Team List Tuesday blog: Round 7
The Telstra Premiership competition remains as unpredictable as ever and there will be plenty of team news as always ahead of the official 21-man squads being named at 4pm Tuesday (AEST).
Refresh this page for the latest updates, and check out the major talking points for all 16 clubs heading into round seven below.
3.55pm: That is all for our blog today readers. Be sure to log online after 4pm for all the team news ahead of round 7.
3.30pm: Simon Mannering has been named to start in the back-row for the Warriors ahead of their clash with the Dragons on Friday in Auckland. It is the first time the veteran has featured from the kick-off this season.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu'a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 15 Sam Lisone, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair
Interchange: 8 Bunty Afoa 14 Jazz Tevaga, 16 Albert Vete, 17 Anthony Gelling
Reserves: 18 Chris Satae, 19 Mason Lino, 20 Isaiah Papali'i, 21 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
2.55pm: Jack de Belin, Euan Aitken and Cameron McInnes have all be on fire for the Dragons. Will all three play for the NSW Blues this year?
2.35pm: Rabbitohs forward Sam Burgess believes some NRL players are 'trying to get a career in Hollywood' when it comes to milking penalties each week.
2.15pm: The Warriors have a simple plan to limit the involvement of Dragons fullback Matt Dufty this Friday night at Mt Smart Stadium - starve him of the ball.
1.37pm: Hamstrings can be a strain.
1.25pm: There has been plenty of talk about the Wests Tigers this season (just take a look at the NRL.com homepage or the rest of this blog) and some are asking the question whether in-form halfback Luke Brooks should be in the discussion for the NSW Blues halfback spot. NRL.com's Katie Brown talked to Brooks's Tigers teammates and the man himself.
12.45pm: Josh Reynolds may have been signed by the Wests Tigers as a big-money five-eighth but he's adapting to life as a dummy-half following a superb start to the season from Benji Marshall.
12.30pm: Got a bit of time over lunch? Take a look at this week's episode of Inside the NRL, with special guest Josh Reynolds joining Jamie Soward, Michael Chammas and host Katie Brown discussing the biggest talking points in league right now.
12.13pm: Blues coach Brad Fittler has addressed the media at Narrabeen and suggested the Roosters need to change the way they're using star fullback James Tedseco.
"The only time he gets the ball is when he goes into dummy-half and demands the ball," he said.
Fittler also said prop Aaron Woods was getting back to his best. Woods is under pressure to hold his spot with the Blues.
"He had his best game on the weekend," Fittler said in reference to Canterbury's upset win over North Queensland in Townsville.
12pm: The Gold Coast Titans will be without hooker Nathan Peats (fractured rib) for 4-6 weeks, with centre Dale Copley to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury, the club confirmed today.
11.50am: They've pulled off the most stunning start to the season of any club this year but are the Wests Tigers also the form team in the NRL? Jamie Soward thinks so, in this week's Power Rankings.
11.30am: The Titans have lost Nathan Peats and Dale Copley to injuries, Josh Mansour is undergoing surgery on a cheekbone and the Sharks are reeling from injuries to key forwards in their loss to the Dragons. Get your update on all the NRL injury news in the Casualty Ward.
11.20am: Here is how the team lists are likely shaping up this afternoon...
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Sydney Roosters, 7.50pm Thursday at ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: No fresh injury concerns and a handy last-start win over the Cowboys points to a likely unchanged side.
Roosters: Prop Sio Siua Taukeiaho was a late withdrawal last week with a knee issue and while he has been cleared of serious damage, will not return this week.
Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons, 8pm NZT (6pm AEST) Friday at Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors: The Warriors' first loss of the season brought some injury pain with it as forward Leivaha Pulu (foot) and centre Solomone Kata (ankle) both face some time on the sidelines. Former Wigan centre Anthony Gelling is likely to shift to the starting side for Kata, while Simon Mannering's recent injury comeback shapes him as Pulu's likely replacement in the run-on team. With two bench spots open the likes of Isaiah Papali'i, Ligi Sao, Albert Vete and Sam Cook are jostling for NRL recalls.
Dragons: As usual – no injuries and no changes expected to a winning team. James Graham needs to go through concussion protocols.
Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm, 7.55pm Friday at Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Coach Wayne Bennett faces a headache with the team's best performance of the year last week coming with Jack Bird in the halves in place of Kodi Nikorima (corked thigh), who is available again this week. He will likely have to return via a bench utility role. Matt Lodge was hampered by a rib cartilage injury last week. The club says it is purely a pain management issue and he is "a good chance" of facing the Storm.
Storm: Will Chambers (suspension) will return in place of Young Tonumaipea. Ryley Jacks looks to have shored up the No.7 jersey for the foreseeable future.
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canberra Raiders, 3pm Saturday at Central Coast Stadium
Rabbitohs: Sam Burgess (suspension) will return with Kyle Turner the likely omission from the 17 that beat the Roosters last week. Cameron Murray (hamstring) participated in a field session and is an outside chance of a return after one week out.
Raiders: After a slow start, Canberra are finally starting to find some consistency and that is expected to be reflected on the team sheet with no changes expected from the side that accounted for the Eels last week.
Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights, 5.30pm Saturday at Scully Park, Tamworth
Wests Tigers: Josh Reynolds (hamstring) made a bright return from injury in a convincing win over Manly and is set to remain as the bench utility this week. Elijah Taylor (hamstring) is a chance of returning this week.
Knights: Newcastle get Mitch Barnett back from suspension this week with Jacob Saifiti the likely omission.
North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans, 7.35pm at 1300Smiles Stadium
Cowboys: Matt Scott and Ethan Lowe will both need to pass concussion protocols this week but are expected to be available. Speedster Gideon Gela-Mosby finally returned from a five-game suspension to play his first game of the year for the Northern Pride last week and will look to press his claims in the coming weeks with the Cowboys suffering from a lack of pace in the backline in a sluggish start to 2018.
Titans: Last week's loss to Penrith started poorly when Morgan Boyle was ruled out with concussion in the warm-up. He will go through concussion protocols but is expected to be available. Nathan Peats (ribs), Jai Arrow (back spasms) and Dale Copley (hamstring) failed to finish the game; Arrow is expected to be named but the other two are in major doubt. Captain Ryan James (suspension) returns. Mitch Rein will start if Peats is not available. Brenko Lee and Brendan Elliott are the replacement options for Copley.
Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles, 2pm Sunday at ANZ Stadium
Eels: Coach Brad Arthur has largely stuck solid with his underperforming players so far but changes loom if there is no improvement. Former star NYC winger Greg Leleisiuao has had two separate injury layoffs already this year but is set to return from an ankle injury for Wentworthville this week and will debut sooner rather than later for a team badly missing punch on kick returns. Jarryd Hayne (quadriceps) is a chance of being named this week.
Sea Eagles: A player availability crisis threatens to reduce the Sea Eagles to as few as 23 available players to make up a 21-man squad this week. With no fresh injury concerns, no major changes are expected despite a horror home loss to Wests Tigers last Sunday.
Cronulla Sharks v Penrith Panthers, 4.10pm Sunday at Southern Cross Group Stadium
Sharks: Cronulla finished with no fit players on the bench last week after Wade Graham (hamstring), Luke Lewis (corked knee), Paul Gallen Andrew Fifita (both knee) were ruled out. Graham and Gallen are definitely out this week with Fifita also set to be ruled out, although his knee injury is nowhere near as bad as first feared. Lewis will be given every chance to recover. Former Cowboys NYC prop Braden Uele trialled strongly and will make his club debut. Back-rower Jack Williams will make his NRL debut and forward Scott Sorensen will play his first NRL game of the season. Winger Sione Katoa (broken jaw) scored a try in his injury comeback in ISP last week but will likely be given at least one more game in reserve grade.
Panthers: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (jaw) will probably fall one week short of returning in time to replace Josh Mansour (broken cheekbone) this week. With back-rower Isaah Yeo already filling in at centre and the likes of Waqa Blake, Tyrone Phillips and Tyrone May still on the injured list it leaves coach Anthony Griffin worryingly short of available backs. The club may be forced to shift Dean Whare to wing this week with another back-rower to fill in at centre. Another option is to shift Tyrone Peachey from five-eighth to centre and debut Jarome Luai in the halves.