Origin and injuries hit Broncos hard, Brailey back for Knights, Hynes happy with relegation

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The Broncos are the hardest hit team by injuries and Origin duty for the second and final split round of the NRL season.

Teams have been announced for Round 17 and 14 of the 34 players selected for Origin III will be missing club duties this weekend – four players from NSW in Cameron Murray, Damien Cook, Siosifa Talakai and Junior Paulo and nine from Queensland in Kalyn Ponga, Selwyn Cobbo, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Ben Hunt, Kurt Capewell, Harry Grant, Jai Arrow , Tom Flegler and Patrick Carrigan.

Brisbane are the most heavily depleted with their Origin trio of Carrigan, Capewell, Cobbo and Flegler joined on the sidelines by several injured stars headlined by Payne Haas and Te Maire Martin.

Corey Jensen, TC Robati and Brendan Piakura are also out, joining Herbie Farnworth and Albert Kelly in a crowded casualty ward heading into Sunday’s home clash with St George Illawarra.

It’s a danger game for the fifth-placed Broncos who could be leapfrogged by the Eels and Rabbitohs with the Dragons only two competition points behind them although they have a 113-point differential to make up.

Cronulla can draw level with second-placed Melbourne if they can defeat the depleted Storm on Thursday night.

The 12th-placed Knights need to upset Souths on Friday night to stay in touch with the top eight while the Wests Tigers will slip below the Titans into last spot unless they can defeat Parramatta on Saturday at Leichhardt.

Thursday

Sharks v Storm at PointsBet Stadium, 7.50pm

Sharks: Cronulla halfback Nicho Hynes will be allowed to break Origin camp with NSW to play for the Sharks after he was named on the extended bench after previously being 18th man but the home side will be without Siosifa Talakai. Connor Tracey gets a recall at centre.

“I’ve got an opportunity to stay here and play against the Storm first and then go up to (Origin camp) afterwards,” Hynes said.

“I’m very thankful they let me do that. The Sharks are the priority right now but as soon as I finish the game, the NSW Blues will be my priority.”

1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Connor Tracey 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Dale Finucane 14. Aiden Tolman 15. Cameron McInnes 16. Teig Wilton 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Braydon Trindall 19. Jesse Colquhoun 20. Kade Dykes 21. Braden Hamlin-Uele 22. Lachlan Miller

Storm: Craig Bellamy goes into this game without Felise Kaufusi, who has been granted leave for personal reasons to visit his sick father in the US, as well as Harry Grant and Cameron Munster on Queensland duty. He has brought Dean Ieremia onto the wing with Nick Meaney shifting to five-eighth and Jayden Nikorima relegated to the reserves. Brandon Smith will start at hooker for Grant, with Josh King taking over at lock. Tyran Wishart and Jordan Grant have been added to the bench.

1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Grant Anderson 6. Nick Meaney 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Chris Lewis 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Alec MacDonald 17. Jordan Grant 18. Bronson Garlick 19. Young Tonumaipea 20. Jack Howarth 21. Jayden Nikorima 22. Tyson Smoothy

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Nicholas Hynes of the Sharks passes during the warm-up before the round five NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Wests Tigers at PointsBet Stadium, on April 10, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Friday

Knights v Rabbitohs at McDonald Jones Stadium, 7.55pm

Knights: Newcastle are without fullback Kalyn Ponga and centre Dane Gagai in the Maroons squad but Blues reserve Jacob Saifiti is eligible to play for his club. First-choice hooker Jayden Brailey (Achilles) will make his first appearance for 2022 via the bench while centre Bradman Best (elbow) replaces Gagai.

1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Kurt Mann 14. Jayden Brailey 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Leo Thompson 17. Mathew Croker 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 21. Hymel Hunt 22. Jake Clifford

Rabbitohs: After their emphatic win over the Eels, the visitors will be missing Damien Cook, Jai Arrow and Cameron Murray on Origin duty but have Latrell Mitchell again on deck after his successful return from a hamstring injury last week. They will be without centre Campbell Graham, who suffered a facial fracture against the Eels with Taane Milne in for him. Hame Sele (hamstring) is out with Tom Burgess into the starting side at prop and young gun Davvy Moale joining the bench. Siliva Havili will start at hooker for Cook and Mark Nicholls has been switched to lock for Murray. Daniel Suluka-Fifita could make his first appearance for the Rabbitohs after being named in the reserves a day after completing a mid-season switch from the Roosters.

1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Isaiah Tass 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Siliva Havili 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jed Cartwright 13. Mark Nicholls 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Blake Taaffe 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Davvy Moale 18. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 19. Ben Lovett 20. Richard Kennar 21. Shaq Mitchell 22. Dean Hawkins

Saturday

Tigers v Eels at Leichhardt Oval, 7.35pm

Tigers: Interim coach Brett Kimmorley is still searching for his first win after taking over from Michael Maguire last month. He has prop James Tamou back from a calf injury which kept him out of the Auckland loss to the Warriors. Adam Doueihi, after a couple of matches on the bench on the comeback trail from knee surgery, will start at centre with James Roberts being dropped.

1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Starford To’a 4. Adam Doueihi 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Luke Brooks 7. Jackson Hastings 8. James Tamou 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Luke Garner 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Stefano Utoikamanu 15. Justin Matamua 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Fonua Pole 18. Austin Dias 19. Alex Seyfarth 20. Junior Tupou 21. Asu Kepaoa 22. Jock Madden

Eels: Junior Paulo will be the only representative star missing from this game. Blues squad member Clint Gutherson will suit up for Parra. Marata Niukore comes into the run-on team for Paulo with Ryan Matterson (rib) back in action after a brief hiatus.

1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Waqa Blake 4. Viliami Penisini 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Marata Niukore 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Tom Opacic 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Ky Rodwell 18. Nathan Brown 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Sean Russell 21. Wiremu Greig 22. Hayze Perham

Junior Paulo of the Blues passes

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Sunday

Broncos v Dragons at Suncorp Stadium, 4.05pm

Broncos: Kevin Walters goes into this game with Payne Haas (shoulder), Te Maire Martin (ribs), Brendan Piakura (head knock), Corey Jensen (calf) and TC Robati (arm) new additions to the injured list while Kurt Capewell, Patrick Carrigan and Selwyn Cobbo are absent in Maroons camp. Tom Flegler is also listed as Queensland’s 18th man so cannot play for the Broncos. Tesi Niu is back after a lengthy absence at fullback, winger Jordan Pereira and props Keenan Palasia and Ryan James also get a recall. Zac Hosking is set to make his NRL debut in the second row while Cory Paix (knee) and Tyson Gamble (leg) return from injury via the interchange.

1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Brenko Lee 5. Jordan Pereira 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Billy Walters 10. Ryan James 11. Zac Hosking 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington 14. Cory Paix 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Xavier Willison 17. Tyson Gamble 18. Delouise Hoeter 19. Jake Turpin 20. Deine Mariner 21. Tyrone Roberts 22. Logan Bayliss-Brow

Dragons: After their narrow escape over the Raiders in Wollongong on Sunday, St George Illawarra are up to eighth spot. Their skipper, Ben Hunt, is on Origin duty so Jayden Sullivan earns another chance at halfback.

1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Jayden Sullivan 8. Jack de Belin 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Tariq Sims 14. Moses Mbye 15. Francis Molo 16. Aaron Woods 17. Michael Molo 18. Jaiyden Hunt 19. Tautau Moga 20. Josh Kerr 21. Billy Burns 22. Jonathon Reuben

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