There’s a lot of things I will never miss about 2020, but not having to struggle through the post-Origin late mail frenzy is one of them. This is basically my Olympics, with essentially 34 players under the microscope as to whether or not they will back up after what was an absolute decimation of my beloved Maroons. But that can get in the bin with 2020 and I’m going to focus on the round ahead.
I’m already bordering on RSI after the flurry of tweeting across Thursday as player information trickled in – some good and most bad – but I’ve tried to collate it as best I can with the info at hand. Undoubtedly, things will change across Friday and the weekend so SuperCoaches will need to stay vigilant for any breaking news and keep in mind I can only comment on what I have seen so far or what I think based on what happened during Origin. As usual, I will be updating everything as quick as I can on Twitter @AStilesAuthor.
Good luck for a round that is almost as tough as the bye itself and my the coin tosses fall in your favor.
SEA EAGLES V COWBOYS, FRIDAY 6:00PM
SEA EAGLES: Friday’s game is “Remembering Bob Fulton” night and despite both Tom and Jake Trbojevic stating they want to play due to the occasion, Tom will indeed be rested with the club not wanting to risk any injuries to him with the short turnaround. Dylan Walker replaces him at fullback with Cade Cust, who is good to go after a hamstring complaint, to join the bench. There’s better news for Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic, who will both suit up. Ben Trbojevic will be right to play after having his debut ended after only a minute due to a failed HIA before the bye. Jorge Taufua and Tolutau Koula were the other men omitted at first team cut.
COWBOYS: Kyle Feldt is out with back issue sustained in Origin, with Justin O’Neil to return from a knee injury and replace him on the wing. Valentine Holmes will back up in good news for owners, with the rest of the team likely remaining as is. Ben Condon and Kyle Laybutt were the additional players to drop out alongside Feldt.
SHARKS V PANTHERS, FRIDAY 7:55PM
SHARKS: Nobody in the 21 is listed in the casualty ward so the team should run out as is, although Franklin Pele replaced Andrew Fifita on the bench before the bye and it could happen again. Chad Townsend and Mawene Hiroti were the first omitted.
PANTHERS: The good news on TLT was that the Panther’s Origin players were named outside the top squad so our assumption was that none would back up, making the inevitable outs easier to swallow. Nathan Cleary’s cheek was parted like the Red Sea, Brian To’o could barely walk at the hotel after the game with calf tightness and Isaah Yeo, Kurt Capewell and Jarome Luai were also omitted at first team cut. The only player who is a chance is Liam Martin, who probably takes the spot of Scott Sorenson on the edge with either Sorensen or Izack Tago dropping out if he does play.
TITANS V ROOSTERS, SATURDAY 3:00PM
TITANS: There are a couple of Origin ramifications for the Titans. Mo Fotuaika is out after accepting a one game ban for a late hit on Latrell Mitchell, with Jaimin Jolliffe likely to replace him having previously started at prop when Mo was coming off the bench. Sam Stone or Jai Whitbread likely join the bench. David Fifita and Tino Fa’asmaleaui did not train Friday both both told coach Holbrook they want to back up. AJ Brimson will be rested however despite playing low minutes with Jayden Campbell to again play fullback. Joseph Vuna joins the interchange. Anthony Don and Mitch Rein were also cut 24 hours out.
ROOSTERS: Coach Robinson expects James Tedesco to play despite carrying a few niggles into Origin. Robbo went on to say that he will look to rest Tedesco later in the season when it accumulates a bit but that is not the plan at this stage. He also joked when asked if Joseph Suaalii was starting, which I took to mean he wasn’t and that he was just laughing because he is asked every week. Sam Verrills was cleared for contact training this week but has another eye appointment next week that he will need to clear. Siosiua Taukeiaho is a late out, with Fletcher Baker moving to prop and Tuku Hau Tapuha joining the bench. Brad Abbey was also omitted.
RABBITOHS V KNIGHTS, SATURDAY 5:30 PM
RABBITOHS: Cameron Murray copped a high knock from Feldt during Origin and will not play, along with Damien Cook. Latrell Mitchell and Jaydn Su’A however will back up.
KNIGHTS: I haven’t seen anything yet to place Daniel Saifiti in jeopardy of missing the game, and as the team’s only Origin player I imagine they will run out 1-17. The Knights have also ended talks with the Broncos to acquire Matt Lodge.
RAIDERS V BRONCOS, SATURDAY 7:35PM
RAIDERS: Jack Wighton only saw limited action off the bench in Origin so I expect he plays, meaning the Raiders should be 1-17.
BRONCOS: Payne Haas and Xavier Coates should be good to go from what I can tell despite the former nursing a knee complaint coming into it. Albert Kelly will miss the round however with a hamstring complaint and will be replaced by Cory Paix or Tyson Gamble.
WARRIORS V STORM, SUNDAY 2:00PM
WARRIORS: Addin Fonua-Blake is lurking on the extended bench as he tries to return from a knee injury, and given he was training with the top squad before the bye I expect him to come into the squad somewhere, likely off the bench to ease back into things. Josh Curran looks set to return from his elbow injury, as does Bayley Sironen from his own knee issue.
STORM: After failing the game day HIA during Origin, Christian Welch (who had previously been dealing with knee issues anyway) will drop off the bench this game and is also in doubt for Origin II. Nelson Asofa-Soloma will also be out after an unsuccessful outing at the judiciary. This likely sees Tui Kamikamica move to prop with Tom Eisenhuth and Chris Lewis/Trent Loiero joining the interchange. Harry Grant and Cameron Munster both made it through Origin and likely play at this stage.
EELS V TIGERS, SUNDAY 4:05PM
EELS: Junior Paulo is the Eels’ only Origin representative and he did play reasonable minutes, though has a long turnaround which helps his cause to play. Reed Mahoney’s injury also seems slightly worse than first thought and he will be out for 3-6 weeks.
TIGERS: Moses Mbye was carrying a knee injury after last week’s game but should be right at this stage. Like Junior Paulo, Joe Ofahengaue played decent minutes and could be rested though again, the longer turnaround could help.
BULLDOGS V DRAGONS, MONDAY 4:00PM
BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs released a detailed injury update on Thursday. Jeremy Marshall-King is good to go, as is Lachlan Lewis however he was not named this week so I am expecting 1-17. Not relevant for this week but Corey Allan will return next week, Raymond Faitala-Mariner is still rehabbing and is aiming for rounds 17 or 18, as is Jayden Okunbor, who began non contact training with the main group. Christian Crichton is aiming for a return towards end of year.
DRAGONS: Poasa Faamausili copped a head knock last week and will need to pass protocols. Tariq Sims made it through Origin and has been named on the extended bench. At this stage I’m expecting him to play, which presumably sees Jack Bird move back to centre and either Gerard Beale or Brayden Wiliame to drop out.