Round 3 team lists: Knights missing galaxy of stars, Roosters trio cleared, Cowboys rejig backs, Storm’s major boost

Newcastle prop Jacob Saifiti has accepted a five-week suspension for his grade-three reckless high tackle for the high shot on Tigers hooker Jake Simpkin which led to the first send-off for the season 15 minutes from full-time. 

With a short turnaround leading into Friday’s home clash with the Dolphins, Kalyn Ponga and co-captain Jayden Brailey (concussion) will be unavailable. Ponga has now suffered four head knocks in the last 10 months.

Teams have been officially announced for Round 3 and the Knights are struggling under the weight of Saifiti’s suspension adding to an already heavy injury toll.

Kalyn Ponga leaves the field. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Tyson Frizell is out with an ankle problem while Adam Elliott (groin) and Kurt Mann (calf) will miss at least a month. Bench forward Jack Johns (ankle) is hopoeful of playing.

The Knights cobbled together a makeshift team after applying for an exemption to name NSW Cup playmaker Ryan Rivett to debut on their bench. Young centre Dylan Lucas has also been named for his first game on the interchange, with Tyson Gamble to play five-eighth and Phoenix Crossland lining up at hooker.

Knights half Jackson Hastings has escaped with a fine of $1800 for his high shot on Tommy Talau, which broke the young centre’s nose.

Simpkin was eventually able to walk from the field for a head injury assessment and did not return.

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He has been ruled out of this weekend’s clash with Canterbury while Tigers forward Isaiah Papali’i took an early guilty plea to a Grade 2 Dangerous Contact offence and has been suspended for Round 3.

Cowboys duo Scott Drinkwater (3 matches for a shoulder charge) and Peta Hiku (2 matches) for a crusher tackle have accepted early guilty pleas on Monday. 

Broncos winger Corey Oates had surgery to repair the broken jaw from the Drinkwater hit and won’t return until May. 

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona is expected to be out 6-8 weeks after suffering a knee injury in the loss to Canterbury but winger Xavier Coates, centre Justin Olam and forwards Tariq Sims and Tui Kamikamica are big ins for Melbourne.

Melbourne stars Cameron Munster, Ryan Papenhuyzen, George Jennings and Marion Seve,are still in a crowded club casualty ward.

Roosters hooker Brandon Smith (back) has been cleared for Friday’s grudge match with Souths while prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (back) and lock Victor Radley (concussion) are set to make comebacks. 

The Roosters have officially added Eels forward Nathan Brown after gaining a release from Parramatta on Tuesday. However, a hamstring concern means he won’t suit up against Souths.

Joseph Suaali’i was charged with dangerous contact for a late hit on Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad but has opted to pay a fine of $3000 instead of taking a two-game ban. 

Dolphins lock Tom Gilbert (dangerous contact) and Bulldogs forward Viliame Kikau (tripping) have taken the same option of forking out $3000 instead of being suspended. 

Due to a poor judiciary record, Dolphins hooker Jeremy Marshall-King could not cop a fine for a hip drop tackle and has submitted an early guilty plea to receive a two-game ban instead of risking a third match out at the judiciary.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook said hooker Sam Verrills did not suffer any serious damage when he picked up a shoulder injury against the Dragons on Sunday night but is out this weekend.

St George Illawarra debutant Toby Couchman (head knock) is good to go again but Jack de Belin (calf) won’t return in Brisbane this Saturday. 

Round 3 teams

Sea Eagles vs Eels, at 4 Pines Park – 8pm, Thursday, March 16

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Josh Aloiai 14. Kaeo Weekes 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Sean Keppie 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Cooper Johns 20. Morgan Harper 21. Karl Lawton 22. Ben Condon

Josh Schuster will play his first game of the year after a calf injury kept him out of the Round 1 win over the Bulldogs.

Coming off the bye, Manly have shifted Cooper Johns back to the bench to allow Schuster a crack at his preferred five-eighth role.

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Matt Doorey 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Jirah Momoisea 15. Jack Murchie 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Makahesi Makatoa 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Haze Dunster 20. Ofahiki Ogden 21. Ky Rodwell 22. Isaac Lumelume

Nathan Brown has been allowed to join the Roosters. He did not feature in the first two rounds due to a hamstring strain. Maika Sivo (dangerous contact) is free to play after copping a $3000 fine.

Kalyn Ponga of the Knights makes a break during the round one NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights at Sky Stadium on March 03, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand.

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Knights vs Dolphins, at McDonald Jones Stadium – 6pm, Friday, March 17 

Knights: 1. Lachlan Miller 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Brodie Jones 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Leo Thompson 14. Ryan Rivett 15. Mathew Croker 16. Jack Johns 17. Dylan Lucas 18. Enari Tuala 19. Greg Marzhew 20. Oryn Keeley 21. Ben Talty 22. Thomas Cant

Jacob Saifiti will be out due to his high tackle suspension of five games, Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Brailey are all missing due to concussions while Tyson Frizell is out with an ankle problem.

On top of that, Adam Elliott (groin) and Kurt Mann (calf) are out at least a month and Simi Sasagi (shoulder) and Krystian Mapapalangi (shoulder) also injured.

The Knights cobbled together a makeshift team after applying for an exemption to name NSW Cup playmaker Ryan Rivett to debut on their bench. Young centre Dylan Lucas has also been named for his first game on the interchange, with Tyson Gamble to play five-eighth and Phoenix Crossland lining up at hooker.

The uncapped Oryn Keeley, Ben Talty and Thomas Cant have also been named in the reserves from outside the Knights’ full-time squad, with Jack Johns fighting to overcome an ankle injury to take his place on the bench.

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Brenko Lee 5. Tesi Niu 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Kodi Nikorima 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Tom Gilbert 14. Connelly Lemuelu 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Kurt Donoghoe 18. Mason Teague 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. JJ Collins 21. Anthony Milford 22. Robert Jennings

Jeremy Marshall-King has taken a ban of 2 games for a hip-drop tackle. Kodi Nikorima replaces him in the No.9 jersey. Tom Gilbert has paid a $3000 fine for dangerous contact to avoid suspension.

Ray Stone returns from a knee problem to the bench.

Roosters vs Rabbitohs, at Allianz Stadium – 8pm, Friday, March 17

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph Suaalii 4. Joseph Manu 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Brandon Smith 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Egan Butcher 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Jake Turpin 15. Drew Hutchison 16. Terrell May 17. Fletcher Baker 18. Naufahu Whyte 19. Ben Thomas 20. Sandon Smith 21. Corey Allan 22. Siua Wong

Joseph Suaali’i will be free to play after accepting a fine for dangerous contact while Roosters hooker Brandon Smith (back) is in doubt but looks set to tackle Souths while prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (back) and lock Victor Radley are hopeful of making comebacks. 

New recruit Nathan Brown (hamstring) will not play.

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Michael Chee Kam 13. Cameron Murray 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Hame Sele 16. Davvy Moale 17. Shaq Mitchell 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 20. Ben Lovett 21. Taane Milne 22. Peter Mamouzelos

Bench forward Hame Sele (calf) is set to return after missing the first two weeks while prop Tevita Tatola (concussion) should be right after missing the Penrith loss. Jai Arrow is a few weeks away due to his hamstring problem.

Titans vs Storm, at Cbus Super Stadium – 3pm, Saturday, March 18 

Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Joe Stimson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Jo Vuna 17. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Klese Haas 20. Toby Sexton 21. Keano Kini 22. Treymain Spry

Hooker Sam Verrills failed to finish the loss to the Dragons on Sunday with a shoulder injury and will not suit up against the Storm with Chris Randall the new rake.

Brian Kelly is back in the centres after serving a ban with Phil Sami heading to the wing and Jojo Fifita dropped.

Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui, younger brother of skipper Tino, makes his NRL debut on the bench.

Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Tyran Wishart 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King 14. Jonah Pezet 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Tariq Sims 17. Jordan Grant 18. Grant Anderson 19. Aaron Pene 20. Young Tonumaipea 21. Bronson Garlick 22. Kane Bradley

Nelson Asofa-Solomona is out for two months with a knee injury but fellow forwards Tariq Sims (calf) and Tui Kamikamica (foot) are back, along with centre Justin Olam (arm) and winger Xavier Coates (shoulder).

Cameron Munster (finger) will miss at least one more match.

Cowboys vs Warriors, at QCB Stadium – 5.30pm, Saturday, March 18 

Cowboys: 1. Tom Chester 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Coen Hess 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. James Tamou 18. Heilum Luki 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Taniela Sadrugu 21. Riley Price 22. Mitchell Dunn

Fullback Scott Drinkwater and Peta Hiku have copped bans for incidents in the loss to Brisbane meaning Tom Chester is the new No.1 and Gehamat Shibasaki replaces Hiku at centre. jersey.

Warriors: 1. Taine Tuaupiki 2. Edward Kosi 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Mitchell Barnett 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Curran 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Tom Ale 18. Viliami Vailea 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Jazz Tevaga 23. Rocco Berry

Jazz Tevaga made a return in the NSW Cup last weekend after off-season shoulder, hernia and foot surgeries and is in the extended squad this weekend. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (concussion) is out so Taine Tuaupiki will make his NRL debut at fullback.

Jackson Ford has been ruled out for the Warriors with a concussion, while Josh Curran is trying to beat a hip injury to play.

Broncos vs Dragons, at BlueBet Stadium – 7.35pm, Saturday, March 18 

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Keenan Palasia 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Martin Taupau 18. Deine Mariner 19. Brendan Piakura 20. Xavier Willison 21. Jock Madden 22. Delouise Hoeter

Corey Oates being out for two months with a broken jaw opens the door for Jesse Arthars to have an extended run on the left wing. 

Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Moses Mbye 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Ben Murdoch-Masila 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Zane Musgrove 16. Toby Couchman 17. Josh Kerr 18. Michael Molo 19. Max Feagai 20. Jaiyden Hunt 21. Talatau Amone 22. Aaron Woods

Jack de Belin (calf) will have to wait another week to make his first appearance for the year while debutant forward Toby Couchman, who suffered a concussion in the win over the Gold Coast, has been named again on the interchange.

Bulldogs vs Tigers, at Belmore Sports Ground – 4.05pm, Sunday, March 19 

Bulldogs: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Jacob Preston 13. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 14. Jayden Okunbor 15. Corey Waddell 16. Franklin Pele 17. Fa’amanu Brown 19. Braidon Burns 20. Karl Oloapu 21. Josh Reynolds 22. Jackson Topine 23. Jayden Tanner

Tevita Pangai jnr is still a week or two away from a return from his calf strain. Viliame Kikau can play after paying a $3000 tripping fine. The Dogs are unchanged from the team which upset Melbourne.

Tigers: 1. Charlie Staines 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Starford To’a 5. Junior Tupou 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Asu Kepaoa 12. Shawn Blore 13. Fonua Pole 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Alex Twal 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Brandon Tumeth 18. Justin Matamua 19. Alex Seyfarth 20. John Bateman 21. Ruatapu Ngatikaura 22. Jahream Bula

John Bateman is a chance of making his NRL return after being listed in the reserves for their clash with Canterbury.

But the joint-venture will be without Daine Laurie (knee), Tommy Talau (nose), Jake Simpkin (concussion) and Isaiah Papali’i (suspension).

Papali’i will miss this match after taking the early guilty plea to a Grade 2 Dangerous Contact offence against Jack Johns.

Charlie Staines will play fullback and Brandon Wakeham will start at hooker, while Junior Tupou and Starford To’a come into the backline, and Shawn Blore (concussion) and Fonua Pole (knee) return in the back row.

Raiders vs Sharks, at GIO Stadium – 6.15pm, Sunday, March 19 

Raiders: 1. Seb Kris 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Albert Hopoate 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Pasami Saulo 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Harawira-Naera 14. Tom Starling 15. Trey Mooney 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Emre Guler 18. Zac Woolford 19. Matt Frawley 20. James Schiller 21. Semi Valemei 22. Peter Hola

Veteran prop Josh Papali’i is still out after missing the first fortnight with a calf injury.

Nicho Hynes (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Sharks: 1. Will Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Braydon Trindall 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Royce Hunt 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Jack Williams 18. Connor Tracey 19. Thomas Hazelton 20. Mawene Hiroti 21. Jayden Berrell 22. Daniel Atkinson

Nicho Hynes (calf) has been kept on ice another week while Jack Williams (head knock) should be right to play.

Bye – Panthers

Scott Sorensen (concussion), who was replaced by Matt Eisenhuth against Souths, should be right to face Parramatta next Thursday. 

Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai have minor foot concerns but will also be fine for the Grand Final rematch. 

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