Graham

NRL Finals Week 3 Match Thread

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The preliminary finals have arrived with the Storm to clash with the Sharks on Friday night and the Roosters host the Rabbitohs on Saturday night.

The Sharks will be hoping skipper Paul Gallen can overcome a rotator cuff injury in time for the Storm clash.

For the Storm Will Chambers is set to return from suspension to face the Sharks.

The Rabbitohs will be boosted by skipper Greg Inglis avoiding a suspension, despite a crusher tackle charge.

The Roosters will likely hand Latrell Mitchell’s centre assignment to the ever-reliable Mitchell Aubusson, while he serves his suspension.

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FRIDAY

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Storm v Sharks:

Storm early mail: Will Chambers will make his return from suspension, with Cheyse Blair the man likely to make way. Nelson Asofa-Solomona is expected to overcome an ankle injury to take his place against the Sharks. Brodie Croft is expected to get the No.7 jersey after starring against the Rabbitohs, but could face a late challenge from Jahrome Hughes because he is a bigger body in the defensive line against a strong Sharks pack. Ryan Hoffman could come into the side in place of Brandon Smith to provide another big body.

Predicted squad: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Tim Glasby, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Joe Stimson, 13 Dale Finucane

Interchange: 14 Ryan Hoffman, 15 Christian Welch, 16 Tui Kamikamica, 17 Kenny Bromwich

Reserves: 18. Brandon Smith 19. Jahrome Hughes 20. Sam Kasiano 21. Cheyse Blair

 

Sharks early mail: Paul Gallen was cleared of a fracture or tear to his rotator cuff, but is still only an outside chance to play on Friday.

“Gal’s probably 60-40 and that’s probably not in our favour at the moment, but it’s early days,” Flanagan said..

“We’ll see how he recovers during the week. He’ll do everything we can to get there on Friday and we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed on that one.”

Luke Lewis is expected to overcome a corked calf to take his place against the Storm.

Josh Dugan is rated a 50/50 chance to recover from a shoulder injury, with Jesse Ramien and Ricky leutele expected to again start in the centres if Dugan is ruled out.

Predicted squad: 1 Val Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Scott Sorensen, 13 Paul Gallen

Interchange: 14 Kurt Capewell, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Aaron Woods, 17 Jayson Bukuya,

Reserves: 18 Josh Dugan, 19 Ava Seumanufagai, 20 Joseph Paulo, 21 Kyle Flanagan

 

Edited by Graham

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SATURDAY

Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs 

Roosters early mail: Latrell Mitchell will not play due to a suspension for a crusher tackle on Josh Dugan, with Mitchell Aubusson likely to take his place in the centres. Siosiua Taukeiaho is expected to recover from an ankle injury to take his place in the front row and is the favourite to assume the goal kicking duties in Mitchell’s absence. Dylan Napa will not play due to suspension for his tackle on Andrew McCullough.

Predicted squad: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Mitchell Aubusson 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Isaac Liu, 13 Victor Radley

Interchange: 14 Lindsay Collins, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Nat Butcher, 17 Ryan Matterson

Reserves: 18 Sean O’Sullivan, 19 Matt Ikuvalu, 20 Kurt Baptiste, 21 Paul Momirovski

Rabbitohs early mail: Greg Inglis will escape suspension with an early guilty plea and will be free to play against the Roosters, despite being charged for a crusher tackle. Sam Burgess is expected to play, despite the sexting investigation that hangs over his head. George Burgess will start, despite a head clash with his twin brother Tom against the Dragons. Triple field goal hero Adam Reynolds will start at No.7, despite suffering a shoulder injury against the Storm, hindering his preperation for the Dragons clash.

Predicted squad: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Campbell Graham, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess

Interchange: 14 Hymel Hunt, 15 Cameron Murray, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Dean Britt

Reserves: 18 Braidon Burns, 19 Mark Nicholls, 20 Tevita Tatola, 21 Connor Tracey

Edited by Graham

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Sharks’ veteran Paul Gallen has been ruled out of Friday’s NRL preliminary final with Melbourne at AAMI Park due to a shoulder injury.

Despite Sharks coach Shane Flanagan saying the inspirational forward will be given until match day to prove his fitness for the grand final qualifier, the club confirmed his withdrawal late Thursday afternoon.

“After receiving treatment upon arrival in Melbourne and following further assessment by club medical staff, the early call was made to rule him out of match,” a club statement read.

The retiring Luke Lewis will assume the captaincy for what would be the last game of his career if the Sharks are beaten.

Josh Dugan is also expected to be fit, after Flanagan revealed the former NSW State of Origin star would be played on the wing if he is brought into the starting side.

Joseph Paulo will come into the Sharks’ 17 for his first final appearance after a 166 games in the NRL, while Aaron Woods would likely start in the middle.

Edited by Graham

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Storm coach Craig Bellamy remains unsure on the final make-up of his side with the coach tossing up whether to play Ryan Hoffman or Brandon Smith.

Hoffman, who has battled a hamstring injury late in the season, was been named on the bench for the game, but wasn’t played in the team’s qualifying final against Souths.

“When we played Souths it was hard to leave Hoff out from what he’s done for our game and our club,” Bellamy said.

“With him coming to the end of his career I know how much it means to him, but I’ve got a job to do and I’ve got to make sure I do my job the best I can.

“It wasn’t easy leaving Hoff out against Souths but it’s part of what we’ve got to do.”

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11 minutes ago, Irish Saint said:

Today is the day Aaron Woods proves me wrong!

I've always been mystified by the criticism of Woods. It runs contrary to all his stats.

I tipped the Purples but I want the Fish to win. I want Luke Lewis to finish his career winning another GF.

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Sharks certainly seem to be getting more out of Woods. From memory he seems to be getting less game time than he did at Tigers, but is being more effective? 

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I thought kick off was supposed to be 10:40 here? It's 10:50 now and still not kicked off. I must be wrong

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Storm fans saying farewell to Billy Whizz at AAMI Park

Traditional big banner being readied. Storm keeping the Sharks waiting.

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See, Kevin Walters in commentary just called Woods "the pick of the Sharks' forwards in the last month."

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Sharks without Gallen and W Graham, but even so are said to have the best forwards in the game atm

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Not so much a shoulder charge as a body check. Try saver whatever.

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