ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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The Dragons have named a side without Australian centre Mark Gasnier. Gasnier was ruled out on Monday morning with a hip flexor injury, after a cork to his hip in the side?s big victory over the Broncos last weekend. Former ball boy for the Dragons in 1996 Daryl Millard has been named as his replacement in what could be his last game at the club before moving to the Bulldogs next year. Despite not being named in the side for Friday night?s clash with the Sea Eagles, Manly coach Des Hasler today said that his side would train as if the champion centre was playing. Just a couple of months back, the Dragons had ruled out Gasnier with an injury in the lead up to their clash with the Raiders in Canberra, despite this, on that Sunday afternoon, Mark Gasnier was a late inclusion.
Gasnier?s opposite number,Manly Sea Eagles? Steve Bell, has named in the Manly side to take on the Dragons at Aussie Stadium. This is despite talk during the week that the Queensland centre had been playing the last month with an injured foot. Coach Des Hasler has made no changes to the side which was beaten by seven points at Energy Australia Stadium in Newcastle be the Knights last Friday. These two sides last met way back in round six at Brookvale Oval where the Dragons ran out victors by just two points in what many people describe as the match of the season.
Newcastle have named Luke Quigley in place of Australian hooker Danny Buderus who will confront the NRL judiciary tomorrow night on a dangerous tackle charge on Sea Eagles? Michael Robertson in the dying stages of their Qualifying Final in Newcastle last weekend. Buderus is looking to downgrade from a grade three so he can play at latter stage in the finals. In the absence of injured fullback David Seage, man of the match against the Sea Eagles Kurt Gidley moves back to fullback with last week?s hero Jarrod Mullen moving in to the five-eighth role beside Andrew Johns.
Brisbane welcomes back Australian fullback Karmichael Hunt on to the wing for the elimination semi final with the Knights on Saturday night. This results in Kiwi winger Tame Tupou moving back to a five man bench just in case Hunt pulls out once again through injury. The Broncos will be looking to end a horror run in the finals which shows that they last won a match during September in 2002 when they beat the Eels at ANZ Stadium to earn a week off. These two sides last met in round nine when the Knights ran out winners over the Broncos by just two points with the score line reading 32 to 30.