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NRL NEWS: AFB out long term, Lockyer unsure if Cobbo’s up to Origin, Daley wants Burton as Blues centre

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24th May, 2022
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Addin Fonua-Blake’s season for the Warriors is in jeopardy after he was ruled out “long term” due to a foot injury suffered in last Saturday’s loss to St George Illawarra.

The lisfranc injury can take as long as three months to heal which means Fonua-Blake may not be sighted again this season until the final few rounds.

It’s the last thing the struggling Warriors need following front-row partner Matt Lodge getting an immediate release from the club last week.

Former Queensland Origin prop Lui has been rushed onto the extended bench for Saturday’s Redcliffe fixture against Newcastle after being signed on Monday for the rest of the season.

Cronulla have breathed a sigh of relief with Siosifa Talakai, Wade Graham and Ronaldo Mulitalo all cleared of injuries and expected to face the Sydney Roosters.

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The key trio were each sent for scans on Monday night after picking up problems in Sunday’s win over Gold Coast.

Talakai’s ankle had remained the biggest fear for the Sharks, while Graham had required scans on his foot and Mulitalo his shoulder.

However the three stars are expected to be named on Tuesday afternoon to face the Roosters, as Cronulla aim to fight to stay in the top four before the State of Origin period.

Elsewhere Canberra have confirmed fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will miss up to two games with a hamstring injury.

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But the club are hopeful Jamal Fogarty could make his long-awaited return to the field from his pre-season knee injury, while Jarrod Croker could also be back against Parramatta.

And Newcastle will be without centre Bradman Best against the Warriors, with the young star set for extended time out with an elbow injury.

Raiders

Jarrod Crocker (Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

Locky unsure on Cobbo’s Origin claims

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Queensland selector Darren Lockyer poured cold water on the chances of Broncos young gun Selwyn Cobbo breaking into the Maroons team at 19.

The teenage winger has been on fire for Brisbane this season, scoring nine tries in 11 matches to bring his career tally to 11 in just 18 appearances.

However, Lockyer said on 100% Footy that Queensland needed to be careful they won’t be throwing him into the Origin cauldron too early.

“There’s some young guys out there that are showing a lot of potential but Origin’s another step up. A lot can change in seven days,” he said.

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“You’ve got to understand that while there’s guys like Selwyn Cobbo who is a superstar in the making, you’ve just got to make sure they’re ready for that.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“He’s a pretty relaxed player but to go and play the Blues in game one at Sydney, that’s a big challenge. I’m not saying he’s not up to it but you’ve got to take a lot of that stuff into consideration.

“Just because they’re playing well and they’re young in their clubs, it doesn’t always translate into playing well in that stage.”

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Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt is out of contention after suffering a knee injury on the weekend so teammates Valentine Holmes and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow are expected to fill the outside back spots alongside Dane Gagai and Xavier Coates with Broncos veteran Corey Oates another option on the wing.

Oates has scored 10 tries for Brisbane after he was in and out of the side last season.

Lockyer indicated that if Cobbo and Cowboys 19-year-old forward Jeremiah Nanai don’t make the game-day line-up of 18, they are likely to be in the extended 22-man squad.

Matt Burton of the Bulldogs

Matt Burton. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Daley calls for Blues to pick Burton at centre

Former NSW coach Laurie Daley believes the Blues should bring in Matt Burton ahead of Kotoni Staggs at centre as they look to lift the Origin shield for the fourth time in five years.

Daley said the majority of the team picked itself but “one centre position was hard, back row was a little bit tough and then just to get that 14 [bench utility]. 

“Stephen Crichton will definitely be one and I’ll place him with [Brian] To’o. I wanted to find a position for Matt Burton so I’ve left out Kotoni Staggs,” he said on the Big Sports Breakfast on Tuesday.

“He was Dally M Centre of the Year last year, he’s still playing good football and he’s got that combination with the Penrith guys.”

Daley said Staggs was unlucky to miss the cut in his team and would be more than happy if he got a spot in the actual side but said he “had to find a spot for Burton”.

He believes Dragons veteran Tariq Sims should get a bench spot because he can play edge and middle, Eels prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard should get a recall after four years out of Origin and Raiders star Jack Wighton should edge out Cronulla utility Nicho Hynes for the NSW bench.

Daley’s Blues team

1. James Tedesco
2. Josh Addo-Carr
3. Matt Burton
4. Stephen Crichton
5. Brian To’o
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
9. Damien Cook
10. Jake Trbojevic
11. Cam Murray
12. Liam Martin
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Jack Wighton
15. Payne Haas
16. Tariq Sims
17. Junior Paulo

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