Predicted teams: Round 3 of the NRL
Wacko's Whispers brings you injury updates and predicted team lists for round three of the 2020 NRL season.
The Broncos are expected to welcome Matt Lodge back from the partial ACL tear he suffered in pre-season. Alex Glenn will be right for round three after recovering from hamstring/calf injuries in pre-season. Joe Ofahenguae will return from the bench after serving his two game suspension. Corey Oates (ribs) and Brodie Croft (shoulder) both suffered injuries in round two but will be right to go once season resumes. At present reports are Darius Boyd won't travel with the squad to NSW if the Broncos have to stay interstate for an extended period. Rhys Kennedy, Jamil Hopoate and Ethan Bullemor drop out of team after playing in round two. Tevita Pangai remains suspended until round six. Jordan Kahu (shoulder) and Sean O'Sullivan (ACL) are listed to return in mid-June while Jack Bird and Keenan Palasia won't return this season after suffering ACL knee injuries at training earlier this year.
Expected team: 1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jesse Arthars 5. Herbie Farnworth 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matt Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Alex Glenn 13. Pat Carrigan Interchange: 14. Xavier Coates 15. Andrew McCullough 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Joe Ofahenguae
The Raiders are sweating on John Bateman receiving final clearance to return after undergoing shoulder surgery in early February. If Bateman is cleared to play he would start at second-row likely pushing Corey Horsburgh back to the bench with Michael Oldfield dropping out of the 17. Silvia Havili suffered hamstring injury in round two but will be fit to play. Hudson Young (suspension - Rd 6) and Sebastian Kris (sick leave) are the only players unavailable
Expected team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Curtis Scott 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Emre Guler 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Corey Horsburgh
The Bulldogs could receive a huge boost with the return of Kieran Foran from shoulder injury, Foran is progressing nicely but will need to prove his fitness and if declared fit would replace Brandon Wakeham at five-eighth. Dean Britt is set to start on the left edge replacing Joe Stimson who suffered shoulder injury in round two. Kerrod Holland set to return from knee injury to take up the bench utility role with Ofahiki Ogden a chance to replace Jake Averillo on the bench. Marcelo Montoya will be fit to return after a knee injury and could come into contention for a wing position. Chris Smith is only other player on injury list and isn't due back until July after suffering knee injury in All Stars game.
Expected team: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Will Hopoate 5. Christian Crichton 6. Brandon Wakeham/Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Dean Britt 13. Adam Elliott Interchange: 14. Kerrod Holland 15. Renouf To'omaga 16. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 17. Ofahiki Ogden
The Sharks will receive massive boost to offset the loss of Josh Morris to the Roosters with Bronson Xerri (shoulder), Josh Dugan (knee) and Matt Moylan (hamstring/calf) all set to play their first games of season after missing the opening rounds. With the nature of numerous hamstring issues last season then calf injury in pre-season it will be interesting to see if Matt Moylan has the volume of running metres to play full game at fullback. Moylan would replace Kennedy at fullback with Josh Dugan to replace Sione Katoa on the left wing and Xerri replacing Morris at left centre. Briton Nikora will return after missing round two due to knee injury. Wade Graham suffered a foot injury in round two but will be right to go. The final call is whether Scott Sorensen or Billy Magoulias will nab the final bench spot. Cameron King is the only player on long term injury list after suffering ACL injury in pre-season trial in Papua New Guinea
Expected team: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Dugan 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Jack Williams Interchange: 14. Connor Tracey 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Toby Rudolf 17. Scott Sorensen/Billy Magoulias
GOLD COAST TITANS
The Titans are probably the biggest beneficiary of the COVID-19 crisis with a number of players set to return from injury. AJ Brimson (back), Shannon Boyd (shoulder), Kevin Proctor (hamstring), Dale Copley (ribs), Tyronne Roberts (achilies) and Tyrone Peachey (ankle) are all set to play in round three. Kallum Watkins has returned to England to be with his family allowing Copley to move to centre. Moeaki Fotuaika is facing suspension after receiving a charge from round two with the hearing yet to be heard, Boyd is the man most likely to replace him on the bench if suspended. Beau Fermor is closing on returning from ACL knee injury with Keegan Hipgrave (concussion) and Ryan James (ACL) other players on injury list currently.
Expected team: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Phillip Sami 3. Dale Copley 4. Brian Kelly 5. Anthony Don 6. Tyronne Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Sam Lisone 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow Interchange: 14. Nathan Peats 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Moeaki Fotuaika/Shannon Boyd
MANLY SEA EAGLES
The Sea Eagles side is fairly settled with the only change expected to their round two team being Taniela Paseka returning from ankle injury he suffered during trials coming onto bench to replace Haumole Olakauatu. Jack Gosiewski (back), Manese Fainu (stood down) and Albert Hopoate (ACL) remain unavailable.
Expected team: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Sean Keppie 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka
Storm could welcome back Christian Welch after he played 40 minutes in round one of the Queensland Cup on his comeback from an ACL injury and if fit he could replace Max King on the bench. Wests Tigers loanee Paul Momoirovski is in the running to replace Marion Seve at right centre with Brandon Smith also set to return after missing opening round due to a facial injury.
Expected team: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Marion Seve/Paul Momoirovski 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Tui Kamikamica 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Max King/Christian Welch 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Tino Faasuamaleaui
The Knights will be without Kalyn Ponga when the season resumes due to a two match suspension picked up in round two with Tex Hoy expected to make NRL debut at fullback. Mitch Barrett has had back surgery and his loss will be offset by the return of Sione Mata'utia.New recruit Jayden Brailey's season looks to be over after he suffered an ACL injury in round two with Connor Watson set to take up hooking role, which may see Mason Lino promoted to the 17 to play bench utility. Bradman Best could replace Enari Tuala at left centre after recovering for foot surgery. Herman Ese'ese (ankle) and Lachlan Fitzgibbon (ribs) will be right to go after picking up injuries in Round 2. Phoenix Crossland is slowly returning to full fitness after surgery due to osteitis pubis injury.
Expected team: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Bradman Best/Enari Tuala 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Connor Watson 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata'utia 13. Herman Ese'ese Interchange: 14. Mason Lino 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Tim Glasby 17. Aidan Guerra
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
Warriors team will all depend on what players fly back to Australia for restart of competition but they should welcome return of both Agnatius Passi and Jazz Tevaga from ankle injuries. Peta Hiku and Patrick Herbert should return after missing round two game after flying back to New Zealand early. Josh Curran is expected to replace rookie Eliesa Katoa at starting left 2RF with Adam Pompey, Adam Keighran, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and King Vuniyayawa other players to drop of 17 which played in Round 2. Nathaniel Roache (ACL) and Gerard Beale (broken leg) are both closing in on returning from there injuries. Taane Milne, Bunty Afoa and Jackson Frei are all out for season after suffering ACL injury in opening rounds.
Expected team: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Patrick Herbert 3. David Fusitu'a 4. Peta Hiku 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Wayde Egan 10. Agnatius Passi 11. Josh Curran 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga Interchange: 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Adam Blair 16. Isaiah Papali'i 17. Lachlan Burr
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
The Cowboys only have once concern and that is skipper Michael Morgan who had shoulder surgery while the code was on hold, however, the surgery only minor and Morgan should be right to play when we return with Cowboys having no other major injuries concerns.
Expected team: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O'Neill 4. Esan Marsters 5. Ben Hampton 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Michael Morgan 8. Josh McGuire 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo Interchange: 14. Reece Robson 15. John Asiata 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. Francis Molo
The Eels will be without both Nathan Brown (suspension) and Reed Mahoney (ankle) in round three. Peni Terepo should replace Brown at lock with coach Brad Arthurs having options of either Ray Stone, Will Smith or Rhys Davies to replace Mahoney at hooker.
Expected team: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Will Smith 10. Junior Paulo 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Peni Terepo Interchange: 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Marata Niukore 16. Kane Evans 17. Ray Stone
Panthers will welcome back Dylan Edwards after he suffered syndesmosis injury in pre-season and he will replace Caleb Aekins at fullback. Kurt Capewell should be fit to make his club debut after missing the opening rounds due to quad injury, he would come onto bench replacing Billy Burns. Jack Hetherington remains suspended until Round 4. Dean Blore (shoulder), Shawn Blore (ACL), Brayden McGrady (ACL) and Spencer Leinu (knee) are all working back from injuries and would probably need some match fitness to come into consideration for first grade.
Expected team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To'o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris Interchange: 14. Stephen Crichton 15. Kurt Capewell 16. Moses Leota 17. Liam Martin
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
No changes to Rabbitohs 17 which played in round two with all players fit and healthy. Patrick Mago is the only player on injury list as he recover from pectoral injury suffered in Charity Shield and should be fit in coming weeks after completion resumes.
Expected team: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. James Roberts 4. Braidon Burns 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su'A 12. Cameron Murray 13. Liam Knight Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Ethan Lowe 16. Hame Sele 17. Alex Johnston
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Dragons will welcome back Tariq Sims (suspension), Cameron McInnes (knee) and Korbin Sims (broken arm) with Billy Brittian, Jacob Host and Josh Kerr to make way. The other major decision Coach Paul McGregor will have to make is whether he continues with Matt Dufty at fullback or he moves Zac Lomax back there with Mikaele Ravalawa returning from a quad injury on wing. Jack de Belin is only player unavailable due to being stood down.
Expected team: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Tim Lafai 5. Zac Lomax 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin 15. Korbin Sims 16. Issac Luke 17. Tyrell Fuimaono
Roosters will welcome back Boyd Cordner after he was rested from opening rounds of competition. Cordner would start on left edge with Angus Crichton dropping back to bench. Josh Morris will make his club debut at left centre with Brett Morris moving to right wing and Matt Ikuvalu dropping out of the 17. Nat Butcher missed round two after picking up a minor injury at training leading into game and should be right to return from bench with Lindsay Collins the player to make way. Billy Smith (ACL) and Sitili Topouniua (knee) are only players on injury list.
Expected team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Victor Radley Interchange: 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Nat Butcher 17. Angus Crichton
The Tigers will welcome the return of both Moses Mbye (knee) and Luke Brooks (calf) when the season returns. Brooks will replace Josh Reynolds in the halves with Mbye set to play left centre which will allow Adam Doueihi to move to his preferred position at fullback with Corey Thompson moving to left wing and Robert Jennings dropping out. Thomas Mikaele suffered a knee injury in round two but should be fit to play in round three with new loanee Harry grant set to make club debut from bench. Jacob Liddle (ACL) and Russell Packer (foot) remain on long tern injury list.
Expected team: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Corey Thompson 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Billy Walters 10. Alex Twal 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Elijah Taylor Interchange: 14. Thomas Mikaele 16. Zane Musgrove 16. Harry Grant 17. Michael Chee-Kam/Chris Lawrence
Originally published as NRL Round Three: Predicted teams