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The Brisbane Broncos have offloaded veteran hooker Andrew McCullough to Newcastle.
McCullough’s 260-game career at the Broncos came to an abrupt end on Thursday when he joined the Knights, effective immediately.
McCullough signed with the Broncos at 13 and was part of the club’s inaugural under-20s team in 2008, making his NRL debut that year.
He was a mainstay of the NRL team from 2009 and played three Origin games for Queensland in 2018.

But McCullough’s form dipped over the past two years and he fell behind rising rake Jake Turpin, prompting the 30-year-old to join the Knights.
McCullough had an option in his contract to remain at the Broncos in 2021, but will join the Knights immediately.
“We wish Andrew and Carlie all the best in what will be a new and exciting opportunity for them,” said Broncos CEO Paul White.
“He has been a favourite son of the Broncos for a long period of time and has always been so well respected by his fellow players and staff.

“It is a sad day for the Broncos to see him depart Brisbane, but he will always be welcome back here at the club.”
While the Broncos have lost a loyal clubman, McCullough’s switch is a good result for the club.
McCullough stood to pocket $600,000 if he remained at the Broncos in 2021 and could have been playing in the Intrust Super Cup.

The Knights needed a hooker to replace Jayden Brailey and Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien said McCullough fit the bill.
“Andrew is a quality defensive player with a consistent passing game and kick threat,” O’Brien said.
“He’s a senior player with maturity which will only compliment Mitchell Pearce, Kurt Mann and Kalyn Ponga in the spine.
“I am looking forward to having him join our roster ahead of the 2020 season resumption.”
 

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Due to the suspensions of N Cleary and K Ponga in conjunction with the injury to D Fifita they will be traded, along with W Blake and G Leleisiuao. Their current replacements are L Leilua, C Watson, B Hampton, J Mansour and T Trbojevic.

View attachment 17112
Change of plans with the recent developments surrounding C Watson, with D Brown replacing him as the replacement for N Cleary.

1590191779896.png

Remaining 2 trades will likely be used to either bring in K Staggs for G Leleisiuao or T Trbojevic/P Haas for K Ponga/A Fifita.
 

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RD3 Captains (via-https://www.nrlsupercoachstats.com/):

HOK:
D Cook:
Avg VS Roosters since 2010: 47 from 8 (low of 20 and a high of 80)
Last 3 VS Roosters: 68.33 from 3 (low of 55 and a high of 80)

C Smith:
Avg VS Raiders since 2010: 70 from 15 (low of 43 and a high of 104)
Last 3 VS Raiders: 48.33 from 3 (low of 43 and a high of 56)

A Koroisau:
Avg VS Knights since 2010: 51 from 9 (low of 23 and a high of 83)
Last 3 VS Knights: 52 from 3 (low of 26 and a high of 79)

FRF:
P Haas:
Avg VS Eels since 2019: 83.5 from 2 (low of 76 and a high of 91)

D Klemmer:
Avg VS Panthers since 2010: 47 from 11 (low of 28 and a high of 77)
Last 3 VS Panthers: 58 from 3 (low of 39 and a high of 75)

J Papalii:
Avg VS Storm since 2010: 50 from 10 (low of 38 and a high of 83)
Last 3 VS Storm: 58 from 3 (low of 42 and a high of 83)

M Taupau:
Avg VS Bulldogs since 2010: 57 from 9 (low of 28 and a high of 88)
Last 3 VS Bulldogs: 60 from 3 (low of 55 and a high of 70)

A Fifita:
Avg VS West Tigers since 2010: 55 from 4 (low of 35 and a high of 67)
Last 3 VS West Tigers: 50.67 from 3 (low of 35 and a high of 63)

2RF:
J Taumalolo:
Avg VS Titans since 2010: 72 from 10 (low of 35 and a high of 138)
Last 3 VS Titans: 102.33 from 3 (low of 84 and a high of 138)

C Murray:
Avg VS Roosters since 2010: 60 from 3 (low of 37 and a high of 70)

R Matterson:
Avg VS Broncos since 2010: 37 from 7 (low of 3 and a high of 50)
Last 3 VS Broncos: 47.33 from 3 (low of 43 and a high of 50)

J Trbojevic:
Avg VS Bulldogs since 2010: 57 from 7 (low of 33 and a high of 95)
Last 3 VS Bulldogs: 60.67 from 3 (low of 59 and a high of 62)

J Arrow:
Avg VS Cowboys since 2010: 60 from 4 (low of 33 and a high of 80)
Last 3 VS Cowboys: 68.67 from 3 (low of 52 and a high of 80)

V Kikau:
Avg VS Knights since 2010: 43 from 4 (low of 22 and a high of 59)
Last 3 VS Knights: 49.67 from 3 (low of 38 and a high of 59)

HFB:
S Johnson:
Avg VS West Tigers since 2010: 78 from 9 (low of 30 and a high of 123)
Last 3 VS West Tigers: 60 from 3 (low of 30 and a high of 81)

M Moses:
Avg VS Broncos since 2010: 53 from 6 (low of 14 and a high of 110)
Last 3 VS Broncos: 39.33 from 3 (low of 14 and a high of 65)

5/8:
C Munster:
Avg VS Raiders since 2010: 56 from 6 (low of 28 and a high of 103)
Last 3 VS Raiders: 65.33 from 3 (low of 41 and a high of 103)

A Milford:
Avg VS Eels since 2010: 61 from 11 (low of 30 and a high of 125)
Last 3 VS Eels: 36.33 from 3 (low of 30 and a high of 40)

CTW:
D Nofoaluma:
Avg VS Sharks since 2010: 53 from 7 (low of 27 and a high of 80)
Last 3 VS Sharks: 52 from 3 (low of 39 and a high of 62)

E Marsters:
Avg VS Titans since 2010: 66 from 4 (low of 35 and a high of 83)
Last 3 VS Titans: 61 from 3 (low of 35 and a high of 83)

FB:
J Tedesco:
Avg VS Rabbitohs since 2010: 69 from 13 (low of 23 and a high of 126)
Last 3 VS Rabbitohs: 53.67 from 3 (low of 23 and a high of 78)

T Trbojevic:
Avg VS Bulldogs since 2010: 75 from 5 (low of 49 and a high of 111)
Last 3 VS Bulldogs: 89.67 from 3 (low of 78 and a high of 111)

V Holmes:
Avg VS Titans since 2010: 57 from 7 (low of 37 and a high of 73)
Last 3 VS Titans: 41.33 from 3 (low of 37 and a high of 47)
 

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FULL CASUALTY WARD

BRISBANE BRONCOS
David Fifita (Knee, Round 6-7)
Brodie Croft (AC joint, Round 3)
Corey Oates (Ribs, Round 3)
Joe Ofahengaue (Disciplinary suspension, Round 3)
Alex Glenn (Hamstring, Round 3)
Matt Lodge (Partial ACL tear, Round 3)
Jack Bird (ACL, season)
Tevita Pangai (Suspension, Round 6)
Jordan Kahu (Shoulder, Mid-season)
Sean O’Sullivan (ACL, Mid-season)
Keenan Palasia (ACL, Late-season)
Izaia Perese (Stood down)

CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
Marcelo Montoya (Hamstring, Round 14)
Chris Smith (Knee, Round 5-10)
Kieran Foran (Shoulder, Round 3-4)
Kerrod Holland (Knee, Round 3)
Joe Stimson (Shoulder, Season)

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Michael Morgan (Shoulder, Round 6-7)

ST GEORGE-ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Korbin Sims (Arm, Round 3)
Cameron McInnes (Knee, Round 3)
Jack de Belin (Stood down)
Mikaele Ravalawa (Thigh, Round 3)
Tariq Sims (Suspension, Round 3)

PARRAMATTA EELS
Nathan Brown (Suspension, Round 5)
Reed Mahoney (Foot, Round 3-5)

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Kalyn Ponga (Suspension, Round 4)
Phoenix Crossland (Groin, Round 3)
Bradman Best (Fractured foot, Round 3)
Sione Mata’utia (Knee, Round 3)
Herman Ese’ese (ankle, Round 3)
Mitch Barnett (Shoulder/neck, Round 7)
Jayden Brailey (ACL, Season)

PENRITH PANTHERS
Nathan Cleary (Suspension, Round 5)
Tyrone May (Suspension, Round 8)
Dylan Edwards (Ankle, Round 3)
Kurt Capewell (Quad strain, Round 3)
Mitch Kenny (Elbow, Round 3)
Shaun Blore (ACL, Round 3)
Spencer Leniu (Knee, Round 3)
Jack Hetherington (Suspension, Round 4)

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Patrick Mago (Pectoral, Round 3)
Hame Sele (Hamstring, Round 4-5)

CANBERRA RAIDERS
Siliva Havili (Hamstring, Round 3)
Hudson Young (Suspension, Round 6)
John Bateman (Shoulder, Round 4)
Sebastian Kris (Extended leave, Indefinite)

SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Nat Butcher (Load management, Round 3)
Sitili Tupouniua (Knee, Indefinite)
Boyd Cordner (Rested, Round 3)
Billy Smith (ACL, Season)

MANLY SEA EAGLES
Sean Keppie (Concussion, Round 3)
Brad Parker (Concussion, Round 3)
Taniela Paseka (Ankle, Round 3)
Corey Waddell (Hamstring, Round 3)
Tony Williams (Hamstring, Round 3)
Jack Gosiewski (Back disc infection, Round 3)
Albert Hopoate (Knee, Round 4)
Manase Fainu (Stood down/shoulder, Indefinite)

CRONULLA SHARKS
Briton Nikora (Knee, Round 3)
Wade Graham (Foot, Round 3)
Bronson Xerri (Shoulder, Round 3)
Josh Dugan (Knee, Round 3)
Matt Moylan (Calf, Round 3)
Cameron King (ACL, Season)

MELBOURNE STORM
Brandon Smith (Facial fracture, Round 3)

GOLD COAST TITANS
AJ Brimson (Back, Indefinite)
Shannon Boyd (Shoulder, Round 3)
Kevin Proctor (Hamstring, Round 3)
Tyrone Roberts (Ankle, Round 3)
Dale Copley (Ribs, Round 3)
Beau Fermor (Knee, Early-to-mid season)
Keegan Hipgrave (Repeated concussions, Indefinite)
Ryan James (ACL, Season)

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Leeson Ah Mau (Pectoral, Round 16)
Jazz Tevaga (Knee, Indefinite)
Eliesa Katoa (Concussion, Round 3)
Taane Milne (ACL, Season)
Josh Curran (Calf, Round 3)
Agnatius Paasi (Ankle, Round 3)
Gerard Beale (Knee, Round 3)
Nathaniel Roache (Knee, Round 3)
Jackson Frei (ACL, Season)
Bunty Afoa (ACL, Season)

WESTS TIGERS
Luke Brooks (Calf, Round 3)
Moses Mbye (Knee, Round 3)
Thomas Mikaele (Knee, Round 3)
Jacob Liddle (Knee, Indefinite)
Russell Packer (Foot, Indefinite)
 

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1 Kotoni Staggs, Broncos, CTW, $447,700
The boom Bronco has surged to the top of the 2020 KFC SuperCoach rankings following a stunning opening fortnight that included a career-high 121 against the Rabbitohs in round two. Four tries and three linebreaks certainly helped, but more impressive for KFC SuperCoach were the nine tackle busts. Staggs is currently the most popular buy for Round 3, attracting double the interest of the next player, although relinquishing the goalkicking duties to Jamyane Isaako is definitely a blow.

2 Apisai Koroisau, Panthers, HOK, $338,800
The Penrith recruit started the season on fire, scoring the third most points of any player in any position. But perhaps most crucially, he is by far the best player at hooker, 33 points clear of Cameron Smith and 91 points clear of the popular Damien Cook. The maths makes sense here. Koroisau is almost $400,000 cheaper than Cook and predicted to rise by almost $200,000 over the next few rounds. That’s $600,000 in the kitty. At the same time, Cook is set to drop by $160,000, so the total saving is $760,000.

3 Isaah Yeo, Panthers, CTW/2RF, $404,800
Playing 80 minutes in the back row but available at centre/wing, the reliable Panther shows every sign of being a John Bateman, Tohu Harris, Simon Mannering-style keeper, pumping out enormous base stats in a position known for inconsistency. Currently the third most purchased player for Round 3 and for good reason, although it would take a brave person to predict Yeo to play 80 minutes for the entire year. Opening round score was inflated by two linebreaks, but he has still averaged 54 in pure base.

4 Eliesa Katoa, Warriors, 2RF, $171,900
The injuries keep coming at the Warriors and star rookie Katoa is the beneficiary. With Josh Curran, Agnatius Paasi and Jazz Tevaga out over the opening two rounds, Katoa stunned most by averaging 59 minutes and being arguably the Warriors’ best forward. However, his KFC SuperCoach stocks dipped considerably when Paasi, Tevaga and Curran all made the plane over to Oz, seemingly relegating Katoa to a bench spot. Or so we thought. Barely a week into training and Tevaga and Leeson Ahn Mau both went down long term, all but assuring Katoa decent minutes and probably a starting spot. By far the most popular cheapie for the restart round.

5 Jamayne Isaako, Broncos, CTW/FLB, $420,000
Isaako started the pre-season in plenty of KFC SuperCoach sides but soon dropped out of calculations when he lost the fullback spot to Jack Bird. Then in a twist fate, Bird went down with an ACL injury and was ruled out for the season, delivering Isaako an unexpected berth. The New Zealand and Samoa international made the most of the opportunity with scores of 83 and 63 in the first two rounds and certainly passed the eye test. Kicks goals.

6 Jason Taumalolo, Cowboys, 2RF, $723,400
News David Fifita will miss 2-4 upcoming rounds means KFC SuperCoaches are on the hunt for a replacement. What’s more, KFC SuperCoaches likely have plenty of cash from Koroisau/Katoa trades and can afford to splurge on the best of the best. Not much more needs to be written about this bloke except to restate his averages over the last half decade – 65, 75, 70, 78 and 85. If you didn’t start him, now is the time to jump on. Captaincy material.

7 Tyrrel Fuimaono, Dragons, 2RF/CTW, $201,000
A speculative trade but there’s plenty to like about Fuimaono. He has averaged 72 minutes for 51 points, his 2RF/CTW dual position works perfectly with Yeo and he emphatically passed the eye test in Round 2. However, Tariq Sims is due back from suspension in Round 3 and looms as Fuimaono’s direct replacement, while Cameron McInnes also returns and is mooted to play some back row. Realistically, Fui is only a buy if named to start.

8 Luciano Leilua, Tigers, 2RF, $434,300
Mid-range forwards were all the rage during the off-season with Patrick Carrigan (37 per cent), Liam Knight (25 per cent), Thomas Flegler (22 per cent) and Coen Hess (15 per cent) all sitting high on the ownership list. However, “Lucy” is the one who got away after outscoring all rivals at the POD-a-licious ownership of 11 per cent. Over the opening two rounds, Leilua averaged 80 minutes (up from 41 last year) and 72 points (up from 47 last year).

9 David Klemmer, Knights, FRF, $617,400
David Fifita’s injury means forward guns are the order of the day and Klemmer is right up there with Taumalolo as the best replacement after pumping out 69 and 72 in the opening weeks. These scores came mostly in pure base stats, although he also developed an offload over the off-season. With State of Origin to take place after the season proper and therefore have no impact on the regular season, the KFC SuperCoach value of Origin players is at an all-time high.

10 Jake Trbojevic, Sea Eagles, 2RF, $583,900
As per Klemmer above, State of Origin has moved to November and won’t disrupt the NRL season. Clearly this is a huge advantage to KFC SuperCoach guns like Jurbo, Klemmer, James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic, Cameron Murray (after a price drop), Damien Cook (also after a price drop), David Fifita (when back from injury), Kalyn Ponga (after his one match ban) and most of the usual suspects. Jurbo is all but guaranteed 80 minutes every week and has had extra time to rehab his off-season shoulder injury.

11 Dylan Brown, Eels, 5/8, $428,900
Approximately 14 per cent of KFC SuperCoaches are hunting a replacement for Nathan Cleary, whose TikToK suspension ticked off plenty. While guns like Mitchell Moses, Cameron Munster and Shaun Johnson are well within reach given Cleary’s high price, Parramatta young gun Brown is a great cash grab. Following a career best 123 against the Titans in Round 2, KFC SuperCoach Stats predicts his price to rise by almost $140,000 in the fortnight Cleary is out.
 

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BRONCOS vs EELS
Thursday 28 May, 7:50pm
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

The Broncos will welcome Matt Lodge back from the partial ACL tear he suffered in pre-season. Alex Glenn will be right for round three after recovering from hamstring/calf injuries in pre-season. Joe Ofahenguae will return from the bench after serving his two game suspension. Corey Oates (ribs) and Brodie Croft (shoulder) both suffered injuries in round two but will be right to go once season resumes. Darius Boyd will play with the Broncos set to play home games in Brisbane. David Fifita has been ruled out after undergoing knee surgery when restrictions were lifted in April and will miss a few games when season resumes which will see Jamil Hopoate retain his starting second-row position. With Andrew McCullough being released to join the Knights the Broncos lack of depth at hooker may see Corey Paix come onto the bench or Seiold may opt to run three forwards on the bench with utility Rhys Kennedy retaining his position in the 17 and Ethan Bullemor dropping out of team after playing in round two. Tevita Pangai remains suspended until round six. Jordan Kahu (shoulder) and Sean O’Sullivan (ACL) are listed to return in mid-June while Jack Bird and Keenan Palasia won’t return this season after suffering ACL knee injuries at training earlier this year.

Broncos expected team: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matt Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Jamil Hopoate 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patty Carrigan Interchange: 14. Herbie Farnworth 15. Corey Paix/Rhys Kennedy 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Joe Ofahenguae

The Eels will receive a massive boost with hooker Reed Mahoney set to be fit to play when the season resumes after recovering from a syndesmosis injury he suffered in round two. Mahoney trained with the squad last week and only has to get through training this week to play on Thursday night. Nathan Brown (suspension) will miss the game, Peni Terepo should replace Brown at lock with Ray Stone expected to jag a bench position.

Eels expected team: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Peni Terepo Interchange: 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Marata Niukore 16. Kane Evans 17. Ray Stone

COWBOYS vs TITANS
Friday 29 May, 6pm
Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville

The Cowboys will be without skipper Michael Morgan who had shoulder surgery while the code was on hold. Jake Clifford will come into the halves to partner Scott Drinkwater.

Cowboys expected team: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14. Reece Robson 15. John Asiata 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. Francis Molo

The Titans are probably the biggest beneficiary of the COVID-19 crisis with a number of players set to return from injury — Shannon Boyd (shoulder), Kevin Proctor (hamstring), Dale Copley (ribs), Tyrone Roberts (achilies) and Tyrone Peachey (ankle) all set to play in Round 3. Kallum Watkins has returned to England due to crisis with Copley to move to centre. Coach Justin Holbrook has confirmed it’s unlikely AJ Brimson will be fit to return when season resumes. Moeaki Fotuaika will be available to play after being cleared by the judiciary last week. Bryce Cartwright and Brian Kelly are available for selection. However, with both players missing training in the last few weeks due to flu vaccine issue they aren’t expected to be selected. Keegan Hipgrave has been cleared to return after failing to finish last season due to a number of concussions and he is competing with Sam Stone for the left edge position. Jonus Pearson will come onto wing with Dale Copley moving to centre to cover for Kelly. Beau Fermor is closing on returning from ACL knee injury with Ryan James (ACL) the only other player on injury list currently. New signing Young Tonumaipea is currently only on trial and train deal and would need to be promoted to Top 30 squad to be eligible to play first grade.

Titans expected team: 1. Phillip Sami 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Dale Copley 5. Anthony Don 6. Tyronne Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone/Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow Interchange: 14. Nathan Peats 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Shannon Boyd 17. Moeaki Fotuaika

ROOSTERS v RABBITOHS
Friday 29 May, 7:55pm
Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

The Roosters will welcome back Boyd Cordner after he was rested from the opening rounds of the competition. Cordner starts on left edge with Angus Crichton dropping back to the bench. Josh Morris will make his club debut at left centre with Brett Morris moving to right wing and Matt Ikuvalu dropping out of the 17. Nat Butcher missed round two after picking up a minor injury at training leading into game and should be right to return from bench with Lindsay Collins the player to make way. Ryan Hall and Sitili Topouniua trained with squad last week and are available for selection with Billy Smith (ACL) the only player on the Roosters injury list.

Roosters expected team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley Interchange: 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Nat Butcher 17. Angus Crichton

The Rabbitohs will be without Cody Walker after he was suspended for two games due to off field issues with Troy Dargan set to debut at 5/8. James Roberts has returned to training and is expected to be available for selection. Latrell Mitchell will start at fullback but I don’t expect him to play the full game at fullback with Alex Johnston on bench. Hame Sele suffered a hamstring in training and will be unavailable when season resumes with either Keaon Koloamatangi or Patrick Mago (if fit after recovering from pectoral injury and who only started contact training when training resumed after coronavirus lockdown) set to come into the 17.

Rabbitohs expected team: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Troy Dargan 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Cameron Murray 13. Liam Knight Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Keaon Koloamatangi/Patrick Mago 17. Alex Johnston

WARRIORS v DRAGONS
Saturday 30 May, 3pm
Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast

The Warriors have been decimated by injuries with Leeson Ah Mau (pectoral), Jazz Tevaga (knee) and Adam Keighran (knee) all suffering injuries at training in Tamworth while Taane Milne, Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei are all out for season after suffering ACL injuries in the opening rounds. Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert will return after missing round two. David Fusitu’a failed to travel with the squad to Tamworth and will miss the opening game with Gerard Beale a chance to replace him at centre after recovering from broken leg. Fusitu’a has arrived in Australia and is quarantining but wouldn’t be available for Round 3. Agnatius Passi returns after missing the opening rounds due to an ankle injury with Lachlan Burr expected to partner him in the front row. You would expect with the number of injuries that both rookies in Eliesa Katoa and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown will retain their positions in the 17 leaving Josh Curran and new signing Jack Murchie fighting it out to get the final bench position. Nathaniel Roache has arrived in Australia after not travelling originally with team due to illness but is closing in on returning from ACL injury and is expected to be available to play in a few weeks.

Warriors expected team: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Patrick Herbert 3. Gerard Beale 4. Peta Hiku 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Passi 9. Wayde Egan 10. Lachlan Burr 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair Interchange: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 16. Isaiah Papali’i 17. Josh Curran/Jack Murchie

Dragons will welcome back Tariq Sims (suspension), Cameron McInnes (knee) and Korbin Sims (broken arm) with Billy Brittian, Jacob Host and Josh Kerr to make way. The other major decision coach Paul McGregor will have to make is whether he continues with Matt Dufty at fullback or he moves Zac Lomax back there with Mikaele Ravalawa returning from a quad injury on wing. Jack de Belin is unavailable due to being stood down. Rookie Cody Ramsey is unavailable after having shoulder surgery before lockdown after picking up an injury at Perth 9’s.

Dragons expected team: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Tim Lafai 5. Zac Lomax 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin 15. Korbin Sims 16. Issac Luke 17. Tyrell Fuimaono
 

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SHARKS v WESTS TIGERS
Saturday 30 May, 5:30pm
Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

The Sharks will receive massive boost to offset loss of Josh Morris to Roosters with Bronson Xerri (shoulder) and Josh Dugan (knee) both set to play their first game of season after missing the opening rounds. A final call is still be made on Matt Moylan’s returns from hamstring/calf issues but I don’t expect him to play. Dugan would replace Kennedy at fullback with Xerri replacing Josh Morris at left centre. Briton Nikora will return after missing Round 2 due to knee injury. Wade Graham suffered a foot injury in Round 2 but will be right to go with final call being which of Scott Sorensen or Billy Magoulias will take up the final bench spot. Cameron King is the only player on long term injury list after suffering ACL injury in pre-season trial in Papua New Guinea.

Sharks expected team: 1. Matt Moylan/Josh Dugan 2. Josh Dugan/Sione Katoa 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Jack Williams Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Scott Sorensen/Billy Magoulias

The Tigers will welcome the return of both Moses Mbye (knee) and Luke Brooks (calf) when the season returns. Brooks will replace Josh Reynolds in the halves with Mbye set to play left centre which will allow Adam Doueihi to move to his preferred position at fullback with Corey Thompson moving to left wing and Robert Jennings the player expected to make way. Thomas Mikaele suffered a knee injury in Round 2 but should be fit to play in Round 3 with new loanee Harry Grant set to make his club debut at hooker with Billy Walters dropping to the bench. Jacob Liddle (ACL) and Russell Packer (foot) remain on the long term injury list.

Tigers expected team: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Corey Thompson 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Alex Twal 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Elijah Taylor Interchange: 14. Thomas Mikaele 16. Zane Musgrove 16. Billy Walters 17. Michael Chee-Kam/Chris Lawrence


STORM v RAIDERS
Saturday 30 May, 7:35pm
AAMI Park, Melbourne

The Raiders are sweating on John Bateman receiving final clearance to return after undergoing shoulder surgery in early February, if cleared to play he would start at 2rf pushing Corey Horsburgh back to bench with Michael Oldfield dropping out of 17 but at present it looks like Bateman won’t be ready when the season resumes. New signing Jordan Rapana could be included on the bench to allow him to get some match fitness under the belt. Siliva Havili suffered a hamstring injury in Round 2 but will be fit to play. However, with new rule changes it wouldn’t surprise me if Ricky Stuart ran with rookie hooker Tom Starling on the bench who could create some havoc around the ruck as players tire in the second half. Hudson Young (suspension) and Sebastian Kris (sick leave) are the only players unavailable.

Raiders expected team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Elliott Whitehead 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Corey Horsburgh Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili/Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Jordan Rapana

The Storm have both Tui Kamikanica (back) and Nelson Asofa-Solomna (hamstring) in some doubt after they picked up injuries at training but at present Melbourne say both are expected to play. Storm could welcome back Christian Welch after he played 40 minutes in the Queensland Cup in Round 1 after recovering from ACL injury, Welch could replace Max King on the bench. New loanee Paul Momoirovski could replace Marion Seve at right centre with Brandon Smith also set to return after missing the opening rounds due to a facial injury. Brandon Smith has been spending time training at hooker as Coach Craig Bellyache looks to take advantage of the new ruck rules. Sandor Earl (hamstring) and Aaron Pene (achilles) are both unavailable due to injury.

Melbourne expected team: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Marion Seve/Paul Momoirovski 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Tui Kamikamica 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Max King/Christian Welch 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Tino Faasuamaleaui


PANTHERS v KNIGHTS
Sunday 31 May, 4:05pm
Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney

The Panthers will welcome back Dylan Edwards after he suffered a syndesmosis injury in pre-season and he would replace Caleb Aekins at fullback. Kurt Capewell will be fit to make his club debut after missing the opening rounds due to quad injury, Capewell would come onto the bench replacing Billy Burns. Nathan Cleary has been handed a two-game suspension due to failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions with Matt Burton set to partner Jarome Luai in the halves. Jack Hetherington remains suspended until Round 4. Mitch Kenny is available for selection after recovering from elbow injury. Dean Blore (shoulder), Brayden McGrady (ACL) and Spencer Leinu (knee) are all working back from injuries and would probably need some match fitness to come into consideration for first grade. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak remains unavailable as he recovers from calf injury.

Panthers expected team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Matt Burton 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris Interchange: 14. Stephen Crichton 15. Kurt Capewell 16. Moses Leota 17. Liam Martin

The Knights will be without Kalyn Ponga when the season resumes due to suspension with Tex Hoy expected to make his NRL debut at fullback. Mitch Barrett has had surgery on back injury with Sione Mata’utia set to return from knee injury, but Barnett is ahead of schedule in his rehab and could return in coming weeks. Jayden Brailey suffered an ACL injury in Round 2 against Tigers with his loss offset by new signing Andrew McCullough who will start at hooker, with Connor Watson set to retain his bench role. Bradman Best could replace Enari Tuala at left centre after recovering from foot surgery. Herman Ese’ese (ankle) and Lachlan Fitzgibbon (ribs) will be right to go after picking up injuries in Round 2. Phoenix Crossland is slowly returning to full fitness after surgery due to osteitis pubis injury.

Knights expected team: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Bradman Best/Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Herman Ese’ese Interchange: 14. Connor Watson 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Tim Glasby 17. Aidan Guerra

SEA EAGLES v BULLDOGS
Sunday 31 May, 6:30pm
Central Coast Stadium, Central Coast

The Sea Eagles side is fairly settled with the only change expected to the Round 2 team being Taniela Paseka, returning from an ankle injury suffered in the trials, coming onto the bench to replace Haumole Olakauatu. Corey Waddell suffered an injury set back it pre-season ruling him out of the opening rounds but will be fit when the season resumes. Jack Gosiewski (back), Manese Fainu (stood down) and Albert Hopoate (ACL) remain unavailable. Presently Dylan Walker and Addin Fonua-Blake would be able to play despite not getting flu vaccines but they won’t be able to play in any games in Queensland unless they receive an exemption from the Queensland Government.
Manly expected team: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Sean Keppie 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka

The Bulldogs could welcome the return of Kieran Foran from shoulder injury. Foran is progressing nicely but will need to prove his fitness and if declared fit would replace Brandon Wakeham at 5/8. Dean Britt is set to start on left edge replacing Joe Stimson who suffered a shoulder injury in Round 2 game. Kerrod Holland is set to return from a knee injury to take up the bench utility role with Ofahiki Ogden a chance to replace Jake Averillo on the bench. Marcelo Montoya suffered a hamstring injury at training and has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks. Chris Smith is the only other player on injury list and isn’t due back until July after suffering knee injury in All Stars game.
Bulldogs expected team: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Will Hopoate 5. Christian Crichton 6. Brandon Wakeham/Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Dean Britt 13. Adam Elliott Interchange: 14. Kerrod Holland 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 17. Ofahiki Ogden
 

Connoisseur

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Teams announced:
https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nr...d/news-story/6d03ad8dccc47150da4f358595a00e9c

Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium (7.50pm)
Broncos: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Jesse Arthars 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jamil Hopoate 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Herbie Farnworth 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Ethan Bullemor 18. Tesi Niu 19. Xavier Coates 20. Tom Dearden 21. Matthew Lodge

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Marata Niukore 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Ray Stone 16. Kane Evans 17. Peni Terepo 18. Oregon Kaufusi 19. George Jennings 20. Jaeman Salmon 21. David Gower

FRIDAY
North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans at Queensland Country Bank Stadium (6pm)
Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh Mcguire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Mitchell Dunn 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Reece Robson 15. John Asiata 16. Shane Wright 17. Francis Molo 18. Corey Jensen 19. Tom Gilbert 20. Tom Opacic 21. Reuben Cotter

Titans: 1. Tyrone Roberts 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Nathan Peats 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow 14. Erin Clark 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Jarrod Wallace 17. Shannon Boyd 18. Bryce Cartwright 19. Mitch Rein 20. Brian Kelly 21. Jonus Pearson

Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium (7.55pm)
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Isaac Liu 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Victor Radley 14. Sam Verrills 15. Sitili Tupouniua 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Siosiua Taukeiaho 19. Ryan Hall 20. Lachlan Lam 21. Poasa Faamausili

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. Campbell Graham 4. Braidon Burns 5. Alex Johnston 6. Troy Dargan 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Cameron Murray 13. Liam Knight 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Patrick Mago 18. Bryson Goodwin 19. Tom Amone 20. James Roberts 21. Keaon Koloamatangi

SATURDAY
Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons at Central Coast Stadium (3pm)
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Patrick Herbert 3. Peta Hiku 4. Gerard Beale 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Lachlan Burr 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair 14. Karl Lawton 15. King Vuniyayawa 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Eliesa Katoa 18. Chanel Harris-Tavita 20. Josh Curran 21. Adam Pompey 22. Jack Murchie

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Korbin Sims 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. James Graham 14. Josh Kerr 15. Blake Lawrie 16. Tyrell Fuimaono 17. Euan Aitken 18. Trent Merrin 19. Adam Clune 20. Jacob Host 21. Jackson Ford

Cronulla Sharks v Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium (5.30pm)
Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Jack Williams 14. Connor Tracey 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Scott Sorensen 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Matt Moylan 20. Royce Hunt 21. Siosifa Talakai

Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Robert Jennings 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal 14. Oliver Clark 15. Billy Walters 16. Chris Lawrence 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Josh Reynolds 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. Zane Musgrove 21. Michael Chee-Kam

Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park (7.35pm)
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Justin Olam 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Christian Welch 17. Max King 18. Tom Eisenhuth 19. Brenko Lee 20. Ryley Jacks 21. Darryn Schonig

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Horsburgh 14. Siliva Havili 15. Emre Guler 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Michael Oldfield 18. Jordan Rapana 19. Matt Frawley 20. Kai O’Donnell 21. Tom Starling

SUNDAY
Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Stadium (4.05pm)
Panthers: 1. Caleb Aekins 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. Matt Burton 7. Jarome Luai 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Stephen Crichton 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Moses Leota 17. Liam Martin 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Billy Burns 20. Kaide Ellis 21. Charlie Staines

Knights: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Connor Watson 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Herman Ese’ese 14. Chris Randall 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Tim Glasby 17. Aidan Guerra 18. Bradman Best 19. Brodie Jones 20. Mason Lino 21. Pasami Saulo

Manly Sea Eagles v Canterbury Bulldogs at Central Coast Stadium (6.30pm)
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Jack Gosiewski 20. Tevita Funa 21. Brendan Elliot

Bulldogs: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Will Hopoate 5. Christian Crichton 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Jack Cogger 8. Sauaso Sue 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Dean Britt 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jake Averillo 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 17. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Kerrod Holland 20. Aiden Tolman 21. Sione Katoa 22. Brandon Wakeham
 
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Change of plans with the recent developments surrounding C Watson, with D Brown replacing him as the replacement for N Cleary.

View attachment 17180

Remaining 2 trades will likely be used to either bring in K Staggs for G Leleisiuao or T Trbojevic/P Haas for K Ponga/A Fifita.
A few conundrums I'd require your valued opinion on @Young gun and @KLo30.
D Fifita to L Leilua and W Blake to J Mansour are locked in but I'm having trouble settling on the remaining 3.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the following:

Replacement for N Cleary: D Brown VS S Drinkwater
Leaning towards Brown for the lower breakeven but Drinkwater has a nice run of upcoming fixtures.

Keep or trade Ponga: If Ponga is traded it will be for either Teddy/Turbo or Drinkwater
Teddy or Turbo means no Staggs and the last trade would be used for Walters to Drinkwater or Leleisiuao to Hampton/S Katoa meaning Katoa/Lomax would be my 17th player.

If Drinkwater replaces him it allows me to get Staggs to replace Leleisiuso whilst using 5 trades and $280,000 in the bank to grab Ponga back next round to replace B Walters by switching Drinkwater to the 5/8 position.

Can still get Staggs and keep Ponga whilst using 4 trades but means Lomax will have to be fielded in the 17.
 

KLo30

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I can't say I've spent much time on the NRL, my focus has been elsewhere as you know, however Lomax moves to the centres and has kicking duties, so I wouldn't be too concerned about him being in your 17. Drinkwater has a lower breakeven and a lower price, that's where I'll be going.
 
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I can't say I've spent much time on the NRL, my focus has been elsewhere as you know, however Lomax moves to the centres and has kicking duties, so I wouldn't be too concerned about him being in your 17. Drinkwater has a lower breakeven and a lower price, that's where I'll be going.
Thanks as always for your advice.

Decided to bring both Drinkwater and Brown in whilst trading Ponga.
1590566801880.png

Cash will be used next round to target a FB (Ponga, Turbo or Teddy) by trading Walters and Staggs.
 
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