Luai’s crunch fitness test; Kevvie’s Broncos dilemma as Storm stars race clock: Prelim Finals Team Tips

The Panthers are sweating on a fitness test for Jarome Luai on Monday as he bids to return early from a shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, Kevin Walters is weighing up the potential return of two veterans in Marty Taupau and Corey Oates.

And the Storm are hopeful of stars Jahrome Hughes and Xavier Coates being back on deck.

Read on for all of the team news ahead of the preliminary finals.

Watch every game of The 2023 NRL Telstra Finals Series before the Grand Final Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo Sports. Join now and start streaming instantly >

Storm steal victory to send Roosters out | 02:47


Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm at Accor Stadium, 7.50pm AEST

Qualifying final Panthers team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Sunia Turuva 21. Luke Garner 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jack Cogger 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Scott Sorensen 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Lindsay Smith 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Zac Hosking

Team Tips: Jarome Luai is set for a crunch fitness Test on Monday to determine his chances of recovering from a shoulder injury in time to play the Storm. “He’s doing really well with everything we have set out for him so far, but we’ve purposely held him back from that really uncontrolled physical stuff,” Panthers physio Pete Green told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Until he gets through that, we won’t know. It’s looking pretty good he will play, but it’s unfair to say either way. “Romy is a senior player, so I’d say the final decision will come down to how he feels. It will be a conversation for him and Ivan.” If Luai is fit he would come in at five-eighth for Jack Cogger. However, Cogger could vie with Tyrone Peachey for the bench utility role. Centre Izack Tago is racing the clock to return from a pectoral injury suffered at training, with Luke Garner his shock replacement against the Warriors and expected to hold the role if Tago fails to recover in time. Luke Soomerton is due back from a shoulder injury, but is unlikely to foce his way into the squad.

Last week’s Storm team: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Reimis Smith 6. Cameron Munster 21. Tyran Wishart 8. Tui Kamikamica 19. Bronson Garlick 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 15. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Tariq Sims

Team Tips: Craig Bellamy said Jahrome Hughes (calf) and Xavier Coates (ankle) are a chance to return against the Panthers. Hughes is probably more likely at this stage and will be named and given every chance to prove his fitness. “I think they’re both a chance but Jahrome is a better chance than Xavier at the moment,” Bellamy said. “I think Xavier is still in a boot but having said that I’ve seen guys in boots for seven days and then they’re playing two days later. Storm skipper Christian Welch was confident Hughes would play. “I think he’s a good chance [next week], I think there was just a big risk of re-injury last night,” Welch said on Triple M. “I think we could have maybe strapped him up but I think he just didn’t want to put the team under pressure if it did go, so I guess we’re going to be facing a similar question [next week] and I guess that’s going to be up to Bellsa and Jahrome about what the risk appetite is there. The upside of having Jahrome play and then also the chance your seven gets injured and all of a sudden your bench rotation is getting disrupted a bit. Not sure what the coach will go with but a guy like Tyran Wishart really stepped up really well tonight. A good problem to have.” If Hughes is fit he will come in for Tyran Wishart despite his excellent display against the Roosters. Given Reimis Smith’s successful return on the wing, Coates won’t be risked unless he is 100 per cent. If Coates plays, Smith could be an option at centre with either Marion Seve or Justin Olam to make way. Bellamy will be reluctant to make too many changes but knows he needs his best side defensively and in attack to beat Penrith. Young Tonumaipea is also due back from a head cut, so there is a logjam of options in the outside backs for Bellamy if everyone is fit. Tui Kamikamica suffered a head knock in the final five minutes against the Roosters and will need to pass concussion protocols to play. Harry Grant is set to be named at No.9, but could start off the bench again with Bronson Garlick a chance to start at hooker as he did against the Roosters. Christain Welch was benched for the Roosters game with Nelson Asofa-Solomona starting at prop in a move Bellamy may also use against Penrith.

“He came super close to not playing!” | 13:06


Brisbane Broncos vs Warriors at Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm AEST

Qualifying final Broncos team: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tyson Smoothy 15. Brendan Piakura 16. Kobe Hetherington 17. Keenan Palasia

Team Tips: The Broncos nearly have a full squad to choose from with Xavier Willison the only player in the casualty ward with an ankle injury. Kevin Walters’ biggest dilemmas seem to be whether to again leave out veterans Marty Taupau and Corey Oates. Jesse Arthars was preferred on the wing in the qualifying final with Oates a shock omission. Walters went with bench forwards Brendan Piakura, Kobe Hetherington and Keenan Palasia with no room for Taupau, but given a grand final berth is at stake experience will count for plenty against the Warriors.

Last week’s Warriors team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Rocco Berry 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Mitchell Barnett 11. Jackson Ford 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Josh Curran

Team Tips: Andrew Webster revealed Shaun Johnson was close to not playing against the Knights, but he got through unscathed and is expected to line up against Brisbane. He was only given an early mark as a precaution when the game was out of the Knights’ reach. Bench forward Josh Curran copped a nasty finger dislocation against the Knights. Curran might need a needle and some strapping, but is expected to play in the preliminary final. Back-rower Marata Niukore has left the field clutching at a knee injury after an incident of “friendly fire” against the Knights but later returned to the field and is expected to play against the Broncos. Ali Leiataua is due back from a hamstring injury, but is unlikely to force his way into the 17.

Similar Posts