NOT JOSHING | NSW Blues have confirmed the omission of Josh Dugan from the Game One squad after he s...
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Simpkins marched the former Parramatta custodian a minute from fulltime in the Warriors' 26-18 win over Wests Tigers for allegedly kneeing backrower Taniela Tuiaki. Replays indicated there was little malice in the incident with the error confirmed yesterday when the NRL match review committee decided McKinnon did not have a case to answer.
Referees boss Robert Finch said Simpkins would not be held to account for the mistake, pointing to the veteran whistleblower's experience as reason enough for him not to be cast aside.
The refereeing appointments for this weekend's games will be made today.
Fuming Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has launched a scathing attack on Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne for taking a "dive" during last night's NRL game at Suncorp Stadium.
Brisbane captain Petero Civoniceva says Hayne's action in the 46th minute when he lay motionless on the ground after colliding with a charging Sam Thaiday wasn't in the spirit of the game. Parramatta's 20-16 win was overshadowed by Bennett's outburst and his call for Hayne to be cited for bringing the game into disrepute.
Bennett says Hayne should be rubbed out for a few weeks for his actions.
Exciting 19-year-old halfback Eddie Paea is set to oust Jeremy Smith as Souths' first-choice No.7 for the club's push towards a first NRL finals appearance since 1989.
Paea, selected as Smith served a one-week suspension, grabbed his opportunity with both hands in Sunday's win over North Queensland which kept the Rabbitohs just two points outside the top eight.
And the youngster will be hoping it was enough for him to be retained when the Rabbitohs' side to face Gold Coast Titans on Saturday is named today. Souths coach Jason Taylor is also likely to stick with Nathan Merritt at fullback in place of retiring veteran David Peachey.
Wests Tigers superstar Benji Marshall is set to be named today to play his first game since early May. Marshall hasn't played since suffering a shoulder injury against Melbourne in round eight - his anticipated return boosted by the expected availability of skipper Brett Hodgson for Monday night's game against North Queensland.
Hodgson is returning from a fractured cheekbone suffered against Parramatta in round 12. Marshall is expected to be named at halfback with Robbie Farah moving back to hooker.
Elsewhere, Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart will have a few more troops back on deck with Paul Gallen, Anthony Watts and Misi Talaupapa returning from suspension for Sunday's trip to Brisbane.
Gold Coast are likely to dispute a contrary conduct charge levelled against prop Ian Donnelly for an alleged grapple tackle. The injury-ravaged Titans are privately fuming that Donnelly has been charged with a grade one offence, despite a string of penalties for grapple tackles over the weekend.
They could be missing Donnelly and Nathan Friend for the crunch game against South Sydney at Telstra Stadium on Saturday night after the nuggetty hooker was charged with a grade three careless high tackle.
They're likely to seek a downgrade of Friend's charge.