Finals Week 1 Late Mail
All the expected late changes heading into the opening weekend of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Finals Series.
Sea Eagles v Rabbitohs
Sea Eagles: While Matt Ballin is still a few weeks away from a potential return, Brett Stewart and Brenton Lawrence are both expected to play. Stewart injured his ankle in the lead up to the Sea Eagles’ Round 26 loss to the Cowboys, while Lawrence has missed the past few weeks with a knee injury.
Rabbitohs: Despite talk of minor injuries, Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis will play, with Ben Lowe the only real concern for South Sydney. Lowe is set to miss the clash, with John Sutton starting in the second row and Chris McQueen coming off the bench.
Roosters v Panthers
Roosters: With Dylan Napa suspended, the Roosters will look to their wider squad for a replacement. It won’t be Frank-Paul Nuuausala however, with the forward still sidelined with a foot injury. Heath L’Estrange could make the final squad, allowing Mitchell Aubusson to move back to the second row. Jake Friend is still at least another few weeks away after returning to light duties this week following a chest injury.
Panthers: The Panthers are set to name an unchanged side, with no real injury concerns from the team named on Tuesday.
Cowboys v Broncos
Cowboys: In a positive sign for Paul Green, he’s again set to name an unchanged 17.
Broncos: Replacing Jack Reed for this crunch game is proving to be problematic for coach Anthony Griffin. Corey Oates was selected as Reed’s replacement on Tuesday, while Jordan Kahu could return to the first-grade side. Of course, Justin Hodges could revert to the centres, with Josh Hoffman also a chance of returning from injury at fullback.
UPDATE: Griffin has confirmed Kahu will start in the centres, with Oates to drop back to the bench.
Storm v Bulldogs
Storm: Cameron Smith is expected to play, with the Storm skipper playing through the ankle injury sustained in last week’s win over the Broncos. In the unlikely event he doesn’t take to the field, Ryan Hinchcliffe will slot in at hooker, while Dayne Weston is likely to be bought into the 17 after being named on an extended bench earlier in the week.
Bulldogs: No real injury concerns for the Bulldogs, with either Moses Mbye or Reni Maitua to round out the bench, after Des Hasler named an extended seven-man interchange on Tuesday.