Firstly, I respectfully acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander People, the traditional owners of the land on which the NRL games are played, and pay my respect to their elders past and present.
In a week where there doesn’t seem to be too much on the horizon late mail-wise, we’ve already had some major Supercoach blows with the scratching of Christian Welch and suspension of Angus Crichton to go along with whatever else is heading our way as the round progresses. SuperCoaches will be lucky to field a full side on a normal week let alone the bye round at the rate we are going, but it is making for some interesting teams and trade options.
As usual I will be tweeting all the 24 hour and game day mail across the weekend @AStilesAuthor
Best of luck for Round 12!
COWBOYS (WULGURUKABA) V WARRIORS (AOTEAROA), FRIDAY 6:00PM
Cowboys: Should be 1-17 with Coen Hess and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow set to return from concussion and ankle injuries respectively. Justin O’Neill and Emry Pere were the first players cut.
Warriors: No changes expected to the overall 17 but as with most weeks the Warriors are prone to game day forward shuffles. Addin Fonua-Blake has returned to full team training and is shaping as a second bye target once he presumably returns in round 14. Taniela Otukolo and Jackson Frei were trimmed 24 hours out.
TIGERS (DHARAWAL & EORA) V DRAGONS (DHARAWAL & YUIN), FRIDAY 7:55PM
Tigers: Should be 1-17. Jake Simpkin and Stefano Utoikamanu were the first players cut.
Dragons: Cody Ramsey and Jaiden Hunt are both listed in the casualty ward due to head knocks and will both need to pass protocols but they should be 1-17, however Adam Clune and Kaide Ellis are still on the extended bench. Jack de Belin has had the charges dropped against him and will be cleared to return to the NRL. He will play reserve grade this week and be available for selection in first grade again from next week, with the club extending his contract. Jayden Sullivan and Billy Brittain were omitted 24 hours out.
PANTHERS (DHARUG) V BULLDOGS (BIDJIGAL/BEDIAGAL), SATURDAY 3:00PM
Panthers: Should be 1-17 with Moses Leota named to return from a shoulder injury, though he likely has to make it through captain’s run. Dylan Edwards faces one more week on the sidelines. I’ve also been getting asked about Cleary being rested if the game gets out of hand. I can’t rule it out though haven’t seen anything outside of fans speculating. Mitch Kenny and Lindsay Smith were the first cut.
Bulldogs: Josh Jackson (calf) and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (foot) are both named to return from their injuries in the starting side though as usual will need to make it through captain’s run. Should run out 1-17 barring any setbacks to either. Kyle Flanagan and Renouf Atoni were dropped 24 hours out.
RABBITOHS (GADIGAL) V EELS (BURRAMATTAGAL), SATURDAY 5:30PM
Rabbitohs: Cameron Murray has confirmed he will play this round after being named to return from an ankle injury. Jacob Host is still listed in the casualty ward with a quad injury and will need to tick the final boxes to play but I’m not expecting any other changes.
Eels: Should be 1-17.
ROOSTERS (GADIGAL) V RAIDERS (NGUNNAWAL), SATURDAY 7:35PM
Roosters: Angus Crichton failed to have his charge downgraded at the judiciary and will miss two matches, one of those being Origin, which means a round 14 return. Nat Butcher takes his edge spot with Tuku Hau Tapuha joining the bench. Sam Walker also looks like he’ll be rested, with Joey Manu likely switching to the halves and Joseph Suaalii shifting to centre. Victor Radley will miss 5 weeks after his own judiciary hearing.
Raiders: Jordan Rapana has been named to return from his hamstring issue and Elliot Whitehead looks set to play despite his finger pointing in directions that would have made MC Escher cringe. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad now requires surgery on his neck injury and has been ruled out for the rest of the season which basically sees the backline play out the season as is.
SHARKS (GWEAGAL) V TITANS (YUGAMBEH), SUNDAY 2:00PM
Sharks: Shaun Johnson (hamstring) and Jesse Ramien (eye) are both looking likely so the Sharks should be 1-17.
Titans: Ash Taylor was ultimately not a late inclusion last week as he tries to return from his hip injury but has been named on the extended bench again this week and could be a late call up in the halves at the expense of Tanah Boyd in what looks to be the only potential change. Patrick Herbert should be fine to return from his calf injury.
KNIGHTS (AWABAKAL) V SEA EAGLES (GAYAMAYGAL & GARIGAL), SUNDAY 4:05PM
Knights: Kalyn Ponga (groin) is out this round and is considered very doubtful for Origin 1. I assume Tex Hoy replaces him at fullback as usual. Bradman Best (hamstring) has been named to return but as with everyone I can still see listed in the casualty ward, I expect he needs to make it through captain’s run. With Blake Green announcing his retirement during the week, it is expected that Jake Clifford will be inbound next week with Tom Dearden joining the Cowboys.
Sea Eagles: Marty Taupau actually started last week and that trend could continue with his swap partner Sean Keppie already named on the edge. Curtis Sironen I feel will be eased back into first grade via the interchange before being named as a starter again, although with Ben Trbojevic debuting from the bench he could be given until after the bye to recover. Burbo could also come in for Saddler, though it is not confirmed yet.