One round has come and gone and, by and large, it was quite uneventful on a late mail front which is always welcomed to start the season. I’ll be up in the air – literally, flying back from Melbourne to Brisbane – this evening so I’m going a bit early this round on all the news so far.
Ad usual, this article will be updates across Thursday night/Friday morning (when I’m back on solid ground) and all the updates across the round will be tweeted @AStilesAuthor.
PANTHERS V RABBITOHS, THURSDAY 7:00PM AEST / 8:00PM AEDT
PANTHERS: The Panthers look pretty settled coming into this one. Not expecting much on the late change front and the 24 hours cuts solidify it.
24 hour cuts: Peachey, Cogger, Jenkins
RABBITOHS: Latrell Mitchell is a big watch after sustaining what is described by NRL Physio as a ‘minor’ PCL sprain during last week’s match, though it didn’t slow him down much that game. He didn’t train earlier in the week but was both running and kicking goals at captain’s run (again, per NRL Physio) which is great signs. Davvy Moale was called into the starting side an hour out last round and I wouldn’t be surprised for the same to happen, in place of Daniel Suluka-Fifita.
24 hour cuts: Kalo Kalo, Lovett, Mamouzelos
EELS V SHARKS, FRIDAY 5:00PM AEST / 6:00PM AEDT
EELS: Sean Russell dropped out Thursday night to accomodate the return of Bailey Simonsson in what should be the only change.
24 hour cuts: Russell, Ogden, Dunster
SHARKS: Not expecting much. An update on the Nicho Hynes front, he has returned to running at training but coach was vague in when he would return, stating that it depends how he responds to treatment and that he is “day to day, week to week”.
24 hour cuts: Bradbury, Berrell, Puru
BRONCOS V COWBOYS, FRIDAY 7:00PM AEST / 8:00PM AEDT
BRONCOS: Another team that should run out as named with Reece Walsh set to make his first appearance for the season.
24 hour cuts: TBC
COWBOYS: Another 1-17 likely. How good.
24 hour cuts: TBC
ROOSTERS V WARRIORS, SATURDAY 2:00PM AEST / 3:00PM AEDT
ROOSTERS: Brandon Smith’s ribs got absolutely crunched last round. NRL Physio says it is largely a pain tolerance issue so I’m expecting him to play at this stage. I was also surprised to see Victor Radley named and would be absolutely shocked if he plays given the NRL’s tighter concussion protocols and his history.
WARRIORS: Another team that I expect will run out as named on TLT.
DOLPHINS V RAIDERS, SATURDAY 4:30PM AEST / 5:30PM AEDT
DOLPHINS: No changes expected here either after a historic maiden victory against the Roosters.
RAIDERS: I was surprised there were no game day changes for the Raiders last week so based on this, I’ll expect them to be unchanged at this stage.
STORM V BULLDOGS, SATURDAY 6:35PM AEST / 7:35PM AEDT
STORM: The Storm have a mounting casualty list but everyone named should be good to go, with Xavier Coates likely despite picking up a shoulder injury. Another 1-17 on the cards.
BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs appear as though they’ll be similarly unchanged on game day.
TIGERS V KNIGHTS, SUNDAY 3:05PM AEST / 4:05PM AEDT
TIGERS: The Tigers opted to start Jake Simpkin and bring Api Koroisau off the bench last round and also swapped Alex Twal to lock with Joe Ofahengaue off the bench. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens again. Shawn Blore will also need to pass concussion protocols to line up on game day.
KNIGHTS: Greg Marzhew is lurking on the extended bench and could come into contention on game day after nursing an apparently minor hip injury last round, which killed him as a SuperCoach prospect. Presumably Hymel Hunt would drop out to accommodate him if coach opts that way.
DRAGONS V TITANS, SUNDAY 5:15PM AEST / 6:15PM AEDT
DRAGONS: I’m a bit suspect that the Dragons run out as named in the pack but this is only based on game day swaps last season, not anything I’ve read this week. I will expect 1-17 until I see otherwise though.
TITANS: I was shocked to see Keiran Foran named after suffering a suspected PCL/MCL sprain that was expected to sideline him 2-4 weeks but given it turned out to only be a helluva cork and that he was named a starter I’d assume the club rates him as a good chance. The Sunday game likely helps his cause though is a long wait if you need to see him in uniform to play someone like Khan-Pereira. If he isn’t good to go, they could go with AJ Brimson or Toby Sexton, and I’ve even heard Jayden Campbell’s name has been floated around (to not disrupt Brimson at the back). Time will tell.