John Sutton will make a shock comeback from a broken jaw in place of Adam Reynolds for round six of the NRL, with Ben Barba benched by Cronulla and Des Hasler forced into a mass reshuffle of his Canterbury side.
Sutton will return from a broken jaw against North Queensland on Monday four weeks after suffering the injury in South Sydney’s round two win over Sydney Roosters.
His comeback couldn’t be more timely with Reynolds ruled out for up to five months with a knee injury he sustained in the controversial Good Friday win over the Bulldogs.
Sutton will play his more customary role of five eighth with Luke Keary at halfback for the Rabbitohs.
The Dogs have been decimated by suspension and injury as a result of that game, with Tim Lafai (knee) and Brett Morris (hamstring) injured – skipper James Graham, and fellow forwards David Klemmer and Sam Kasiano are all suspended ahead of Sunday’s clash with St George Illawarra.
Tim Browne, Lloyd Perrett, Antonio Kaufusi, Corey Thompson and Chase Stanley all come into Canterbury side, with Hasler yet to name a substitute captain.
Star centre Josh Morris says the situation is a big challenge for Canterbury.
“We have a bit of depth at this club that is going to be tested over the next few games,” Morris said
“And we are excited for those blokes to see how they are going to go
“It is going to be a challenge for us, but we are looking forward to it.”
Barba returns from a two-match suspension on the bench for Cronulla for Friday’s match with Newcastle, with Tinirau Arona demoted.
Sam Thaiday returns to Brisbane’s starting 13 for Jarrod Wallace for Friday’s match against Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves back from a calf injury for the visitors.
Reece Robinson returns from a leg injury for Parramatta’s Saturday afternoon fixture against Gold Coast.
Albert Vete is back for the Warriors in place of Dominique Peyroux for their meeting with Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium in Saturday night.
Dean Whare (hamsting) will miss Penrith’s Saturday night home clash with Manly. Jamal Idris comes into the centres with Sika Manu moving into the back-row.
Canberra winger Jordan Rapana will miss Sunday’s home match with Melbourne due to suspension with Jeremy Hawkins coming onto the wing.