Tigers v Sea Eagles
Injured Tigers trio Alex Twal, Josh Aloiai (broken hand) and Tim Grant (knee) could all be making a return to the team this weekend given they can prove their fitness after stints on the sidelines.
Manly sustained no injuries after their loss against the Gold Coast last weekend. Hooker Api Koroisau is nearing a return from his footy injury, and if proven fit, will take his position in the starting hooker role.
Warriors v Panthers
The Warriors are set to have their first choice playmakers this weekend as Shaun Johnson (ankle) and Blake Green (corked thigh) are hopeful of playing. Gerard Beale however is in doubt with a hamstring injury and could face one week on the sidelines. Tohu Harris will make his return from a knee injury while Sam Lisone is due back after serving a one week suspension.
Coping fines for punching over last weekend, Waqa Blake, Tyrone May and Viliame Kikau are free to play, but the Panthers will be sweating on sorting out visa issues for Kikau to make the trip to Auckland. James Fisher-Harris is expected to be named after being a late withdrawal due to a shoulder complaint. James Maloney is still at least a week away from returning, meaning May will keep his position in the halves.
Cowboys v Eels
Wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo will be back for the Cowboys this week after serving his suspension. Matt Scott was withdrawn last round due to an ongoing neck issue, but if fit, could line up in his 250th NRL game. Shaun Fensom will return from concussion as the Cowboys look to send out legend Johnathan Thurston on a high.
Nathan Brown is in some doubt with a knee injury, but the forward stocks should get a huge boost with Daniel Alvaro (knee), Tim Mannah (broken hand) and Kane Evans (calf) all striving for a comeback.
Raiders v Rabbitohs
Aidan Sezer is close to a return from a hamstring injury which could push Blake Austin into the centers or a bench position. If not, the Raiders are expected to remain unchanged.
The long awaited return of superstar Greg Inglis is officially over as the Rabbitohs will welcome him back at left centre. The backline will also be boosted by the return of Alex Johnston (hamstring) and Campbell Graham. All eyes will be on the fitness of Adam Reynolds and whether he’s recovered from his elbow injury to take up his halfback position.
Titans v Storm
Michael Gordon will not be back for the Titans meaning Alexander Brimson remains at fullback with no changes expected for the Gold Coast side.
On the other hand, the Melbourne Storm seem to be facing a bit of an injury crisis. Cameron Smith is rated “touch and go” with a back injury, as reserve hookers Billy Walters and Harry Grant are also injured. Back-up hooker Brandon Smith is set to miss weeks with a knee injury, therefore meaning Kenny Bromwich will most likely be thrown the role. Suliasi Vunivalu and Nelson Asofa-Solomona also got injured last weekend and must be replaced, while Will Chambers also accepted a three match suspension. Late withdrawal Jahrome Hughes will be used in some capacity this weekend with Tui Kamikamica set to replace NAS.
Roosters v Broncos
Luke Keary will resume full contact at training this weekend making him a chance to return, along with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Ryan Matterson could find himself back in the forwards if Keary returns, and captain Boyd Cordner can escape suspension with an early guilty plea.
After a mysterious disappearance reported to be due to illness from the Broncos’ training session on Monday, Josh McGuire is expected to be named for the massive clash with the Roosters.
Sharks v Knights
Wade Graham and Jayden Brailey are expected to return from their respective injuries, meanwhile backline players Ricky Leutele (knee) and Jesse Ramien (ankle) will miss out. Edrick Lee should make a return from a shoulder injury and Sione Kata is inline for a possible recall.
Question for the Knights this week is where to play Kalyn Ponga? His switch to five-eighth last week helped Newcastle tremendously with coach Nathan Brown suggesting he’ll continue with the experiment. Chris Heighington returns after being rested and Shaun Kenny-Dowall is free to play after receiving a fine for punching.
Dragons v Bulldogs
Paul Vaughan is at least another week off but is coming along in leaps and bounds in his recovery. Kurt Mann will remain at five-eighth as Gareth Widdop remains on the sidelines.
Matt Frawley will remain in the starting halfback position over Jeremy Marshall-King as no other changes are expected for the Dogs.