hour cuts: Willison, Madden, Hoeter
SEA EAGLES V BULLDOGS, SATURDAY 2:00PM AEST / 3:00PM AEDT
SEA EAGLES: It’s Turbo time! The great man has been named and isn’t in doubt so lock him in. Coach Hasler loved a game day swap in the forwards but I’ll hold tight on those predictions for now with Seibold at the helm.
BULLDOGS: I’ve seen the timeframe for Luke Thompson’s injury range anywhere 6 weeks to the whole season, which has definite impacts on the forward cheapie stocks that are seemingly abundant at Canterbury. From Gus Gould’s own Twitter, Thompson ruptured his Lisfranc ligament and has some small midfoot fractures. Best case is a 12-14 weeks return according to him. There is also some ground swell, that I will definitely preface could just be wishful thinking from SuperCoaches, that Raymond Faitala-Mariner swaps to lock on game day with Jacob Preston on the right edge and Nu Brown back to the bench. That would be great if it happens but remains a watch only at this stage.
COWBOYS V RAIDERS, SATURDAY 4:30PM AEST / 5:30PM AEDT
COWBOYS: The Cowboys were named as expected on TLT so no late changes expected here.
RAIDERS: Sticky changes his forward rotations more than his jocks so I would be shocked if this teams remains static when the round begins, though would only be speculating what the changes could be. Also hearing talk of a potential shuffle in the backs with Kris going to centre, Smith-Shields to the wing and Rapana to fullback, however Rapana himself said his old legs aren’t up for it so I’ll leave that at speculation for now.
SHARKS V RABBITOHS, SATURDAY 6:35PM AEST / 7:35 AEDT
SHARKS: When Nicho said he was a chance for round one I was fully expecting him to be on the extended bench and this round’s mail to be a major sweat, but the glorious man wasn’t named and we can plan accordingly. The team should run out as is if coach wants to keep the four forward bench, though Connor Tracey could come into contention.
RABBITOHS: The Rabbitohs seem as though they’ll run out unchanged at this stage.
DOLPHINS V ROOSTERS, SUNDAY 3:05PM AEST / 4:05PM AEDT
DOLPHINS: Not expecting any changes for the Dolphins’ maiden outing at this stage #PhinsUp
ROOSTERS: As named, the hooking rotation here seems a bit up in the air outside of Brandon Smith, so it would not surprise for Jake Turpin to join the interchange but at this stage no changes are expected.
TIGERS V TITANS, SUNDAY 5:15PM AEST / 6:15 AEDT
TIGERS: A 1-17 seems on the cards here for the Tigers.
TITANS: The Titans have been dealt a massive blow with Beau Fermor rupturing his ACL, which will end his season before it began. There are several options to take his place on the edge including Joe Stimson and Sam McIntyre, with Klese Haas being an outside chance given he started on Fermor’s edge in the trial. Haas is by far the most SuperCoach relevant of the three, coming in at $234k, though is probably the least likely of the three.