Penrith will put their faith in rookie playmaker Jack Cole to replace Nathan Cleary after the star halfback was ruled out for eight weeks with a hamstring tear.

Jarome Luai is likely to shift to halfback with Cole at five-eighth, starting with Sunday’s Magic Round showdown with the Warriors with regular back-up Brad Schneider also sidelined with a knee injury.

Cole came on for Cleary midway through his third NRL game against Canterbury and is being groomed as Penrith’s long-term replacement for Luai in 2025 when he joins Wests Tigers.

“We’ve certainly got high hopes for Coley,” said Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.

Warriors star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will not be right to tackle Penrith after sitting out Sunday’s stoush with the Roosters in Sydney after suffering a hamstring problem at training.

Coach Andrew Webster said after the loss that RTS was looking at potentially six weeks out although there was some hope that he could be back in the next fortnight.

Veteran halfback Shaun Johnson suffered a pec strain and is in doubt for Magic Round but will need to be assessed when the Warriors return to Auckland.

Hamstrings are flaring up everywhere.

Titans veteran Kieran Foran and winger Phil Sami failed to finish Sunday’s clash with the Cowboys due to a hamstring strain while Manly star Tom Trbojevic is facing seven weeks out with a more significant tear and coach Anthony Seibold is set to try a different approach to replacing his Dally M Medal-winning fullback.

Reuben Garrick has been the Sea Eagles’ go-to option whenever Trojevic has been out in recent seasons but Tolutau Koula is set to get the gig in Friday’s Suncorp Stadium stoush with Brisbane. 

The timing of Trbojevic’s injury is not a disaster for Manly: if the early prognosis is correct, he would only miss five matches with the Sea Eagles having two byes in that period.

There was better news on winger Jason Saab, who is only expected to miss a couple of weeks with a shoulder problem. Saab was hurt trying to save a try in the first half of Manly’s 30-24 defeat to the Dolphins on Thursday, but should be fit to return after the Round-13 bye.

Jaxson Paulo and Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega are options to come into the backline or second-rower Ben Trbojevic could be switched to centre.

Haumole Olakau’atu will return from suspension against Brisbane alongside hooker Lachlan Croker (concussion) and forward Nathan Brown (hip flexor).

Gold Coast have also lost centre Harley Smith-Shields to a season-ending torn pectoral while AJ Brimson (groin) is in doubt for their Magic Round meeting with Newcastle on Saturday.

Broncos hooker Billy Walters (wrist) came off after 13 minutes in the win over Parramatta and is no certainty to play the Sea Eagles. 

Journeyman halfback Josh Rogers received rave reviews after his second NRL match but appears set to be replaced by Jock Madden.

Such is Brisbane’s depth that despite the 27-year-old kicking superbly and showing real poise throughout the 30-14 win over Parramatta, he will likely find himself back playing with Burleigh in the Queensland Cup.

Captain Adam Reynolds is unavailable until August with a ruptured biceps and Madden missed the Eels clash with a pectoral injury. He is on track to be back against Manly.

Wests Tigers second-rower Isaiah Papali’i is facing a ban for tripping, one of the rare times when this offence has attracted more than a fine.

He has been charged with grade-two dangerous contact for a 21st-minute incident on Knights prop Leo Thompson during Saturday’s loss at Tamworth.

If he enters a guilty plea, he will just miss Magic Round but could be out a fortnight if he challenges the charge.

Knights prop Daniel Saifiti‘s hopes of getting a NSW recall have taken a hit after he was slapped with a grade-two careless high tackle for a shot on Tigers hooker Jake Simpkin. He is also facing one or two games out.

Storm skipper Harry Grant was handed a grade-one dangerous contact charge for his controversial sin-binning in Saturday night’s loss to Cronulla when he ran into the leg of former teammate Daniel Atkinson after a kick downfield.

Round 11 teams

All times AEST

Canberra vs Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium: 6pm, Friday May 17

Odds: Raiders $2.28 Bulldogs $1.63 – Odds via PlayUp

Raiders: Emre Guler (high tackle) and Morgan Smithies (crusher tackle) avoided bans, copping fines from the last-start win over Manly before the bye. Corey Horsburgh (groin) and Jordan Rapana (knee) are outside chances of returning in Magic Round.

Bulldogs: Veteran forward Ryan Sutton could make a comeback from a knee injury.

Manly vs Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium: 8.05pm, Friday May 17

Odds: Manly $3.60 Broncos $1.29 – Odds via PlayUp

Sea Eagles: Tom Trbojevic’s absence with a hamstring injury means Reuben Garrick or Tolu Koula will switch from the centres to fullback and Jason Saab’s shoulder injury means Anthony Seibold will need further reinforcement out wide.

Jaxson Paulo and Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega are likely to be recalled to the reshuffled backline.

Second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu will return from suspension alongside hooker Lachlan Croker (concussion) and middle forward Nathan Brown (hip flexor).

Broncos: Billy Walters is unlikely to suit up after aggravating a wrist injury in the win over Parra with Tyson Smoothy set to start at hooker and Tristan Sailor or Blake Mozer called up to the bench.

Second-choice half Jock Madden could be back from a pectoral injury although Josh Rogers did a solid job last Friday in the first game since Adam Reynolds ruptured his bicep.

Gold Coast vs Newcastle at Suncorp Stadium: 3pm, Saturday May 18

Odds: Titans $2.40 Knights $1.57 – Odds via PlayUp

Titans: Jayden Campbell is a chance to make an early return from his knee injury which could be timely with Kieran Foran and Phil Sami out with hamstring complaints. Harley Smith-Shields (pectoral) has joined Tanah Boyd (broken wrist) on the long-term injury list while AJ Brimson is a maybe for Magic Round due to a groin strain.

Knights: Daniel Saifiti is facing a ban of 1-2 weeks for a careless high tackle.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Daniel Saifiti of the Knights in action during the round eight NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Sydney Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium, on May 01, 2021, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Cronulla vs Sydney at Suncorp Stadium: 5.30pm, Saturday May 18

Odds: Sharks $2.20 Roosters $1.66 – Odds via PlayUp

Sharks: Toby Rudolf will be out for a month with his knee injury. Fellow prop Tom Hazelton has a minor knee problem but should be right to face the Roosters.

Roosters: Brandon Smith (calf) did not suit up in Round 10 but coach Trent Robinson is confident it won’t be keeping him out much longer.

South Sydney vs North Qld at Suncorp Stadium: 7.45pm, Saturday May 18

Odds: Rabbitohs $3.40 Cowboys $1.32 – Odds via PlayUp

Rabbitohs: Jacob Gagai (calf) will be available for selection while fellow winger Alex Johnston (hamstring).

Cowboys: Murray Taulagi is set to return from his hamstring injury to boost his chances of making the Queensland team on the wing.

Warriors vs Penrith at Suncorp Stadium: 1.50pm, Sunday May 19

Odds: Warriors $3.30 Panthers $1.33 – Odds via PlayUp

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is out for a couple of weeks at least after bypassing Sunday’s rumble with the Roosters due to the hamstring strain he suffered at training last Thursday. Shaun Johnson suffered a pec strain and is in doubt for Magic Round.

Panthers: Jack Cole is likely to slot into the halves with Nathan Cleary out again with his hamstring problem after regular back-up Brad Schneider injured his knee on NSW Cup duty.

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Jack Cole of the Panthers kicks the ball during the round 10 NRL match between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs at BlueBet Stadium on May 10, 2024, in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Jack Cole kicks. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Melbourne vs Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium: 4.05pm, Sunday May 19

Odds: Storm $1.30 Eels $3.50 – Odds via PlayUp

Storm: Jahrome Hughes is hopeful of playing despite his calf strain but is unlikely to make the trip to Brisbane. Maroons winger Xavier Coates should be good to go after a few weeks out with a hamstring strain.

Storm skipper Harry Grant was handed a grade-one dangerous contact charge for his controversial sin-binning in Saturday night’s loss to Cronulla when he ran into the leg of former teammate Daniel Atkinson after a kick downfield.

Eels: Mitchell Moses is aiming to make an early comeback from his damaged foot ligament but Parra won’t make a decision until close to game day whether he is ready.

Wests vs Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium: 6.25pm, Sunday May 19

Odds: Tigers $3.05 Dolphins $1.38 – Odds via PlayUp

Tigers: Isaiah Papali’i is facing a ban for tripping Knights prop Leo Thompson during Saturday’s loss at Tamworth. If he enters a guilty plea, he will just miss Magic Round but could be out a fortnight if he challenges the charge.

Dolphins: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is nearing a return after a month out with a hamstring tear, meaning Trai Fuller will drop out at fullback .

Bye

Dragons: Luciano Leilua will be available for selection in Round 12 after the club has taken a cautious approach with his return from a calf complaint.





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