Kalyn Ponga has officially been ruled out of the Newcastle clash with the Roosters this week.

The decision comes after Newcastle medical officer Ameer Ibrahim revealed his increasing concerns over Ponga being “bashed”, “attacked” and “hit high regularly” by opposition players.

Ibrahim’s comments have led ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and new NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo to declare war on players illegally targeting Ponga.

The Daily Telegraph can also reveal Ibrahim was forced to urgently mend Ponga’s badly broken nose to avoid surgery in the Knights dressing room immediately after Friday night’s win over Cronulla.

“I do not like when a player is singled out because he is a star player,” V’landys said.

Check out all the teams below for Round 18.


Early Mail: Predicted changes for round 18

Casualty ward: NRL Physio’s full analysis

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >


Thursday, 10 September, Bankwest Stadium, Sydney, 7:50pm

Wests Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Joseph Leilua, 4. Adam Doueihi, 5. Asu Kepaoa, 6. Benji Marshall , 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Thomas Mikaele, 11.Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Alex Twal

Interchange: 14. Matthew Eisenhuth, 15. Elijah Taylor, 16. Jacob Liddle, 17. Sam McIntyre

Reserves: 18. Chris Lawrence, 19. Tommy Talau, 20. Josh Reynolds. 21. Russell Packer

Wests Tigers comment: It’s a settled Wests Tigers side with no changes to the 17 that played last week.

Rabbitohs: 1.Corey Allan, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Steven Marsters, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds (c), 8. Liam Knight, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Thomas Burgess, 11. Jaydn Su’A, 12. Bayley Sironen, 13. Cameron Murray

Interchange: 14.Mark Nicholls, 15. Jed Cartwright, 16. Patrick Mago, 17. Keaon Koloamatangi

Reserves: 18. Jaxson Paulo, 19. Ky Rodwell, 20. Troy Dargan 21. Cory Denniss

Rabbitohs comment: Dane Gagai is named to return – again. Gagai has been a late withdrawal for two weeks running but this should be the game he makes his return to the field. Jaxson Paulo is the player to make way with Gagai named on the wing and young centre Steven Marsters retained. Tevita Tatola is out replaced at prop by Liam Knight with Jed Cartwright coming on to the bench. Keaon Koloamatangi is named to play but will need to pass HIA protocols after being concussed against the Storm.


Friday 11 September, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, 6:00pm

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate, 2. Nick Meaney, 3. Reimis Smith, 4. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 5. Jayden Okunbor, 6. Jake Averillo, 7. Lachlan Lewis, 8. Ofahiki Ogden, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Aiden Tolman, 11. Josh Jackson (c), 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13. Luke Thompson

Interchange: 14. Brandon Wakeham, 15. Renouf To’omaga, 16. Matt Doorey, 17. Sauaso Sue

Reserves: 19. Dean Britt, 20. Tuipulotu Katoa, 21. Tim Lafai, 23. Chris Smith

Bulldogs comment: It’s a very different backline for the Dogs with winger Jayden Okunbor to make his NRL return after being embroiled in the schoolgirl sex scandal in the pre-season. Kieran Foran (pec) is out which sees Jake Averillo slot in at five-eighth. Marcelo Montoya is out with Reimis Smith named to start at centre. While the other centre slot is filled by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak at the expense of Kerrod Holland. Dylan Napa (knee) is a big loss and his absence shifts Aiden Tolman to prop with a promotion for Luke Thompson from bench to lock. Brandon Wakeham and Suaso Sue come on to the interchange bench.

Sea Eagles: 1. Tevita Funa 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper, 5. Abbas Miski 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Jack Gosiewski 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic

Interchange: 14. Lachlan Croker 15.Corey Waddell, 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka

Reserves: 18. Haumole Olakau’atu, 19. Luke Metcalf, 20. Morgan Boyle, 21. Ben Trbojevic

Sea Eagles comment: Backline dramas continue for the Sea Eagles with Josh Schuster (ankle) and Jorge Taufua (Achilles) out of the team. Albert Hopoate shifts from centre to wing to cover for Taufua and Cade Cust comes in at five-eighth for Schuster.


Friday 11 September, Panthers Stadium, Penrith, 7:55pm

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Josh Mansour, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Stephen Crichton, 5. Brain To’o, 6. Jarome Luai, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. James Tamou (C), 9. Api Koroisau, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Liam Martin, 13. Isaiah Yeo

Interchange: 14. Tyrone May, 15. Spencer Leniu, 16. Moses Leota, 17. Zane Tetevano

Reserves: 18. Mitch Kenny 19.Kurt Capewell, 20. Matt Burton, 21. Charlie Staines

Panthers comment: Nathan Yeo is back after missing last week due to concussion. Yeo returns to lock, pushing James Fisher-Harris to prop and Moses Leota to the bench and Kurt Capewell to the reserves.

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (c), 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Jai Field, 7. Mitch Moses, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Nathan Brown

Interchange: 14. Ray Stone, 15. Andrew Davey, 16. Kane Evans, 17. Oregon Kaufusi

Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster, 19. Stefano Utoikamanu, 20. Will Smith, 21. Samuel Hughes

Eels comment:


Saturday 12 September, WIN Stadium, Wollongong, 3:00pm

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty, 2. Jordan Pereira, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Zac Lomax, 5. Cody Ramsey, 6. Corey Norman, 7. Adam Clune , 8. Kaide Ellis, 9. Ben Hunt 10. Paul Vaughan , 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Jacob Host. 13. Cameron McInnes (c)

Interchange: 14. Billy Brittain, 15. Josh Kerr, 16. Blake Lawrie, 17. Jackson Ford

Reserves: 18. Eddie Blacker, 19. Tyrell Fuimaono, 20. Brayden Williame, 21. Max Feagai

Dragons comment: Dean Young will hand exciting rookie speedster Cody Ramsey his NRL debut in St George Illawarra’s match against Canberra on Saturday. With the Red V’s finals hopes all but gone, Young will blood Ramsey on the wing in place of Mikaele Ravalawa. Paul Vaughan (suspension) is a big inclusion and he will partner Kaide Ellis up front with last week’s starting props Blake Lawrie and Josh Kerr on the interchange bench. Tyrell Fuimaono is out.

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad, 2. Sami Valemei, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Jordan Rapana, 5. Nick Cotric , 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Tom Starling, 10. Ryan Sutton, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Joseph Tapine

Interchange: 14. Saliva Havili, 15. Dunamis Lui, 16. Hudson Young, 17. Corey Harawira-Naera

Reserves: 18. Sam Williams, 19. Matt Frawley, 20. Matthew Timoko, 21. Sia Soliola

Raiders comment: No change from the 17 that lost to the Roosters last week with Tom Starling to start at hooker and Josh Papalii named to start despite injuring his shoulder.


Saturday 12 September, Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast, 5:30pm

Titans: 1. AJ Brimson, 2. Anthony Don, 3. Beau Farmor, 4. Young Tonumaipea, 5. Corey Thompson, 6. Ashley Taylor, 7. Jamal Fogarty, 8. Jarrod Wallace, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Moeaki Fotuaika, 11. Sam Stone, 12. Keegan Hipgrave, 13. Tyrone Peachey

Interchange: 14. Erin Clark, 15. Jai Whitbread, 16. Jai Arrow, 17. Sam Lisone

Reserves: 18. Tanah Boyd, 19. Treymain Spry, 20. Darius Farmer, 21. Nathan Peats

Titans comment:

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 5. Richard Kennar, 6. Sean O’Sullivan, 7. Tom Dearden, 8. Rhys Kennedy, 9. Issac Luke, 10.Payne Haas, 11. David Fifita, 12. Alex Glenn, 13. Patrick Carrigan.

Interchange: 14. Cory Paix, 15. Ben Te’o, 16. Xavier Coates, 17. Joe Ofahengaue

Reserves: 18. Jesse Arthars, 19. Ethan Bullemor, 20. Brodie Croft, 21. Pride Petterson-Robati

Broncos comment:


Saturday 12 September, Sydney Cricket Ground, 7:35pm

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Brett Morris, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Kyle Flanagan, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9. Jake Friend (c), 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11. Boyd Cordner, 12. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Isaac Liu

Interchange: 14. Nat butcher, 15. Lindsay Collins, 16. Angus Crichton, 17. Sonny Bill Williams

Reserves: 18. Poasa Faamausili, 19. Mitchell Aubusson, 20. Freddy Lussick, 21. Ryan hall

Roosters comment:

Knights: 1. Tex Hoy, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Gehamat Shibasaki, 5. Starford To’a, 6. Mason Lino, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Kurt Mann, 10. Jacob Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Herman Ese’ese

Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Daniel Saifiti, 16. Josh King, 17. Brodie Jones

Reserves: 18. Sione Mata’utia, 19. Pasami Saulo, 20. Tautau Moga, 21. Chris Randall

Knights comment:


Sunday 13 September, Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast, 4:05pm

Storm: 1. Nicho Hynes, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Brenko Lee, 4.Justin Olam, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Tino Faasuamaleaui

Interchange: 14. Ryley Jacks, 15. Darryn Schonig, 16. Albert Vete, 17. Isaac Lumelume

Reserves: 18. Tom Eisenhuth, 19, Sandor Earl, 20. Tui Kamikamica, 21. Max King

Storm comment:

Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, 6. Scott Drinkwater, 7. Jake Clifford, 8. Francis Molo, 9. Reuben Cotter, 10. Jordan McLean (c), 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Mitchell Dunn, 13. Josh McGuire

Interchange: 14. Daejarn Asi, 15. John Asiata, 16. Tom Gilbert, 17. Corey Jensen

Reserves: 18. Shane Wright, 19. Jake Granville, 20. Ben Hampton, 21. Peter Hola

Cowboys comment:


Sunday 13 September, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney, 6:30pm

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy, 2. Sione Katoa, 3. Josh Dugan, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo, 6. Connor Tracey, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele, 9. Blayke Brailey, 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Siosifa Talakai, 13. Toby Rudolf

Interchange: 14. Teig Wilton, 15. Jack Williams, 16. Andrew Fifita, 17. Royce Hunt

Reserves: 18. Scott Sorensen, 19. Bryson Goodwin, 20. Braydon Trindall, 21. Billy Magoulias

Sharks comment: Shaun Johnson (groin/hamstring) is a huge inclusion. He replaces Chad Townsend (suspension) in the halves. Wade Graham (suspension) is replaced in the back row by Siosifa Talakai. Sione Katoa (sternum) returns on the wing pushing Bryson Goodwin to reserves.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2. Adam Pompey, 3. Hayze Perham, 4. Peta Hiku, 5. George Jennings, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7.Chanel Harris-Tavita, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Karl Lawton, 10. Isaiah Papali’i, 11. Jack Murchie, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Jazz Tevaga

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan, 15. Adam Blair, 16. Daniel Alvaro, 17. Lachlan Burr

Reserves: 18. Josh Curran, 20. Paul Turner, 21. Tom Ale, 22. Gerard Beale

Warriors comment: The Warriors have secured a deal with the Eels meaning loan pair George Jennings and Daniel Alvaro return. Jennings replaces Gerard Beale on the wing, Alvaro replaces Josh Curran on the bench. Isaiah Papali’i starts at prop with Lachlan Burr reverting to the interchange.


By admin