What a cluster. We may only have four matches this round but with every warm body precious for our sides, it has been an absolute disaster so far with the likes of Hynes, Matterson and potentially AJ missing in action this round.
As always I’ll update this article across Thursday evening and will Tweet all the round updates @AStilesAuthor
SHARKS V STORM, THURSDAY 7:50PM
SHARKS: Carnage. Nicho Hynes and Toby Rudolf have both been ruled out with covid. There were rumours that there could be up to as many as five Sharks struck down but thankfully only the two casualties have eventuated so far. Braydon Trindall has been promoted to starting halfback, Andrew Fifita has rewarded the long term holders with a start at prop and Braden Hamlin-Uele will return on the interchange.
24 hour cuts: Hynes, Rudolf, Miller
STORM: No changes expected at this stage for the Storm, thankfully.
24 hour cuts: Garlick, Tonumaipea, Howarth
KNIGHTS V RABBITOHS, FRIDAY 7:55PM
KNIGHTS: Jacob Saifiti will join the Blues for Origin after Jordan McLean was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Pasami Saulo has replaced him on the bench. No other changes expected.
24 hour cuts: Jacob Saifiti, Hunt, Clifford
RABBITOHS: Alex Johnston is in doubt after he finished last week’s match in a quad compression. He could still play through and survived first cuts but I’ll see if anything comes up Friday. Mark Nicholls has been ruled out with a concussion and has been replaced at lock by Davvy Moale with Daniel Suluka-Fifita joining the bench for his new club.
24 hour cuts: Nicholls, Lovett, Hawkins
TIGERS V EELS, SATURDAY 7:35PM
TIGERS: Seems like a straightforward week here for the Tigers, looks 1-17 at this stage.
EELS: Ryan Matterson is the big expected casualty here. After being named twice in a row after a rib cartilage injury he looks set again to be ruled out. As a plug for NRL Physio’s Patreon, he does a great breakdown of player averages before and after these sorts of injuries when they play through and without spoiling too much, it’s not amazing reading. Marata Niukore started at lock last week when Matto dropped out but with him being already named at prop to cover Junior Paulo’s absence, I’d say Nathan Brown gets a reprieve and comes into the side somewhere with a likely shuffle elsewhere in the forward pack. Nobody else seems in any doubt at this stage.
BRONCOS V DRAGONS, SUNDAY 4:05PM
BRONCOS: The Broncos appear 1-17.
DRAGONS: Mat Feagai only made it through 65 minutes last week after being hobbled by either a quad strain or cork. I assume captain’s run is key here since he was named. Nobody else seems in any doubt.