Blues’ injury crisis deepens as Mitch Moses ruled out

Jacob Shteyman |

Parramatta halfback Mitch Moses has been ruled out of his side’s clash with South Sydney.
Parramatta halfback Mitch Moses has been ruled out of his side’s clash with South Sydney.

Mitch Moses’ State of Origin hopes have been dashed after the Parramatta halfback was ruled out from a last-ditch Indigenous Round audition for the vacant NSW halves role.

The three-time Origin representative has not featured since injuring his foot in the Eels’ round-three win over Manly, but was touted as a possible Blues starter with incumbent Nathan Cleary ruled out and Cronulla flyer Nicho Hynes battling a calf complaint.

The Eels have slumped to one win from seven games without their talismanic No.7, contributing to the sacking of coach Brad Arthur after 11 years at the helm.

Interim coach Trent Barrett makes one change in his first game in charge, with Ryan Matterson returning from illness against bottom side South Sydney on Saturday.

Melbourne’s depleted spine was also dealt a blow after Queensland five-eighth Cameron Muster joined fullback Ryan Papenhuizen on the sidelines with a groin injury.

Playmaker Jahrome Hughes has been named in the starting line-up to face Manly after he was sidelined with a calf injury.

Nathan Brown replaces Matt Lodge for the Sea Eagles after the prop suffered a suspected torn bicep against Brisbane during Magic Round, but Jason Saab is a surprise inclusion after making a faster-than-expected recovery from a shoulder injury.

Reece Walsh returns for the Broncos against Gold Coast after the Maroons fullback was rested against the Sea Eagles. 

Billy Walters (wrist) and Payne Haas (toe) were deemed fit to feature against the Titans, but another Blues hopeful, Kotoni Staggs, has been ruled out with a fractured rib.

The Titans will be without Jaimin Jolliffe because of a pectoral injury, while veteran five-eighth Kieran Foran returns to the bench after suffering a hamstring injury.

In more bad news for Blues coach Michael Maguire, Origin bolter Connor Watson faces a stint on the sidelines after a throat injury ruled the Sydney Roosters utility out of his side’s clash with Canberra.

The Roosters welcome back centre Joey Manu from concussion and utility Sandon Smith from a one-game suspension, while the Raiders will be without prop Josh Papalii after he accepted a one-match ban for a hip-drop tackle on Canterbury’s Viliame Kikau.

Jaeman Salmon returns to the Bulldogs’ starting line-up against St George, while the Dragons welcome Luciano Leilua back to the bench from a calf injury at the expense of Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Wests Tigers lose centres Brent Naden and Justin Olam to the judiciary for their trip to North Queensland, while the Cowboys have named an unchanged 17 after their first win in six against the Bunnies.

Tigers coach Benji Marshall has called up Declan Casey and Josh Feledy for their club debuts, while Isaiah Papali’i returns from suspension.

Nicho Hynes.
Nicho Hynes will spearhead the Sharks in their top-of-the-table clash with Penrith. (Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS)

Hynes will try to prove his readiness for Origin as he spearheads an unchanged Sharks side in a top-of-the-table clash with Penrith, who welcome back prop Liam Henry.

Hooker Wayde Egan (concussion) has been ruled out of the resurgent Warriors’ clash with the high-flying Dolphins, but centre Rocco Berry (hand), back-rower Marata Niukore (foot) and hooker Freddy Lussick (concussion) all return. 

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has dropped Kenny Bromwich to the bench to accommodate the returning Max Plath at lock.

Rabbitohs interim coach Ben Hornby moves Jack Wighton into the halves to pair veteran Cody Walker against the Eels. 

Taane Milne and Michael Chee Kam will start in the centres, with Izaac Thompson and Dion Teaupa dropped from the 17.