Rest Up: Clubs, SuperCoach players at risk of Rd 25 spell

To aid your last trades, we take a look at the clubs and key SuperCoach players in contention for a rest in the final round.

Final Word

Following on from our discussion on this week’s SC Playbook podcast I thought it would be worthwhile taking a look at the potential restings of clubs and certain players in Round 25.

It’s so vital as it’s very likely to impact whether you field a full 17 next week or not.

It’ll have major implications on the overall rankings, and will almost certainly decide many head-to-head grand final match ups.

For example, a stack of SuperCoaches will be running a combination of Cody Walker and Adam Doueihi at five-eighth, along with perhaps Harry Grant and Reed Mahoney at hooker.

Walker and Grant are both potential rest candidates next week, which would leave those coaches short a player even with an auto-emergency added on, and that’s without considering any other damage to teams.

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While many won’t have a trade to spare therefore won’t be as impacted by restings (in terms of decisions this week), many must consider different scenarios to ensure you get 17 on field next week.

With high injury rates this season, HIA risk, along with heightened suspension risks due to the concussion crackdown, it seems unnecessary for certain coaches in strong positions to risk players in need of a rest or that may have concussion history or carry-over points at the judiciary.

While most of the below assessment with be based on speculation and should be taken with a grain of salt, some insights such as the Melbourne Storm’s possible restings appears far more assured based on quotes from within the club.

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Hopefully it gives a bit of an idea of what may occur and can in turn aid your decisions this week as vital trades are locked in.

While head-to-head players will be in a different situation, I’d advise overall players that have a strong 17 this week to try and save a trade for next week if in a position to do so.

Here’s are the clubs fighting for top four or top eight berths that I can see being impacted, whilst bottom eight clubs are a lottery.

I’ll focus solely on the key SuperCoach relevant players.

MELBOURNE STORM

Melbourne are highly likely to wrap up the minor premiership this weekend.

Initially I thought perhaps they’d go close to full-strength in Round 25 as a hit out pre-finals.

This was due to the fact most key players have had a week or more off of late, but Cameron Munster spoke to the Wide World of Sports and indicated 10 or more players are expected to be rested next week.

Players such as Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith, Justin Olam, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Harry Grant have all missed time of late, but on Munster’s word you’d expect several may sit next week.

Munster admits he’s expecting a rest, the others we’ll find out next week.

Melbourne mass rested players in the final round against the Dragons last season.

Players possibly affected: Everyone…

PENRITH PANTHERS

Penrith will almost certainly finish second or third on the ladder, and with no home final to play for and the same opposition they aren’t playing for anything in regards to ladder position.

Ivan Cleary has recently hinted his preference not to rest players due to the fact Penrith have been without their starting side for so long.

They’ll be desperate to build momentum leading into the finals having had disruptions in recent months.

The big one here is obviously son Nathan, does the star halfback rest next weekend?

To answer, I have no idea. NRL Physio discussed on a recent SC Playbook podcast in-depth that aggravation rates of his particular injury are high, so while Penrith are seeking momentum, is risking Cleary worth it?

You’d think he’d be every chance at a rest, but I honestly have no idea.

Ivan will want to get game time into the likes of James Fisher-Harris and Tevita Pangai Jnr so you’d think they’ll be good to go.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the full-strength team was sent out next week. He sent out a full-strength 17 against the Bulldogs in the final round last season.

Players possibly affected: Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Viliame Kikau, Stephen Crichton, Matt Burton, Brian To’o.

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SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

Like the Panthers, the Rabbitohs are locked into second or third and have nothing to play for ladder-wise.

The likes of Cody Walker, Damien Cook and Adam Reynolds have missed next to no footy this season and look a huge chance at rests next weekend.

Cook could even sit this weekend as he battles a quad strain.

Wayne Bennett resisted the urge to rest players last year, however they were playing for the rights to a home elimination final.

I’d be surprised if he didn’t sit players next week, but this is speculation only on my behalf.

Players possibly affected: Entire team, namely Cook, Walker, Reynolds, Murray, Gagai, Johnston.

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SYDNEY ROOSTERS

The Roosters are playing for a top four position and therefore I can’t see them resting anyone as they look to secure a second chance in the finals.

Further, they couldn’t name a full 21-man squad this week due to injuries so it’s hard to see how’d they’d even have the luxury of resting players.

I’d be very surprised if anyone was rested barring injury concerns.

Players possibly affected: None

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MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES

Manly are in a tough situation to assess due to the following reason.

They’re expected to be in a fight for a top four spot next week, so no players will be rested.

However, if they beat the Bulldogs this weekend, and the Roosters lose to the Rabbitohs, both likely, it’ll change plenty.

The Roosters play the first game of Round 25 against the Raiders, if they lose that it’d mean Manly are locked into the top four on superior points differential.

Should this occur, several players would be a huge chance at a rest.

Obviously this is one we’ll have to wait to see how it plays out, however in terms of trades this weekend you shouldn’t really be planning around the idea of players getting rested.

Players possibly affected: Tom Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans, Reuben Garrick, Jason Saab, Marty Taupau

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PARRAMATTA EELS

Brad Arthur has already declared he’ll rest players next weekend against the Panthers so there’s no more to add.

Players possibly affected: Whole team, namely Isaiah Papali’i and Clint Gutherson.

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NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

The Knights are fairly well assured of a top eight spot and will be tempted to rest stars with niggles next weekend.

The issue is they’ve struggled to get a full side on the park this season, so Adam O’Brien will be desperate to get game time into his full-strength spine.

As a result, I don’t expect restings next weekend aside from players carrying any concerning niggles.

This information only the medical staff know, so I’d only be guessing if I named names.

Kalyn Ponga is the obvious concern as he looks to have been carrying some sort of injury of late, he’d be a prime rest candidate, but again I have no clue of the severity.

If he’s good to go I suspect he’ll play next weekend.

Players possibly affected: Kalyn Ponga

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THE OTHERS

As it stands, the Sharks, Raiders and Titans are all fighting for a top eight spot and won’t rest any players.

The three sides two points below them on 18 points are all still mathematical hopes so at this stage you’d expect no restings to occur. Obviously that could change after this weekend’s results.

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