Late Mail Round 9: Haas, Api remain in doubt

Our late mail man Adam Stiles runs through all the anticipated team changes leading into NRL Round 9.


Holy Thursday update Batman.

The first 24-hour mail of the round is normally a formality, but this round dished up Cleary out, popular cheapie Jacob Gagai out, and a slew of positional changes – and we still have 15 updates to go across the weekend #PrayForSupercoach.

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

SUBSCRIBE TO SC PLAYBOOK IN 2024! Access extra premium articles every round of the season, access our subscriber-only Whatsapp group with contributor feedback, late mail and other threads, our major unlimited group prize and plenty more. SIGN UP HERE!

Embed from Getty Images


Jacob Gagai was cut 24 hours out which has triggered a massive reshuffle of Isaiah Tass to the wing, Michael Chee Kam to centre, Keaon Koloamatangi back to the edge, Jai Arrow to prop and Sean Keppie joining the interchange.

I would hope this is all the changes we see.

24 hour cuts: Gagai, Le Blanc, Christensen 


The first significant bomb of the round has dropped with Nathan Cleary playing it safe with his hamstring and withdrawing. Brad Schneider replaces him in the halves. 

Daine Laurie has also dropped back to the extended bench, with Jack Cole joining the interchange. 

Moses Leota (shoulder) and Sunia Turuva (personal) were both late outs last round but should play. 

24 hour cuts: Cleary, Laurie, Alamoti, Riki


Daly Cherry-Evans had a successful night at the judiciary so he will be free to play as named. 

Toafofoa Sipley will also return from his knee injury which means 1-17 is likely. 


Elliott Whitehead has been named to start after missing much of the season with a calf injury.

Barring any setbacks he will play with no changes expected at this stage to the 17.


Reece Walsh scared owners last week by failing to finish with calf cramps but he is good to go, as is Adam Reynolds with a similar issue (and a ripping interception despite it). 

Selwyn Cobbo and Ezra Mam have been named to return from shoulder and finger issues respectively, though it should be noted that Cobbo has been training in the red no contact bid while Mam has been in full training. Both should play at this stage.

Payne Haas is in doubt, with Ben Te Kura taking his spot at training.

Embed from Getty Images


Victor Radley (hamstring), Sitili Tupouniua (concussion) and Sandon Smith (elbow) are all among those on the extended bench and could be late inclusions if cleared of their respective injuries.

Radley could return at lock which would push Connor Watson to the bench, with Tupouniua likely to join the bench, if able.

Sandon Smith may not find a place in the side even if cleared given the team’s current form.

Daniel Tupou should also line up on the wing as named after being a late out last week with a knee issue. 

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is out with a minor calf strain.


Jacob Preston has been named on the extended bench as he bids to return from his jaw injury, which would trigger a shuffle in the forwards as he would likely come straight back to the edge. 


Api Koroisau is nursing a sore back and will need to make it through captain’s run, with Jake Simpkin to replace him if needed. 

Starford To’a has turned up on the extended bench and could replace Brent Naden in the centres.


David Fifita being benched is the new “Paulo bench”. 

Klese Haas likely replaces him again. 

Keenan Palasia is also on the extended bench and could be a late inclusion, likely from the interchange if cleared from his quad injury (and selected). 


Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been named despite picking up a hamstring and given the current state of hamstrings around the league he’s surely a big chance of being rested. 

Boom rookie Sua Faalogo may replace Tyran Wishart on the wing come kick-off.


Heilum Luki is set to return from his ankle injury and could be a chance to start with Kulikefu Finefeuiaki dropping back to the bench, though likely they run out 1-17 and reassess next week. 


Jesse Bromwich will need to tick all the boxes to line up after picking up a calf injury, while Felise Kaufusi (hamstring) and Connelly Lemuelu (knee) should be right to return. 

Embed from Getty Images


Greg Marzhew picked up an ankle injury last round and failed to finish the final couple of minutes but should be OK to play at this stage. 

Jacob Saifiti was feared to have suffered an ankle/Achilles injury but it turned out to be a small tear in his foot.

Surely still in doubt despite the good news and always a chance to be rotated to the bench for Daniel Saifiti regardless.


Kurt Capewell (hamstring) and Bunty Afoa (throat) have both been named to return from injury and should play barring any setbacks. 

As usual, late changes wouldn’t surprise but they ran out 1-17 last week so I’m hoping for more of the same. 


Toby Rudolf has been named to return from a quad issue so I’m hopeful of another 1-17 here. 

Royce Hunt is again on the extended bench but unsure if he’ll come into the 17.


Luciano Leilua has resurfaced on the extended bench as he attempts to return from his calf injury.

He could be eased back from the bench if cleared or start at the expense of Raymond Faitala-Mariner, who would likely move to the bench with Ben Murdoch-Masila dropping out. 

Mikaele Ravalawa should also be fine to return from his knee injury. 


On the bye, though wherever they are I’m sure they will still find a way to swap Joe Ofahengaue and Junior Paulo

Leave a Reply