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Round 4 Team Lists Late Mail: Key Raiders injury leads to Origin star return, Newcastle lose Gagai to 'medical condition'

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29th March, 2024
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The Raiders have lost captain Elliot Whitehead to a calf injury ahead of their trip to Cronulla on Sunday, but will use the opportunity to return one of their breakout stars to the starting 13, with Zac Hosking elevated to the run-on in the backrow.

In turn, that will allow Corey Horsburgh to come onto the bench, with the Queensland tearaway making his first appearance of the year.

Big Red was suspended coming into the season and then overlooked last week, such has been the strength of the Raiders’ pack in 2024. He had been named to play NSW Cup at Newtown, but instead comes onto the bench.

Newcastle will be without star centre Dane Gagai on the weekend after withdrawing him from the squad to face the Warriors on Sunday with what the Knights described as a ‘medical condition’.

It is not known exactly what the issue is, but the Queensland veteran will not feature this weekend. His replacement is yet to be announced, but it may require a rejig in the centres as there is no obvious backline cover in the reserves.

Dylan Lucas comes into the squad but it is not yet known who will play centre. Lucas could well play backrow with Kai Pearce-Paul going one further out.

The Englishman has played centre at international level, albeit only against minnows Greece, and began his Super League career as an outside back before shifting into the pack.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Dane Gagai of the Knights looks on during the round five NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Manly Sea Eagles at McDonald Jones Stadium, on April 07, 2022, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Manly will return Tof Sipley to their pack after his suspension, elevating him from their extended bench to the interchange.

It is not yet clear who he will replace, though the obvious candidate would be either Corey Waddell or Ethan Bullemor as forward options.

The NRL’s most chaotic week of injuries in recent memory has caused havoc with team lists ahead of the Easter weekend, with changes and debuts galore as some of the biggest stars in the game miss out.

Top of the list on both categories is Penrith: they are without one son of a gun, talisman Nathan Cleary, who has a hamstring injury, but will debut another in Mavrik Geyer, who comes in for the injured Scott Sorensen for his first game in the top grade. Brad Schneider replaces Cleary in the halfback role on club debut.

The premiers face the Sydney Roosters, who have been boosted by two independent doctors clearing Sam Walker of a concussion, enabling him to take to the field to kick off the weekend on Thursday night alongside Luke Keary, who returns from his own head knock drama.

Lindsay Collins is out with a hamstring injury, so Terrell May starts and Egan Butcher comes onto the bench. Luke Keary is back from a head knock and Sam Walker has been cleared from his concussion.

Sandon Smith played the entire second half against Souths with a hyper-extended elbow, but will now miss between four and six weeks. Trent Robinson said Billy Smith‘s prognosis was less rosy after he rolled his ankle contesting a high ball in the NSW Cup loss last Friday.

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The luckless centre, who had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament three times by his 23rd birthday, will miss “a couple of months” after undergoing surgery.

South Sydney have held fast to the team that was defeated by the Roosters last week, making only two changes from that side.

Cam Murray and Jack Wighton both make the cut despite injury clouds, with Sean Keppie and Siliva Havili dropping out in favour of Shaq Mitchell and Michael Chee Kam.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers celebrates scoring a try during the 2023 NRL Grand Final match between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos at Accor Stadium on October 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Nathan Cleary. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The Dogs are unchanged, but may opt to bring Josh Addo-Carr in if he proves his fitness. The Foxx suffered a shoulder injury in Round 1 and has not featured since.

Brisbane have named Adam Reynolds in the halves and he was cleared to play on Wednesday, with a surprise return for Corey Oates as a bench option. Kevin Walters lamented the lack of utility on his interchange last week and has included the veteran winger, who can also cover back row, as a result.

The Broncos will be without second-rower Brendan Piakura after he suffered an ankle injury at training so Jaiyden Hunt gets a start.

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Tristan Sailor is a straight swap in for Reece Walsh, who left with a facial fracture just minutes into last week’s Grand Final rematch with the Panthers.

Their opponents, the Cowboys, have just one change: Zac Laybutt, a late scratching last week, is named at centre with Tom Chester dropped back to the reserves.

Cronulla are the hardest hit by the raft of injuries, losing half of their pack from last week’s humbling against the Wests Tigers.

Co-captain Dale Finucane and front row duo Toby Rudolf and Royce Hunt all miss out, joining Braden Hamlin-Uele on the injured list, with Briton Nikora also suspended.

That means Siosifa Talakai will move to the backrow and Kayal Iro into the centres for a starting spot. Tuku Hau Taupuha and Dan Atkinson both gets spots on the bench as part of a major reshuffle.

The Raiders have again overlooked State of Origin representative Corey Horsburgh, who is expected to play NSW Cup for a second straight week.

Winger James Schiller also comes in for Albert Hopoate, who was ruled out following what the Raiders described as a ‘cooking accident’.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Mitchell Moses of the Eels celebrates kicking a goal as fans cheer during the NRL Semi Final match between the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders at CommBank Stadium on September 16, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

He suffered burns to his arm during a BBQ mishap on Monday night but is expected to only miss a week.

Monday’s showpiece clash between Parramatta and the Wests Tigers will see Blaize Taiagi wear the 6 jumper in just his second NRL game as Brad Arthur reshuffles his halves with Dylan Brown to cover the absence of Mitch Moses, who has fractured his foot and is out for two months.

Talagi played in the centres on debut last weekend, so Morgan Harper shifts in from the wing to cover with Maika Sivo back from a suspension picked up in the trials. Bryce Cartwright has been named though he has been under an injury cloud following a knock to the ribs.

The Tigers maintain largely the same team that saw them thrash Cronulla, with only Asu Kepaoa coming in to take the place of Alex Twal (concussion).

The Titans lost Tino Fa’asumaleaui last week for the year with an ACL rupture, but can welcome back two of their biggest stars in Jayden Campbell, who returned in Q Cup and is named at fullback, and David Fifita, listed at 18th man but a possibility to come in against the Dolphins.

Redcliffe are off the bye and thus name the same squad that beat the Dragons in Round 2, with only Ray Stone, who missed that game, coming in. Jarrod Wallace departs.

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Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will play at fullback, as expected, for the Warriors after Taine Tuaupiki‘s head knock, with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad still not fit. Adam Pompey is the new centre. Wayde Egan is named again after an elbow injury but will be tough and go, while Marata Niukore makes his first appearance of the year on the bench.

Manly have stuck fast with the side that lost narrowly to Parramatta on Sunday, resisting the urge to bring in Tof Sipley following the end of his suspension. He is on the extended bench along with Tommy Talau, who may yet return pending recovery from an ankle issue.

They travel to Wollongong to face a Dragons side that strengthens through the return of Francis Molo from suspension and Jaydn Su’A, Jacob Liddle and Hame Sele from injury.

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Round 4 teams

Sydney vs Penrith at Allianz Stadium: 8pm, Thursday March 28

Odds: Roosters $1.77 Panthers $2.05 – odds via PlayUp

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 4. Joseph Manu 5. Dominic Young 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Terrell May 11. Nat Butcher 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Naufahu Whyte 16. Egan Butcher 17 Angus Crichton 18. Michael Jennings 19. Siua Wong 20. Fetalaiga Pauga 21. Zach Dockar-Clay 22. Dylan Napa

Lindsay Collins is out with a hamstring injury, so Terrell May starts and Egan Butcher comes onto the bench. Luke Keary is back from a head knock and Sam Walker has been cleared from his concussion.

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Sandon Smith played the entire second half against Souths with a hyper-extended elbow, but will now miss between four and six weeks. Trent Robinson said Billy Smith’s prognosis was less rosy after he rolled his ankle contesting a high ball in the NSW Cup loss last Friday.

The luckless centre, who had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament three times by his 23rd birthday, will miss “a couple of months” after undergoing surgery.

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 3. Izack Tago 4. Taylan May 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Brad Schneider 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. Lindsay Smith 11. Luke Garner 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Daine Laurie 15. Matt Eisenhuth 16. Liam Henry 17. Mavrik Geyer 18. Soni Luke 19. Jack Cole 20. Ativalu Lisati 21. Paul Alamoti 22. Tyrone Peachey

Kiwi prop James Fisher-Harris fails to make a return and Nathan Cleary is out, so it’s a club debut for Brad Schnieder and an NRL bow for Mavrik Geyer.

South Sydney vs Canterbury at Accor Stadium: 4.05pm, Friday March 29

Odds: Rabbitohs $1.50 Bulldogs $2.60 – odds via PlayUp

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell, 2. Alex Johnston, 3.Jack Wighton, 4. Isaiah Tass, 5. Taane Milne, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Dean Hawkins, 8. Tevita Tatola, 9. Damien Cook, 10.Thomas Burgess, 11. Keaon Koloamatangi, 12. Jacob Host, 13. Cameron Murray 14. Michael Chee Kam, 15. Tallis Duncan, 16. Shaquai Mitchell, 17. Davvy Moale 18. Siliva Havili, 19. Lachlan Ilias, 20. Sean Keppie, 21. Peter Mamouzelos 22. Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson

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Lachlan Ilias remains in reserve grade, with Dean Hawkins preferred from the start in the 7 jumper.

New recruit Sean Keppie and utility Siliva Havili have become the latest players to pay the price for Souths’ torrid start to the year after Lachlan Ilias was cut before Friday’s big loss to the Sydney Roosters.

Shaq Mitchell and Michael Chee Kam join the bench for last-placed Souths, with Thomas Burgess promoted to the starting side and Havili listed as 18th man.

Bulldogs: 1. Blake Taaffe 2. Blake Wilson 3. Jacob Kiraz 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Connor Tracey 6. Matt Burton 7. Drew Hutchison 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Liam Knight 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Jacob Preston 13. Jaeman Salmon 14. Kurt Mann 15. Samuel Hughes 16. Josh Curran 17. Kurtis Morrin 19. Bronson Xerri 20. Toby Sexton 21. Jake Turpin 22. Kitione Kautoga 23. Josh Addo-Carr

Josh Addo-Carr (shoulder) is in the long list, but Connor Tracey will continue to deputise if he can’t play. Bronson Xerri is 18th man.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Adam Reynolds of the Broncos reacts after a Panthers try during the 2023 NRL Grand Final match between Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos at Accor Stadium on October 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Brisbane vs North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium: 8pm, Friday March 29

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Odds: Broncos $2 Cowboys $1.81 – odds via PlayUp

Broncos: 1. Tristan Sailor 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Selwyn Cobbo 5. Deine Mariner 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Fletcher Baker 11. Jaiyden Hunt 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Xavier Willison 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Corey Oates 18. Benjamin Te Kura 19. Jock Madden 20. Delouise Hoeter 21. Martin Taupau 22. Jordan Pereira

Adam Reynolds is back after being cleared to play on Wednesday, but Jock Madden will be waiting in the wings should he not make it. Corey Oates has been named on the interchange with Reece Walsh replaced at fullback by Tristan Sailor.

The Broncos will be without second-rower Brendan Piakura after he suffered an ankle injury at training so Jaiyden Hunt gets a start.

Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Zac Laybutt 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Jason Taumalolo 11. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Reuben Cotter 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Jack Gosiewski 18. Thomas Chester 19. Thomas Mikaele 20. Semi Valemei 21. Marly Bitungane 22. Jake Clifford

Only one change, with Zac Laybutt back after a late injury saw Tom Chester elevated last week.

St George Illawarra vs Manly at WIN Stadium: 5.30pm, Saturday March 30

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Odds: Dragons $3.15 Sea Eagles $1.36 – odds via PlayUp

Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Zac Lomax 3. Moses Suli 4. Jack Bird 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Kyle Flanagan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Tom Eisenhuth 14. Jesse Marschke 15. Jack de Belin 16. Hame Sele 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 18. Christian Tuipulotu 19. Michael Molo 20. Viliami Fifita 21. Connor Muhleisen 22. Matthew Feagai

There are plenty of changes in the pack for Shane Flanagan, with Jack de Belin, Jesse Marschke and Raymound Faitala-Mariner going to the bench and Francis Molo, Jacob Liddle and Jaydn Su’A starting. Viliame Fifita is out entirely.

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Raymond Tuiamalo Vaega 3. Tolutau Koula 4. Reuben Garrick 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Luke Brooks 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Josh Aloiai 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Ben Trbojevic 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Karl Lawton 15. Corey Waddell 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Nathan Brown 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Tommy Talau 20. Aaron Woods 21. Brad Parker 22. Toafofoa Sipley

Front-rower Toafofoa Sipley will return to their pack after his suspension, elevating him from their extended bench to the interchange.

It is not yet clear who he will replace, though the obvious candidate would be Corey Waddell or Ethan Bullemor as forward options.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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Gold Coast vs Dolphins at Cbus Super Stadium: 7.35pm, Saturday March 30

Titans $2.12 Dolphins $1.72 – odds via PlayUp

Titans: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. AJ Brimson 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Keenan Palasia 11. Klese Haas 12. Beau Fermor 13. Jaimin Jolliffe 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Erin Clark 17. Joe Stimson 18. David Fifita 19. Jojo Fifita 20. Harley Smith-Shields 21. Thomas Weaver 22. Josiah Pahulu

Jayden Campbell replaces Keano Kini, who is out entirely. Keep an eye on David Fifita, who may get a crack in the 17 come game day.

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Jake Averillo 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jack Bostock 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Isaiya Katoa 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Euan Aitken 13. Max Plath 14. Josh Kerr 15. Kurt Donoghoe 16. Mark Nicholls 17. Ray Stone 18. Kenny Bromwich 19. Sean O’Sullivan 20. Oryn Keeley 21. Tesi Niu 22. Mason Teague

Ray Stone (concussion) will be back for Wayne Bennett’s team, fresh after the bye, but there is no place for Sean O’Sullivan in the halves.

Warriors vs Newcastle at Go Media Stadium: 4.05pm, Sunday March 31

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Odds: Warriors $1.48 Knights $2.65 – odds via PlayUp

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Luke Metcalf 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Tohu Harris 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Marata Niukore 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Dylan Walker 18. Tom Ale 19. Jazz Tevaga 21. Chanel Harris-Tevita 22. Te Maire Martin 23. Ali Leiataua

Tom Ale drops out to allow Marata Niukore onto the bench with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck the standout change at the back. Adam Pompey starts in the centres.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Thomas Jenkins 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Enari Tuala 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jack Cogger 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12 Kai Pearce-Paul 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jayden Brailey 15. Mat Croker 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Brodie Jones 18. Dylan Lucas 19. Jed Cartwright 20. Thomas Cant 21. Will Pryce 22. Jackson Hastings

Adam O’Brien has stuck by Tyson Gamble and Jack Cogger as his halves pairing with Jackson Hastings and Will Pryce continuing a week longer in NSW Cup.

Knights prop Leo Thompson is out to due to suspension while star centre Dane Gagai has withdrawn with what the club described as a ‘medical condition’.

It is not known exactly what the issue is, but the Queensland veteran will not feature this weekend. His replacement is yet to be announced, but it may require a rejig in the centres as there is no obvious backline cover in the reserves.

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Cronulla vs Canberra at PointsBet Stadium: 6.15pm, Sunday March 31

Odds: Sharks $1.50 Raiders $2.60 – odds via PlayUp

Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Kayal Iro 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Thomas Hazelton 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Oregon Kaufusi 11. Siosifa Talakai 12. Teig Wilton 13. Cameron McInnes 14. Daniel Atkinson 15. Jack Williams 16. Billy Burns 17. Tuku Hau Tapuha 18. Jayden Berrell 19. Blake Hosking 20. Samuel Stonestreet 21. Niwhai Puru 22. Max Bradbury

Co-captain Dale Finucane and front row duo Toby Rudolf and Royce Hunt all miss out, joining Braden Hamlin-Uele on the injured list, with Briton Nikora also suspended.

That means Siosifa Talakai will move to the backrow and Kayal Iro into the centres for a starting spot. Tuku Hau Taupuha and Dan Atkinson both gets spots on the bench as part of a major reshuffle.

Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. James Schiller 3. Matt Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Xavier Savage 6. Ethan Strange 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Morgan Smithies 14. Tom Starling 15. Ata Mariota 16. Zac Hosking 17. Pasami Saulo 18. Trey Mooney 19. Corey Horsburgh 20. Kaeo Weekes 21. Trey Mooney 21. Nick Cotric

The Raiders have again overlooked State of Origin representative Corey Horsburgh, who is expected to play NSW Cup for a second straight week.

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Morgan Smithies is in red-hot form and will potentially holding his spot. James Schiller gets a start on the wing in place of Nick Cotric.

Albert Hopoate is out after he suffered burns to his arm during a BBQ mishap on Monday night but is expected to only miss a week.

Parramatta vs Wests Tigers at CommBank Stadium: 4pm, Monday April 1

Odds: Eels $1.28 Tigers $3.65 – odds via PlayUp

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Morgan Harper 5. Sean Russell 6. Blaize Talagi 7. Dylan Brown 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Luca Moretti 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Kelma Tuilagi 18. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Wiremu Greig 20. Brendan Hands 21. Makahesi Makatoa 22. Bailey Simonsson

Maika Sivo (suspension) is back but Bailey Simonsson is not as Brad Arthur juggles his backline to cover for the absence of Mitch Moses.

Wests: 1. Jahream Bula 2. Charlie Staines 3. Solomona Faataape 4. Justin Olam 5. Junior Tupou 6. Lachlan Galvin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. John Bateman 13. Fonua Pole 14. Jayden Sullivan 15. Alex Seyfarth 16. Asu Kepaoa 17. Samuela Fainu 18. Justin Matamua 19. Latu Fainu 20. Alex Lobb 21. Brent Naden 22. Tallyn Da Silva

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Jayden Sullivan remains at 14 with Aiden Sezer and rookie Lachlan Galvin given another go in the halves.

Bye – Storm: Cameron Munster (groin) is aiming to return while halves partner Jahrome Hughes will make his comeback from his one-game ban for pushing a referee.

Their pack will also be strengthened by second-rower Joe Chan (hand infection) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (hamstring) available although Craig Bellamy the Kiwi prop may need a few weeks at NSW Cup level after a couple of recent setbacks with the injury.

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