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Panthers, Storm depleted, Klemmer back from trainer drama, Sims, JFH, Cotric banned


Penrith and Melbourne are set to field depleted sides for Thursday night’s blockbuster at BlueBet Stadium in one of three matches which will have a huge bearing on the finals equation.

The premiers can seal the minor premiership with a win while the Storm are in a dogfight to stay in fourth spot with the Eels and Rabbitohs nipping at their heels.

Parramatta host Souths on Friday night while the Roosters, who are clinging onto the final sport in top eight, take on second-placed North Queensland on Saturday.

Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes is out with a shoulder injury while Craig Bellamy will also be without the services of Felise Kaufusi, who will miss the trip to Penrith to be with his family after the death of his father, Taniela, on Saturday morning.

The Storm will welcome Justin Olam (COVID-19) back after he missed last week’s win over Gold Coast.

Jahrome Hughes of the Storm

Jahrome Hughes (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards (shoulder) is under a cloud while front-rower James Fisher-Harris has been banned for two weeks, joining Nathan Cleary (suspended) and Jarome Luai (knee) as onlookers.

Panthers five-eighth Jaeman Salmon was charged with contrary conduct for the kicking incident with Raiders hooker Tom Starling which provoked Ricky Stuart‘s “weak-gutted dog” rant, but has avoided a ban, entering an early guilty plea to receive a $1000 fine.

Raiders winger Nick Cotric was also binned for a high tackle and copped a one-game ban with the early guilty plea.

Dragons veteran Tariq Sims looks to have played his last match with St George Illawarra after accepting a four-match ban for knocking Cronulla’s Connor Tracey out with his shoulder in round 21.

Knights prop David Klemmer returns from his controversial one-week club-imposed suspension for Saturday’s road clash with Brisbane.

Sharks five-eighth Matt Moylan is no guarantee to return from a quad problem which kept him out of the win over the Dragons while Tracey will need to pass the concussion protocols after his head knock to face the Tigers on Saturday.

Manly five-eighth Kieran Foran (hamstring) is hopeful of playing this Sunday against his next team, the Titans, on the Gold Coast despite tweaking his hamstring strain in Friday night’s loss to the Eels. 

Titans hooker Aaron Booth suffered a serious knee injury in the loss to Melbourne and will be sidelined into next season after needing a full reconstruction.

Teams will officially be announced at 4pm AEST.

James Fisher-Harris looks to pass

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Round 21 team lists

Thursday

Panthers v Storm, 7.50pm at BlueBet Stadium

Panthers: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards (shoulder) is under a cloud while front-rower James Fisher-Harris has been banned for two weeks, joining Nathan Cleary (suspended) and Jarome Luai (knee) as onlookers.

Storm: Team to be announced at 4pm.

Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes is out with a shoulder injury while Craig Bellamy will also be without the services of Felise Kaufusi, who will miss the trip to Penrith to be with his family after the death of his father, Taniela, on Saturday morning. The Storm will welcome Justin Olam (COVID-19) back after he missed last week’s win over Gold Coast.

Friday

Warriors v Bulldogs, 8pm (6pm AEST) at Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Interim coach Stacey Jones could look to make major changes in the wake of the heavy defeat to Souths. 

Bulldogs: Team to be announced at 4pm.

The Bulldogs will be considered heavy favourites despite having to travel to Auckland.

Eels v Rabbitohs, 7.55pm at CommBank Stadium

Eels: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Ryan Matterson needs to pass the concussion protocols to take his place in the line-up after a head knock in the win over Manly.

Rabbitohs: Team to be announced at 4pm.

Veteran prop Tom Burgess is back from suspension with Daniel Suluka-Fifita likely to make way.

Saturday 

Roosters v Cowboys, 3pm at SCG

Roosters: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Egan Butcher is available after serving a one-game suspension but Lindsay Collins will be sidelined again due to concussion concerns.

Cowboys: Team to be announced at 4pm.

Seasoned campaigners Jordan McLean and Kyle Feldt are likely to return from hamstring problems. 

(Photo by Dan Peled/Getty Images)

Tigers v Sharks, 5.30pm at Scully Park, Tamworth

Tigers: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Winger Ken Maumalo is under a cloud due to a knee injury suffered on Sunday against Newcastle. 

Sharks: Team to be announced at 4pm.

Five-eighth Matt Moylan is no guarantee to return from a quad problem which kept him out of the win over the Dragons while Connor Tracey will need to pass the concussion protocols after his head knock to face the Tigers on Saturday.

Broncos v Knights, 7.35pm at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Te Maire Martin looks set to replace Tesi Niu at fullback.

Knights: Team to be announced at 4pm.

David Klemmer returns from his controversial one-week club-imposed suspension for Saturday’s road clash in what could be a straight swap for Jacob Saifiti, who copped a head knock in the win over the Tigers.

Sunday 

Raiders v Dragons, 2pm at GIO Stadium

Raiders: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Nick Cotric is out due to a one-match high tackle ban while fullback Xavier Savage will likely return from an ankle problem.

Dragons: Team to be announced at 4pm.

Veteran forward Tariq Sims looks to have played his last match with St George Illawarra after accepting a four-match ban for knocking Cronulla’s Connor Tracey out with his shoulder in round 21. Fullback Cody Ramsey should be right to return from a knee complaint.

Titans v Sea Eagles, 4.05pm at Cbus Super Stadium

Titans: Team to be announced at 4pm. 

Aaron Booth is set to be sidelined for a year with his serious knee injury, opening the door for young halfback Toby Sexton to return to a reshuffled Gold Coast spine.

Sea Eagles: Team to be announced at 4pm.

Five-eighth Kieran Foran (hamstring) is hopeful of playing this Sunday against his next team, the Titans, despite tweaking his hamstring strain in Friday night’s loss to the Eels. 





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