Sharks captain Paul Gallen is set for an early return in this weekend’s Close the Gap Round 22 fixture against the Titans at Toyota Stadium in a desperate bid by Cronulla to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

The Sharks sit in 12th place on 18 points and need to win all five of their remaining games to make the Telstra Premiership Finals Series, and AAP reports that coach Shane Flanagan says the risk of losing Gallen for the whole season by returning him early on Saturday is “one we might have to take”.

Similarly, the Rabbitohs, who are in 11th place on 20 points, could have captain Roy Asotasi back on the field a week early if their finals hopes are still alive.

Asotasi has been training with the squad for a few weeks and Rabbitohs media manager Jeremy Monahan said yesterday that if the club is still in contention for the eight, he may return in Round 24.

Meanwhile the third-placed Cowboys are keen to retain their top four spot but coach Neil Henry says he won’t rush captain Johnathan Thurston back for their Round 23 clash with the Broncos if he is not 100 per cent ready. He expects his star to return in Round 23 or 24.

Dragons captain Ben Hornby returned last week for the loss against Souths as the fifth-placed defending premiers battle for a top four finish.

Meanwhile the Raiders, who are out of finals contention in 14th place, report on their website that although captain Terry Campese is training with the squad, there is no guarantee he will be play again for Canberra this season.

Below is the Round 22 Casualty Ward*.

*Please note: The Injury list is subject to change, and players may return to the football field earlier or later than originally published.  

Brisbane Broncos:
No injuries

Canberra Raiders:
Matt Orford – Groin : Out indefinitely
Terry Campese – Groin : Out indefinitely
Tom Learoyd-Lahrs – Bicep : Out for the season
Reece Robinson – Knee : Due back Round 24
Trevor Thurling – Achilles : Out for the season

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs:
Michael Ennis – Neck : Out indefinitely
Kris Keating – Elbow : Due back Round 24
Martin Taupau – Ankle : Out indefinitely
David Stagg – Ankle : Due back Round 25

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks:
Jayson Bukuya – Ankle : Due back Round 24
Colin Best – Knee : Due back Round 23

Gold Coast Titans:
Kevin Gordon – Knee : Out for the season
Brad Meyers – Wrist : Forced into retirement
Nathan Friend – Shoulder : Out indefinitely
Ryan James – Knee : Out for the season
Mat Rogers – Foot : Out for the season
Ashley Harrison – Elbow : Out indefinitely
Michael Henderson – Unknown : Out indefinitely
Greg Bird – Hamstring : Out indefinitely 

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles:
Dave Williams –Hamstring : Due back Round 23
Michael Robertson – Concussion : Out indefinitely

Melbourne Storm:
Sika Manu – Hamstring : Due back Round 23
Matt Duffie – Sternum : Due back Round 23
Gareth Widdop – Elbow : Due back Round 23
Rory Kostjasyn – Calf : Due back Round 23
Chase Stanley – Knee : Out for the season
Luke Kelly – Osteitis Pubis : Out indefinitely 
Troy Thompson – Ankle : Out indefinitely
Todd Lowrie – Calf : Due back Round 23

Newcastle Knights:
Shannon McDonnell – Unknown : Out for the season
Wes Naiqama – Knee : Out indefinitely
Zeb Taia – Neck : Out indefinitely
Ben Rogers – Shoulder : Out indefinitely

North Queensland Cowboys:
Antonio Winterstein – Pectoral : Out for the season
Johnathan Thurston – Knee : Out indefinitely
Dane Hogan – Groin : Out indefinitely

Parramatta Eels:
Joel Reddy – Pectoral : Out indefinitely
Justin Poore – Knee : Out indefinitely
Jacob Loko – Knee : Out for the season
Ryan Morgan – Hamstring : Out indefinitely
Jeff Robson – Cheekbone : Out for the season

Penrith Panthers:
Timana Tahu – Pectoral : Out for the season
Michael Gordon – Knee : Out for the season
Sandor Earl – Shoulder : Out for the season
Lachlan Coote – Ankle : Due back Round 24
Travis Burns – Hand : Due back Round 24

South Sydney Rabbitohs:
Scott Geddes – ACL : Out for the season
Luke Stuart – Knee : Out for the season
Sam Burgess – Ankle : Out for the season
Roy Asotasi – Shoulder : Due back Round 25

St George-Illawarra Dragons:
Bronx Goodwin – Knee : Due back Round 26

Sydney Roosters:
Mitchell Aubusson – Shoulder : Out for the season
Daniel Conn – Neck : Forced into retirement
Martin Kennedy – Foot : Out for the season
Anthony Cherrington – Knee : Out for the season
Justin Carney – Unknown : Out indefinitely

Warriors:
Jerome Ropati – Knee : Out for the season
Lance Hohaia – Knee: Out indefinitely

Wests Tigers:
Geoff Daniela – Chest : Out indefinitely
Simon Dwyer – Neck/Shoulder : Out for the season
Lote Tuqiri – Quad : Due back Round 24