Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
3 hours ago
The NRL is set to play Russian roulette with at least one club's premiership hopes with today's announcement of the schedule for the final round of the regular season.
The closeness of this year's race for the finals has left the NRL with a massive headache as it attempts to find a suitable game to be played on the Monday night of the final round.
Given the difficulties teams have had backing up after Monday night games this season, the scheduling threatens to have an enormous impact of the finals.
On the injury front, Canberra captain Alan Tongue will have nose surgery for the second time in six weeks today, but says he could still play the Bulldogs on Sunday.
Tongue will have surgery to drain fluid from the septum after a head clash with North Queensland forward Carl Webb last Saturday resulted in profuse bleeding. He is not the only Raider headed to hospital with fullback William Zillman out for the rest of 2007 and requiring surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
Bulldogs prop Mark O'Meley should make his come back from a thigh strain against the Raiders but centre Willie Tonga is out for four weeks with a rib injury.
Meanwhile, Brad Morrin will throw himself at the mercy of the NRL Judiciary on Wednesday night over a biting charge, but the Bulldogs forward will not be going down without a fight.
Morrin has admitted to biting Parramatta centre Timana Tahu during the Bulldogs loss to the Eels last Friday but maintains he was provoked into a reaction by a dangerous head slam. Tahu has not been charged for a head slam by the NRL match review committee, but the tackle is likely to form part of the defence by Morrin as to why he lashed out at the Eels centre.
Morrin's charge was sent directly to the judiciary without a grading by the match review committee, giving the panel of former league players full discretion to hand out whatever suspension they deem necessary.
Three other players were charged by the match review committee, but two - Dragons forward Ashton Sims and Warriors lock Micheal Luck - will escape suspension with an early guilty plea.
South Sydney winger Shannon Hegarty faces a one-match ban for a dangerous throw on Penrith winger Mark O'Halloran.