Late Mail: Round 9
All the latest team news and possible changes as we count down to kickoff in Round 9 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Roosters v Wests Tigers
Roosters: Five-eighth James Maloney will play despite a shoulder injury, likely with a painkilling injection. Centre Michael Jennings will play despite an ankle niggle. Frenchman Remi Casty has been ruled out, again denying him an NRL debut, with tough prop Dylan Napa likely to be retained on the bench after being named in jersey No.19.
Wests Tigers: Captain Robbie Farah is no chance to make a return from an elbow injury, with Joel Luani to keep the No.9 tonight. Farah has declared he will make his comeback next weekend against the Sharks. Back-rower Liam Fulton has been ruled out with a back problem that could keep him sidelined for several weeks, opening the door for Jack Buchanan to play his first NRL game of the season. Blake Austin is back at five-eighth for the injured Braith Anasta and Keith Lulia is in the centres for the suspended Tim Simona.
Cowboys v Broncos
Cowboys: Back-rower Tariq Sims is in serious doubt after injuring his ankle in City-Country. A decision on his fitness will be made at the last minute tonight, with Ethan Lowe on standby. Halfback Ray Thompson and back-rower Gavin Cooper (both knee) are expected to play but winger Antonio Winterstein won't be rushed back from his knee problem. Hooker Cameron King will make his club debut off the bench.
Broncos: No changes are expected, with five-eighth Josh Hoffman (foot) to play after being a late withdrawal last round. Corey Oates (hamstring) is fit to play off the pine after missing Under-20s Origin, though Todd Lowrie was also named on an extended bench.
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Warriors v Raiders
Warriors: No changes are tipped. Ben Matulino and Sione Lousi will return from suspension, while Konrad Hurrell will start in the centres. Kevin Locke was named on an extended bench for potentially his first NRL game this season but will drop out barring late changes.
Raiders: No late changes are expected. Former Test forwards David Shillington and Josh Papalii have been benched for Dane Tilse and Paul Vaughan respectively, while Shannon Boyd's omission with a sternum injury brings in Kyle O'Donnell.
Titans v Rabbitohs
Titans: Halves Albert Kelly (leg) and Aidan Sezer (ankle) are expected to play - both trained with the team today (Friday). Prop Luke Bailey (ankle) and Brad Tighe (shoulder) are close to returning and are some chance for late inclusion. William Zillman will return from injury in the centres and hooker Matt Srama off the bench.
Rabbitohs: No changes are expected, with a string of niggles - including an elbow issue for Sam Burgess and a quad problem for John Sutton - rested over Rep Round. Joel Reddy, Ben Lowe and Joe Picker are set to drop off the bench.
Storm v Sea Eagles
Storm: Should be 1-17. Winger Sisa Waqa has put off ankle surgery and will make his return. Centre Will Chambers is back from suspension and will replace the injured Justin O'Neill. Melbourne's hefty rep contingent - Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Ryan Hoffman - came through last weekend's matches unscathed.
Sea Eagles: It remains to be seen if gun halfback Daly Cherry-Evans will take the field with a calf strain - the club insists he is a genuine chance and he will travel to Melbourne with the team after training on Friday. Peta Hiku and Tom Symonds have been touted as options to partner rookie Jack Littlejohn in the halves if DCE is ruled out, with Kieran Foran and Jamie Lyon already missing. Back-rower Anthony Watmough (chest and elbow) is a definite starter. Jamie Buhrer will start at lock for the injured Glenn Stewart (ankle).
Knights v Panthers
Knights: A replacement is yet to be named on the bench for the suspended Korbin Sims, though it could be veteran Jeremy Smith in his return from a knee injury. Big centre Joey Leilua will play after missing City-Country with a knee problem, while winger Akuila Uate is back form injury for Jake Mamo. David Fa'alogo will start at prop after Zane Tetevano was stood down from club duties, while veteran utility Matt Hilder will play his first NRL game of the season off the bench.
Panthers: Should be 1-17. Tyrone Peachey wil start in the back row for Elijah Taylor (knee), bringing Matt Robinson on to the bench. Prop Sam McKendry replaces Tim Grant on the bench.
Dragons v Bulldogs
Dragons: A trio of City-Country withdrawals - fullback Josh Dugan (ankle), lock Trent Merrin (thumb) and prop Tyson Frizell (ankle) - are all expected to play the Sunday blockbuster. Top winger Jason Nightingale (knee) will be replaced by Nathan Green, with the versatile Joel Thompson in the centres and Bronson Harrison into the starting back row. Sam Williams will get a shot at halfback, with Michael Witt in NSW Cup.
Bulldogs: Should run out as named. Halfback Trent Hodkinson (knee) and hooker Michael Ennis (ankle) will play after missing City-Country. Tim Lafai has been cleared of concussion to return in the centres, which will see Moses Mbye drop off an extended bench.
Eels v Sharks
Eels: Test superstar Jarryd Hayne (shoulder) is expected to play despite still being in pain. Hooker Nathan Peats (leg) and prop Tim Mannah (eardrum) should also be fine to play, meaning Parramatta are set to take the field as named. Prop Mitch Allgood is back from concussion, replacing Taniela Lasalo on the bench.
Sharks: Todd Carney is rated no chance of a surprise return from a hamstring injury, meaning Luke Lewis will make his anticipated NRL return at five-eighth as named. Carney may spend another fortnight sidelined. City-Country withdrawals Michael Gordon (knee) and Wade Graham (shoulder) are expected to play, while prop Bryce Gibbs will return in the starting side from a fractured hand. City utility Michael Lichaa is set to drop off an extended bench.