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NRL Team Lists – Round 18

Origin is now behind us, and the teams have been named for the final round of the NRL with byes. We have seven mouth-watering clashes ahead of us this week, and there are plenty of stars back (although this could be heavily dependent upon Origin). Be sure to check the ins and outs, and the expert analysis from Matt and Adrian before putting in your tips, or making vital changes to Dream Team.

FRIDAY, July 8

Warriors v Gold Coast Titans at Mt Smart Stadium, 8.30pm

Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Lewis Brown, Shaun Berrigan, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Aaron Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Micheal Luck. Interchange (from): Lance Hohaia, Sam Rapira, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Steve Rapira.

Ins: Kevin Locke, Shaun Johnson, Michael Luck, Sam Rapira

Outs: Brett Seymour (cheek), Alehana Mara (NSW Cup), Sione Louisi (NSW Cup)

Titans: Jordan Rankin, Steve Michaels, Clinton Toopi, Esi Tonga, David Mead, William Zillman, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Michael Henderson, Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison.  Interchange (from): Matt White, Brenton Lawrence, Greg Bird, Bodene Thompson, Luke O’Dwyer.

Ins: Luke Bailey, Greg Bird

Outs: Ben Ridge (injured)

Adrian Considers: A mix of youth and experience return for the Warriors. Kevin Locke returns at fullback, while Shaun Johnson starts at 7 for the injured Brett Seymour. Michael Luck is back from injury, and you know that he is legit injured when he’s out. That man is tough. He’ll tackle the house down. Steve Rapira is back on an extended bench. Joining him there is Dream Team gun Elijah Taylor- he’s not going to get as many minutes now, but he’ll still score plenty. The Titans are set to welcome back Luke Bailey and Greg Bird, with the chances of the later playing dependent on his Origin experience. Last Origin I said he’d back up. He didn’t. This time, he should!

Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers at Parramatta Stadium, 7.35pm

Eels: Jarryd Hayne, Luke Burt, Ryan Morgan, Ben Smith, Jordan Atkins, Casey McGuire, Jeff Robson, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Taniela Lasalo, Justin Horo.  Interchange: Shane Shackleton, Mitchell Allgood, Manase Manuokafoa, Reni Maitua.

Ins: Jarryd Hayne, Tim Mannah, Jeff Robson, Jordan Atkins, Ryan Morgan

Outs: Etuate Uaisele (dropped), Chris Walker (NSW Cup), Jacob Loko (knee, season), Carl Webb (NSW Cup), Pat O’Hanlon (dropped)

Tigers: Wade McKinnon, Beau Ryan, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Mitch Brown, Jacob Miller, Robert Lui, Bryce Gibbs, (c) Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Gareth Ellis, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Tim Moltzen, Todd Payten, Aaron Woods, Andrew Fifita.

Ins: Chris Lawrence, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Todd Payten

Outs: Tim Simona (Toyota Cup), Simon Dwyer (nerve damage), Liam Fulton (concussion)

Matt Considers: A very big clash for the Tigers, and a recovery mission for the Eels. The Eels have made some big changes, with Hayne and Mannah making timely returns from Origin duty, while Robson returns some structure to the Eels attack, and youngster Ryan Morgan replaces Jacob Loko, who is out for the season. The Eels feeder side, Wentworthville, are also stacked again this week, with former Origin stars Chris Walker and Carl Webb dropped. The Tigers have the welcome return of Todd Payten and Chris Lawrence from long-term injuries, but are still without Golden Boot Benji Marshall (don’t be overly surprised to see him run out in jersey 18). Jacob Miller and Rob Lui again link in the halves, and will need to produce more than their last effort against the Bulldogs if the Tigers are to be any chance. There are some other forwards changes too, with Simon Dwyer out indefinitely (the rest of this season at least, probably more) through nerve damage to his shoulder, and Liam Fulton forced out after successive concussions. Young Ben Murdoch-Masila returns to the side, starting in the back-row. The Tigers need this win to cement a top eight spot, and start to gain some momentum heading into the finals race.

SATURDAY, July 9

Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders at Toyota Stadium, 5.30pm

Sharks: Nathan Gardner, Matthew Wright, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, Nathan Stapleton, Wade Graham, Chad Townsend, Kade Snowden, John Morris, Luke Douglas, Jeremy Smith, Jayson Bukuya, Paul Gallen (c).  Interchange (from): Anthony Tupou, Sam Tagataese, Stuart Flanagan, Taulima Tautai, Johnny Mannah, Josh Cordoba.

Ins: Kade Snowden, Paul Gallen

Outs: None

Raiders: Nathan Massey, Blake Ferguson, Jarrod Croker, Joel Thompson, Reece Robinson, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, Brett White, Alan Tongue (c), Dane Tilse, Joe Picker, Josh Papalii, Shaun Fensom.  Interchange: Glen Buttriss, Bronson Harrison, Sam Mataora, Trevor Thurling, Josh Miller.

Ins: Sam Mataora

Outs: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (bicep, season)

Adrian Considers: This is legitimately a difficult game to predict. The Sharks have two of their best named to return- Gallen will back up, as long as he’s not injured in Game III. Snowden is a different prospect- there’s talk his injury is worse than expected, but the word is that he’ll be set to go after being a late scratching last round. Very unfortunate news that Tom Learoyd-Lahrs will miss the rest of the season. He (along with Shillington) was really the driving force behind the Raiders’ run into the finals last year. Mataora is in to replace him. Still no sign of Orford, but Sam Williams is handling the top grade very well. Josh Dugan could be back any time now, so Nathan Massey may make way for him. Williams and Massey look to be a long-term combination at the club, especially if Dugan is lured away from the nation’s capital.

Canterbury Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm at Adelaide Oval, 7.00pm

Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Jamal Idris, Jonathan Wright, Kris Keating, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan ,  David Stagg. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Martin Taupau, Corey Payne, Dene Halatau.

Ins: Michael Ennis, Martin Taupau

Outs: Michael Hodgson (NSW Cup), Ben Roberts (NSW Cup)

Storm: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Maurice Blair, Sisa Waqa, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Adam Blair, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hinchcliffe.  Interchange (from): Rory Kostjasyn, Sika Manu, Adam Woolnough, Jaiman Lowe, Anthony Quinn, Justin O’Neill, Beau Champion.

Ins: Bryan Norrie, Anthony Quinn, Justin O’Neill, Beau Champion

Outs: Todd Lowrie (calf)

Matt Considers: The last time these two sides met it was two in-form sides, and after a couple of controversial decisions, the Storm ran out victors in a great game. Now, things are completely different. The Bulldogs are struggling to say the least, and the Storm, sitting pretty at the top of the ladder. For the Bulldogs, this game is really do-or-die, both in their season and for the fate of their coach Kevin Moore, who is under increasing media and fan pressure to be sacked. They welcome back linchpin Michael Ennis at hooker, with Dene Halatau returning to the bench, and Ben Roberts dropping out, along with the experienced Michael Hodgson, who is replaced by Martin Taupau. The Storm have named an extended bench in case of Origin hangovers, with Todd Lowrie the only casualty with a calf injury. Interestingly, City representative Beau Champion remains on the outer, gaining a bench spot, but looks unlikely to unseat Dane Neilsen from the right centre position.

SUNDAY, July 10

Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers at Sydney Football Stadium, 2.00pm

Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Sam Perrett, Kane Linnett, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Joseph ‘BJ’ Leilua, Todd Carney, Mitchell Pearce, Jason Ryles, Jake Friend, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Braith Anasta (c), Frank Paul Nuuausala, Nate Myles.  Interchange (from): Anthony Mitchell, Mose Masoe, Brad Takairangi, Aidan Guerra, Tom Symonds.

Ins: Mitchell Pearce, Nate Myles, Anthony Minichiello

Outs: Jonathan Ford (dropped), Mark Khierallah (Toyota Cup), Tinirau Arona (dropped)

Panthers: Lachlan Coote, David Simmons, Junior Vai Vai, Brad Tighe, Adrian Purtell, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Sam McKendry, Kevin Kingston, Tim Grant, Trent Waterhouse (c), Nigel Plum, Nathan Smith.  Interchange: Nafe Seluini, Dayne Weston, Matthew Bell, Sarafu Fatiaki.

Ins: None

Outs: None

Matt Considers: So Matt Elliott is sacked at the start of the year, pushed out early a couple of weeks back, and now after signing on with the Roosters for 2012 onward is rumoured to be in prime position to take-over from Brian Smith, who is under big pressure to avoid a second wooden spoon in three years for the competition’s glamour club. It adds a little bit of spice to the game anyway, with the Panthers still remaining hopeful of finals footy, while the Roosters hopes are dead. Accordingly, the Panthers have made no changes as interim coach Steve Georgallis looks to make it three from three, an interesting choice with Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis and Petero Civinoceva backing up from Origin, whereas the Roosters welcome back Anthony Minichiello, Mitchell Pearce, and a so far under-performing Nate Myles from Origin duty. Pearce may have to be the saviour for the Roosters, with Todd Carney only able to produce his Dally M winning form in spits and spurts so far this week.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Brookvale Oval, 3.00pm

Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Jamie Lyon (c), Michael Oldfield, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason King (c), Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Joe Galuvao, Glenn Stewart. Interchange (from): Vic Mauro, Jamie Buhrer, Shane Rodney, George Rose, Tim Robinson, Darcy Lussick.

Ins: Michael Oldfield, Brent Kite, Shane Rodney

Outs: Steve Matai (suspension)

Rabbitohs: Rhys Wesser, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen, John Sutton, Chris Sandow, Ben Ross, Issac Luke, Shannan McPherson, Jason Clark, Eddy Pettybourne, Michael Crocker (c).  Interchange (from): Luke Burgess, David Tyrrell, Ben Lowe, Nathan Peats, Shaun Corrigan.

Ins: Ben Lowe

Outs: James Roberts (Toyota Cup)

Adrian Considers: Manly are flying high, and this week welcome back goal-kicking 2nd Rower Shane Rodney from a long lay-off. Kite is back to the starting 13, as is Oldfield, replacing Matai in the centres. They look to be a very difficult prospect to overcome. Just the one inclusion for Souths, with workhorse Ben Lowe added to the bench. Jason Clark starts, pushing Chris McQueen from the backrow to the win. Youngster James Roberts has been dropped and return to the NYC side. Luke Burgess could be a handy pick for your DT side heading into the finals, especially in a few weeks time after getting a few games under his belt.

MONDAY, July 11

Newcastle Knights v North Queensland Cowboys at Ausgrid Stadium, 7.00pm

Knights: Wes Naiqama, James McManus, Tafeaga Junior Sa’u, Adam MacDougall, Akuila Uate, Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Lisiate Richie Fa’aoso, Matt Hilder, Evarn Tuimavave, Chris Houston, Joel Edwards, Steve Southern.  Interchange (from): Ryan Sitg, Antonio Kaufusi, Cameron Ciraldo, Dan Tolar, Mark Taufua, Tyrone Roberts.

Ins: Adam MacDougall, Akuila Uate, Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Evarn Tuimivave

Outs: Keith Lulia (concussion), Isaac De Gois (knee), Peter Mata’utia (NSW Cup)

Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Will Tupou, Willie Tonga, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ray Thompson, Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson.  Interchange (from): James Segeyaro, Joel Riethmuller, Ashton Sims, Leeson Ah Mau, Cory Paterson.

Ins: Willie Tonga, Cory Paterson

Outs: Ben Jones (dropped)

Matt Considers: How good are the Knights looking! Considering their injury toll (one only really matched by the Tigers at the moment), they have over-performed considerably, and this week have the welcome return of Origin stars Akuila Uate and Kurt Gidley, as well as half Jarrod Mullen, and the ‘Mad Dog’ Adam MacDougall. The form Knights player, rookie Ryan Stig, drops back to the bench, although don’t be surprised to see him start in the halves, with Gidley at fullback and Naiqama on the wing. The Cowboys will prove stern opposition, although they need to improve their away form if they want to maintain their spot on the ladder. They have rushed back Willie Tonga from a shoulder injury, and give a debut to former Knight Corey Paterson in front of his home crowd.

BYES:

St George Illawarra Dragons

Brisbane Broncos

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