NRL Late Mail: Round 18
All the injury news and expected team changes heading into Round 18 of the Telstra Premiership season.
Raiders: Josh Papalii should be right to rejoin his Canberra teammates for their Friday night clash with the Knights, after scoring a try in his return to the Origin arena. After being in camp with the Maroons all week as well, Queensland 18th man Edrick Lee will be good to go for the Green Machine.
Knights: Joseph Tapine should be drafted into the starting side to replace the suspended Beau Scott. Chanel Mata'utia was named on an extended bench on Tuesday as cover for Queensland debutant Dane Gagai, but shouldn't be required with Gagai coming through the decider unscathed.
Panthers: No late changes expected for the home side.
Roosters: While they fielded four players in Origin III, there aren't any changes anticipated for Trent Robinson's side, with Mitchell Pearce, Aidan Guerra, Boyd Cordner and Michael Jennings all clear of injury from the decider.
Bulldogs: James Graham will undergo a fitness test and could make his return from a month-long hamstring injury. It remains to be seen whether the Bulldogs' Origin stars will back up on Saturday night, particularly Brett Morris, but all five were named by Des Hasler on Tuesday. Named at 18th man, Shaun Lane is a chance of replacing Lloyd Perrett in the final 17.
Broncos: Another side heavily impacted by Origin representation, but Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker and Darius Boyd should all be fine to take their place at ANZ Stadium. Justin Hodges wasn't named and won't play, paving the way for Jack Reed to return in the centres.
Warriors: Ryan Hoffman missed the majority of the Origin decider with a calf injury, and it's doubtful he'll play his former club. Konrad Hurrell is also expected to miss this match with a shoulder injury, with 18th man David Fusitu'a likely to start in his place.
Storm: Cooper Cronk, Will Chambers and Cameron Smith all are expected to back up from Wednesday night's victory. Playmaker Ben Hampton was named on the bench on Tuesday, but could make way if Bellamy decides he needs more power on his interchange.
Sharks: Captain Paul Gallen was named to start, but is no certainty to play as he battles the rib injury sustained in Origin II. Michael Ennis should be fine to play on Sunday after his NSW return on Wednesday. Chris Heighington was found not guilty at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night, and should be right to take his place in the Cronulla 17 after initially being named 18th man.
Dragons: With Trent Merrin suspended for a month and a host of other first grade regulars out injured, the last thing Dragons coach Paul McGregor needed was a fresh injury to star fullback Josh Dugan. The NSW custodian picked up an arm injury in the Origin decider, and will be assessed by club staff closer to game day. Should Dugan miss out, Justin Hunt is likely to revert to fullback after playing well there in Round 17. Mark Ioane should move onto the final bench as Merrin's replacement. Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin remain sidelined for the foreseeable future, while Dylan Farrell, Rory O'Brien, and Kiti Glymin are no chance of facing the Sharks.
Titans: The home side should be unchanged, with captain Nate Myles cleared of serious injury from his side's big Origin win.
Sea Eagles: Manly should be as per program, with Brenton Lawrence and Blake Leary both targeting a Round 19 return. With Peta Hiku still sidelined with a knee complaint, Tom Trbojevic will retain his spot on the wing for now.