Andrew Fifita’s troubled NRL season has continued with the Sharks prop sidelined for around six weeks with a wrist injury.
Andrew Fifita’s wretched year has continued with the Cronulla prop ruled out for around six weeks with a wrist injury.
Fifita’s injury is another bump in the road for the troubled Sharks who sit second last on the NRL ladder with just two wins at the halfway mark of the season.
But they welcome back a host of injured stars for Saturday’s round 15 clash at home against Manly.
Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Anthony Tupou, Jonathan Wright and Sosaia Feki are all back, with captain Paul Gallen also named to play his first game since injuring his neck in State of Origin I, if he can back up from Wednesday’s return interstate fixture.
Canterbury-bound Michael Lichaa has been selected in the starting side at hooker in place of John Morris (neck).
This time last year Fifita, who has his wrist in a cast after a training accident, was one of the NRL’s form players. But he has struggled to reach those heights this year after an early season injury and has also admitted his contract wrangle with the Bulldogs affected his form.
Gallen welcomed the return of a number of key players for the Sharks who have been decimated by injury this year.
“We are doing our best at Cronulla,” Gallen said.
“We have a lot of players coming back from next game from injury, so hopefully we can get everyone back and start winning some games.”
Prop Jason King returns on the bench for the Sea Eagles, while Daly Cherry-Evans and Anthony Watmough will need to come through Origin unscathed to play.
For Canberra’s rare Friday night free-to-air match against Canterbury in the nation’s capital the Raiders have lost Josh Papalii (ankle) and Paul Vaughan (suspended), with Jake Foster starting in the back row.
Mitch Brown moves to fullback to replace Sam Perrett (knee) for the Dogs, Drury Low moves onto the wing and Reni Maitua holds his spot on the bench for David Klemmer (ankle).
For Brisbane’s trip to Auckland to meet the Warriors on Saturday Jake Granville starts at No.9 for Andrew McCullough (knee) with Ben Hannant replacing Corey Parker (cheekbone) in the front-row.
Ben Matulino (knee) is out for the Warriors, Charlie Grubb and Ben Henry return on the bench.
Melbourne have named Queensland duo Cameron Smith and Billy Slater to play Parramatta on Sunday, while the Eels have named NSW’s Jarryd Hayne, who sat out Parramatta’s clash with Penrith after Origin I, and Will Hopoate.
For the Gold Coast Brad Takairangi has been named at five-eighth but new signing, former Sydney Roosters playmaker Daniel Mortimer, could come into the Titans halves for their clash at home with St George Illawarra.
Tariq Sims returns from suspension for North Queensland’s visit to Newcastle on Monday to conclude round 15.
Knights centre BJ Leilua is back from a throat injury, subject to a weekend medical.