Luke Keary pulled out his best performance of the year to fire the Sydney Roosters to a vital 34-16 win over the Brisbane Broncos that keeps the Chooks in pole position for the top eight.
Canterbury coach Mick Potter will miss Saturday afternoon’s game against Cronulla after testing positive to COVID-19.
Potter’s assistant David Furner and Craig Sandercock will assume head coaching duties as the Bulldogs look to win three games in a row for the first time since August 2019.
The Bulldogs said Potter would remain in close contact with Furner and Sandercock on game day.
Potter began a seven-day isolation period on Wednesday but his absence should have little impact on the Bulldogs’s training schedule next week, given the side has the bye in round 17.
The Bulldogs told AAP on Wednesday that Potter was in good spirits and feeling well.
The Bulldogs appointed Potter on an interim basis after Trent Barrett stepped down earlier this year.
Potter has overseen dramatic on-field improvement with the Bulldogs scoring 38 more points in the stand-in’s five games in charge than they did in the first 10 games of the year.
After the side’s latest win, Potter said he hoped to make a decision on his coaching future in the coming weeks.
Brisbane have struck a major blow on the signings front by extending Maroons winger Selwyn Cobbo’s tenure at the club until the end of 2025.
The 20-year-old rising star, who was under contract until the end of next year, has been one of the standouts for the Broncos this season, crossing for 11 tries in 13 matches, as well as making 58 tackle breaks, nine line breaks and averaging 125 running metres per game.
He was rewarded with his debut call-up to Origin, playing both matches for Queensland on the right wing.
Viewed as a potential long-term fullback at the club, his retention comes hot on the heels of Ezra Mam, TC Robati, Cory Paix, Kobe Hetherington, Jordan Riki, Xavier Willison, Deine Mariner and Blake Mozer who have re-signed long term.
Brisbane have lost several of their top young prospects to other clubs in recent years, including David Fifita, Reece Walsh, Xavier Coates and Tom Dearden.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters was thrilled that Cobbo would be sticking around.
“Selwyn has a great sense of the game, great skill and anticipation and a feel for the game – he is a wonderful young player and this is great news for the Broncos,” he said.
“I feel that the bigger the occasion, the more involved he gets and the better he goes and we have seen that from his first game in first grade, he’s getting better all the time.
“I just love the way Selwyn goes about his work – he’s always got a smile on his face and we love having him at the Broncos.
“The environment that Selwyn and his teammates are creating themselves is huge for us and we feel we’re on the right pathway as far as growing our culture as a team and a club.”
The Sydney Roosters could add controversial prop Matt Lodge to their roster for the rest of the season on a short-term deal as they try to revive their stuttering season.
Lodge, who was released by the Warriors and received a hefty payout by the club last month, has been looking to link with a club for the rest of the year.
Parramatta had expressed interest but the Roosters have emerged as the frontrunners for his signature, according to a NewsCorp report.
The 27-year-old has been linked to a long-term move to the Dolphins when the expansion club enters the NRL next year but Redcliffe officials are yet to formally announce any deal.
With the Roosters sitting in ninth spot with a 7-8 record heading into Friday’s trip to Penrith to face the runaway competition leaders, they are in danger of missing the finals for the first time since their 15th-placed finish in 2016.
That’s the only season in the past nine years in which they haven’t at least made the semi-final stage of the playoffs.
Lodge has been valued by the NRL salary cap auditors at $20,000 per game so the Roosters will need to show they have around $200,000 in their salary cap to have a deal approved.
They recently released Freddy Lussick and Ronald Volkman, coincidentally to the Warriors, to free up cap space.
Lodge exited the Warriors in dramatic circumstances following a blow-up with club owner Mark Robinson and was reportedly paid $700,000 as part of the deal even though he was only under contract for next season if he had decided to take up a player option.
He has not stepped out of line off the field since his controversial return to the NRL in 2018 after being deregistered for his infamous rampage in New York City which led to him being imprisoned in the notorious Rikers Island jail three years earlier.
However, he has had frequent charges from the judiciary during his time at the Broncos and Warriors, leading to several suspensions.
Lodge would add to the Roosters’ middle forward rotation which has been weakened this season by injuries to Siosuia Taukeiaho, Victor Radley and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Victor Radley will be asked to explain his actions to NRL CEO Andrew Abdo after being caught making a lewd gesture on camera during the State of Origin celebrations on Sunday night.
Radley, who was in the NSW squad as a reserve, was caught simulating a lewd act on club and state teammate Joseph Suaalii after the Blues’ 44-12 defeat at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
Abdo told reporters at the launch of Beanie For Brain Cancer Round at the SCG on Tuesday that Radley would be asked to front him at Rugby League Central to explain his actions.
Radley is likely to face sanctions for his actions, probably a fine.
Maroons five-eighth Cameron Munster is likely to suit up for Origin III after scans revealed his shoulder injury was AC joint irritation.
He has been named in the Storm No.6 for their road clash with Manly on Thursday night with a final decision on his fitness likely to be made on game day.
“Thankfully it’s not as bad as first anticipated on Sunday night after the game where there were reports of a grade-three AC joint injury, that’s definitely not the case,” Storm general manager Frank Ponissi said.
“He’s more unlikely than likely but we certainly haven’t ruled him out. He’s a chance of playing on Thursday night but if he doesn’t play he’ll certainly be right for the next game.”
Maroons forward Felise Kaufusi will not play for the Storm after he was granted time off to go to the United States to be with his father, Taniela, who has been hospitalised in Los Angeles.
Ryan Papenhuyzen has been named in the reserves after knee and hamstring problems plus a recent bout of COVID-19.
He could slot in at fullback with Nick Meaney switched to five-eighth if Munster is ruled out.