Young Sydney Roosters hooker Ben Marschke has been cleared of a grade one crusher tackle at the NRL judiciary and is free to play against Melbourne on Friday night.
This will come as a relief to Roosters coach Trent Robinson with the club going through a hooking crisis.
Marschke, who has been named to start against Melbourne, was facing a two-game ban had he been unsuccessful in challenging the charge on Tuesday night.
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After losing their starting hooker against the Sharks, Freddy Lusdick, to a broken arm last Saturday night, Marschke’s reprieve and the earlier than expected return of Adam Keighran has bolstered the Chooks’ hooking stocks for the Storm clash.
Robinson told media after the Sharks game he may have to take a player from the Roosters’ SG Ball (under-19s) team, such was the dearth of hookers available.
The Roosters have already lost champion hooker Jake Friend who retired last week due to repeated concussion issues and the next best hooker at the club, Sam Verrills, is still at least three weeks away from returning from a knee injury.
Lachlan Lam, who can also play dummy-half, is not due back from a knee injury until round nine.
Meanwhile, Michael Maguire will blood one of the game’s brightest prospects in a desperate bid to get Wests Tigers’ season back on track after a disappointing showing against North Queensland on Sunday.
Maguire, who threatened to axe underperforming players, has named rising rookie Jake Simpkin to make his NRL debut at hooker at the expense of Jacob Liddle.
The young Brisbane junior is counted as one of the top up and coming rakes in rugby league with his speed off the mark and playmaking abilities, and has impressed playing for Western Suburbs in the NSW Cup this season, where he is currently the leading tryscorer.
Liddle has been dropped to the reserves.
Boom forward Stefano Utoikamanu has also been promoted into the starting 13 with Zane Musgrove shifting to the bench.
Erratic centre Joey Leilua will miss Saturday’s clash against South Sydney with concussion. Asu Kepaoa will take Leilua’s place.
ROUND 6 TEAMS
BRONCOS V PANTHERS
Thurs 15 Apr, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 7:50pm
1 Jamayne Isaako, 2 Xavier Coates 3 Richard Kennar, 4 Jesse Arthars, 5 David Mead, 6 Brodie Croft, 7 Tom Dearden, 8 Matt Lodge, 9 Jake Turpin, 10 Payne Haas, 11 Alex Glenn, 12. Tevita Pangai Jnr, 13 Patrick Carrigan
Bench: 14. John Asiata 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Jordan Riki
Reserves: 18. Rhys Kennedy 19. Cory Paix 20. Keenan Palasia 21. Corey Oates
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Overhaul. Anthony Milford has been dropped with Tom Dearden and Brodie Croft the new halves. Talented youngster Tesi Niu has also been axed with Jess Arthars to play centre. Ben Te’o (bicep) is out for 12 weeks, replaced on the bench by Ethan Bullemor. Jordan Riki is a big KFC SuperCoach loser after being pushed to the bench to accommodate the return of Patrick Carrigan (suspension), which sees Tevita Pangai switch to an edge.
1 Stephen Crichton, 2 Charlie Staines, 3 Paul Momirovski, 4 Matt Burton, 5 Brian To’o, 6 Jarome Luai, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Moses Leota, 9 Mitch Kenny, 10 James Fisher-Harris, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Kurt Capewell, 13 Isaah Yeo
Bench: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu, 16. Matt Eisenhuth, 17 Liam Martin
Reserves: 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Robert Jennings 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Jaeman Salmon
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: No changes for the top-of-table Panthers. Api Koroisau (wrist) and Dylan Edwards (hand) are both on track to return in Round 8.
KNIGHTS V SHARKS
Fri 16 Apr, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, 6pm
1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Brayden Musgrave, 3 Enari Tuala, 4 Bradman Best, 5 Hymel Hunt, 6 Kurt Mann 7 Blake Green, 8 David Klemmer, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Mitch Barnett, 13 Connor Watson
Bench: 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Josh King 17. Brodie Jones
Reserves: 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Phoenix Crossland, 21. Gehamat Shibasaki
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Three big ins with Bradman Best (elbow), Jacob Saifiti (suspension) and Kurt Mann (concussion) all returning. Best’s comeback sees Gehamat Shibaskai make way, allowing Enari Tuala to move back to right centre. Mann returns at five-eighth, partnering Green in the halves, with Connor Watson moving to lock. Pasami Saulo makes way on the bench for Jacob Saifiti. Cessnock product Brayden Musgrove has been named to make his debut on the wing and could be a KFC SuperCoach cheapie down the track.
1 Will Kennedy, 2 Mawene Hiroti, 3 Connor Tracey, 4 Jesse Ramien, 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9 Blayke Brailey, 10 Aaron Woods, 11 Briton Nikora, 12 Teig Wilton, 13 Toby Rudolf
Bench: 14. Billy Magoulias, 15. Aiden Tolman, 16. Jack Williams, 17. Siosifa Talakai
Reserves: 18. Brayden Trindall, 19. Nene Macdonald, 20. Franklin Pele, 21. Jenson Taumoepeau
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Wade Graham and Josh Dugan are both out due to multiple concussions. Young gun Teig Wilton switches to Graham’s left edge with Briton Nikora (suspension) returning on the right. Connor Tracey replaces Dugan at centre with Siosifa Talakai (suspension) joining the bench.
STORM V ROOSTERS
Fri 16 Apr, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7:55pm
1 Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2 George Jennings, 3 Reimis Smith, 4 Justin Olam, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Jahrome Hughes, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Brandon Smith, 10 Christian Welch, 11 Felise Kaufusi,12 Ken Bromwich, 13 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Bench: 14. Harry Grant 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nicho Hynes
Reserves: 18 Aaron Pene 19. Dean Ieremia 20. Brenko Lee 21. Chris Lewis
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Same 17. Harry Grant remains on the bench despite an impressive return last week. Dale Finucane (calf) misses out altogether despite a mooted return. Cooper Johns and rookie Jack Howarth are both unavailable due to hamstring injuries.
1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Joey Manu, 5 Brett Morris, 6 Drew Hutchison, 7 Sam Walker, 8 Isaac Liu, 9 Benjamin Marschke, 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Angus Crichton, 12 Sitili Tupouniua, 13 Victor Radley
Bench: 14. Adam Keighran, 15. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 16. Nat Butcher 17. Lindsay Collins
Reserves: 18. Fletcher Baker 19. Matt Ikuvalu 20. Jesse Marschke 21. Daniel Suluka-Fifita
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: The hooker position remains up in the air. Ben Marschke retains the No.9 jersey but will only play if he beats a potential two-game suspension at the judiciary on Tuesday, with fellow hookers Jake Friend (retired), Sam Verrills (knee) and Freddy Lussick (arm) all missing. Utility Adam Keighran (wrist) returns ahead of schedule on the bench and could fill the hooker role if Marschke misses out. Lindsay Collins (concussion/ankle) returns on the interchange.
SEA EAGLES V TITANS
Sat 17 Apr, Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee, 3pm
1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jason Saab, 3 Brad Parker, 4 Morgan Harper, 5 Reuben Garrick, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Taniela Paseka , 9 Lachlan Croker, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Haumole Olakau’tau, 12 Josh Schuster, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Bench: 14. Cade Cust, 15.Toafofoa Sipley, 16. Sean Keppie, 17. Josh Aloiai
Reserves: 18. Tevita Funa 19. Zac Saddler 20. Christian Tuipulotu 21. Ben Trbojevic
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Tom Trbojevic (hamstring) is a huge inclusion after passing a fitness test on the weekend. He returns at fullback replacing Dylan Walker, who is out due to his own hamstring injury. Cade Cust missed the weekend game due to illness but returns on the bench with Tevita Funa making way. Haumole Olakau’atu (elbow) scores the starting back row spot of Jack Gosiewski, who is out for the season with a foot injury.
1 AJ Brimson, 2 Phillip Sami, 3 Brian Kelly, 4 Patrick Herbert, 5 Corey Thompson, 6 Ash Taylor, 7 Jamal Fogarty, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Mitch Rein, 10 Tino Fa’asuamaleui, 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 David Fifita, 13 Tyrone Peachey
Bench: 14. Moeaki Fotuaika 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Erin Clark
Reserves: 18. Beau Fermor, 19. Herman Ese’ese, 20. Sam McIntyre, 21. Jonus Pearson
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: No changes, although Phillip Sami (concussion) is in doubt and must pass protocol. Corey Thompson will play despite a knock to the sternum. Anthony Don (hip) is another week away.
RABBITOHS V TIGERS
Sat 17 Apr, Stadium Australia, Sydney, 5:30pm
1 Latrell Mitchell, 2 Alex Johnston, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Campbell Graham, 5 Josh Mansour, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Tevita Tatola, 11 Jacob Host, 12 Jaydn Su’a, 13 Cameron Murray
Bench: 14. Benji Marshall 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Patrick Mago 17. Jai Arrow
Reserves: 18. Hame Sele 19. Liam Knight 20. Troy Dargan 21. Jaxson Paulo
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Welcome back Cody Walker from suspension at five-eighth with Benji Marshall moving back to the bench and Dean Hawkins dropping out, although the rookie wasn’t available anyway after a nasty cut to his knee. Liam Knight (concussion) has been included on the extended bench and could come into contention.
1 Daine Laurie, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 James Roberts, 4. Asu Kepoa, 5 Tommy Talau, 6 Adam Doueihi, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 James Tamou, 9 Jake Simpkin, 10 Stefano Utoikamanu, 11 Joe Ofahengaue, 12 Luciano Leilua, 13 Alex Twal
Bench: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Luke Garner, 16. Thomas Mikaele 17. Zane Musgrove Reserves: 18. Jacob Liddle, 19. Alex Seyfarth, 20. Tom Amone, 21. Michael Chee Kam
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Mass changes. Jake Simpkin, the top tryscorer in NSW Cup, scores the starting hooker role with incumbent Jacob Liddle out of the 17. Simpkin starts at bottom dollar for KFC SuperCoach and looms as serious cheapie prospect down the track. Joey Leilua (concussion) is replaced at prop by Asu Kepaoa. Stefano Utoikamanu surges into a starting prop spot after an impressive start to his time at the Tigers.
RAIDERS V EELS
Sat 17 Apr, GIO Stadium, Canberra, 7:35pm
1 Caleb Aekins, 2 Bailey Simonsson, 3 Jarrod Croker, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Jack Wighton, 7 George Williams, 8 Josh Papalii, 9 Josh Hodgson, 10 Iosia Soliola, 11 Hudson Young, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Joseph Tapine
Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton, 16, Saliva Havili, 17. Emre Guler
Reserves: 18. Sebastian Kris, 19. Matt Frawley, 20. Corey Harawira-Naera, 21. Dunamis Lui
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: In a big blow for KFC SuperCoaches, Ryan James is out of the Raiders squad completely this week, while Curtis Scott makes his return from injury at the expense of Sebastian Kris. The injured Charnze Nichol-Klokstad will be replaced by former Panther Caleb Aekins.
1 Clint Gutherson, 2 Maika Sivo, 3 Tom Opacic, 4 Marata Niukore, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Will Smith, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9 Reed Mahoney, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Shaun Lane, 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Nathan Brown
Bench: 14. Oregon Kaufusi, 15. Isaiah Papali’i, 16. Keegan Hipgrave, 17. Bryce Cartwright
Reserves: 18. Joey Lussick, 19. Haze Dunster, 20. Wiremu Greig, 21. Jordan Rankin
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Dylan Brown is out with suspension, with Will Smith filling in at five-eighth, while Ryan Matterson is set to make his return from concussion, forcing Isaiah Papali’i back to the bench.
DRAGONS V WARRIORS
Sun 18 Apr, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney, 2pm
1 Matt Dufty, 2 Cody Ramsey, 3 Jack Bird, 4 Zac Lomax, 5 Mikaele Ravalawa, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Adam Clune, 8 Blake Lawrie, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Josh Kerr, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Tyrell Fuimaono
Bench: 14. Kaide Ellis,i 15. Trent Merrin, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Brayden Williame
Reserves: 18. Jackson Ford, 19. Billy Burns, 20. Josh McGuire, 21. Jordan Pereira SUPERCOACH COMMENT: The Dragons have unsurprisingly made no changes after their shock upset win over Parramatta. New recruit Josh McGuire has been named in the reserves, and skipper Ben Hunt is still a few weeks away from returning.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Peta Hiku, 3. Adam Pompey, 4. Marcelo Montoya, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Sean O’Sullivan, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Tohu Harris, 11.Josh Curran, 12. Jack Murchie, 13. Jazz Tevaga
Bench: 14. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 15. Bunty Afoa, 16. Kane Evans, 17. Paul Turner
Reserves: 18. Rocco Berry, 20. Tom Ale, 21. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 22. Taniela Otukolo
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Peta Hiku is back for the injured David Fusitua, while last week’s 18th man Josh Curran starts in the back row with Eliesa Katoa dropped.
COWBOYS V BULLDOGS
Sun 18 Apr, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville, 4:05pm
1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Connelly Lemuelu, 5. Murray Taulagi, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Ben Hampton, 8. Coen Hess, 9. Reece Robson, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Shane Wright, 12. Ben Condon, 13. Jason Taumalolo
Bench: 14. Jake Granville, 15. Lachlan Burr, 16. Francis Molo, 17. Corey Jensen
Reserves: 18. Esan Marsters, 19. Mitchell Dunn, 20. Peter Hola, 21. Jake Clifford
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: Fresh off their first win of the season, the Cowboys are boosted by the return of skipper Jason Taumalolo, who was named last week but was a late withdrawal. Coen Hess moves to the front row, with Francis Molo to the bench and Reben Cotter out of the squad, potentially a massive boost for Taumaolo’s minutes. Justin O’Neill makes his return from concussion and will replace the injured Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Will Hopoate, 4. Corey Allan, 5. Tuipulotu Katoa, 6. Jake Averillo, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Dylan Napa, 9. Sione Katoa, 10. Jack Hetherington, 11. Adam Elliott, 12. Corey Waddell, 13. Luke Thompson
Bench: 14. Jackson Topine, 15. Renouf Atoni, 16. Chris Smith, 17. Ofahiki Ogden
Reserves: 19. Brandon Wakeham, 21. Dean Britt, 22. Joe Stimson, 23. Matt Doorey
SUPERCOACH COMMENT: The Bulldogs have lost skipper Josh Jackson to injury and is replaced at lock by Luke Thompson, who looked solid in his return from suspension last week. The only other change for the winless Doggies is Chris Smith joining the bench.