Melbourne Storm has suffered a big blow ahead of its Anzac Day blockbuster with superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen to miss with a shoulder injury.
Storm will be without its gun fullback for the Warriors showdown at AAMI Park, and he could also miss the following game against Cronulla on Friday week with the club ruling him out for up to two weeks.
Nicho Hynes has been named in the No.1 for Anzac Day to replace the Clive Churchill Medallist at the back.
The goalkicking duties are set to fall to playmaker Cameron Munster, who said he needed to work on his craft after spraying a penalty kick against the Roosters last Friday night.
Papenhuyzen – the NRL’s leading point scorer this season – admitted earlier on Monday he was facing an uphill battle to be fit to face the Warriors in what is Melbourne’s biggest home game of the season.
The man who’s currently outright second in the race for the Dally M said he needed painkillers to get through the Roosters’ game.
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“It (the shoulder) is a bit hot and cold at the moment,” Papenhuyzen said on SEN.
“I’ll be touch and go for the weekend I reckon.
“It’s a little AC joint injury, I had a few jabs to get me through the game on the weekend.
“So I’ll see how I’ll go.”
Co-captain Dale Finucane has recovered from a calf injury and will play his first game of the season on Anzac Day after being named on the bench.
Kiwi international Brandon Smith has again been named in the No.9 with fellow hooker Harry Grant selected on the bench.
Coach Craig Bellamy is likely to keep the Warriors guessing until game time about which of the two will start at hooker.
Their one-two combination at dummy-half worked a treat in the second half of last Friday night’s 20-4 win over the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park.
Luckless centre Brenko Lee’s frustrating season to date has continued, with the 2020 premiership player suffering a calf injury in his long-awaited return via the Queensland Cup last weekend.
In his first game for the year after recovering from a hamstring injury, the Queensland Origin winner hurt his calf and will now miss up to a month.
TOUGH LOVE FOR RICKY’S RAIDERS
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has sent a brutal message to his under-achieving side – either perform or perish.
Following successive losses, Stuart has sliced and diced his starting side for Saturday night’s important match against North Queensland in Townsville.
Stuart has made ten team and positional changes through form, injury and promotion. Adding to Stuart’s discontent are injuries to hooker Josh Hodgson (calf) and winger Bailey Simonsson (concussion).
The changes are:
Joe Tapine. Gone.
Sia Soliola. Gone.
Josh Papalii. Benched.
Ryan Sutton. Moved.
Ryan James. Promoted.
Corey Harawira-Naera. Promoted.
Corey Horsburgh. Promoted.
Tom Starling. Promoted.
Emre Guler. Promoted.
Sebastian Kris. Promoted.
Those benched, injured or dumped have prompted Stuart to inject four new players – James, Kris, Harawira-Naera and Horsburgh.
Sutton will shift to lock for Tapine with James, Starling and Guler the new front row. With Canberra having a bye in the NSW Cup, Tapine and Soliola won’t play this weekend.
Stuart’s blunt reaction has sent shockwaves through Canberra’s playing roster.
Canberra lost 35-10 to Parramatta last weekend and 30-10 to Penrith the previous week. That’s 65-20 in two games.
There was an external suggestion some Canberra players simply “weren’t putting in.”
The Raiders sit in ninth spot on the NRL competition table with the TAB easing the club’s premiership betting odds to $12 behind the Sydney Roosters ($10), Parramatta ($9), Melbourne ($5) Souths ($4.50) and Penrith ($3.50).
Canberra fans have hammered their side via social media throughout the week, many demanding changes.
What stung Canberra management most last weekend was the lacklustre performance in front of 20,000 home fans at GIO Stadium. Hodgson will be out injured for two to three weeks.
ROUND 7 TEAMS
PANTHERS V KNIGHTS
Thurs 22 Apr, BlueBet Stadium, Penrith, 7:50pm
1 Stephen Crichton, 2 Charlie Staines, 3 Paul Momirovski, 4 Matt Burton, 5 Brian To’o, 6 Jarome Luai, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Moses Leota, 9 Mitch Kenny, 10 James Fisher-Harris, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Kurt Capewell, 13 Isaah Yeo
Bench: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu, 16. Matt Eisenhuth, 17 Liam Martin
Reserves: 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Robert Jennings 20. Apisai Koroisau 21. Dylan Edwards
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Api Koroisau and Dylan Edwards were both slated to return next week but in a sign that the schedule could be expedited both have been named in the reserves for Thursday night. No other changes for the Panthers.
1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Starford Toa, 3 Enari Tuala, 4 Bradman Best, 5 Brayden Musgrave, 6 Kurt Mann 7 Blake Green, 8 David Klemmer, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Mitch Barnett, 13 Connor Watson
Bench: 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Josh King 17. Brodie Jones
Reserves: 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Gehamat Shibasaki, 21. Phoenix Crossland
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Brodie Jones was superb filling in at centre for the Knights and there was speculation he might hold his spot for the clash against the table-topping Panthers but it is not to be. Hymel Hunt (hamstring) is out replaced on the wing by Starford To’a. Kalyn Ponga is a popular SuperCoach buy but the Knights have a tough trio of matches ahead so beware.
TITANS V RABBITOHS
Fri 23 Apr, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast, 6pm
1 AJ Brimson, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Brian Kelly, 4 Patrick Herbert, 5 Corey Thompson, 6 Ash Taylor, 7 Jamal Fogarty, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Mitch Rein, 10 Moeaki Fotuaika, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 David Fifita, 13 Tyrone Peachey
Bench: 14. Erin Clark 15. Jaimin Jolliffe, 16. Sam Lisone 17. Sam McIntyre
Reserves: 18. Beau Fermor, 19. Herman Ese’ese, 20. Jonus Pearson, 21. Phillip Sami
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (suspended) will miss the next two matches, Mo Fotuaika is a ready made replacement at prop and has been promoted from the interchange bench. Sam McIntyre comes on to the bench in place of Fotuaika. Anthony Don is back and he replaces Jonus Pearson on the wing.
1 Alex Johnston, 2 Dane Gagai, 3 Steven Marsters, 4 Campbell Graham, 5 Jaxson Paulo, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Tevita Tatola, 11 Keon Koloamatangi, 12 Jaydn Su’a, 13 Cameron Murray
Bench: 14. Benji Marshall 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Liam Knight 17. Jai Arrow
Reserves: 18. Jacob Host 19. Patrick Mago 20. Dean Hawkins 21. Hame Sele
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: The Rabbitohs have suspension issues of their own with fullback Latrell Mitchell out which sees Alex Johnston start at fullback. There’s more changes to the backline with Josh Mansour (hamstring) out for up to a month which pushes Dane Gagai to the wing and Steven Marsters (centre) get his first game of 2021. Changes in the forwards too with Jacob Host dropped and Kaeon Koloamatangi promoted to the starting second row.
EELS V BRONCOS
Fri 23 Apr, TIO Stadium, Darwin, 7:55pm
1 Clint Gutherson, 2 Maika Sivo, 3 Tom Opacic, 4 Marata Niukore, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Will Smith, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9 Reed Mahoney, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Shaun Lane, 12 Isaiah Papali’i, 13 Nathan Brown
Bench: 14. Oregon Kaufusi, 15. William Penisini, 16. Wiremu Greig, 17. Bryce Cartwright
Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster, 19.Jordan Rankin, 20. Keegan Hipgrave, 21. Ryan Matterson
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Still no Ryan Matterson – though he has been named in the reserves as he bids to return from his lingering concussion injury. Five-eighth Dylan Brown is back from suspension and Will Smith drops right out of the squad. Boom rookie Will Penisini has been named to make his debut off the interchange replacing Keegan Hipgrave.
1 Jamayne Isaako, 2 Xavier Coates, 3 Richard Kennar, 4 Jesse Arthars, 5 David Mead, 6 Brodie Croft, 7 Tom Dearden, 8 Matt Lodge, 9 Jake Turpin, 10 Payne Haas11 Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Jnr 13 Patrick Carrigan
Bench: 14. John Asiata 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Jordan Riki
Reserves: 18. Rhys Kennedy 19. Cory Paix 20. Keenan Palasia 21. Corey Oates
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: There’s a new face for the Broncos with coach Kevin Walters wasting no time in giving his new signing Danny Levi a run in the team naming Levi on the interchange. Herbie Farnworth (shoulder) returns after missing the last two games and he slots in at centre in place of Richie Kennar.
SHARKS V BULLDOGS
Sat 24 Apr, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney, 5:30pm
1 Will Kennedy, 2 Mawene Hiroti, 3 Josh Dugan, 4 Jesse Ramien, 5 Connor Tracey, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9 Blayke Brailey, 10 Aaron Woods, 11 Briton Nikora, 12 Teig Wilton, 13 Toby Rudolf
Bench: 14. Billy Magoulias, 15. Shaun Johnson, 16. Jack Williams, 17. Siosifa Talakai
Reserves: 18. Brayden Trindall, 19. Will Chambers, 20. Franklin Pele, 21. Jenson Taumoepeau
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Shaun Johnson (Achilles) is back – sort of! The superstar half has been named on the interchange bench where he’ll be joined by Jack Williams who has been demoted after starting last week. Josh Dugan returns which sees Teig Wilton move from centre to second-row as cover for Wade Graham (concussion), Graham is expected back next week. Aiden Tolman (suspended) is out.
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Corey Allan, 5. Tuipulotu Katoa, 6. Jake Averillo, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Dylan Napa, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Adam Elliott, 12. Chris Smith, 13. Corey Waddell
Bench: 14. Bradley Deitz, 15. Renouf Atoni, 16. Ava Seumanufagai, 17. Matt Doorey
Reserves: 19. Lachlan Lewis, 20. Joe Stimson, 21. Nick Meaney, 23. Ofahiki Ogden
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Jack Hetherington (suspended for 5 weeks) is out which sees Luke Thompson shift from lock to prop. Corey Waddell takes Thompson’s 13 jersey and Chris Smith moves to the second row. Renouf Atoni slides from the starting 13 to the bench where he’ll be joined by fresh faces Brad Deitz, Ava Seumanufagai and Matt Doorey. Ofahiki Ogden and Jackson Topine have been dropped.
COWBOYS V RAIDERS
Sat 24 Apr, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, 7:35pm
1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Connelly Lemuelu, 5. Murray Taulagi, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Ben Hampton, 8. Coen Hess, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Shane Wright, 12. Ben Condon, 13. Lachlan Burr
Bench: 14. Jake Granville, 15. Mitchell Dunn, 16. Francis Molo, 17. Corey Jensen
Reserves: 18. Esan Marsters, 19. Peter Hola, 20. Jake Clifford, 21. Tom Gilbert
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Same 17. Ben Hampton (ribs) and Connelly Lemuelu (shoulder) both suffered minor injuries during the Bulldogs game but have been named. Jason Tauamlolo (hand) will be sidelined for at least another week.
1. Caleb Aekins, 2. Sebastian Kris, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Ryan James, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Emre Guler, 11. Hudson Young, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton
Bench: 14. Saliva Havili, 15. Corey Harawira-Naera, 17, Corey Horsburgh, 17. Josh Papalii
Reserves: 18. Matthew Timoko, 19. Isoia Soliola, 20. Matt Frawley, 21. Joseph Tapinei
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Big changes. Coach Ricky Stuart has swung the axe in the pack, benching Origin forward Josh Papali’i and dumping Joseph Tapine and Sia Soliola out of the 17. Ryan James (rested) returns at prop, forming a new-look front row with Emre Guler. Ryan Sutton moves from prop to lock, while Corey Harawira-Naera and Corey Horsburgh come onto the bench for their first games of the season. Skipper Josh Hodgson (calf) is out injured and replaced by young gun Tom Starling at hooker. Bailey Simonsson (concussion) is out, replaced by Sebastian Kris on the wing.
TIGERS V SEA EAGLES
Sun 25 Apr, Bankwest Stadium, Sydney, 1:45pm
1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. James Roberts, 4. Michael Chee Kam, 5. Tommy Talau, 6. Adam Doueihi, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. James Tamou, 9. Jake Simpkin, 10. Stefano Utoikamanu, 11. Joe Ofahengaue, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Alex Twal
Bench: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Luke Garner, 16. Alex Seyfarth, 17. Zane Musgrove
Reserves: 18. Jacob Liddle, 19. Thomas Mikaele, 20. Tom Amone, 21. Joseph Leilua
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Asu Kepaoa (ACL) is out for the season, replaced at centre by Michael Chee Kam. Joey Leilua (head knock) has been added to the extended bench as he eyes a comeback. Alex Seyfarth moves from the reserves to the interchange in a swap with Thomas Mikaele. Jake Simpkin had a good game on debut and has been named at hooker despite Jacob Liddle having an outstanding game in NSW Cup.
1. Tom Trbojevic, 2. Jason Saab, 3. Brad Parker, 4. Morgan Harper, 5. Reuben Garrick, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Taniela Paseka, 9. Lachlan Croker, 10. Martin Taupau, 11. Haumole Olakau’tau, 12. Josh Schuster, 13. Jake Trbojevic
Bench: 14. Cade Cust, 15. Josh Aloiai, 16. Sean Keppie, 17. Toafofoa Sipley
Reserves: 18. Zac Saddler, 19. Tevita Funa, 20. Christian Tuipulotu 21. Ben Trbojevic
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Same 17 after a strong win over the Titans. Josh Aloiai suffered a heavy knock last week but was able to play on. Curtis Sironen (knee) remains sidelined and is aiming for next week.
ROOSTERS V DRAGONS
Sun 25 Apr, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, 4:05pm
1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Joey Manu, 5 Brett Morris, 6 Drew Hutchison, 7 Sam Walker, 8 Isaac Liu, 9 Sam Verrills, 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Angus Crichton, 12 Sitili Tupouniua, 13 Victor Radley
Bench: 14. Benjamin Marschke, 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins
Reserves: 18. Fletcher Baker 19. Matt Ikuvalu 20. Egan Butcher 21. Tuku Hau Tapuha
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Two huge inclusions with Brett Morris (calf) and Sam Verrills (knee) returning. Morris replaces Matt Ikuvalu on the wing. Verrills pushes Ben Marschke to the bench and Adam Keighran out of the squad. Victor Radley has been named but fronts the judiciary on Tuesday night where he faces a three-game ban. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (shoulder) and Siosiua Taukeiaho (ribs) have been named but will be checked.
1 Matt Dufty, 2 Cody Ramsey, 3 Jack Bird, 4 Zac Lomax, 5 Mikaele Ravalawa, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Adam Clune, 8 Blake Lawrie, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Josh Kerr, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Tyrell Fuimaono
Bench: 14. Kaide Ellis, 15. Josh McGuire, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Brayden Williame
Reserves: 18. Billy Burns, 19. Poasa Faamausili, 20. Jordan Pereira, 21. Ben Hunt SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Blake Lawrie (cork) returns after missing last week with Trent Merrin dropping out of the 17. The Dragons could welcome back Ben Hunt (broken leg) with the skipper named on an extended bench. He returned to running last week and will need to pass a fitness test. Five-eighth Corey Norman (shoulder) has been named despite an injury in Sunday’s game.
STORM V WARRIORS
Sun 25 Apr, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 6:15pm
1 Nicho Hynes, 2 George Jennings, 3 Reimis Smith, 4 Justin Olam, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Jahrome Hughes, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Brandon Smith, 10 Christian Welch, 11 Felise Kaufusi,12 Ken Bromwich, 13 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Bench: 14. Harry Grant 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Dale Finucane
Reserves: 18 Dean Ieremia 19. Ryley Jacks 20. Trent Loiero 21. Aaron Pene
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Huge news with Ryan Papenhuyzen (shoulder) to miss 1-2 weeks with an AC joint injury. Nicho Hynes is promoted from the bench to fullback with Dale Finucane (calf) coming onto the interchange after a significant lay-off. Both Harry Grant and Kenny Bromwich left the field due to concussion and will be monitored.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Marcelo Montoya, 4. Jack Murchie, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Sean O’Sullivan, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Kane Evans, 11.Josh Curran, 12. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 13. Tohu Harris
Bench: 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Bunty Afoa, 16. Leeson Ah Mau, 17. Bayley Sironen
Reserves: 18. Rocco Berry, 20. Tom Ale, 21. Reece Walsh, 22. Taniela Otukolo
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Peta Hiku (shoulder), Adam Pompey (knee) and Paul Turner (shoulder) are all out injured. David Fusitu’a (hamstring) returns on the wing with Marcelo Montoya moving to the centres. Jack Murchie takes the other centre spot. Bayley Sironen (shoulder) returns on the bench for Turner. Boom Warriors signing Reece Walsh is on the verge of being handed a fast-tracked debut as New Zealand’s injury toll adds up, although he’s missed the 17 for now and instead included on an extended bench.