MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Billy Slater prepares for the Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Gosch's Paddock on February 27, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

Round three of the NRL kicks off on Thursday night as the Melbourne Storm host the Brisbane Broncos in what is always a highly anticipated contest.

This week, however, marks the return of Billy Slater. Having played just eight games in the past two seasons, the purple army south of the border will be sure to get behind their superstar fullback as he runs onto the field after a lengthy lay-off.

The Storm have also named Jesse Bromwich on an extended bench following the props thumb injury suffered in round one. It was expected Bromwich would be at least two weeks with the injury. It could just be a case of Craig Bellamy playing a mind game or two on his old mentor Wayne Bennett.


The action shifts back to New South Wales on Friday night as Canterbury host the New Zealand Warriors. Will Hopoate and Kerrod Holland are both out for at least a month with Brad Abbey and Marcelo Montoya replacing them in the backline. For the Warriors, Manu Vatuvei returns, dropping Tuimoala Lolohea to the bench with Bodene Thompson and Jacob Lilyman also back in the run on side for the Warriors.

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Later on Friday night, a winless Titans side will host the inform Parramatta Eels who head up to the Gold Coast on top of the NRL ladder. With Jarryd Hayne injured, Tyler Cornish slots into the fullback role while Will Zillman replaced the injury Anthony Don on the wing. Joe Greenwood drops to the bench while Tyrone Roberts and Dan Sarginson come back in at hooker and centre respectively. For the Eels, Corey Norman misses out with a hamstring injury with Jeff Robson named at halfback.

The Newcastle Knights head into their clash with Souths with no changes to their run on side with Jacob Gagan, Joe Wardle, Josh King and Anthony Tupou added to the reserves. Souths have retained last weeks late inclusions Robert Jennings and Jason Clark with Tom Burgess among four inclusions to the reserves.

The Roosters travel to Penrith on Saturday night without Blake Ferguson with Joseph Manu taking his place with Isaac Liu returning to the bench. The Panthers go in unchanged adding Dallin Watene-Zeleziak among four to their extended bench.

Young gun Kalyn Ponga replaced the injured Lachlan Coote at fullback while Javid Bowen and Patrick Kaufusi replace Antonio Winterstein (arm) and Matt Scott (ACL) in the starting side. Dally M winner Jason Taumalolo could be suspended following a shoulder charge on the weekend as Sam Hoare, Shaun Fensom, Gideon Gela-Mosby, Corey Jensen and Ben Spina round out the reserves. The Sea Eagles go into the game unchanged.

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The Raiders will be looking to climb off the bottom of the ladder as captain Jarrod Croker returns to the side with Elliott Whitehead returning to the back row. David Taylor and Clay Priest join the interchange along with Jeff Line, Jordan Turner and Scott Sorensen. Jamal Idris drops out of the West Tigers squad with Tim Grant replacing him on the bench. Matt Ballin is an outside chance to return having been named on an extended bench with Kyle Lovett, Justin Hunt and Junior Tatola.

The round closes out on Sunday night at Shark Park where Cronulla host St George Illawarra. The Sharks have named the same side as last week with Valentine Holmes and Gerard Beale a chance of returning while St George also remain unchanged.


  1. I wish Billy all the best and hope he gets through the year, it’s hard to fully recover from a shoulder . He will have a target on him no doubt about it .

    • I hope he tears it up, but being out of the game so long I wouldn’t be surprised if his form was down a little.

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