Souths turn to debutant halfback amid injury crisis

Jasper Bruce |

Dion Teaupa will be South Sydney’s third halfback this season when the Rabbits take on the Dragons.
Dion Teaupa will be South Sydney’s third halfback this season when the Rabbits take on the Dragons.

South Sydney’s injury crisis has thrust Dion Teaupa into halfback for his NRL debut as the last-placed Rabbitohs hunt their first win of the post-Jason Demetriou era.

The Rabbitohs have 13 players sidelined through either injury or suspension for the round-10 clash against St George Illawarra, with Isaiah Tass (ankle) the latest player to join the casualty ward this week.

That injury appears to have prevented ex-Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton from shifting into the halves as he did when Dean Hawkins went down during the round-nine loss to Penrith.

Tongan international Teaupa, 22, will become the Rabbitohs’ third halfback of the season after Hawkins and Lachlan Ilias.

Queensland Cup winger Gehamat Shibasaki, who heeded an SOS call to join Souths on a week-by-week basis, has been named on the wing for his club debut as the Rabbitohs welcome Latrell Mitchell back from suspension.

Siliva Havili will replace the injured Cameron Murray at lock, with Central Coast junior Matt French set for his NRL debut off the bench and Tallis Duncan returning to the interchange.

Melbourne sensation Sua Fa’alogo has been named as Ryan Papenhuyzen’s injury replacement at fullback for the blockbuster clash with Cronulla, despite appearing to suffer a knee injury during Saturday’s win over Gold Coast.

Tyran Wishart replaces Jahrome Hughes (calf) in the halves for the Storm, with Grant Anderson coming onto the wing.

Spencer Leniu has served his eight-match ban for making a racial slur in round one and slots onto the Sydney Roosters’ bench for the clash against the Warriors.

The Warriors are winless across their last four games but Andrew Webster has stuck solid, with injured Kurt Capewell the only man to drop out of the 17 that fell to Newcastle. Jazz Tevaga joins the Warriors bench on return from his hamstring injury.

Daniel Tupou, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Victor Radley return from their respective injuries for the Roosters, with Kasey Badger set to referee the match after heavy criticism of her officiating in round nine.

Penrith’s Nathan Cleary has been named to return from a week out resting his hamstring and is joined in the side by Paul Alamoti, who replaces suspended Izack Tago for the clash against Canterbury.

Jayden Sullivan has been given first chance to replace Aidan Sezer as the Wests Tigers halfback misses his first of four games for laying a hip-drop tackle on Josh Curran.

The Tigers are set to have Api Koroisau back for their clash with Newcastle, who welcome State of Origin forwards Jacob Saifiti and Tyson Frizell back from their own injuries.

Already tipped by Brad Arthur as a starting fullback of the future, Blaize Talagi has been named Clint Gutherson’s replacement for the crunch clash against Brisbane.

The Broncos have been forced into changes of their own with Josh Rogers set to join the halves for just his second NRL game after Adam Reynolds suffered a long-term bicep injury.

Ahead of Thursday’s clash with Manly, the Dolphins welcome prized recruit Herbie Farnworth back from a shoulder issue as a direct replacement for injured centre Tesi Niu.

Ben Trbojevic is a much-needed reinforcement in the back row for the Sea Eagles after last week’s loss to Canberra.

Chris Randall replaces the injured Tanah Boyd in the halves for Gold Coast against North Queensland, who welcome Chad Townsend back from a week-long knee lay-off.