I think I speak for everyone when I say thank F@#$ the bye rounds are gone for another year. Good riddance. We can now look ahead to the usual late mail dramas, such as injuries and covid, of which there is plenty.
As usual I’ll be tweeting all the updates across the round @AStilesAuthor, though I’ll be updating the bulk of the mail Friday morning as I started a new job this week and have a birthday dinner Thursday night!
EELS V BRONCOS, THURSDAY 7:50PM
EELS: Oh Ryan Matterson how you tease us so. The big man has been named again and at this stage he finally looks like he’ll make his return from his rib cartilage injury after surviving the first team cut. 1-17 is on the cards.
24 hour cuts: Cartwright, Opacic, Russell
BRONCOS: The #Kevolution himself declared that Payne Haas will definitely play this round. Nobody else seems to be in doubt so expecting 1-17 here.
24 hour cuts: Mariner, Kennedy, Martin
DRAGONS V SEA EAGLES, FRIDAY 6:00PM
DRAGONS: No major changes expected at the Dragons.
24 hour cuts: Michael Molo, Jaiyden Hunt, Max Feagai
SEA EAGLES: Lachlan Croker and Andrew Davey have both joined Jake Trbojevic on the sidelines with covid. This sees Kaeo Weekes start at hooker and Ben Trbojevic join the edge.
24 hour cuts: Croker, Davey, Tuaimalo Vaega
KNIGHTS V ROOSTERS, FRIDAY 7:55PM
KNIGHTS: Kurt Mann dropped out Thursday night and has been replaced on the interchange by Phoenix Crossland.
24 hour cuts: Mann, Young, Clifford
ROOSTERS: Joey Manu has been ruled out with the quad injury that was deemed by many as fake last round. He has been replaced at centre by Adam Keighran with no other changes expected at this stage.
24 hour cuts: Manu, Lam, Thomas
RAIDERS V WARRIORS, SATURDAY 3:00PM
RAIDERS: The Raiders have no issues and look like they’ll be 1-17.
WARRIORS: The Warriors similarly look like they’ll run out as is.
PANTHERS V SHARKS, SATURDAY 5:30PM
PANTHERS: The Panthers have a clean bill of health so I’m not expecting any changes here either.
SHARKS: With Sione Katoa already ruled out for the season, the Sharks don’t have anybody named in doubt and could also be 1-17.
RABBITOHS V STORM, SATURDAY 7:35PM
RABBITOHS: Can’t see anybody in doubt here either, could be another 1-17.
STORM: Ditto for the Storm, looking pretty settled this round.
BULLDOGS V TITANS, SUNDAY 2:00PM
BULLDOGS: Jake Averillo has been ruled out with covid. This could see Declan Casey get a run at fullback with Aaron Schoupp return from his own covid withdrawal last round. Josh Addo-Carr is also in doubt with ankle and glute injuries.
TITANS: Nobody in doubt here, looking like another 1-17.
COWBOYS V TIGERS, SUNDAY 4:05PM
COWBOYS: The cavalry is returning this round for the Cowboys and despite some interesting positional choices on TLT, should run out reasonably unchanged.
TIGERS: David Nofoaluma was a late out last week through illness and has been named on the extended bench, meaning he could be a late inclusion on game day. No other changes expected.