One of Melbourne’s favourite players is floored with a bout of flu, as well as a shoulder injury, ahead of the club’s must-win clash with Parramatta.
But Storm coach Craig Bellamy will resist a spine switch despite a mountain of criticism this week.
Here’s the 21-man squads and early mail for finals week two.
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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
South Sydney Rabbitohs (3) vs Manly Sea Eagles (6) at ANZ Stadium, 7.50pm
Rabbitohs: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. Alex Johnston 3. James Roberts 4. Dane Gagai 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Liam Knight 11. John Sutton 12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray 14. George Burgess 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Tevita Tatola 17. Ethan Lowe 18. Jaydn Su’A 19. Dean Britt 20. Corey Allan 21. Kyle Turner
Sea Eagles: 1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Corey Waddell 12. Jack Gosiewski 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Manase Fainu 15. Haumole Olakauatu 16. Sean Keppie 17. Lloyd Perrett 18. Lachlan Croker 19. Tevita Funa 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Tony Williams
Referees: Gerrard Sutton, Adam Gee
Early mail: Dane Gagai (quad) passed a fitness test on Monday and trained fully in the rain on Wednesday and appears a certain starter. Daly Cherry-Evans reportedly had a stomach bug following Saturday’s win but returned to training on Tuesday. Marty Taupau and Sam Burgess return from suspension.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
Melbourne Storm (1) vs Parramatta Eels (5) at AAMI Park, 7.50pm
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Max King 17. Joe Stimson 18. Curtis Scott 19. Tino Faasuamaleaui 20. Tom Eisenhuth 21. Brodie Croft
Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Nathan Brown 14. Brad Takairangi 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Tepai Moeroa 17. Marata Niukore 18. Ray Stone 19. Jaeman Salmon 20. Peni Terepo 21. Josh Hoffman
Referees: Ben Cummins, Grant Atkins
Early mail: Brandon Smith hasn’t trained this week yet due to the flu, and he’s also nursing a slight shoulder issue from the Canberra loss. Coach Craig Bellamy has indicated he has no intention of bringing Brodie Croft into the side despite some criticism of his side’s attack last week. Commentators suggested bringing Croft back into the team, who was punted a fortnight ago and replaced by Jahrome Hughes in the halves, who Kevin Walters said this week is “not a natural halfback”.