The Rabbitohs look set to roll the dice with Latrell Mitchell named to play in the grand final rematch despite leaving training early on Monday with a groin injury.
There are plenty of people who think the Bunnies would have won last year’s premiership with Mitchell in the team, and the star fullback may be playing even better now with 12 try assists in seven games since he returned from injury.
South Sydney’s stocks have been further bolstered by the inclusion of Lachlan Ilias, who missed last week’s big win over the Eels with a lower-back concern.
His kicking game has been outstanding in recent weeks, but that will be tested on Thursday with Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards back in the side after missing a game due to general soreness.
The defending premiers have been hit hard by injuries and suspensions lately, and while they’re still missing Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, James Fisher-Harris and Taylan May, there is some good news, with Liam Martin cleared to play despite leaving BlueBet Stadium on crutches last week.
Parramatta’s hopes of sneaking into the top four have received a huge boost with star halfback Mitch Moses back in the side after he broke a finger in Round 20.
There were fears he could have missed the rest of the regular season, but he’s back early to save their attack after they were held scoreless by Souths.
Eels coach Brad Arthur bemoaned his team’s lack of physicality last week and that’ll be put to the test on Saturday with key forwards Luke Thompson and Tevita Pangai Junior named in the reserves and likely to play.
The Storm’s mid-season crisis in the backline looks to be over with Jahrome Hughes named to return from a shoulder injury after just one week out.
He’s been named alongside Cameron Munster in the halves, although there’s every chance the Maroons star switches with Nick Meaney after a few successful weeks at fullback.
There’s a double blow for the Sea Eagles, whose season continues to go from bad to worse following the Pride jersey fiasco.
They’ve lost four in a row, won’t play finals and have now lost Jason Saab (ACL) and Jake Trbojevic (fractured hand) for the rest of the season.
There’s mixed news for the Sharks with Matt Moylan and Connor Tracey both back in the starting side, while veterans Andrew Fifita and Aiden Tolman return via the bench.
But cult hero Toby Rudolf is out for up to a month with a medial ligament injury, while destructive centre Siosifa Talakai will miss his second game in a row as he continues to rest a shoulder injury he picked up in State of Origin.
The Roosters have decided to play it safe, with big men Lindsay Collins (concussion) and Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) given another week to recover.
And the Knights have named a new left edge after Bradman Best and Enari Tuala were stood down for a game for disciplinary reasons.
It means Edrick Lee returns on the left wing while Krystian Mapapalangi will make his NRL debut.
There’s a triple treat for the Raiders, with Nick Cotric returning from suspension, Joe Tapine has recovered from a rib injury and coach Ricky Stuart is back from his one-game ban.