There’s a host of stars returning this week as teams close in on the business end of the season.
The Broncos are set for several changes after they were upstaged by the Roosters.
Panthers enforcer James Fisher-Harris and Raiders flyer Nick Cotric have copped bans, while Tariq Sims’ career at the Dragons is over after he accepted a four-game ban.
But stars Sharks veteran Dale Finucane, Rabbitohs big man Tom Burgess, and Roosters workhorse Egan Butcher all return from suspension.
The Storm’s injury crisis has deepened but Craig Bellamy might get one back to fill yet another void.
Read on for NRL Team Tips ahead of Round 22.
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Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm 7.50pm at BlueBet Stadium
Last week’s Panthers team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jaeman Salmon 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 20. Chris Smith 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 18. Sunia Turuva
Team Tips: James Fisher-Harris has been suspended for two matches for his high shot on Raiders forward Ryan Sutton. Spencer Leniu could move into the starting side, or versatile forward Scott Sorensen is an option too. Jaeman Salmon took the early guilty plea and was fined $1000 for lashing out with his foot at Tom Starling so will be free to play. Viliame Kikau was a late scratching last week with a hip injury, if he returns Chris Smith will likely be retained on the bench.
Last week’s Storm team: 6. Cameron Munster 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Marion Seve 22. Young Tonumaipea 20. Xavier Coates 19. Cooper Johns 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tui Kamikamica 1. Tyran Wishart 13. Josh King 14. Brandon Smith 16. Tom Eisenhuth
Team Tips: Scans have cleared Jahrome Hughes of major damage to his shoulder but he may miss 1-2 weeks with further diagnosis to come, the club confirmed. Craig Bellamy is hopeful of getting Nick Meaney back this week, allowing Cameron Munster to return to five-eighth and suggested Tyran Wishart will replace Hughes at halfback — although Cooper Johns was solid last week.
Warriors vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6pm at Mt Smart Stadium
Last week’s Warriors team: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Marcelo Montoya 4. Euan Aitken 5. Edward Kosi 6. Wayde Egan 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Freddy Lussick 10. Tohu Harris 11. Bayley Sironen 12. Jack Murchie 13. Aaron Pene 14. Taniela Otukolo 15. Bunty Afoa 17. Josh Curran 18. Jackson Frei
Team Tips: Jesse Arthurs (quad) is scheduled to return this week.
Last week’s Bulldogs team: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Braidon Burns 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Jackson 12. Jackson Topine 23. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Tevita Pangai Junior 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Joe Stimson 17. Chris Patolo
Team Tips:Corey Allan (groin) is scheduled to return but may not be able to break into the 17. Meanwhile, Paul Alamoti (cheekbone) and Ava Seumanufagai (calf) will also come into contention after playing reserve grade last week.
Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs 7.55pm at CommBank Stadium
Last week’s Eels team: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Waqa Blake 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jakob Arthur 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore
Team Tips: Bailey Simonsson is an outside chance to return from injury, but other than that Brad Arthur is likely to stick with the same 17 that got the job done against Manly.
Last week’s Rabbitohs team: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 4. Isaiah Tass 5. Jaxson Paulo 18. Izaac Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Davvy Moale 16. Siliva Havili 17. Mark Nicholls
Team Tips: Cameron Murray went off for an HIA against the Warriors but said he was fine post match.Tom Burgess returns from suspension and will push Daniel Suluka-Fifita to the bench. “It was disappointing he get suspended but it worked out really well in that Tom was able to get the week off because I was planning on giving him a rest anyway and I know he’s excited to get back playing,” coach Jason Demetriou said. Campbell Graham is likely still a week away. “He will probably be back the week after. He trained full today and will next week and will probably be good to go for Penrith,” Demetriou said.
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Sydney Roosters vs North Queensland Cowboys 3pm at SCG
Last week’s Roosters team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Ben Thomas 16. Drew Hutchison 17. Terrell May
Team Tips: Lindsay Collins (concussion) Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) won’t play this week, however Egan Butcher (suspension) will return via the bench and push Ben Thomas out of the 17. Sam Verrills (head knock) will be monitored and if he is unable to play Drew Hutchison is likely to start at hooker with Connor Watson also spending time there.
Last week’s Cowboys team: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Reece Robson 10. Coen Hess 11. Tom Gilbert 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Reuben Cotter 16. Luciano Leilua 17. Griffin Neame
Team Tips: Kyle Feldt (hamstring) and Jordan McLean (hamstring) are both scheduled to return. Their additions will push Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown to the bench.
Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks 5.30pm at Scully Park, Tamworth
Last week’s Tigers team: 1. Daine Laurie 2. Brent Naden 3. Starford To’a 4. Asu Kepaoa 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Jock Madden 8. James Tamou 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Alex Seyfarth 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Fonua Pole 14. Zane Musgrove 15. Austin Dias 16. Thomas Freebairn 17. Tyrone Peachey
Team Tips: Ken Maumalo left the game last week with a knee injury and was sent for scans. If he is unable to play, expect Junior Tupou or James Roberts to come into the 17.
Last week’s Sharks team: 1. Kade Dykes 2. Connor Tracey 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 14. Braydon Trindall 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Cameron McInnes 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Teig Wilton 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Lachlan Miller
Team Tips: Matt Moylan (quad) will return, pushing Braydon Trindall to the bench and Lachlan Miller out of the 17, but Connor Tracey (concussion) is unlikely. Matt Ikuvalu is an option to come in on the wing, although Miller did fill in after Tracey left the field. Dale Finucane (suspension) returns, which could see Cameron McInnes move back to the bench and Royce Hunt (shoulder) is also scheduled to come back.
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Brisbane Broncos vs Newcastle Knights 7.35pm at Suncorp Stadium
Last week’s Broncos team: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Deine Mariner 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 14. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington 9. Billy Walters 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Corey Jensen 17. Keenan Palasia
Team Tips: Broncos coach Kevin Walters is set to swing the axe after they were upstaged by the Roosters. “Tesi Niu I don’t believe will be there. They’ve got Te Maire Martin back in at fullback and I actually think the Deine Mariner experiment is over for this year,” Ben Dobbin said.“He’s an out-and-out star but I think Brenko Lee will come back in and shore up the defensive centres. I also believe Billy Walters will come back and start. I’m getting a bit of mail that is where they are heading.”
Last week’s Knights team: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Enari Tuala 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Jake Clifford 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Mitchell Barnett 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Simi Sasagi 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker
Team Tips: Coach Adam O’Brien confirmed David Klemmer will come straight back into the side. Kurt Mann is also scheduled to return and will likely replace Phoenix Crossland on the bench.
Canberra Raiders vs St George Illawarra Dragons 2pm at GIO Stadium
Last week’s Raiders team: 18. Albert Hopoate 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Emre Guler 17. Corey Harawira-Naera
Team Tips: Nick Cotric has accepted a one-game ban, while Joe Tapine (ribs) and Ryan Sutton (concussion) will be monitored. Coach Ricky Stuart is confident Xavier Savage (ankle) will return after being a late scratching last week. If Savage plays, expect Albert Hopoate to shift to the wing to replace Cotric.
Last week’s Dragons team: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Jack Bird 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 16. Francis Molo 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Tariq Sims 8. Jack de Belin 14. Tyrell Sloan 15. Aaron Woods 17. Josh Mcguire 18. Michael Molo
Team Tips: Cody Ramsey (knee) is scheduled to return, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll come straight in at fullback. Tariq Sims’ Dragons career is over after copping a four-game ban for his high shot on Connor Tracey.
Gold Coast Titans vs Manly Sea Eagles 4.05pm at Cbus Super Stadium
Last week’s Titans team: 1. Jayden Campbell 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Phillip Sami 4. Brian Kelly 14. Greg Marzhew 6. AJ Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Aaron Booth 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Erin Clark 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Isaac Liu 17. Jaimin Jolliffe 18. Sam McIntyre
Team Tips: Aaron Booth (knee) is done for the season while coach Justin Holbrook suggested Toby Sexton could return, which could allow Tanah Boyd to shift to hooker. Alternatively, Erin Clark is also an option at No.9.
Last week’s Sea Eagles team: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 16. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 10. Toafofoa Sipley 14. Dylan Walker 15. Ben Trbojevic 19. Ethan Bullemor
Team Tips: Kieran Foran (hamstring) is expected to be sidelined for at least a week. “He has got a mild hamstring strain, so I don’t think he will make it next week,” Des Hasler said. Dylan Walker is an option to come into the halves for Foran. Sean Keppie (shoulder) and Josh Aloiai (knee) are expected to play.
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