Broncos coach Kevin Walters is set to swing the axe after consecutive floggings, with a young star in the firing line.
Ivan Cleary is set to rest a host of stars for the Panthers’ final-round clash against the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the Rabbitohs are struggling to fill a huge void and Rabbitohs could be set for an unexpected boost after Damien Cook’s positive Covid result.
Read on for all the NRL Team Tips for Round 25.
Parramatta Eels vs Melbourne Storm at CommBank Stadium, 7.50pm AEDT
Last week’s Eels team: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Waqa Blake 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 17. Marata Niukore 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Jakob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi
Team Tips: The Eels came through last round unscathed and will likely field the same team to close out the regular season. Nathan Brown is due to return from a finger injury and could be included in the extended squad.
Last week’s Storm team: 1. Nick Meaney 2. David Nofoaluma 4. Justin Olam 22. Marion Seve 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 12. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tui Kamikamica 13. Brandon Smith 11. Felise Kaufusi 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Josh King 19. Trent Loiero
Team Tips: Bellamy’s team escaped suspension after an intense clash with the Roosters, with prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona only receiving a fine for an elbow on Joseph Sua’ali’i. Tom Eisenhuth’s season-ending syndesmosis injury will likely see utility Chris Lewis slot into the bench. Grant Anderson also is due to return from an ankle injury which could see Marion Seve shift out of the team, with Anderson moving to his natural centre position.
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Manly Sea Eagles at Accor Stadium, 6.00pm AEDT
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. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 15. Joe Stimson 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 16. Harrison Edwards 17. Chris Patolo 25. Joshua Stuckey
Team Tips: Enforcer Luke Thompson is due to return after being ruled out last week due to Covid-19. He will likely move into lock, with Joe Stimson shifting back to the bench and rookie Joshua Stuckey out of the side. After being dropped to NSW cup, Tevita Pangai Junior could also return — but Potter may choose to keep him out of the side for the Bulldogs final game.
Last week’s Sea Eagles team: 1. Tolutau Koula 2. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 3. Brad Parker 14. Ben Trbojevic 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 16. Martin Taupau 9. Lachlan Croker 17. Kurt De Luis 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 18. Ethan Bullemor 8. Josh Aloiai 10. Toafofoa Sipley 13. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Schuster 19. Kaeo Weekes
Team Tips: Coach Des Hasler explained he was impressed with debutant Raymond Tuaimalo-Vaega and the rookie could keep his spot on the wing for the club’s final 2022 clash. Meanwhile, Morgan Harper is expected to return after pulling out late last week, shifting Ben Trbojevic back to the bench in place of Kaeo Weekes. Meanwhile, Andrew Davey could return from injury and shift Ethan Bullemor out of the starting after he was a late inclusion.
Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at AAMI Park Park, 7.55pm AEDT
Last week’s Roosters team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 4. Joseph Manu 18. Drew Hutchison 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. Egan Butcher 16. Lindsay Collins 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho
Team Tips: The Roosters will be without a number of key players for their crucial cross-town grudge match including Lindsay Collins, Victor Radley and Daniel Tupou. Collins is facing a lengthy suspension and will be sidelined for four games with the early guilty plea, which will likely see Terrell May slot onto the bench. Radley suffered an ugly head knock and will be sidelined for at least one game, likely shifting Siosiua Taukeiaho into lock and Fletcher Baker onto the bench. Meanwhile, Paul Momirovski and Oliver Gildart will fight it out to take over Tupou’s wing spot.
Last week’s Rabbitohs team: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 19. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 16. Siliva Havili 10. Hame Sele 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Kodi Nikorima 15. Mark Nicholls 17. Thomas Burgess 22. Michael Chee Kam
Team Tips: Front row gun Tevita Tatola will have to pass concussion protocols to take the field against the Roosters, but Jason Demetriou has a bigger headache on his hands. Damien Cook’s positive Covid test could see the gun dummy-half miss the Rabbitohs Round 25 clash, but according to the SMH, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is a huge Souths fan, has reportedly given the club information to suggest the mandatory seven-day isolation period for a positive Covid test could be reduced to only five days, meaning Cook would be free to leave isolation on Thursday.
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SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3
Warriors vs Gold Coast Titans at Mt Smart Stadium, 3.00pm AEDT
Last week’s Warriors team: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Viliami Vailea 18. Adam Pompey 5. Edward Kosi 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 14. Freddy Lussick 10. Tohu Harris 12. Josh Curran 16. Eliesa Katoa 15. Dunamis Lui 13. Bunty Afoa 17. Tom Ale 21. Ben Murdoch-Masila 23. Taniela Otukolo
Team Tips: Interim coach Stacey Jones will be facing a nervous wait with Shaun Johnson potentially sidelined with a calf injury. Daejarn Asi will be the likely man to replace him if he is ruled out. Meanwhile, a number of players could return for the club’s final round clash. Wade Egan was a late withdrawal and could return in place of Freddy Lussick who could push Taniela Otukolo off the bench. Meanwhile, Jesse Arthars could slot into the side in place of Adam Pompey after being ruled out due to illness. Euan Aitken is a chance of returning after dropping out due to personal reasons, potentially shifting Josh Curran to lock and Eliesa Katoa out of the side. Jack Murchie is a chance of returning from a hip injury, potentially shifting Tom Ale or Ben Murdoch-Masila from the starting 17.
Last week’s Titans team: 1. Jayden Campbell 5. Greg Marzhew 2. Sosefo Fifita 3. Brian Kelly 18. Corey Thompson 6. AJ Brimson 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Sam McIntyre 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu 14. Paul Turner 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Klese Haas
Team Tips: Phillip Sami is a chance of returning if he passes concussion protocols, potentially taking the place of Brian Kelly after he copped a four-week suspension. David Fifita suffered a suspected dislocated finger but is expected to play in Round 25.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Brisbane Broncos at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium, 5.30pm AEDT
Last week’s Dragons team: 1. Cody Ramsey 5. Tautau Moga 2. Mathew Feagai 4. Zac Lomax 17. Tyrell Sloan 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 13. Jack de Belin 9. Jayden Sullivan 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Josh Mcguire 12. Jaydn Su’A 3. Jack Bird 8. Aaron Woods 14. Tyrell Fuimaono 15. Jaiyden Hunt 16. Jackson Ford
Team Tips: The Dragons aren’t expected to make any changes to their side, but coach Anthony Griffin could again switch up his player’s positions. Jack Bird shifted from centre to lock but also played the dummy-half role for much of the contest while Jayden Sullivan floated. Meanwhile, Jack de Belin shifted from lock to prop late. Tyrell Sloan was a late inclusion and was solid on the wing and could keep his spot.
Last week’s Broncos team: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Brenko Lee 19. Jordan Pereira 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 16. Corey Jensen 14. Billy Walters 15. Kobe Hetherington 21. Keenan Palasia 22. Zac Hosking
Team Tips: Coach Kevin Walters is reportedly set to swing the axe on rookie half Ezra Mam after four losses in five games. Tyson Gamble is tipped to wear the No. 6 while halfback Adam Reynolds in doubt. The veteran playmaker will have to pass concussion protocols to play. Meanwhile, Kobe Hetherington will also need to pass protocols. Thomas Flegler is set to be ruled out after being sent to hospital with breathing difficulties, with Corey Jensen the likely man to take his place. Brenko Lee also suffered a hamstring injury and is in major doubt, with Delouise Hoeter in line to start. Walters revealed Herbie Farnworth is an outside chance of making a return. In a boost to the Broncos, Selwyn Cobbo will return in place of Jordan Pereira as Patrick Carrigan takes up the lock spot.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, 7.35pm AEDT
Last week’s Cowboys team: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 15. Coen Hess 11. Luciano Leilua 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 10. Reuben Cotter 14. Tom Gilbert 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 20. Jake Granville
Team Tips: Tom Dearden is an outside chance to return after suffering a ruptured testicle, likely shifting Scott Drinkwater to fullback and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to the bench. Coen Hess is also facing a sideline stint for a grade two careless high tackle, which will likely see Reuben Cotter take his spot in the front row and Griffin Neame move onto the bench.
Last week’s Panthers team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 20. Chris Smith 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Matt Eisenhuth 16. Spencer Leniu 19. J’maine Hopgood
Team Tips: The Panthers are set to rest a number of big names players including Apisai Koroisau according to captain Isaah Yeo. Speaking on ABC Sport, Yeo said “A fair few of the boys had their last hit out before the semis”.
“We have done it a bit of different ways. Ivan has touched on a few players would get a rest. I’m not fussed – whatever he wants to do. I can play and keep up my match fitness but it helps with a few niggles,” he added. Yeo revealed Spencer Leniu was struggling after suffering a shoulder injury while Koroisau pulled up okay from an ankle injury. Cleary’s plans could see any of Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Dylan Edwards, Viliame Kikau, James Fisher-Harris and Brian To’o sit out. Penrith journalist Peter Lang reported that up to 13 players will be rested. First grade’s plans could see reserve grade’s finals chances take a hit. The Panthers NSW Cup side face the North Sydney Bears in the first week of finals football. Charlie Staines, Robert Jennings, Kurt Falls, Soni Luke, Lindsay Smith and Chris Smith could be the men to take the first against the Cowboys.
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SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 4
Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium, 2.00pm AEDT
Last week’s Knights team: 1. Tex Hoy 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Krystian Mapapalangi 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 15. Jacob Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Sauaso Sue 10. Daniel Saifiti 14. Phoenix Crossland 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Mathew Croker
Team Tips: Mitch Barnett could be set for a return from a thumb injury likely shifting Sauaso Sue to the bench for Pasami Saulo. Kurt Mann could also take the field after spending an extended period sidelined qith a quad injury likely shifting Phoenix Crossland off the bench.
Last week’s Sharks team: 1. Lachlan Miller 21. Kayal Iro 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Royce Hunt 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 15. Cameron McInnes 14. Teig Wilton 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Andrew Fifita 18. Braydon Trindall
Team Tips: Connor Tracey could return from concussion and replace rookie Kayal Iro. Kade Dykes could also return from a calf injury and take the No.1 jersey from Lachlan Miller.
Wests Tigers vs Canberra Raiders at Leichhardt Oval, 4.05pm AEDT
Last week’s Tigers team: 1. Daine Laurie 2. Brent Naden 3. Starford To’a 4. Asu Kepaoa 5. Junior Pauga 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Jock Madden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Thomas Freebairn 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Fa’amanu Brown 14. Fonua Pole 15. Austin Dias 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Kitione Kautoga
Team Tips: Luke Brooks could return from a calf injury to pair Adam Doueihi in the halves, while Luke Garner is due to slot in for Thomas Freebairn in the backrow. Freebairn will likely take the place of rookie Kitione Kautoga on the bench.
Last week’s Raiders team: 1. Xavier Savage 5. Jordan Rapana 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 23. Albert Hopoate 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. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Corey Harawira-Naera
Team Tips: Nick Cotric could return after he was a late pullout with a groin injury. The rest of the Raiders side is expected to remain the same.