GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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Veteran centre Tony Martin has been recalled to play his first NRL match since June in the Warriors' sudden-death NRL semi-final against North Queensland at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Sunday.
Martin has not played in first grade since round 15, after which he was dropped to premier league by Warriors coach Ivan Cleary. But Cleary has recalled the former Melbourne Storm centre after winger Patrick Ah Van was ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury.
The Cowboys have named Carl Webb for the match despite confirmation he has a torn calf.
The Bulldogs will welcome back Kiwi superstar Sonny Bill Williams from suspension in Saturday's clash with Parramatta at Telstra Stadium. The Eels have named Joel Reddy to replace centre Ben Smith, who is ruled out with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, experienced hooker Corey Hughes says the current Bulldogs side is better than the 2004 premiership winning outfit.
Hughes believes this year's squad has the ability to turn around their three successive losses and launch a premiership bid by beating Parramatta in Saturday night's semi-final with Parramatta.
The dynamic hooker says the club is stronger than the team that won the 2004 title, despite losing Steve Price, Braith Anasta, Roy Asotasi and Johnathan Thurston since that premiership win. The winner of the Dogs and Eels game will face minor premier Melbourne in next week's preliminary final.
Elsewhere, Sharks utility Greg Bird will use his selection in the Prime Minister's XIII to play Papua New Guinea as a chance to claim the vacant Kangaroos' five-eighth jersey for the end-of-season Test against New Zealand.
Bird has an opportunity to show his credentials for the spot vacated by injured playmaker Darren Lockyer in the one-off October 14 clash in Wellington. He was selected at five-eighth for the September 23 clash in Port Moresby, ahead of Roosters pivot Braith Anasta, who was selected on the bench.
Fellow contender Mark Gasnier will start in the centres, while Gold Coast's Scott Prince, also in the running, will partner BIRD in the halves at halfback.