Storm star’s early return, Fifita sidelined, Tuilagi banned, Manly decimated by StuffsEarth

Estimated read time 40 min read

Melbourne star Ryan Papenhuyzen has been named, in what is a miraculous story for the hampered fullback, well ahead of schedule in a major boost for the Storm this weekend.

Papenhuyzen returns after a five-week recovery from a fractured fibula, moving young gun Sualauvi Faalogo to the wing for the clash with the Dolphins.

Mastercoach Wayne Bennett has granted Tevita Pangai jnr his first start for the Dolphins, after the former Bulldog was handed a lifeline by Redcliffe when calling it quits on a short boxing career.

Pangai will come off the bench against the Storm on Friday night – while Trai Fuller gets the nod to replace Origin bound Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Manly have handed the captaincy to Luke Brooks and asked several players to back up after injuries while scrambling to field their most depleted side of the season to face the Rabbitohs on Saturday.

The club confirmed front-row leader Taniela Paseka was set for surgery on a fractured thumb, while Reuben Garrick is out with concussion. In total, Manly have eight players out to injury, two under suspension or NRL stand-down and three in State of Origin camps.

But there was some good news at Brookvale, with forwards Tof Sipley and Corey Waddell named to play following injuries suffered in Sunday’s win over St George Illawarra. Sipley has been named to start at prop after leaving the field early against the Dragons with a medial ligament injury in his knee, while Waddell will play back row following ankle issues.

Coach Anthony Seibold has opted to play utility hooker Karl Lawton at halfback in place of Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans. Manly only had to name one debutant, forward Caleb Navale, on the bench, with Gordon Chan Kum Tong, Ben Condon and Aitasi James coming into the side.

Roosters hooker Brandon Smith is back after his one-week disciplinary hiatus. The Chooks have named a new look forward pack, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Terrell May to start as the front row.

The Tricolours are without Angus Crichton, Lindsay Collins, Spencer Leniu, Joseph Suaalii (suspension) plus Connor Watson – who was a shock inclusion for NSW in game two.

Jordan Riki. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Michael Jennings joined the club’s injured brigade on Saturday night against Parramatta, limping off with a hamstring issue that will see him sidelined. Fellow centre Billy Smith is out indefinitely with an ankle problem.

Dominic Young has also been named to return, seemingly back to full fitness following a hamstring issue.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves escaped a ban after pleading guilty to a Careless High Tackle charge on Eels forward Shaun Lane – having to fork out $3000 for the blow.

Roosters teammate Naufahu Whyte was also charged for Grade 1 Dangerous Contact and was fined $1000.

Jye Gray fills in for the in-form and Origin bound Latrell Mitchell, whileLiam Le Blanc has been handed a debut opportunity in place for Cameron Murray, who is also on state duty.

Eels forward Kelma Tuilagi ended up not contesting his five-week ban for a dangerous throw on Tuesday night at the NRL judiciary after scans revealed he had broken his thumb.

He subsequently entered a plea of no contest but is unlikely to return for another week on top of his ban due to his injury.

Gold Coast have one Fifita coming in and another going out, with winger Jojo a late withdrawal from their NRL clash with the Warriors.

The Titans have welcomed back star forward David Fifita for Saturday’s showdown, after he missed last round’s frustrating loss to Wests Tigers which left the Queenslanders anchoring the NRL ladder.

But his young cousin Jojo Fifita was on Friday ruled out of the Cbus Super Stadium clash with the flu, forcing an outside-back reshuffle on Gold Coast’s right edge. Jacob Alick-Wiencke will join the starting side in the centres, pushing Phil Sami to the wing.

Warriors flyer Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has copped a one-game ban. Watene-Zelezniak was hit with a Grade 2 Careless High Tackle on Storm winger Grant Anderson.

Meanwhile, Broncos forward Jordan Riki has accepted a two-game ban for his cheap shot on Cameron Murray in Friday night’s loss at Accor Stadium.

Riki took Murray out off the ball on suspicion with the Rabbitohs skipper forced to under an HIA as the Brisbane second-rower was banished to the sin bin.

Souths teammate Richard Kennar ($1000), Raiders centre Seb Kris ($1800) and Cowboys half Chad Townsend ($1800) were fined for high tackle offences and Dolphins winger Jack Bostock was pinged $1000 for a dangerous mid-air tackle on Sharks fullback Will Kennedy

Round 16 teams

All times AEST

Dolphins vs Storm at Suncorp Stadium: 8pm, Friday June 21

Dolphins: 1. Trai Fuller 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Jake Averillo 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jack Bostock 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Isaiya Katoa 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Kenny Bromwich 11. Connelly Lemuelu 12. Euan Aitken 13. Max Plath 14. Josh Kerr 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Tevita Pangai Junior 18. Oryn Keeley 19. Sean O’Sullivan 20. Mason Teague 21. Tesi Niu 22. Anthony Milford

Trai Fuller gets a chance once again as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow’s returns to Origin while Jesse Bromwich comes back from a rib injury – filling the jersey of Felise Kaufusi. Kaufusi also returns to the Origin arena for the first time since 2022. New recruit Tevita Pangai jnr will make his Dolphins debut off the bench.

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. William Warbrick 3. Grant Anderson 4. Nick Meaney 5. Sualauvi Faalogo 6. Tyran Wishart 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Bronson Garlick 10. Josh King 11. Shawn Blore 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Trent Loiero 14. Jack Howarth 15. Christian Welch 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Joe Chan 18. Reimis Smith 19. Dean Ieremia 20. Lazarus Vaalepu 21. Chris Lewis 22. Kane Bradley

Star No.1 Ryan Papenhuyzen finally returns after missing five games with yet another ankle injury. Young gun Sualauvi Faaalogo shifts to the wing, getting a shot for Xavier Coates who is on Origin watch. Fellow flyer Will Warbrick is back from a groin injury so Grant Anderson shifts to centre and Dean Ieremia drops to the reserves. Bronson Garlick steps up at hooker for Harry Grant. Trent Loiero is to start at lock, pending his release from the Queensland camp.

Gold Coast vs Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium: 3pm, Saturday June 22

Titans: 1. Keano Kini 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 19. Jacob Alick-Wiencke 4. Phillip Sami 5. Jojo Fifita 6. Jayden Campbell 7. Kieran Foran 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Chris Randall 10. Josiah Pahulu 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Erin Clark 14. Sam Verrills 15. Isaac Liu 16. Iszac Fa’asumaleaui 17. Joe Stimson 18. Tanah Boyd 20. Ken Maumalo 21. Arama Hau 22. Jaylan De Groot

David Fifita will return after sitting out last week as a precaution. Keenan Palasia starts at prop for Moeaki Fotuaika who returns to the Maroons. Joe Stimson and Isaac Fa’asuamaleaui are both up on the bench, while Klese Haas makes way for Fifita.

Jojo Fifita was on Friday ruled out of the Cbus Super Stadium clash with the flu, forcing an outside-back reshuffle on Gold Coast’s right edge.

Jacob Alick-Wiencke will join the starting side in the centres, pushing Phil Sami to the wing.

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Edward Kosi 3. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jackson Ford 11. Marata Niukore 12. Dylan Walker 13. Tohu Harris 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Jacob Laban 16. Jazz Tevaga 17. Tom Ale 18. Bunty Afoa 20. Taine Tuaupiki 21. Moala Graham-Taufa 22. Freddy Lussick 23. Demitric Sifakula

Cross-code stepper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck returns from a hamstring injury to boost the centres, while Ed Kosi comes in on the wing for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (suspended). With Kurt Capewell on Queensland honours and Mitch Barnett in the Blues emergency slot, Dylan Walker moves to the second row and Tohu Harris starts in the No.13. Tom Ale and Jacob Laban are the newcomers to the bench. Rocco Berry is out with a shoulder injury.

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 22: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors is brought down during the round three NRL match between New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders at Apollo Projects Stadium, on March 22, 2024, in Christchurch, New Zealand.
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(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Sydney vs Canterbury at Industree Group Stadium, Gosford: 5.30pm, Saturday June 22

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Fetalaiga Pauga 4. Joseph Manu 5. Dominic Young 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Terrell May 11. Nat Butcher 12. Victor Radley 13. Naufahu Whyte 14. Sandon Smith 15. Blake Steep 16. Sitili Tupouniua 17. Siua Wong 18. Ethan King 19. Dylan Napa 20. Tyler Moriarty 21. Hugo Savala 22. Salesi Foketi

Easts are missing Lindsay Collins, Angus Crichton, Spencer Leniu and Connor Watson with Origin, while veteran back Michael Jennings is in recovery mode with a bad hamstring. Dom Young returns from his hamstring problem, with Junior Pauga slotting into the centres.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves links up with Brandon Smith, who will be fresh off his one-week club ban for disciplinary issues, while Terrell May rounds out the front row. Nat Butcher joins the starting side as Blake Steep, Sitili Tupouniua and Siua Wong help to add spark off the bench.

Bulldogs: 1. Connor Tracey 2. Jeral Skelton 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Jacob Kiraz 5. Blake Wilson 6. Matt Burton 7. Toby Sexton 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Samuel Hughes 11. Josh Curran 12. Jaeman Salmon 13. Bailey Hayward 14. Jake Turpin 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Kurtis Morrin 17. Lipoi Hopoi 19. Drew Hutchison 20. Blake Taaffe 21. Eli Clark 22. Harry Hayes 23. Viliame Kikau

Jacob Kiraz moves inwards to the centre spot for to Stephen Crichton, gifting Jeral Skelton his first NRL start of 2024. Josh Curran has been cleared from concussion and starts in the back row. Jacob Preston has been sidelined by a foot injury. Jake Turpin and Poasa Faamausili join the bench due to the suspension of Kurt Mann. Josh Addo-Carr continues his recovery from a hamstring issue.

South Sydney vs Manly at Accor Stadium: 7.35pm, Saturday June 22

Rabbitohs: 1. Jye Gray 2. Alex Johnston 3. Taane Milne 4. Richard Kennar 5. Jacob Gagai 6. Jack Wighton 7. Cody Walker 8. Davvy Moale 9. Damien Cook 10. Sean Keppie 11. Michael Chee Kam 12. Jai Arrow 13. Keaon Koloamatangi 14. Peter Mamouzelos 15. Tallis Duncan 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Liam Le Blanc 18. Dion Teaupa 19. Chase Chapman 20. Adam Christensen 21. Bayleigh Bentley-Hape 22. Gehamat Shibasaki

Pocket rocket Jye Gray makes his return from an ankle injury, filling on at fullback for Blues centre Latrell Mitchell. Skipper Cameron Murray is also on Origin duty, so teenage back-rower Liam Le Blanc comes into the bench for his NRL debut. Jai Arrow has been named to play, but may be a late withdrawal due to his rib injury last week.

Sea Eagles: 1. Lehi Hopoate 2. Jason Saab 3. Tolutau Koula 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Karl Lawton 8. Ethan Bullemor 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Corey Waddell 12. Ben Trbojevic 13. Nathan Brown 14. Gordon Chan Kum Tong 15. Ben Condon 16. Caleb Navale 17. Aitasi James 18. Clayton Faulalo 19. Jaxson Paulo 20. Brad Parker 21. Jamie Humphreys 22. Raymond Tuiamalo Vaega

Daly Cherry-Evans, Jake Trbojevic and edge-man Haumole Olakau’atu are all on state duty. Manly have scrambled with Karl Lawton at halfback plus Nathan Brown and Corey Waddell starting in the back row. The loss of Taniela Paseka (thumb) and Reuben Garrick (head knock) sees Ethan Bullemor start in the front row, while former Titan Aaron Schoupp makes his club debut at centre. Gordon Chan Kum Tong, Aitasi James, Ben Condon and debutant Caleb Navale will come off the new look bench.

Wests vs Canberra at GIO Stadium: 4.05pm, Sunday June 23

Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. Solomona Faataape 3. Brent Naden 4. Justin Olam 5. Charlie Staines 6. Lachlan Galvin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Fonua Pole 11. Reuben Porter 12. Samuela Fainu 13. Justin Matamua 14. Tallyn Da Silva 15. Sione Fainu 16. Alex Seyfarth 17. Kit Laulilii 18. Heath Mason 19. Luke Laulilii 20. Adam Doueihi 21. Tony Sukkar 22. Jordan Miller

Tigers point of recent controversy Lachlan Galvin returns. Aidan Sezer moves to halfback while Api Koroisau reverts to his normal dummy-half role – for Tallyn de Silva. Adam Doueihi is listed among the reserves, hoping to get some solid game time after his NSW cup game last week. Kit Laulilii is listed to play his first game of the season off the bench.

Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Xavier Savage 6. Ethan Strange 7. Kaeo Weekes 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Morgan Smithies 14. Zac Woolford 15. Ata Mariota 16. Trey Mooney 17. Emre Guler 18. Albert Hopoate 19. Adrian Trevilyan 20. Hohepa Puru 21. Simi Sasagi 22. Adam Cook

One change for the Green Machine. Zac Woolford joins the bench for Tom Starling (head knock). Corey Horsburgh remains an unknown, with the Origin representative still struggling to recover from a groin injury in round five.

Bye – Broncos, Cowboys, Dragons, Eels, Knights, Panthers, Sharks 

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