Wednesday’s State of Origin opener has left some players battered and bruised which could result in them being rested for club matches, according to NRL.com.au.
Top four contenders Newcastle, South Sydney and Canberra are set to keep some of their stars on the sidelines in round 13, given the 48-hour turnaround.
Newcastle’s season-defining clash against the second-placed Rabbitohs could see their ‘big guns’ Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer rested, with coach Nathan Brown to make the call Thursday after the players return from Origin.
A deserved rest for Ponga given that the Telstra Tracker data revealed he had upped his output in the back half for Queensland, having clocked up about 9km as his intensity and volume results had increased from club level.
The Knights’ thoughts to rest Ponga come off the hamstring injury he acquired last season after returning from his debut Origin game.
If Newcastle opts to play Ponga this week, it’ll mean that their star No.1 will play three games in 10 days, as they come up against the Storm Saturday week.
Meanwhile, Klemmer’s output saw NSW coach Brad Fittler extend his time on the field to 51 minutes, which was well past halftime.
Klemmer’s extended minutes will be considered as part of the selection process and whether or not he is deemed ready to play.
“He was going well,” Fittler said.
“You put a plan together. Didn’t give us a reason to bring him off. He did a really good job for us.”
Winger Edrick Lee is tipped to be deployed at fullback with Tautau Moga to come in for his first NRL outing in 2019, if Ponga is rested.
The Rabbitohs also face team selection woes, given four of their players featured in the Origin match and may miss this week.
Damien Cook, who is least likely to play against the Knights, will be assessed at the Souths HQ on Thursday.
As will Dane Gagai, Cody Walker and Cam Murray, who have been reported with the usual bumps and bruises after the Origin game.
Nick Cotric’s knee injury in the Origin match may also mean he may miss Friday night’s clash against the West Tigers.
Coach Ricky Stuart spoke to the Blues rookie who said his knee was “stable,” but still poses itself as an issue, come selection.
Blues physio staff deemed there was no structural issues with Cotric’s knee and if passed fit by medical staff, Stuart won’t hesitate to play him.
Josh Papali’i is expected to back up from Wednesday night but Stuart may limit his game time, as well as Jack Wighton.
More news will be given to Stuart once he sees his players at the team’s hotel in Sydney.
Melbourne’s quartet of Cameron Munster, Josh Addo-Carr, Will Chambers and Felise Kaufusi have all been reported to travel from their Origin match straight to Auckland ahead of the Storm’s clash with the Warriors on Saturday.
The club expects all four to play given they pass medical assessment over the next 48 hours.