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Taumalolo back as Origin impacts clubland

Jason Taumalolo’s injury return will be a timely boost for North Queensland while Josh Schuster gets his chance to steer Manly as NRL clubs negotiate State of Origin call-ups.

Cowboys Murray Taulagi and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow have been released to face the Gold Coast on Thursday but Tom Dearden will remain with the side as cover for Harry Grant and Val Holmes.

Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai are also in the team to face the Blues next Wednesday.

Taumalolo’s return from a knee injury is welcome news for coach Todd Payten, who will throw Ben Hampton into the No.6 and push Tabuai-Fidow to centres and add Brendan Elliot on the wing as the 8-4 side looks to negotiate the Origin disruptions brought about by their success.

The Titans will be without David Fifita (knee) and captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in another crucial game for the battling 3-9 outfit.

Sean O’Sullivan is back in the hot seat for Penrith to face Canterbury on Friday, where he began the season in place of an injured Nathan Cleary.

He’ll partner debutant Kurt Falls in the halves, the pair two of six Penrith teammates in the Blues fray.

Hooker Api Koroisau was named among the reserves but released to play in a big boost for coach Ivan Cleary.

Robert Jennings and Charlie Staines join the backline for Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o while Chris Smith and Matt Eisenhuth come in for Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo in the pack.

Kieran Foran will move across into the No.7, making way for Schuster in the Manly No.6 as the Sea Eagles negotiate the absence of Queensland captain Daly Cherry-Evans.

Jake Trbojevic will captain the side and Martin Taupau (quad), Jason Saab (toe) and Karl Lawton (suspension) will all return to face the under-pressure Warriors, who have lost their last four games.

With Jack Wighton (Blues) and Josh Papalii (Maroons) on duty, Matt Frawley will play five-eighth for Canberra on Sunday while Corey Horsburgh will start at prop against the Sydney Roosters.

Joey Manu is relishing the move to fullback to cover for Blues skipper James Tedesco, meaning Kevin Naiqama is the new centre and Billy Smith comes in on the wing for Daniel Tupou.

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