Late Mail Round 3: Will Lucas & Talau Play?

Late mail man Adam Stiles brings you all the last-minute team news heading into Round 3.

NRL

The first round of price changes is one of the most important rounds of the year.

Your bankroll starts ticking – or dropping – and with most of us using at least two trades and many boosting, we need to make sure we’re bringing in the right players and a great starting point is them being on the field. 

It is also Multicultural round, so I’d like to take this moment to recognise the SuperCoaches, NRL fans, and players out there who all bring their unique and rich cultural heritages to the game that we love.

As usual, all the updates across the round will come via @scplaybook1 on X/Twitter and Instagram, as well as myself @AStilesAuthor. 

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PANTHERS

Looks like another straightforward round for the Panthers unless we see a reverse to the Soni Luke and Daine Laurie swap on game day last week. 

24 hour cuts: Riki, Alamoti, Schneider

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BRONCOS

Payne Haas was touch and go with a knee issue when he was named on TLT and he has unfortunately been ruled out not just for this week, but for 4-6 weeks. It’s a massive blow to owners and the Broncos. 

Fletcher Baker will start at prop and Xavier Willison will finally surface on the bench. Given it will be Willison’s first match we get a couple of free looks to assess his play and whether he’ll make any meaningful price rises before Haas returns. It’s also a good chance to assess Baker as a starter, who is cheap-ish and has a manageable breakeven from his bench stints.

Ezra Mam had some doubt surrounding him earlier in the week but he seems good to go, with no other changes expected at this stage.

24 hour cuts: Haas, Hoeter, Oates

WARRIORS

Wayde Egan was unsurprisingly ruled out last round with his elbow injury. He has been named again and I’m more optimistic that he lines up. 

RAIDERS

I have been cautioning forward pack shuffles the last two rounds based on history, but I feel now that Sticky will hold firm to the team named, which is unfortunate for current or potential Zac Hosking owners.

A part of me wouldn’t be shocked if Hosking does start so as not to change a winning formula but I’ll assume 1-17 for now.

ROOSTERS

The major changes came on TLT by way of Keary’s replacement and the forward pack shuffle, so I’m expecting no further changes on game day at this stage.

RABBITOHS

After already wielding the axe this week by dropping Lachlan Ilias, it is reported that Jason Demetriou is set to bench Damien Cook this Friday night and promote Siliva Havili to starting hooker.

There hasn’t been any other news on forwards shuffling but any potential¬†Davvy Moale¬†owners should keep an eye on the team lists an hour before kick-off before jumping on.

BULLDOGS

Showed some promise last week so I’m expecting the Doggies to hold firm to the named side. 1-17 wouldn’t surprise. 

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TITANS

Kieran Foran was a late out in round 1 but after a bye he should be good to go.

We saw Keenan Palasia drop to the bench on their last match and a similar lock roulette wouldn’t surprise me, with Palasia or Isaac Liu options along with the named 13 Jaimin Jolliffe.

This is pure personal speculation on my part, though Coach Hasler didn’t mind swapping his forward pack on game day back at Manly.

DRAGONS

There were bulk changes in the pack again last week so is this the round we finally see some stability?

I’ll put it down to Blake Lawrie coming back from injury rather than a trend, however once again Raymond Faitala-Mariner could find his way into the starting side somehow despite things looking more settled.

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COWBOYS

Coach Payton has given Kulikefu Finefeuaiki the stamp of approval on TLT to start on the edge despite Jack Gosiewski having been a part time starter in the past.

One to keep an eye on but not expecting anything to change at the time of writing.

TIGERS

Benji has already swung the axe on TLT after just the one match so I presume he will stick tight with that decision as the round rolls on and run out 1-17.

SHARKS

Not expecting any major changes in the Shire barring any late illnesses like last round.

Should be 1-17, however, I could also see Billy Burns starting on the edge with Jack Williams dropping back to the interchange.

EELS

Joe Ofahengaue started last week in place of Junior Paulo so a similar switch wouldn’t surprise me this week. 

Wiremu Greig has been on the extended bench the last couple of weeks as he battles back from a hamstring injury but unsure if there’s a place for him in the current 17.

I didn’t expect to see Kelma Tuilagi named after copping a shoulder injury and have to suspect he’s in some doubt but he’s in the 17 for now and would just need to make it through captain’s run.

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SEA EAGLES

I was similarly surprised to see Tommy Talau named on the extended bench after his ankle injury.

If he makes it through the captain’s run he’d replace Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega but I suspect he’s more likely for next week despite being cleared of major damage.

He’s only played one match so far in 2024 so there’s no rush to bring him in if he does play as his price won’t change for another round.

KNIGHTS

Dylan Lucas has resurfaced on the extended bench as he bids to return from injury, and he has also not been named in reserve grade suggesting he’ll be back in the top squad.

His inclusion would have big ramifications for Kai Pearce-Paul, who could go back to the bench or have his minutes impacted at the very least.

Unfortunately, it will be the last game of the round for any prospective KPP owners so a call may need to be made early.

STORM

Named according to their mounting injuries and suspensions so I’m expecting 1-17 at this stage. Cameron Munster and Nelson Asofa-Solomona look like they’ll be rested until the Storm’s bye and will look to return in round 5.

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