Bye planning hey? How good is it seeing your team unravel right after we burned our five trades and all our meticulous planning was Thanos-snapped: and that was before we even hit late mail.
The GOAT Burbo has already been shunted to 18th man, Sam Walker is perennially in doubt and Suaalii is a wait and see…and with those names alone that’s about a third of everyone’s sides already.
I hope that everyone can at least get enough warm bodies on the field for green arrows this week.
RABBITOHS V COWBOYS, FRIDAY 7:55PM
RABBITOHS: Nobody named seems to be in any doubt so I’m expecting 1-17 here. Not relevant for this game but geez there will be some fallout for Jai Arrow for the Origin Covid breach after what we’ve already seen go down with the Bulldogs and Dragons. Jaxson Paulo and Tautau Moga were the first omitted.
COWBOYS: Connelly Lemuelu is listed with a thumb injury but he should be OK to play and no other changes are expected. Michael Bell and Ben Condon were trimmed 24 hours out.
BULLDOGS V ROOSTERS, SATURDAY 7:35PM
BULLDOGS: Not expecting any changes to the side, though it’s noteworthy that all the Bulldogs who have been named this week after being stood down due to the Covid breach only emerge from isolation this week.
ROOSTERS: My Twitter notifications got utterly destroyed Thursday night after the SC Spy tagged me in a ‘Sam Walker in doubt’ post. My take on it is that if he continues to be ragdolled all over the paddock each round we’ll see him in doubt every time he’s named until the end of the season and rested when the team is able. As for that rest coming this week, I have not seen anything official. A game against the Bulldogs does seem like the time to do it however the Roosters are already down on troops due to Origin and at 6th on the ladder they’ll still be hunting for wins and adding to their for/against. Captain’s run, 24 hour mail (7:35pm Friday) and of course game day mail will be key milestones for owners and potential buyers. I also learnt something about Joseph Suaalii during the week: apparently due to his age he has (and will) be named in the 21 jersey each week until he turns 18 in August so that he doesn’t have any gambling sponsorship on his back. That gives me hope that he’ll be a late inclusion into the side in place of either Matt Ikuvalu on the wing or Billy Smith at centre, although if Sam Walker is out he could even come in at fullback with Joey Manu swapping to the halves. There are a few moving parts here for sure.
SHARKS V WARRIORS, SUNDAY 4:05PM
SHARKS: Will Chambers has to quarantine after returning from the birth of his child so will miss this game. Connor Tracy will move to centre with Brayden Trindall joining the halves.
WARRIORS: Reece Walsh, Kodi Nikorima and Eliesa Katoa are all listed in the casualty ward with round 17 against their names. Walsh and Nikorima have apparently been training during the week and should be good to go but Katoa is still in doubt with both shoulder and ankle concerns. Jack Murchie seems most likely to come into the side if Katoa is ruled out, either as a straight replacement on the edge or on the bench with Ben Murdoch-Masila getting the start as he’s done intermittently throughout the season.