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Around the Grounds with Rosso
Newcastle will welcome back last year?s Australian schoolboys five-eighth Jarrod Mullen, after he was injured two weeks ago against Cronulla. The Knights will head in to the match with Manly stern favourites and won the last meeting between the two clubs, 26-12, at Brookvale Oval in round 17.
Manly will be at full strength for the clash as they welcome back New South Wales prop, Brent Kite, after he was concussed heavily two weeks ago at Parramatta Stadium in the side?s loss to the Eels. The match will be a case of teacher vs. student when Matt Orford confronts his childhood hero in Andrew Johns.
The Warriors have named the same side for the Cowboys, which continued the Sharks? woes last Saturday night at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland. When these two sides met in 2004, former captain Monty Betham gave away a head high tackle right in front of the posts in golden point, that handed the Cowboys victory.
The Cowboys have named hooker come halfback Aaron Payne as captain for the match as former captain Travis Norton succumbed to a shoulder injury after the Bulldogs match on Saturday. Payne is the third choice captain as vice-captain Johnathan Thurston is also sidelined with a knee injury.
Sharks coach Stuart Raper has wielded an axe to his out of form team for this weekend?s clash with the Eels. Former Knight Darren Albert has been dropped to Premier League while Kiwi International Nigel Vagana has been dropped to the bench as well as Luke Douglas and New South Wales representative Paul Gallen.
The Eels have named the same starting line-up that disposed of the Dragons last Friday night. However, outgoing coach Jason Taylor has replaced Brett Delaney with former fullback Wade McKinnon on the bench with Luke Burt staying in the fullback spot.
Penrith have selected Papua New Guinean Paul Aiton back in First Grade for the first time since the side defeated the Cowboys at CUA Stadium back in Round 19, for the club?s clash with the Roosters on Saturday. Although it is round 23, it will be the first meeting of the club?s this year.
Although suffering a heavy defeat to the Knights last weekend, Roosters? coach Ricky Stuart has named an unchanged line-up for the clash with the Panthers. Just two more wins for the tricolours will see them surpass 1000 wins as a club since 1908.
The Tigers have dropped youngster Keith Eshman back to reserve grade but have brought back up another superstar Ben Jeffery for his second NRL appearance. The last time the Tigers met the Raiders was in round 19 in Canberra when the Tigers were controversially defeated in golden point.
Canberra has named former Bronco Craig Frawley on a five-man bench for the match at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday. The two sides met at the same ground last year in round 11 where the Tigers ran out convincing winners. However, out of the five tries scored, three came from players who are currently unavailable, which includes the likes of Marshall, Whatuira and Hodgson.
The Bulldogs have kept the same side that demolished the Cowboys last Saturday for their clash with the Dragons on Sunday. Five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth will play his first game against childhood hero Trent Barrett since moving to Belmore.
St George Illawarra have recalled star Mark Gasnier for the match. Gasnier was rested last weekend against Parramatta and took a weekend off up in Townsville. These two clubs met just a month ago at OKI Jubilee where the Bulldogs came away with the match by just a try in what could be described as the match of the season to date.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has dropped look-a-like Scott Minto for their do or die clash with the Storm on Sunday. He has also named a six-man bench that includes Queensland Origin stars Casey McGuire, David Stagg and Sam Thaiday.
Melbourne has recalled representatives Matt King and Dallas Johnson after the two were rested last weekend. After another suspension to Billy Slater, super kid Greg Inglis drops back to fullback. Melbourne has been a sort of hoodoo team for the Broncos especially in September, as the two clubs have faced off in the second Qualifying Final in Brisbane for the past two years. Both times the Storm has been victorious.
South Sydney have the bye this weekend which will be six points in three weeks for the club which is on the back of two successive victories against the Raiders and Panthers.