Date: May 16 2012
QUEENSLAND Origin coach Mal Meninga has assured Manly they will have star halfback Daly Cherry-Evans back in time for Sunday afternoon's match against Sydney Roosters.
Cherry-Evans, who was named the Maroons' 18th man for the series opener, flew in to Melbourne with the Queensland side yesterday. Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey isn't over the moon about losing his play-maker in the lead-up to this weekend's clash at Brookvale Oval, saying he was out of the loop on Cherry-Evans's whereabouts this weekend.
''That is one of the disappointing things. I just don't know what is going on there to be honest with you,'' Toovey said.
''They have picked an 18th and 19th man, which is great for Queensland but not so good for the clubs who are missing their players. I don't want to spoil anyone's parade, but obviously he is a vital part of our team and we need to prepare for the game, which is an important game for us against the Roosters.''
While Cherry-Evans will be a huge boost, Manly are expected to be buoyed by the return of five-eighth Kieran Foran, out since round five with of a hamstring injury.
Chris Lawrence will remain at five-eighth for the Tigers against the Warriors on Friday night after making the shift to the halves a fortnight ago. Tom Humble will start at hooker, while Balmain junior Pat Politon will make his NRL debut at hooker with Robbie Farah missing on Origin duty.
After losing Kevin Locke to a sternum injury, the Warriors have now lost his replacement, Jerome Ropati. Ropati's injury has opened the door for Glen Fisiiahi to make his return to the NRL, while Ukuma Ta'ai makes way for Sam Rapira.
The unenviable job of filling in for Johnathan Thurston has been handed to Michael Morgan, named at No.6 for the Cowboys' clash against Penrith on Saturday night. Kalifa Faifai-Loa returns after a brief stint in the lower grades, named on the wing to cover for centre Brent Tate, who has been recalled to Queensland's Origin side.
Penrith's Cameron Ciraldo, who missed Monday night's golden-point win against the Dragons with a hamstring injury, is named but unlikely to play. Ryan Simpkins will fill in at lock for skipper Luke Lewis.
Parramatta discard Daniel Mortimer will return to the Sydney Roosters from the Newtown Jets, replacing NSW No.7 Mitchell Pearce.
The Dragons will be without Michael Weyman and Nathan Fien after both broke down in the loss to the Panthers on Monday.
But five-eighth Jamie Soward is on track to play on Sunday against the Rabbitohs, despite missing last week with a corked thigh.
The Bulldogs have handed Luke MacDougall an NRL lifeline, naming him on the wing to cover for Origin bound centre Josh Morris for their game against Cronulla on Monday.
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