AAP Rugby

McGregor resists resting Dragons in NRL

By AAP Newswire

St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has resisted the temptation to rest his representative players for Thursday's NRL clash with Parramatta, with Tyson Frizell the only player put on ice this week.

Almost half of the regular 17 for the ladder leaders were away on representative duty last week, including James Graham, Gareth Widdop and Leeson Ah Mau, who played in the Denver Test.

Frizell wasn't the only State of Origin player allowed the extra recovery time, with Blues skipper Boyd Cordner also a notable omission from the Sydney Roosters' clash with Melbourne on Friday.

Cordner failed to finish Origin II due to concussion, with Nat Butcher starting in the second row, while New Zealand prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is on an extended bench.

The Storm are also uncertain on whether Billy Slater will play after he made a successful return from a hamstring injury in Origin, however Sam Kasiano is out after suffering a knee injury playing for Samoa in the Pacific Test.

Parramatta second-rower Manu Ma'u also fractured his cheekbone in the same game, and has been replaced by rookie Marata Kiukore in an Eels side that get Mitchell Moses back from injury.

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney has kept his promise on shelving Kiwi trio Peta Hiku, Issac Luke and Ken Maumalo, who've all been left in the extended squad to take on Cronulla.

The Sharks have named mid-season signing Aaron Woods on the bench, however have been forced to use Kurt Capewell and Scott Sorensen in the second row for the injured Luke Lewis and Wade Graham.

At Penrith, James Tamou starts for the injured Reagan Campbell-Gillard, while Moses Leota and Viliame Kikau make early comebacks from pectoral and knee injuries respectively.

The Panthers take on a Manly side boosted by Dylan Walker's injection at five-eighth, as well as the likely debut of hooker Manase Fainu following the immediate departure of Jackson Hastings.

Canterbury have been forced into mass changes after releasing Moses Mbye and Woods, as well as a season-ending injury to Kieran Foran.

Will Hopoate shifts to fullback and Lachlan Lewis, nephew of Wally, gets his first NRL game.

Wests Tigers have included transfer deadline pick-ups Robbie Farah and Mbye for their Sunday afternoon clash at Leichhardt Oval against Gold Coast.