NRL ROUND 22 TEAMS — Brisbane’s Origin flyer Corey Oates has been officially cleared to return from the staph infection that had placed his 2017 season in doubt.
Oates got through Friday’s captain’s run and will take his place on the wing against the Gold Coast on Saturday, playing his first game in six weeks after fears he may have required surgery on his infected hips.
The blockbusting winger will replace former Titan David Mead in the Broncos 17 for the local derby.
Meanwhile St George Illawarra has been dealt a major blow with wrecking ball Russell Packer floored by a knee injury on the eve of their clash with South Sydney.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor revealed Packer injured his knee against Newcastle last week, suffering a low grade strain of ligaments.
Packer is expected to return next week.
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The Rabbitohs medical staff have cleared skipper Sam Burgess (ribs), Adam Reynolds (head knock) and Angus Crichton (foot) to play.
Elsewhere Melbourne are toying with the idea of throwing Jahrome Hughes into the halves on Friday.
Ryley Jacks was named in the No. 6 for Friday’s clash against North Queensland, with Cameron Munster sidelined with an ankle injury.
But coach Craig Bellamy says he is still toying with giving Hughes, 22, a start ahead of Jacks.
“We haven’t decided because we’ve only had the one quick training session and we played both of them there,” said Bellamy.
“Jahrome hasn’t played much there to be honest whereas Ryley has so we’ll have another look on Thursday at training and decide from there.”
Ben Ikin, Nathan Ryan and Ben Glover diagnose and discuss the Rabbitohs’ biggest problems and where the Warriors are still going wrong.
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DRAGONS V RABBITOHS
Friday 4 August, 6pm at Sydney Cricket Ground
Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Josh Dugan 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Josh McCrone 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin 14. Tariq Sims 15. Jacob Host 17. Kurt Mann 18. Hame Sele 19. Taane Milne 20. Jake Marketo
Players cut: Russell Packer, Luciano Leilua
Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Bryson Goodwin 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Tyrell Fuimaono 5. Robert Jennings 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Zane Musgrove 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess 14. Robbie Farah 15. George Burgess 16. Kyle Turner 17. Cameron Murray 18. Anthony Cherrington 20. David Tyrrell
Players cut: Jack Gosiewski, Campbell Graham
Late mail: Angus Crichton (foot), Adam Reynolds (head) and Sam Burgess (ribs) will play. Russell Packer’s scratching means either Jake Marketo or Hame Sele will come onto the Dragons bench.
COWBOYS V STORM
Friday 4 August, 7.50pm at 1300SMILES Stadium
Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Michael Morgan 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Ben Hampton 15. Coen Hess 16. Shaun Fensom 17. Corey Jensen 18. Braeden Uele 20. Sam Hoare
Players cut: Javid Bowen, Kalyn Ponga
Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. William Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Tim Glasby 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Joe Stimson 13. Dale Finucane 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Kenneath Bromwich 16. Jordan McLean 17. Slade Griffin 18. Nate Myles 19. Jahrome Hughes
Players cut: Brodie Croft, Robbie Rochow
Late mail: Billy Slater is a confirmed starter. Jahrome Hughes remains in the extended squad and could still replace Ryley Jacks in the halves.
Wacko’s whisper: The Cowboys are expected to be 1-17 with Shaun Fensom to return from rib injury. Ryley Jacks is tipped to get the nod ahead of Jahrome Hughes, while Nelson Asofa-Solomona may yet start in place of Tim Glasby as he has done in recent weeks.
KNIGHTS V WARRIORS
Saturday 5 August, 3pm at McDonald Jones Stadium
Knights: 1. Nathan Ross 2. Ken Sio 3. Dane Gagai 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Shaun Kenny-dowall 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Jamie Buhrer 10. Josh King 11. Sione Mata’utia 12. Joe Wardle 13. Mitchell Barnett 14. Danny Levi 15. Luke Yates 16. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 17. Jacob Saifiti 18. Jack Cogger 19. Sam Stone 20. Brendan Elliott 21. Chanel Mata’utia
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kieran Foran 7. Mason Lino 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Isaiah Papalii 12. Bunty Afoa 13. Simon Mannering 14. Mafoa’aeata Hingano 15. Sam Lisone 16. Ligi Sao 17. James Bell 18. Jazz Tevaga 20. Chris Satae 21. Nathaniel Roache 22. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Late mail: Little doing on either front.
Wacko’s whisper: No changes expected.
TITANS V BRONCOS
Saturday 5 August, 5.30pm at Cbus Super Stadium
Titans: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. John Olive 5. William Zillman 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Max King 14. Tyrone Roberts 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Leivaha Pulu 17. Agnatius Paasi 18. Nathaniel Peteru 19. Phillip Sami 20. Pat Politoni 21. Paterika Vaivai
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. David Mead 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Korbin Sims 9. Ben Hunt 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh Mcguire 14. Sam Thaiday 15. Tevita Pangai 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Benji Marshall 18. Corey Oates 19. Tom Opacic 20. Herman Essese 21. Jamayne Isaako
Late mail: Corey Oates replaces David Mead on the wing for the Broncos.
Wacko’s whisper: Kevin Proctor (hamstring) and Ash Taylor (hip) both have some concern around them, but are still expected to play.
SHARKS V RAIDERS
Saturday 5 August, 7.30pm at Southern Cross Group Stadium
Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. Fa’amanu Brown 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. James Segeyaro 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Kurt Capewell 18. Adam Clydsdale 19. Joseph Paulo 20. Sam Tagataese 21. Edrick Lee
Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Clay Priest 16. Dave Taylor 17. Joseph Tapine 18. Michael Oldfield 19. Jeff Lima 20. Royce Hunt 21. Erin Clark
Late mail: Fa’amanu Brown (concussion) has passed his concussion tests and will be available to play.
“He’s pulled up pretty good, he’s passed all the tests up until today, he’s tough and a good young kid,” teammate Chris Heighington said.
Wacko’s whisper: Adam Clydsdale is a chance of coming into the game day side in place of Kurt Capewell, while Jack Bird (sternum) is good to go.
SEA EAGLES V ROOSTERS
Sunday 6 August, 2pm at Lottoland
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matthew Wright 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 15. Brad Parker 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Lloyd Perrett 18. Jarrad Kennedy 19. Cameron Cullen 20. Jonathan Wright 21. Kelepi Tanginoa
Roosters: 1. Connor Watson 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Dylan Napa 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Zane Tetevano 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Mitchell Cornish 18. Kane Evans 19. Jake Friend 20. Chris Smith 21. Nat Butcher
Late mail: Roosters skipper Jake Friend is in line to make an early return from a broken hand. Friend was named on an extended bench for Sunday’s match against Manly but is firming to make a comeback ahead of schedule. When asked if the skipper was a chance to play this weekend, teammate Luke Keary replied; “I think so. “He needs to get the all clear from the surgeon and doctors probably tomorrow and hopefully he’s out there.”
Wacko’s whisper: Both teams are expected to be 1-17, with Jake Friend to be kept on ice for one more week.
PANTHERS V TIGERS
Sunday 6 August, 4pm at Pepper Stadium
Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dallin Watene Zelezniak 6. Tyrone May 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Peter Wallace 10. Regan Campbell-Gillard 11. Corey Harawira 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Moses Leota 14. Sione Katoa 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Tim Browne 17. James Fisher-Harris 18. Matt Moylan 19. Dean Whare 20. Viliame Kikau 21. Sitaleki Akauola
Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Tim Grant 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Matthew Eisenhuth 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Michael Chee-Kam 17. Jack Littlejohn 18. Josh Aloiai 19. Jj Felise 20. Joel Edwards 21. Ava Seumanufagai
Late mail: TBC.
Wacko’s whisper: Elijah Taylor will play despite picking up a rib injury last weekend, Matt Moylan’s hamstring is unlikely to be risked.
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