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Cotric scratched, Dogs’ COVID blow, Luai back early, Roosters boost, Cowboys shuffle


Marquee forward Luke Thompson has been ruled out of Canterbury’s round 24 NRL clash with Cronulla after testing positive to COVID-19.

Thompson missed training on Wednesday evening after complaining of feeling sick and will now self-isolate for seven days. Saturday’s game was supposed to be the 27-year-old’s first appearance in the starting side since May after he suffered a serious concussion and then took further leave to be with his sick mother in England.

Reportedly earning around $800,000 per season, Thompson made his return via the bench in last week’s hefty loss to Parramatta. Thompson is contracted until the end of next season but his future remains the subject of speculation, given his hefty salary and the imminent coaching changes at the Bulldogs.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Canberra rookie Albert Hopoate will fill in for injured winger Nick Cotric (groin) against his former club on Saturday at GIO Stadium, while Manly will hand a debut to Ray Tuaimalo Vaega on a wing in place of Alfred Smalley.

Penrith will get a major boost with five-eighth Jarome Luai (knee) back a week early and prop James Fisher-Harris returning from suspension for Friday’s minor premiership celebration at BlueBet Stadium against the Warriors.

Luai was not meant to play again until the final round or perhaps the playoffs but he has been cleared to return with Jaeman Salmon dropping out.

The Roosters and Storm will also get major personnel boosts for their blockbuster showdown at AAMI Park on Friday which will have a large bearing on where each team finishes in the finals equation.

Representative props Lindsay Collins (concussion) and Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) are due to return to boost the middle forward rotation for the sixth-placed Roosters. 

For the Storm, rookie utility Tyran Wishart is out until the finals with an ankle problem but Xavier Coates (concussion) and Tui Kamikamica (back) are likely to be right to face the Roosters while Felise Kaufusi (personal leave) is likely to play on Friday after a fortnight out.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 11: Siosiua Taukeiaho and Lindsay Collins of the Roosters look dejected after defeat during the round 14 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm at Sydney Cricket Ground, on June 11, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Tom Dearden’s absence until the finals due to a ruptured testicle leaves Cowboys coach Todd Payten with a dilemma for Saturday’s showdown with Souths in Sydney. 

He has switched Scott Drinkwater to five-eighth and promoted Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to fullback off the bench 

Souths are due to welcome back experienced duo Thomas Burgess (groin) and Kodi Nikorima (hamstring) for the Accor Stadium duel. They have left out Jaxson Paulo for Saturday night’s clash after his tough night against Penrith last week, with Izaac Thompson to play wing.

And Gold Coast will debut Klese Haas against Newcastle, with the younger brother of Brisbane prop Payne Haas to come off the bench and Jarrod Wallace pushed back to reserves.

Round 24 Team Lists

Thursday

Broncos vs Eels, 7.50pm at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Brenko Lee 5. Selwyn Cobbo 19. Jordan Pereira 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Ryan James 14. Billy Walters 15. Kobe Hetherington 16. Corey Jensen 17. Rhys Kennedy 18. Delouise Hoeter 20. Tyson Gamble 21. Keenan Palasia 22. Zac Hosking

Kurt Capewell is set to play despite suffering an ankle injury in last Friday’s Storm shellacking while centre Brenko Lee will return from a hamstring strain. Selwyn Cobbo is being rested with Jordan Pereira elevated to the wing.

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Waqa Blake 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Jakob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore 18. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Bailey Simonsson 20. Bryce Cartwright 21. Sean Russell 22. Ky Rodwell

Brad Arthur has retained the same starting side which vanquished Canterbury on Saturday but has replaced Bryce Cartwright and Ofahiki Ogden on the interchange with Makahesi Makatoa and Jake Arthur.

Friday

Panthers vs Warriors, 6pm at BlueBet Stadium

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Matt Eisenhuth 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Charlie Staines 18. Sunia Turuva 19. J’maine Hopgood 20. Chris Smith 21. Kurt Falls 22. Lindsay Smith

Penrith will be boosted by the return of star prop James Fisher-Harris from suspension and five-eighth Jarome Luai (knee) a week earlier than expected. Scott Sorensen (calf) is still out. 

Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Viliami Vailea 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Edward Kosi 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tohu Harris 11. Euan Aitken 12. Josh Curran 13. Bunty Afoa 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Eliesa Katoa 17. Tom Ale 18. Adam Pompey 20. Rocco Berry 21. Ben Murdoch-Masila 22. Daejarn Asi 23. Taniela Otukolo

Five-eighth Chanel Harris-Tavita and veteran prop Ben Murdoch-Masila will return from injury. CHT has been out for a month with a knee strain while BMM, who has been named in the reserves, has been sidelined since June 12 after leaving the field in excruciating pain when he dislocated his left elbow in the round 14 loss to Cronulla.

Storm vs Roosters, 7.55pm at AAMI Park

Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Young Tonumaipea 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Brandon Smith 14. Chris Lewis 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Josh King 18. Alec MacDonald 19. Trent Loiero 20. William Warbrick 21. Cooper Johns 22. Marion Seve

Rookie utility Tyran Wishart is out until the finals with an ankle problem while Xavier Coates (concussion) and Tui Kamikamica (back) are in doubt for the rumble with the Roosters. Felise Kaufusi (personal leave) will play on Friday after a fortnight out.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Lindsay Collins 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho 18. Drew Hutchison 19. Terrell May 20. Siua Wong 21. Fletcher Baker 22. Oliver Gildart

Lindsay Collins (concussion), Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) are returning on the bench to boost the middle forward rotation. 

Saturday 

Raiders vs Sea Eagles, 3pm at GIO Stadium

Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. James Schiller 19. Ata Mariota 20. Matt Frawley 21. Trey Mooney 22. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Canberra escaped late with the two points in Newcastle on Sunday and avoided injuries so Ricky Stuart has kept the same 17. Albert Hopoate will fill in for injured winger Nick Cotric (groin) against his former club.

Sea Eagles: 1. Tolutau Koula 2. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Dylan Walker 14. Ben Trbojevic 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Kurt De Luis 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Kaeo Weekes 20. James Roumanos 21. Jamie Humphreys 22. Jacob Sykes

With seven regular first-graders sidelined with injuries, coach Des Hasler does not have many options after the poor form they displayed on the weekend against Cronulla. Debutant Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega has replaced Alfred Smalley on the wing while Andrew Davey takes over at second row from Ethan Bullemor.

Sharks vs Bulldogs, 5.30pm at PointsBet Stadium

Sharks: 1. Lachlan Miller 2. Matt Ikuvalu 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Dale Finucane 14. Teig Wilton 15. Cameron McInnes 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Braydon Trindall 19. Jesse Colquhoun 20. Franklin Pele 21. Kayal Iro 22. Luke Metcalf

NSW centre Siosifa Talakai (shoulder) will return while veteran lock Dale Finucane (rib) should be OK despite going off early in the big win over Manly. Talakai’s return is timely with Connor Tracey out due to concussion.

Bulldogs: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Joe Stimson 16. Harrison Edwards 17. Chris Patolo 19. Declan Casey 20. Bailey Biondi-Odo 21. Jackson Topine 22. Kurtis Morrin 23. Jeral Skelton

After two heavy defeats, coach Mick Potter elevated Luke Thompson to the starting side at lock following his return from concussions last week. However, the English forward has since been ruled out due to a bout of COVID-19.

Rabbitohs vs Cowboys, 7.35pm at Accor Stadium

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Hame Sele 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Siliva Havili 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Blake Taaffe 19. Taane Milne 20. Davvy Moale 21. Jed Cartwright 22. Michael Chee Kam

Thomas Burgess (groin) and Kodi Nikorima (hamstring) will likely come back into the team for the Cowboys showdown. Young winger Jaxson Paulo has been dropped after his tough night against Penrith, replaced by Izaac Thompson.

Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Tom Gilbert 15. Coen Hess 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Tomas Chester 20. Jake Granville 21. Riley Price 22. Ben Condon

Tom Dearden’s absence until the finals due to a ruptured testicle means Todd Payten switches Scott Drinkwater to five-eighth and promotes Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to fullback off the bench. 

Sunday 

Tigers vs Dragons, 2pm at CommBank Stadium

Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. Brent Naden 3. Starford To’a 4. Asu Kepaoa 5. Junior Pauga 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Jock Madden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Thomas Freebairn 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Fa’amanu Brown 14. Fonua Pole 15. Austin Dias 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Kitione Kautoga 18. Justin Matamua 19. Tyrone Peachey 20. James Roberts 21. Tukimihia Simpkins 22. Brandon Tumeth

James Tamou got his two-game ban downgraded to one on Tuesday night and with experienced quartet Ken Maumalo (groin), Luke Garner (concussion), Alex Seyfarth (shoulder) and Luke Brooks (calf) out this weekend, coach Brett Kimmorley will again field a youthful line-up. Kitione Kautoga will debut off the bench.

Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Aaron Woods 9. Jayden Sullivan 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Josh Mcguire 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Tyrell Fuimaono 15. Jaiyden Hunt 16. Jackson Ford 17. Tyrell Sloan 18. Jack Gosiewski 19. Jonathon Reuben 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Joshua Coric 22. Josh Kerr

Andrew McCullough’s knee injury means Jayden Sullivan could be recalled to the starting side at hooker. Moses Mbye (two games) and Francis Molo (four games) won’t play again this season after being suspended for high tackles. Jack Bird switches from lock to centre for Mbye while Tyrell Sloan is back on the interchange.

Titans vs Knights, 4.05pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Brian Kelly 4. Phillip Sami 5. Greg Marzhew 6. AJ Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Sam McIntyre 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Paul Turner 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Klese Haas 18. Corey Thompson 19. Jarrod Wallace 20. Toby Sexton 21. Esan Marsters 22. Sam Lisone

Centre Phil Sami will need to pass the concussion protocols to play after copping a head knock against the Dragons. Patrick Herbert’s knee has sidelined him with Brian Kelly back to replace him. Klese Haas, younger brother of Payne Haas, is listed to make his debut off the bench.

Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Krystian Mapapalangi 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Sauaso Sue 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker 18. Jack Johns 19. Chris Randall 20. Enari Tuala 21. Simi Sasagi 22. Jirah Momoisea

Former Blues prop Daniel Saifiti will be back on deck after a bout of COVID-19, Tyson Frizell (rib) should be OK while Bradman Best’s hamstring injury will probably mean he won’t play again until 2023. 





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