The Roosters backline injury crisis has reached catastrophic levels, with three outside backs to potentially miss their side’s semi-final against the Storm.
In addition to Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii (head knock), the Roosters will also be without Billy Smith, who suffered a fractured jaw against the Sharks and will undergo surgery.
Joey Manu (hamstring) is unlikely to play but will be given every chance to revcover from an injury he re-aggregated against the Sharks.
The Warriors look set to welcome back star halfback Shaun Johnson from a calf injury for their semi-final against the Knights.
And the Knights will be without halfback Jackson Hastings for their clash with the Warriors with Adam Clune set to again fill the No.7 hole.
Read on for NRL Team Tips ahead of week two of finals.
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Melbourne Storm vs Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park, 7.50pm AEST
Last week’s Storm team: 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 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen 19. Tariq Sims
Team Tips: Bench utility Ryan Papenhuyzen is out for the season with a fractured ankle suffered against the Broncos, with Bronson Garlick and Tyran Wishart vying to replace him on the pine. Garlick dropped out last week replaced by Tariq Sims on the bench. Craig Bellamy will weigh up bringing Reimis Smith or Justin Olam into the centres or possibly both with Marion Seve and Young Tonumaipea under pressure after the Storm’s attack failed to click against the Broncos. Winger Xavier Coates went off with an ankle injury with his season in doubt as he awaits scans, with Grant Anderson a chance to replace him. “Justin Olam will be a chance, like Reimis (Smith),” Bellamy said in his press conference. “Grant Anderson did a great job for us last week. We’ll see what the damage is first and then go from there. But Justin or Reimis or Grant.”
Last week’s Roosters team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Fetalaiga Pauga 3. Billy Smith 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 15. Egan Butcher 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Siua Wong 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 8. Fletcher Baker 14. Sandon Smith 16. Terrell May 17. Angus Crichton
Team Tips: Winger Joseph-Aukuso Suaali’i (head knock) has been ruled out due to the 11-day mandatory stand down rule for concussion. The Roosters will be hoping Daniel Tupou can return from a knee injury to fill the void on the flank, but he is no certainty to play. Joseph Manu is set to be ruled out with a recurrence of his hamstring injury against the Sharks. ‘Obviously we got that wrong,” Robinson said of Manu’s return. “He trained well, there were no ducks and drakes there he trained really well on Wednesday, no issue yesterday, and then wasn’t good enough to finish the game so that’s really disappointing. He’s highly unlikely to play against the Storm.” In a shocking development on Monday, the club announced in-form centre Billy Smith will undergo surgery for a fractured jaw he suffered against the Sharks. That will leave the Roosters without three of their four starting outside backs. Paul Momirovski would be the ideal replacement, but his return from a shoulder injury is indefinite. If Suaalii, Manu, Tupou and Momirovski do not play then Corey Allan and Drew Hutchison will likely come into a reshuffled backline at wing and centre respectively. Sam Walker suffered an ankle injury early in the Sharks clash but finished the game and booted the match winning field goal and Robinson expects him to play. “[Sam’s ankle] is a bit sore, but he should be fine,” Robinson said. Walker can also escape with a fine with an early guilty plea for his careless high tackle charge.
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Warriors vs Newcastle Knights at Go Media Stadium, 4.05pm AEST
Last week’s Warriors team:1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 14. Dylan Walker 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Josh Curran 18. Freddy Lussick
Team Tips: All eyes will be on Shaun Johnson’s bid to return from a calf injury as the Warriors struggled in attack in his absence. Johnson is expected to be named at halfback, but will need to prove his fitness in the lead up to the game. Te Maire Martin will shift back to five-eighth with Dylan Walker to revert back to the bench utility role and Freddy Lussick to miss out if Johnson is fit. “It will be day by day there, keep ticking over, but confident that he’ll be right,” coach Andrew Webster said of Johnson following his side’s loss to the Panthers. Tohu Harris can escape with a fine for his crusher tackle charge.
Last week’s Knights team: 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
Team Tips: Halfback Jackson Hastings is set to be ruled out of contention due to an ankle injury he reagravated against the Raiders, with Adam Clune expected to replace him in the No.7 jersey. “It doesn’t look great. We tested him at half-time and he wasn’t going to be able to contribute to that second half, so that in itself probably isn’t a good sign,” Knights coach Adam O’Brien said. Back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon went off with a shoulder injury and will need to prove his fitness to play in the semi-final, with Brodie Jones on standby. Skipper Kalyn Ponga is carrying a shoulder injury and had a concussion scare late in the extra time win over Canberra, but is expected to be named in the No.1 jersey and play against the Warriors. Lachlan Miller is on standby in the unlikely event Ponga is ruled out. Adam Elliott can escape with a fine with an early guilty plea for his careless high tackle charge.
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