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Finals Week 1 Team Lists Late Mail: Warriors star ruled out, Knights get triple boost, Roosters, Sharks guns cleared

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8th September, 2023
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The Warriors’ chances of upsetting Penrith on Saturday afternoon have suffered a huge blow with Dally M favourite Shaun Johnson ruled out after a training mishap.

Andrew Webster may be forced to redeploy Dylan Walker in the halves after the Warriors were rocked by Johnson being ruled out of the club’s first NRL finals game since 2018.

Johnson, who Webster described as the “best player in the comp this year”, will miss Saturday’s qualifying final against Penrith with a calf complaint he picked up at training on Wednesday. The Warriors are also without first-choice five-eighth Luke Metcalf (hamstring) for the biggest game of the club’s season.

Webster will now likely move Walker from the bench to partner five-eighth Te Maire Martin. Rookie fullback Taine Tuaupiki and hooker Freddy Lussick are in the Warriors’ extended squad.

All eight coaches have made changes after several players were rested or injured in the final round.

Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga (shoulder), Jackson Hastings (ankle) and second-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder) now appear certain to play.

“The shoulder is good,” Ponga said on Thursday. “I trained today, got everything I needed out of it. So pretty confident I am playing Sunday. Today was that biggest session, to tick that off gives me confidence into Sunday.

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“I’ll do everything I can to manage what I can leading into the game. But I do feel pretty good. I’m pretty excited about the occasion.”

Raiders winger Seb Kris has copped a season-ending suspension after he was sent off for a spear tackle in their loss to Cronulla on Sunday.

He was charged with a grade-three dangerous throw which carries a ban of five matches, which he has accepted with an early guilty plea instead of risking six if he had taken on the judiciary. Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has selected James Schiller ahead of Albert Hopoate and Jarrod Croker to replace Kris in the outside backs.

Storm half Jahrome Hughes is battling a knee injury although the Storm named him at halfback and give him as much time as possible to prove his fitness before Friday’s qualifying final against the Broncos in Brisbane. Harry Grant is all but certain to play after sitting out a week with shoulder damage.

Broncos captain Adam Reynolds (calf) and lock Pat Carrigan (foot) are certain starters.

Cronulla pulled a surprise by naming fullback Will Kennedy among their extended reserves to potentially make an early return from a hamstring problem with Connor Tracey under a cloud due to his dodgy knee.

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Tracey injured his knee late in Cronulla’s win over Canberra on Sunday but coach Craig Fitzgibbon said on Friday he was confident he would be right for Saturday’s eliminator against the Roosters. 

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Front-rower Toby Rudolf will fight through the pain of ligament damage in a toe to play in Saturday night’s elimination final after requiring needles before and during games for the past six weeks.

Kiwi star Joey Manu missed Friday’s win over Souths but coach Trent Robinson on Friday declared the star centre was an almost certain starter after recovering from a hamstring strain, replacing Corey Allan, but Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (suspension) will not play again this year and winger Daniel Tupou (knee) is a long shot to feature in the finals.

“He should be right to go,” Robinson said.

Week 1 Finals Teams

Qualifying Final: Friday, September 8, 7.50pm (EST), Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Broncos (2) v Melbourne Storm (3)

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Odds: Broncos $1.60, Storm $2.35 – odds via PlayUp

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Brendan Piakura 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Keenan Palasia 18. Corey Oates 19. Martin Taupau 20. Corey Jensen 21. Jock Madden 22. Tristan Sailor

Adam Reynolds (calf) and Patrick Carrigan (foot) will return after being given a few weeks off to get over their minor injuries while Reece Walsh, Herbie Farnworth, Selwyn Cobbo, Ezra Mam, Billy Walters, Payne Haas and Kurt Capewell are also back after being rested in Round 27.

Kotoni Staggs regains his centre spot after serving a one-game suspension.

Jesse Arthars has beaten 201-game veteran Corey Oates to Brisbane’s left wing position with Keenan Palasia edging out Martin Taupau and Corey Jensen for the last bench spot.

Second-rower Brendan Piakura is free to play after copping fines for three charges but young forward Xavier Willison is out of the mix after injuring his ankle in the loss to the Storm.

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Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Marion Seve 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King 14. Bronson Garlick 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen 18. Tyran Wishart 19. Tariq Sims 20. Tepai Moeroa 21. Reimis Smith 22. Grant Anderson

Jahrome Hughes’ knee injury is causing the most concern but he has been named at halfback. Nick Meaney could be switched to the halves to partner Cameron Munster if the Kiwi playmaker is ruled out later in the week with Ryan Papenhuyzen lining up at fullback. Papenhuyzen has been selected on the bench. 

Munster, Marion Seve, Xavier Coates, Christian Welch, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Tui Kamikamica and Trent Loiero were given the week off by Craig Bellamy in the final round.

PNG centre Justin Olam remains on the outer after getting a reprieve last week and has not even been named among the extended reserves.

Qualifying Final: Saturday, September 9, 4.05pm (EST), BlueBet Stadium
Penrith Panthers (1) v New Zealand Warriors (4)

Odds: Panthers $1.24, Warriors $4.10 – odds via PlayUp

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jack Cogger 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Zac Hosking 18. Jaeman Salmon 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. Luke Sommerton 21. Luke Garner 22. Thomas Jenkins

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Ivan Cleary ended up playing the majority of his first-choice team so the Panthers could leapfrog Brisbane into first for the minor premiership last week with centre Izack Tago making a strong return from a hamstring injury against the Cowboys.

Second-rower Scott Sorensen and hooker Mitch Kenny return from minor leg injuries.

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Josh Curran 18. Freddy Lussick 20. Taine Tuaupiki 21. Bunty Afoa 22. Tom Ale 23. Edward Kosi

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan, Jackson Ford and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak return after they were given the final round off.

Andrew Webster may be forced to redeploy Dylan Walker in the halves after the Warriors were rocked as star playmaker Shaun Johnson was ruled out of the club’s first NRL finals game since 2018.

Johnson, who Webster described as the “best player in the comp this year”, will miss Saturday’s qualifying final against Penrith with a calf complaint he picked up at training on Wednesday.

Tohu Harris’ back injury means he will be racing the clock to be right for kick-off. Luke Metcalf is out with a torn hamstring but Jazz Tevaga is back on the bench after three games out with the same injury.

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Elimination Final: Saturday, September 9, 7.50pm (EST), PointsBet Stadium
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (6) v Sydney Roosters (7)

Odds: Sharks $1.90, Roosters $1.90 – odds via PlayUp

Sharks: 1. Connor Tracey 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Jack Williams 15. Royce Hunt 16. Thomas Hazelton 17. Oregon Kaufusi 18. Kayal Iro 19. Daniel Atkinson 20. Jesse Colquhoun 21. William Kennedy 22. Matt Moylan

Connor Tracey has been named to play at fullback after injuring his knee in Sunday’s win over Canberra and is set to play with first-choice No.1 Will Kennedy unlikely to make an early return from his hamstring problem after being named in the reserves. Second-rower Briton Nikora (head knock) is good to go.

After playing his last regular-season match at Shark Park on Sunday, retiring forward Wade Graham will get one more chance to play at the ground.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Fetalaiga Pauga 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Fletcher Baker 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Siua Wong 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Sandon Smith 15. Egan Butcher 16. Terrell May 17. Angus Crichton 18. Drew Hutchison 19. Naufahu Whyte 20. Corey Allan 21. Jaxson Paulo 22. Dylan Napa

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Joey Manu was a late scratching from the win over Souths with his hamstring strain and he will replace Corey Allan in the centres as long as he is right by game day.

Veteran winger Daniel Tupou’s knee injury is out for at least another week. Front-rower Fletcher Baker was fined $1000 for a dangerous throw but is free to play.

Elimination Final: Sunday, September 10, 4.05pm (EST), McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle Knights (5) v Canberra Raiders (8)

Odds: Knights $1.22, Raiders $4.30 – odds via PlayUp

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kurt Mann 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Mathew Croker 18. Adam Clune 19. Lachlan Miller 20. Dylan Lucas 21. Enari Tuala 22. Brodie Jones

Jackson Hastings’ ankle and Kalyn Ponga’s shoulder will be getting plenty of treatment this week to try to get the key duo right for Sunday. Adam Clune and Lachie Miller will again replace them if they’re out.  Departing back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder) has also been named to return.

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All indications are that the injured trio will be right for kick-off.

Tyson Frizell, Dane Gagai and Phoenix Crossland are back after being rested in the win over the Dragons.

Veteran forward Adam Elliott copped a $3000 fine instead of a two-game ban for a careless high tackle on Billy Burns.

Raiders: Jordan Rapana 2. James Schiller 3. Jack Wighton 4. Matthew Timoko 5. Nick Cotric 6. Matt Frawley 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Ata Mariota 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Hohepa Puru 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Trey Mooney 18. Jarrod Croker 19. Albert Hopoate 20. Danny Levi 21. Ethan Strange 22. Xavier Savage

Seb Kris’ dangerous throw suspension opens the door for James Schiller to play on the wing but Albert Hopoate could be recalled after overcoming a rib problem with retiring club legend Jarrod Croker unlikely to make the final cut after again being named in the reserves.

Ricky Stuart is persisting with his recent experiment of playing star Jack Wighton in the centres. That combination sees Matt Frawley partner Jamal Fogarty in the halves.

with AAP

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