Tuesday 24 September 2013

#NRLFinals 2013: Week 3 Teams and Analysis - The Preliminary Finals

NRL Finals Teams: Week 3

2013 NRL Premiership Finals Series

By W D Nicolson - September 24, 2013

Preliminary Finals Team Analysis

Here are the Week 3 Teams as named on Tuesday afternoon - with www.wdnicolson.com's selection and injury analysis.

Our Teams now feature the  + Injured List for each team from the list of players potentially available for the Finals (so players with season ending injuries are not listed) - with a  Likely  or  Unlikely  designation for every player carrying an ailment.

 TEAMS NAMED:  Knights at 2:45pm ... Sea Eagles at 4:00pm ... Rabbitohs at 4:00pm ... and at the stock standard late late time... Roosters at 5:45pm

FRIDAY September 27 at ANZ Stadium | Kick-off 8:00pm

SOU: G Inglis, N Merritt, B Goodwin, D Walker, D Farrell, J Sutton (c), A Reynolds, D Tyrrell, I Luke, L Burgess, S Burgess, B Te'o, J Lima.
Bench: J Clark, R Asotasi, C McQueen, G Burgess, B Lowe, L Keary, M King.
 # Team Changes: Souths stick with Tyrrell and Luke Burgess starting with McQueen and Asotasi benched. Lowe, Keary and King have been added to the squad but unless Tyrrell or Luke Burgess are late scratchings (coaching decision) it is hard to see Lowe or Keary getting a run.
Skinny: Don't really get what Tyrrell and Burgess do other than take the sting out of the opening 15 minutes... because while they may do that you really can't bring them back into a game you are trailing in... I'd keep Keary on the bench as a hail mary option, but that would leave Clark in the cross-hairs and he's been good in patches since breaking back into the team. Over to you Reynolds and Sutton - stand up in a huge game.
 + Injured List: G Inglis (Knee - Likely), B Goodwin (Ankle - Likely), J Sutton (Knee - Likely), C McQueen (Shoulder - Likely), J Clark (Head - Likely), M Crocker (Knee - Unlikely), B Champion (Ankle - Unlikely).

MAN: B Stewart, J Taufua, J Lyon (c), S Matai, D Williams, K Foran, D Cherry-Evans, B Lawrence, M Ballin, B Kite, A Watmough, J Horo, G Stewart.
Bench: R Fa'aoso, J Buhrer, T Symonds, G Rose, P Hiku, J Hasson, D Gower.
 # Team Changes: Brett Stewart is named as is some chance after missing the first two semis with a bad hamstring strain... even if he plays, expect Peta Hiku to get a spot on the bench ahead of Richie Fa'aoso or Tom Symonds as insurance. Gower and Hasson are added to the squad but won't play unless Watmough or Kite succumb to their knee and arm injuries.
Skinny: Hiku has to be in the 17 even if B Stewart plays... he's been their best player in both semis. Would like to see Lawrence and Kite play slightly bigger minutes while resting Horo a bit earlier (he's looked gassed for the last month) and give Symonds or Buhrer a role on an edge. Fa'aoso misses out for mine - obviously not 100% health wise (head) and not effective of late because of it.
 + Injured List: A Watmough (Knee - Likely), D Williams (Back - Likely), B Kite (Arm - Likely), S Matai (Hand - Likely), T Symonds (Thumb - Likely), B Lawrence (Back - Likely), J Buhrer (Ribs - Likely), R Fa'aoso (Head - Likely), B Stewart (Hamstring - Possibly).

SATURDAY September 28 at Allianz Stadium | Kick-off 7:45pm

SYD: A Minichiello, D Tupou, M Jennings, S Kenny-Dowall, R Tuivasa-Sheck, J Maloney, M Pearce (c), J Waerea-Hargreaves, J Friend, S Moa, A Guerra, SB Williams, FP Nuuausala.
Bench: D Mortimer, M Aubusson, I Liu, L O'Donnell, D Napa, M Kennedy.
 # Team Changes: The Roosters don't name Boyd Cordner (meaning he's no better than 20/80 I reckon), with Waerea-Hargreaves back at prop after a one match suspension. O'Donnell shifts to the bench with Guerra holding his starting spot in the second row. Liu rejoins the squad in jersey #16, while at this stage it appears Napa and Kennedy are 18th and 19th men.
Skinny: Can't say I don't expect the Boyd Cordner talk to intensify as the week drags on... but he'd have to play ahead of Liu (who was harshly dropped for the 1st week of the Finals), Napa and Kennedy. Not 100% - I wouldn't play him this week and if he blew you away at training of Grand Final week - then yes pick him. Ankle injuries like that are prone to relapses as well. Guerra ahead of Aubusson I don't get because Aubusson has been sensational when starting and locking down the side he plays on. O'Donnell's impact off the bench will be significant - as with JWH back they finally get their prop rotation back in business.
 + Injured List: A Minichiello (Knee - Likely), R Tuivasa-Sheck (Ankle - Likely), M Kennedy (Leg - Likely), M Aubusson (Head - Likely), B Cordner (Ankle - Possibly).

NEW: D Boyd, J McManus, D Gagai, J Leilua, A Uate, J Mullen (c), T Roberts, D Fa'alogo, D Buderus, W Mason, R Rochow, B Scott, J Smith.
Bench: M Hilder, C Houston, N Costigan, A McKinnon.
 # Team Changes: Newcastle bring in James McManus which is surprising given he was supposedly ruled out of the World Cup last week after missing the Storm match. Kevin Naiqama is on standby again after doing a great job replacing McManus last week. Craig Gower travelled to Melbourne but didn't play and coach Wayne Bennett will have him on standby - at HALFBACK - for Tyrone Roberts who has a knee injury.
Skinny: James McManus has been awesome this year but an ankle in a moon boot says to me - play Naiqama. The other thing to consider is McManus will be marking RTS... so play Naiqama. If Roberts isn't 100% - Bennett has to put Gower on the bench for Costigan.
 + Injured List: J McManus (Ankle - Possibly), T Roberts (Knee - Likely), J Smith (Sternum - Likely), B Scott (Foot - Likely), D Buderus (Back - Likely), J Mullen (Ankle/Knee - Likely), D Fa'alogo (Knee - Likely), A Cuthbertson (Neck - Unlikely), C Gower (Neck - Possibly).