All things considered, last week was one of the least eventful post-Origin rounds I can recall in recent years. Sure there were some changes, but largely all the SC relevant players backed up in what was a huge relief for those worried about fielding a half-decent 17.
Hopefully we can carry that momentum into this round and at this stage there are a scary amount of 1-17’s on the cards. It truly is the end of times.
Moving forward, with the banner/round chat going up on Thursday evening I’ll be doing the one post for all late mail. The Thursday game will be updated early with the rest of the games remaining TBA, with the aim that I update them all across Thursday night.
As usual, the Tweets will be flying across the round @AStilesAuthor
DRAGONS V RABBITOHS, 7:50PM
DRAGONS: Nobody in doubt so 1-17 looks likely here.
24 Hour Cuts: Josh Kerr, Jayden Sullivan, Billy Burns
RABBITOHS: Another 1-17 on the cards. Happy days.
24 Hour Cuts: Isaiah Tass, Dean Hawkins, Jed Cartwright
SEA EAGLES V COWBOYS, FRIDAY 6:00PM
SEA EAGLES: The Manly side looks settled here, not expecting any changes with Daly Cherry-Evans set to return after being a late out last round.
24 hour cuts: Ethan Bullemor, Kaeo Weekes, Kurt De Luis
COWBOYS: The Cowboys also appear 1-17 here. Not relevant for this game, but despite being released early by the Tigers, Luciano Leilua’s move to NQ is “far from done” since he may not fit within NQ’s salary cap this season.
24 hour cuts: Kane Bradley, Ben Hampton, Robert Derby
STORM V BRONCOS, FRIDAY 7:55PM
STORM: Ryan Papenhuyzen’s return has hit a wall after testing positive to Covid on Thursday morning. He has already been cut from the extended bench and replaced by Jack Howarth. Controversially, Felise Kaufusi has been cleared at the judiciary after his elbow to Sam Walker’s head, meaning the side should be unchanged.
24 hour cuts: Jayden Nikorima, Jordan Grant, Jack Howarth/Ryan Papenhuyzen
BRONCOS: Word out of Red Hill is that Payne Haas will suit up this week despite carrying a shoulder injury, though his minutes will be capped at 60 (which is still not too bad TBH). He at least becomes a start/sit decision rather than an is he in or out sweat. The rest of the side should be unchanged.
24 hour cuts: Delouise Hoeter, Xavier Willison, Ryan James
SHARKS V TITANS, SATURDAY 3:00PM
SHARKS: Dale Finucane is lurking on the extended bench however NRL Physio pointed out on a podcast during the week that he’s a bit pessimistic on Finucane after a string of injuries in recent times, so it wouldn’t surprise here for him to be given more time to recover. Can’t see much else changing in the named 17.
24 hour cuts: Lachlan Miller, Jesse Colquhoun, Kade Dykes
TITANS: AJ Brimson is cleared to return from his Covid layoff. Erin Clark went for an MRI to assess his rib injury but he’s been named in the #9 jersey so I’m assuming all is good here. Physio also has Kevin Proctor as a round 15-16 return and I can see him on the extended bench, but unsure whether they bring him in this week or not.
24 hour cuts: Herman Ese’ese, Kevin Proctor, Esan Marsters
WARRIORS V PANTHERS, 5:30PM
WARRIORS: Addin Fonua-Blake’s named has resurfaced on the extended bench after missing time with his lisfranc injury. Physio has him as a round 15-17 return but he seems to be firming for an inclusion. His return would likely send Jazz Tevaga back to the bench should he be thrown straight back into his starting prop role and not be eased back via the bench.
PANTHERS: Isaah Yeo is good to go after being a late out last week and the 17 look injury free so expecting another 1-17 here.
EELS V ROOSTERS, SATURDAY 7:35PM
EELS: Nathan Brown has been dropped from this week’s side due to a poor performance last week and apparently given permission to speak with rival clubs, bringing about a seemingly abrupt end to his Eels career. Ky Rodwell is tipped to take his spot on the interchange.
ROOSTERS: Luke Keary made it through Tuesday’s training after his head knock last weekend but it seems like he will be held out this round as a precaution. Drew Hutchison will replace him in the halves with Terrell May joining the interchange.
RAIDERS V KNIGHTS, SUNDAY 2:00PM
RAIDERS: All the injuries were on the Broncos’ side of the equation last week so the Raiders are another side that look likely to run out 1-17.
KNIGHTS: Ponga only made it through 15 minutes before copping a head knock and failing to return, but coach O’Brien seemed to clear him on Thursday. The rest of the side should run out as named.
BULLDOGS V TIGERS, SUNDAY 4:05PM
BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs look settled here, should be 1-17.
TIGERS: The Tigers also look like they’ll be unchanged on game day at this stage.