4 hours ago
Soward dumped by Dragons
Soward will be assigned a team in the local Illawarra competition later this week after paying the price for the Dragons' dismal 20-16 loss to North Queensland on Saturday night.
Mr Fix-it Ben Hornby has been thrust into the No.7 jumper for Saturday's must-win clash against the Bulldogs.
Halfback is Hornby's fourth position in just six weeks of NRL football.
He started the season at five-eighth before being moved back to his more accustomed fullback position for the next three weeks, the former Test representative pushed into hooker against the Cowboys.
After the game Brown said he was keen to continue with the experiment of Hornby at dummy half, but Soward's continued poor form and the loss of star centre Mark Gasnier (calf) forced his hand.
It's a remarkable fall from grace for Soward who not so long ago was viewed a long-term solution to the club's halfback woes.
Matt Utai is back for the Bulldogs in place of point-scoring machine Hazem El Masri (hamstring) while Gary Warburton has been called up to make his top grade debut off the bench in place of Michael Sullivan (hand).
It comes following Tim Smith's plea to be stood down from all football as he heads back to the Gold Coast to be closer to his family as he continues to deal with the effects of bipolar disorder.
Young playmaker Kris Keating will make his NRL debut off the bench after brother Matt was elevated to the starting line-up at hooker to replace the injured Mark Riddell (sternum).
"He's a versatile player whose skills mean he can play hooker or in the halves equally well," Hagan said of Keating.
"We rely on the back up that Mark Riddell's kicking game provides so we lose nothing in that department.
"He's a fairly mature character too so I've no doubt he'll handle the step up well."
The Sea Eagles have also been forced into making a change with backrower Anthony Watmough replaced by Adam Cuthbertson after the NSW Origin hopeful was ruled out for between 2-4 weeks with an ankle injury.
"It's a blow, he's been in great form, Anthony, but hopefully it is something we can get him over pretty quick," Manly coach Des Hasler said.
Sa was on Monday ruled out for 4-6 weeks but scan results came back better than expected and the utility is now rated a 50-50 chance of taking on the Knights.
Ashley Harrison will replace Mat Rogers at five-eighth for the Gold Coast's local derby against Brisbane.
Rogers will front the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night in a bid to have a three-game dangerous throw ban reduced to one match.