Sharks teenager Fa’amanu Brown will play just his fourth NRL game this weekend when he replaces disgraced playmaker Todd Carney.
NRL rookie Fa’amanu Brown has been handed the huge task of taking over from disgraced Cronulla playmaker Todd Carney.
The Christchurch-born teenager has been named alongside Jeff Robson in the halves to take on the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Saturday after Carney’s multimillion-dollar contract was torn up over his lewd photo scandal.
The clash against the reigning premiers will be just Brown’s fourth NRL match. He made his debut less than a month ago when the Sharks were thrashed by St George Illawarra, in Carney’s absence.
Caretaker coach James Sheppard has also named Bryce Gibbs to replace NSW captain Paul Gallen in the back row.
With the Roosters losing Daniel Tupou and Aidan Guerra to Origin, Nene MacDonald comes in on the wing and Dylan Napa starts in the back row.
Meanwhile, Bulldogs veteran Michael Ennis has surprisingly been named to team up with Josh Jackson in the halves against Manly, while their Origin playmaking duo are away. Damien Cook fills in at hooker.
The Doggies’ big forward pack will receive a boost from the return of prop Aiden Tolman from a hamstring complaint, pushing Sam Kasiano to the bench.
“It feels fine. It’s not giving me any grief and I’m looking forward to getting back,” Tolman said.
Manly have made just one change for the Friday night clash: Jack Littlejohn is at No.7 for Maroons playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans.
With North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston on Queensland duty, Michael Morgan has shifted to halfback and Matthew Wright to fullback, allowing centre Tautau Moga to make his Cowboys debut against St George Illawarra.
Peter Mata’utia starts at centre for the Dragons for NSW Blues back Josh Dugan, while Dylan Farrell and Dan Hunt return from injuries on an extended bench.
Kevin Naiqama starts on Penrith’s wing for Sunday’s match at Leichhardt Oval, Dean Whare and Jamal Idris play centre, and Isaah Yeo is out.
There are changes aplenty at Wests Tigers, with Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah away on Origin duty, and James Tedesco and Tim Simona out injured.
Keith Lulia starts at centre, Martin Taupau moves alongside Joel Luani in the back row, and Dene Halatau hits the bench.
The Titans’ back-row stocks are low for Monday’s clash against South Sydney. Greg Bird, Dave Taylor and Nate Myles are on Origin duty, and Ashley Harrison retired last week.
Ben Ridge has been named in the second row but has to be cleared following a concussion.
The Rabbitohs’ Nathan Merritt will again cover at fullback for Maroons star Greg Inglis, while Lote Tuqiri and Joe Picker will play off the bench.