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Latrell, Fifita, Papenhuyzen, Reynolds back, Haas hopeful, Kaufusi, Ponga, Aloiai out




Origin II has knocked several clubs around for Round 16 but three of the NRL’s biggest stars set to return from lengthy layoffs with Latrell Mitchell, Ryan Papenhuyzen and David Fifita making comebacks.

Teams are yet to be officially announced for all squads after the Representative Round bye but Mitchell is expected to be back at fullback for Souths against Parramatta on Saturday for the first time since he tore his hamstring against the Dragons on April 9.

His potential return prior to Origin II was delayed by a bout of COVID with the same ailment delaying Papenhuyzen recently after he was named to play following his knee and hamstring problems.

The Storm flyer is also set to reclaim the No.1 jersey when Melbourne travel to Manly on Thursday night.

Star five-eighth Cameron Munster is in extreme doubt due to the shoulder injury he suffered in Origin II.

Maroons forward Felise Kaufusi will not play for the Storm after he was granted time off to go to the United States to be with his father, Taniela, who has been hospitalised in Los Angeles.

Cam Munster for Queensland

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

It’s unknown when he will return, or whether the trip will affect his status for July 13’s Origin series decider at Suncorp Stadium.

Manly prop Josh Aloiai will miss the game after he suffered a serious head knock playing for Samoa in Rep Round.

Fifita will pack down in the second row for the Gold Coast in Newcastle against the Knights, who will be without Kalyn Ponga after he was ruled out due to a concussion suffered late in Origin.

NSW prop Payne Haas is still hopeful of playing for the Broncos on Saturday against the Cowboys in Townsville despite suffering a high ankle sprain in the game-two victory in Perth.

“He had a low grade syndesmosis but we’ll find out more this morning,” Broncos head of football Ben Ikin told SEN when asked about Haas.

“The bloke is so single-minded and has this capacity to push through the pain barrier, it wouldn’t surprise me if the results come back OK and he plays against the Cowboys.”

Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds is set to return at halfback after a couple of weeks out with rib damage.

The match will mark both the 100th NRL appearance and club debut of North Queensland recruit Luciano Leilua.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George says it will take the NRL club years to get over their two-and-a-half year COVID-enforced exile as they prepare for Sunday’s homecoming match against Wests Tigers.

Some 60 matches and 1039 days since they last played at home, having relocated to Australia as the pandemic hit, the struggling Warriors will hope for a huge boost in front of a sell-out crowd.

They flew into Auckland on Monday and were greeted at Mt Smart Stadium on Tuesday with a traditional welcoming ceremony as the build for the clash continues.

Luke Brooks will line up in the halves for the Wests Tigers despite incorrect speculation that he would be dropped.

Thursday

Manly Sea Eagles vs Melbourne Storm at 4 Pines Park, 7.50pm AEST

Sea Eagles: Josh Aloiai has been ruled out with a concussion suffered while representing Samoa. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Storm: Ryan Papenhuyzen is set to make his comeback from leg injuries and a bout of COVID-19, Cameron Munster (shoulder) is unlikely to play while Felise Kaufusi (personal reasons) is out. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Friday

Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans at McDonald Jones Stadium, 6pm AEST

Knights: Kalyn Ponga (head knock) has been ruled out after the high shot he copped from Nathan Cleary in Origin II. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Titans: David Fifita is expected to return from his knee injury. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters at BlueBet Stadium, 7.55pm AEST

Panthers: Penrith’s Origin contingent did not suffer any major injuries on Sunday night in Perth. Nathan Cleary escaped sanction for his high hit on Kalyn Ponga. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Roosters: Victor Radley is over his ankle injury suffered six weeks ago. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Matt Burton

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Saturday

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Cronulla Sharks at CommBank Stadium, 3pm AEST

Bulldogs: Luke Thompson recently returned to the UK for personal reasons and is not due back until next week. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Sharks: Siosifa Talakai only played 17 minutes in his NSW Origin debut off the bench. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, 5.30pm AEST

Cowboys: The match will mark both the 100th NRL appearance and club debut of North Queensland recruit Luciano Leilua. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Broncos: Adam Reynolds (ribs) and Payne Haas (ankle) are hoping to play. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium, 7.35pm AEST

Rabbitohs: Latrell Mitchell’s return is a massive boost for the inconsistent Bunnies. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Eels: Coach Brad Arthur has few injury concerns with his squad. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Sunday

New Zealand Warriors vs Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium,, 2pm AEST

Warriors: Auckland is abuzz with the Warriors returning to play their first match on New Zealand soil since 2019. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Tigers: Luke Brooks is set to retain his position in the halves despite speculation suggesting he would be dropped. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Thursday

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Canberra Raiders at WIN Stadium, 4pm AEST

Dragons: Ben Hunt hurt his ankle on Origin duty for the Maroons and may be forced to sit this match out. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Raiders: Jack Wighton is over the COVID-19 bout which ruled him out of Origin II. Team to be announced at 4pm AEST





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