What an absolute late mail disaster last round. It was an all time lineup of outs with names including Tedesco, Trbojevic, Brimson, Welch, Cook, Murray, Fotuaika, Tuakeiaho and more to go with highly owned players who were expected to sit anyway such as Cleary, To’o and Luai. In many ways it felt worse than the bye round because at least we planned for that (for all the good it did), whereas this was a complete blindsiding.
But that is the game we play, and all we can do is look ahead to round 15 which will hopefully be far less punishing, however we already have confirmation that stars such as Walker, Ponga and Tupouniua will be riding the pine. Sigh.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AStilesAuthor for all the updates across the round. Best of luck everyone.
COWBOYS V SHARKS, FRIDAY 6:00PM
COWBOYS: Kyle Feldt was a late out last week with a back injury from Origin but has been training and the Cowboys list him as good to go so I’m expecting 1-17. Kane Bradley and Corey Jensen were the first players omitted.
SHARKS: Sione Katoa is edging closer to a return having been named on the extended bench, but he was cut 24 hours out along with Chad Townsend so the Sharks look 1-17.
PANTHERS V ROOSTERS, FRIDAY 7:55PM
PANTHERS: Nathan Cleary has been cleared to return from his face cut and the other Origin players are good to go, so the Panthers should be 1-17. J’maine Hopgood and Tyrone May were cut 24 hours out.
ROOSTERS: Sam Walker (shoulder) and Sitili Tupouniua (foot) have both been ruled out. Currently, Adam Keighran switches from hooker to halfback with Sam Verrills moving to hooker and Egan Butcher to the edge. This sees Tuku Hau Tapuha and Ben Thomas join the interchange. Joseph Suaalii is still on the extended bench so I won’t rule out the usual Manu halves/Suaalii centre solution with Keighran moving to the bench utility role. Siosiua Taukeiaho was a mystery out last week with no reason given, but he has survived the first team cut this week which is positive and James Tedesco should also be good to go.
KNIGHTS V WARRIORS, SATURDAY 3:00PM
KNIGHTS: Kalyn Ponga has once again been ruled out with his ongoing groin issue and has been replaced at fullback by Tex Hoy. No other changes expected with Mitch Peace and Hymel Hunt seemingly good to return from their respective injuries. Matt Croker was also omitted 24 hours out.
WARRIORS: Rocco Berry was cut from the side 24 hours out and has been replaced at centre by Adam Pompey. Jack Murchie was also cut from the extended bench Friday afternoon. Not relevant for this week but Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has signed with the Warriors as expected and could come into play for the round 17 bye if anybody is interested.
DRAGONS V RAIDERS, SATURDAY 5:30PM
DRAGONS: Matt Dufty didn’t train on Thursday and is considered long odds to suit up this weekend and Tyrell Sloan’s hyped extended bench appearance has seemingly been timed perfectly, with the rookie appearing likely to slot in at the back. Zac Lomax is also lurking on the extended bench but he is set to be ruled out.
RAIDERS: I was surprised to not find Corey Harawira-Narea’s name in the casualty ward after last week’s HIA but I haven’t seen anything placing him in doubt, so the Raiders are looking 1-17.
STORM V TIGERS, SATURDAY 7:35PM
STORM: Christian Welch will need to pass concussion protocols but should play this week, as should the thousand other Storm players who were late outs or in doubt last week with none of them listed in the casualty ward. With both Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Tui Kamikamia in the side again, we may again see what had become the given swap on game day.
TIGERS: Moses Mbye was another late withdrawal last week and he’s still listed as carrying a knee issue, so I imagine captain’s run will be the key telling factor here. The rest of of the team is shaping up as is, however NBWT on Twitter did remind me of how many players are carrying niggles, including Daine Laurie, David Nofoaluma and Luke Garner. I haven’t seen anything placing them in doubt at this stage however.
EELS V BULLDOGS, SUNDAY 2:00PM
EELS: Nobody named is listed in the casualty ward, should be 1-17.
BULLDOGS: Ditto re the Bulldogs, expecting 1-17.
TITANS V SEA EAGLES, SUNDAY 4:05PM
TITANS: AJ Brimson was named on the extended bench but it seems that he will be a late inclusion in place of Jayden Campbell if he ticks all the boxes at captain’s run. Mitch Rein and Anthony Don are also listed as round 15 returns, the latter of which is particularly concerning for any potential Greg Marzhew owners unless you want him to nuff out. I’m expecting a big 24 hour update on Saturday afternoon after captain’s run, so keep an eye out if he is in your plans. Corey Thompson is listed to return next round, which is also noteworthy for Marzhew’s ongoing availability. It’s unfortunate that this is the last game of the round.
SEA EAGLES: Toafofoa Sipley is in the casualty ward after copping a head knock last week and he presumably has to make it through concussion protocols to line up. Tom Trbojevic looks like he will be good to go in the final game of the round with no other changes expected.