Captain Jamie Lyon will make an earlier-than-anticipated return from injury for Manly in their round-15 NRL clash with Gold Coast.
Lyon’s return, alongside Martin Taupau from suspension, is a massive boost for the struggling Sea Eagles as they attempt to keep their flagging finals’ hopes alive.
Lyon was expected to be out for at least a fortnight due to an ankle injury, but has missed only injury-hit Manly’s last-start loss to Penrith.
The retiring two-time premiership winner takes NSW utility Dylan Walker’s spot at five-eighth.
Taupau returns from a three-game ban for a lifting tackle on Brisbane’s Matt Gillett.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has refused to swing the axe through his side after accusing his players of lacking effort in their humiliating 46-0 loss to Melbourne.
Only forward Eloni Vunakece has made way with Chris Smith taking his place on the interchange bench for the Roosters’ clash with the Warriors on Sunday in Auckland.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall returns from an extended absence due to a foot injury and Joseph Manu will make his NRL debut on the wing in place of NSW representative Blake Ferguson.
Mitchell Aubusson moves to the second row in place of Queensland’s Aidan Guerra.
Luke Keary and Cody Walker rekindle their halves combination for South Sydney’s Friday night match at ANZ Stadium against Parramatta, in the absence of NSW’s Adam Reynolds and Queensland’s Greg Inglis.
“It is a part of Origin time – it is good to see Adam there,” Keary said.
“We have tinkered around with the halves there and it definitely gives me a chance to put my best foot forward there.”
Bryson Goodwin is out with a broken arm, while Damien Cook and Jack Gosiewski move onto coach Michael Maguire’s interchange bench.
Vai Toutai replaces NSW centre Michael Jennings for the Eels.
Tohu Harris joins Blake Green in Melbourne’s halves for Saturday night’s Wollongong clash with St George Illawarra, in the absence of Maroons halfback Cooper Cronk.
Young Tonumaipea and Matt White join an extended Storm bench. Kenny Bromwich takes Queensland captain Cameron Smith’s hooking spot.