The NRL grand final is just days away, but the scripts are still yet to be written, with injury and suspension hanging over both clubs like a dark cloud rolling in before the last supper. Join The Roar for all the grand final team lists, news and analysis from 3:30pm (AEST).
The Roosters and Storm have made the grand final for season 2018, but neither are going to have an easy preparation for the biggest game of the season.
At Bondi, all questions are resting with Cooper Cronk’s shoulder.
He injured it in last week’s preliminary final victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and reports are that things aren’t looking positive for the champion half.
In his first season at the club, this was a scriptwriter’s dream, with Billy Slater set to retire against his old teammate in a grand final, but now, it looks like it mightn’t happen.
Apart from Cronk’s dodgy shoulder, which he has said he will play on if able to at all, Slater is facing a suspension.
He was pinged for a Grade 1 shoulder charge on Sosaia Feki last week in the Storm’s win over the Sharks, and while he will be named regardless, Slater finds out his fate after 6pm (AEST) this evening when he fronts the judiciary.
If Slater is out, Jahrome Hughes is likely to slot in at fullback. Rookie Sean O’Sullivan or utility Ryan Matterson would be the replacement for Cronk.
In other news, Jake Friend will be free to play after his Grade 1 dangerous throw on Greg Inglis didn’t carry enough points for a suspension.
Latrell Mitchell will also return from suspension for the tri-colours after being forced to sit out the preliminary final with suspension from a crusher tackle on Josh Dugan during the victory over Cronulla in the qualifying finals.
At the Storm, Tim Glasby, Cameron Munster and Brodie Croft all trained away from the main group on Monday, however, Glasby is thought to be the only one in danger of missing the match after suffering a rib injury against Cronulla.
1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Mitchell Aubusson, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Isaac Liu, 13 Victor Radley
Interchange: 14 Dylan Napa, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Paul Momirovski, 17 Ryan Matterson, 18 Lindsay Collins, 19 Nat Butcher, 20 Sean O’Sullivan, 23 Cooper Cronk
1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Tim Glasby, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Joe Stimson, 13 Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14 Kenneath Bromwich, 15 Christian Welch, 16 Brandon Smith, 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 18. Ryan Hoffman 19. Jahrome Hughes 20. Sam Kasiano 21. Cheyse Blair
The Broncos have been the dominant force throughout the NRLW competition and enter the final as favourites. Ali Brigginshaw and Chelsea Baker have carried their half-fullback combination over from the Jillaroos World Cup winning effort, while Papua New Guinean Kimiora Nati has also been excellent.
Their forward pack, led by the experience of Heather Ballinger and Steph Hancock have dominated, and Julia Robinson has chimed in well from the wing. Centre Meg Ward is the question mark after missing last week’s game with injury.
The Roosters only won a single game, but on for and against, have fought their way through to the grand final.
Zahara Temara has been their key, while Karina Brown and Lavina O’Mealey have also chimed in well from the spine positions.
Ruan Sims is the most notable name and will line up in the front row, but they have plenty of international talent and experience from the recent World Cup with dominant centre Isabelle Kelly and second rower Vanessa Foliaki lining up in the side.
Interestingly, Maddie Studdon was dropped last week. It’ll be intriguing to see whether she is picked for the decider.
1. Chelsea Baker, 2. Julia Robinson, 3. Meg Ward, 4. Amber Pilley, 19. Karley Te Kawa, 6. Kimiora Nati, 7. Ali Brigginshaw, 8. Heather Ballinger, 9. Brittany Breayley, 10. Steph Hancock, 11. Teuila Fotu-Moala, 12. Maitua Feterika, 13. Rona Peters
Interchange: 14. Lavinia Gould, 15. Chelsea Lenarduzzi, 16. Maria Storch, 17. Ngatokotoru Arakua, 5. Amelia Kuk, 18. Tallisha Harden, 20. Kody House, 21. Lilieta Maumau
1. Karina Brown, 2. Brydie Parker, 3. Shontelle Stowers, 4. Isabelle Kelly, 5. Taleena Simon, 6. Lavina O’Mealey, 7. Zahara Temara, 8. Ruan Sims, 9. Nita Maynard, 10. Elianna Walton, 11. Tazmin Gray, 12. Vanessa Foliaki, 13. Simaima Taufa
Interchange: 14 Kylie Hilder, 15. Sarah Togatuki, 16. Chloe Caldwell, 17. Victoria Latu, 18. Maddie Studdon 19. Kandy Kennedy, 20. Quincy Dodd, 21. Botille Vette-Welsh
The Canterbury Bulldogs got the better of the Newtown Jets in last week’s New South Wales Cup decider to book their spot in the State Challenge.
Rhyse Martin is the most notable name in the side after a stellar showing in first grade through the second half of the year.
Young half Josh Cleeland is one to watch out for, while other familiar names to NRL supporters will include John Olive, Francis Tualau, Ofahiki Ogden and of course Greg Eastwood.
The Dolphins beat Easts Tigers to make the decider. Just one of the Broncos feeder clubs, their most notable name is Tom Opacic.
He will be backed up in the centres by Kontoni Staggs, while Cameron Cullen will line up in the halves and Jake Turpin at hooker. Sam Anderson finds himself in the front row as well, so they are a side with plenty of talent.
1 Mason Cerruto, 2 Joshua Bergamin, 3 Morgan Harper, 4 John Olive, 5 Jayden Okunbor, 6 Joshua Cleeland, 7 Fa’amanu Brown, 8 Renouf To’omaga, 9 Zachary Woolford, 10 Francis Tualau, 11 Ofahiki Ogden, 12 Rhyse Martin (c), 13 Greg Eastwood. Interchange: 14 Bronson Garlick, 15 Lachlan Burr, 16 Jack Nelson, 17 Christopher Smith, 19 Zac Cardassilaris, 20 Brandon Wakeham, 21 Jesse Martin, 22 D’rhys Miller.
1 Trai Fuller, 2 Josh Beehag, 3 Kotoni Staggs, 4 Tom Opacic, 5 Jeremy Hawkins, 6 Bryce Donovan, 7 Cameron Cullen (c), 16 Nathan Watts, 9 Jake Turpin, 10 Sam Anderson, 14 Myles Taueli, 11 Toby Rudolf, 13 Jamil Hopoate. Interchange: 8 Nick Slyney, 12 Aaron Whitchurch, 15 James Taylor, 17 Hugh Pratt, 19 Scott Schulte, 22 Tom Geraghty.
All times AEST.
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