TIGERS TALENT GETS HIS CHANCE
MICHAEL Maguire will blood one of the game’s brightest prospects in a desperate bid to get Wests Tigers’ season back on track after another disappointing showing against North Queensland on Sunday.
Maguire, who threatened to axe underperforming players, has named rising Queensland rake Jake Simpkin to make his NRL debut at the expense of Jacob Liddle, who has been dropped to the reserves.
Boom forward Stefano Utoikamanu has also been promoted into the starting 13, with Zane Musgrove shifting to the bench.
Erratic centre Joey Leilua will miss Saturday’s clash against South Sydney with concussion. Asu Kepaoa will take Leilua’s place.
Benji Marshall has been named on the bench for the Rabbitohs as Cody Walker returns from a one-match ban to take his place at five-eighth. Liam Knight has been included on the extended bench. The forward is yet to play a game this season due to ongoing concussion issues.
At Parramatta, Ryan Matterson has also overcome concussion symptoms and has been named to take on Canberra on Saturday night.
The Eels will be without Dylan Brown, who has copped a one-match ban for a crusher tackle. Utility Will Smith will partner Mitchell Moses in the halves in Brown’s absence.
Caleb Aekins will make his Raiders debut at fullback after Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad suffered a neck injury against Penrith. Forward Ryan James has been rested and will be replaced by Emre Guler on the bench.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters has wielded the axe and cut struggling five-eighth Anthony Milford in favour of Brodie Croft for Thursday’s clash against Penrith. Tesi Niu has also been dropped for Jesse Arthars at centre. Pat Carrigan’s return at lock means Tevita Pangai Jr has been named in the backrow with Jordan Riki on the bench.
Jason Taumalolo is back from a hand injury for North Queensland’s clash against Canterbury, while the Bulldogs will be without stalwart Josh Jackson.
Manly have received a boost ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Gold Coast Titans with superstar fullback Tom Trbojevic named to play for the first time this year after recovering from a hamstring injury. Trbojevic’s fill-in, Dylan Walker, is sidelined after suffering a hamstring injury.
Newcastle coach Adam O’Brien has received a boost with the addition of Bradman Best (elbow), five-eighth Kurt Mann (concussion) and prop Jacob Saifiti (suspension) to his side to take on Cronulla, while Brayden Musgrove will make his debut on the wing.