Team List Tuesday blog: Round 9
Stay on top of all the latest team news and the key talking points for each club heading into the ninth round of the 2018 Telstra Premiership season.
Refresh this page for the latest updates, and check out the big questions for each line-up below.
3.55pm: That is all for the blog today. Log onto NRL.com at 4pm for all the teams list news ahead of round 9.
3.15pm: Bulldogs back-rower Josh Jackson is focused on NRL wins, rather than keeping his NSW Blues Origin jersey. Dan Walsh reports.
2.40pm: Sharks back-rower Wade Graham is adamant incoming NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has what it takes to excel at Origin level.
2.25pm: Speaking ahead of his team taking on the Sea Eagles this weekend, Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner has declared dumped Manly half Jackson Hastings is a 'good bloke'. The pair played together for the Tricolours from 2014-2016.
2.10pm: The St George Illawarra Dragons are red hot these days, with six Dragons featuring in the NRL.com team of the week for round eight, as voted by the fans.
1.45pm: Broncos skipper Darius Boyd has backed Andrew McCullough to make a rapid return from an elbow injury, possibly as early as this week.
"He's a special character, Macca. He leaves no stone unturned and has a habit of coming back from injuries early," Boyd said at training on Tuesday.
"They were saying it was a four week injury and if he plays this week it's one and a half. He's the ultimate professional and that's why he is ahead of schedule because he does work so hard on it.' "
1pm: The Cronulla Sharks could turn to Sosaia Feki or young gun Sione Katoa after an injury to star fullback Josh Dugan (broken foot, 4-6 weeks), according to Wade Graham.
12.10pm: The highly-rated Sydney Roosters may only be 4-4 after eight rounds but forwards Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Ryan Matterson say there are still plenty of positives to take from their season so far.
11.45am: They say a picture tells a thousand words, so here's 30,000 words worth of the best images of the week, packed into a one-minute video:
11.30am: After three ACL injuries in four home games at Lottoland this season, the Manly Sea Eagles are looking into if there are any issues with the playing surface, Manly CEO Lyall Gorman told NRL.com's Inside the NRL show.
Watch Gorman's appearance on the show below, or watch the full show here.
10.55am: The round nine team lists won't be confirmed until 4pm AEST but there are reports around that the Bulldogs are set to drop hooker Michael Lichaa and veteran forward Greg Eastwood.
10.45am: The five-minute sin bin was abolished on this day in 1991, according to rugby league stats guru David Middleton, and there is good reason why it won't be coming back, according to Brad Walter.
10.30am: Knights coach Nathan Brown discusses the exit of former Newcastle centre Dane Gagai to the Rabbitohs ahead of this week's clash between the Knights and Souths.
9.55am: Blayke Brailey has been starring for Cronulla's feeder team the Newtown Jets but he has one big obstacle between him and a first-grade call-up - big brother Jayden. Read today's story on the brothers and rivals here
9.30am: Towering teenage Broncos prop Payne Haas made his NRL debut last week and has been backed for big things by Broncos legend Petero Civoniceva.
9:10am: There was a lot of news on the injury front on Monday, with Josh Dugan and Josh McGuire both set to miss up to six weeks, Tony Williams out with a season-ending injury and Andrew McCullough potentially on track for a very early injury comeback. Check it all out in the Casualty Ward
9am: The talking points and early mail for all 16 clubs this week:
Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 7.50pm Thursday at Suncorp Stadium
Broncos: Stand-in hooker Josh McGuire (ankle) is out for about six weeks. Kodi Nikorima is likely to again take the bulk of dummy-half duties with back-up playmaker Todd Murphy a chance of coming into the 17, although Andrew McCullough is a long shot of making a very early return. Jordan Kahu (broken jaw) is approaching a return to play but unlikely to be available in round nine.
Bulldogs: No changes to the top 17 are expected, although uncapped PNG international Rhyse Martin is travelling to Brisbane as part of an extended Bulldogs contingent.
Newcastle Knights v South Sydney Rabbitohs, 6pm Friday at McDonald Jones Stadium
Knights: Newcastle's new halves combination of Jack Cogger and Connor Watson got the job done in the first game since Mitch Pearce's injury, meaning team changes are unlikely.
Rabbitohs: Winger Richie Kennar (ankle) is out. Centre Hymel Hunt could come into the 17 pushing Dane Gagai to wing, or Braidon Burns or Campbell Graham could come in as a straight swap.
Penrith Panthers v North Queensland Cowboys, 7.55pm Friday at Carrington Park, Bathurst
Panthers: There are more injury dramas for Penrith in the outside backs with fullback Dylan Edwards (shoulder, six weeks) going down against the Bulldogs. Winger Tyrone Phillips (pec) scored three tries in reserve grade last week and will come into the side with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak shifting to the back. Half Tyrone May (ACL) is also closing in on a return to play. Hooker Peter Wallace (neck) is expected to be fit after being a late withdrawal last week.
Cowboys: The struggling Cowboys suffered a shock home loss to the Raiders last week but with no fresh injury concerns are expected to go into round nine with a largely unchanged team.
Canberra Raiders v Gold Coast Titans, 3pm Saturday at GIO Stadium
Raiders: No changes expected after last week's win over North Queensland.
Titans: Gold Coast got close to beating Cronulla with their new halves pairing of Bryce Cartwright alongside Ash Taylor and the experiment is likely to continue for now.
New Zealand Warriors v Wests Tigers, 5.30pm Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium
Warriors: The Warriors have lost in-form hooker Issac Luke to a knee injury for at least a month, with the dummy-half role likely to be filled by Jazz Tevaga and Sam Cook. Injured trio Shaun Johnson (groin), Tohu Harris (concussion) and Solomone Kata (ankle) are all likely to return.
Wests Tigers: Elijah Taylor (concussion) should come back into the 17 with Tim Grant or Sauaso Sue to drop out.
Cronulla Sharks v Parramatta Eels, 7.35pm Saturday at Southern Cross Group Stadium
Sharks: Josh Dugan (foot) is out for four to six weeks with a broken foot, which could lead to Matt Moylan returning to fullback and a recall for Trent Hodkinson. Wade Graham (hamstring) should return after being a late withdrawal last week. Scott Sorensen (concussion) will need to pass protocols.
Eels: The Eels have lost Tony Williams to an ACL injury just five games into his return from a similar injury. Nathan Brown (ankle) is a chance of returning to the pack this week while Tepai Moeroa (concussion) could come in as a straight swap for Williams. Beau Scott (ribs) is also a chance to return.
St George Illawarra Dragons v Melbourne Storm, 2pm Sunday at Jubilee Oval
Dragons: Once again, no injuries and no changes expected at the Dragons.
Storm: Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring) should return on the wing for Young Tonumaipea, who could potentially move in one spot to replace centre Curtis Scott (ankle, 3-4 weeks) although a fit-again Cheyse Blair (knee) is also now available. Dale Finucane (thumb) could return at lock this week.
Sydney Roosters v Manly Sea Eagles, 4pm Sunday at Allianz Stadium
Roosters: No changes expected.
Sea Eagles: The Sea Eagles copped another two injury blows in the loss to Newcastle with five-eighth Lachlan Croker (ACL, season) and back-rower Jack Gosiewski (broken hand, four weeks) going down. Frank Winterstein is set to join the back-row rotation. Coach Trent Barrett has a big decision to make with his halves. On paper the best option is clearly out-of-favour playmaker Jackson Hastings, who Barrett recently said would not be picked in first grade again this year. Young gun Tom Wright can play five-eighth or centre, a position from which he scored two tries last week. He could come in as a straight swap for Croker or at centre with Dylan Walker shifting to the halves.