NRL preliminary finals teams 2020: Campbell Graham to miss with groin injury

Wayne Bennett has dropped an injury bombshell on the eve of Saturday’s blockbuster preliminary final against Penrith.

South Sydney’s in-form centre Campbell Graham has been ruled out with a groin injury.

It opens the door for Jed Cartwright to get his call-up into the starting side against his former club, with Hame Sele coming onto the bench.

Campbell Graham has been ruled out. Picture: Phil HillyardSource:News Corp Australia

It’s a big blow for the Bunnies but coach Bennett has a big rap on Cartwright and is confident he will do a good job against his former club.

Cartwright, 23, is the son of former Penrith star John and only joined the Rabbitohs midseason after making his NRL debut for the Panthers last year.

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FULL TEAMS

Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders

Fri October 16 2020, 7:50pm at Suncorp Stadium

Melbourne Storm

1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 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 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nicholas Hynes 18. Dale Finucane 19. Paul Momirovski 20. Ryley Jacks 21. Chris Lewis

Analysis: Cameron Munster (knee) retains his spot despite an injury scare. Dale Finucane (calf) is also a huge chance after being named on the extended bench. Tom Eisenhuth replaces Chris Lewis on the bench in the only change to the 17.

Dale Finucane (front) and Storm players run in a beep test exercise.Source:AAP

Canberra Raiders

1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Semi Valemi 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jordan Rapana 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Tom Starling 10. Iosia Soliola 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Siliva Havili 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Hudson Young 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. Sam Williams 19. Matthew Timoko 20. Ryan Sutton 21. Michael Oldfield

Analysis: Same 17 players. Ryan Sutton (knee) has been included in reserves despite fears his season was over.

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Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Sat October 17 2020, 7:50pm at ANZ Stadium

Penrith Panthers

1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Zane Tetevano 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Dean Whare 20. Matt Burton 21. Jack Hetherington

Analysis: Kurt Capewell starts for Viliame Kikau (suspension). Spencer Leniu joins the bench.

Viliame Kikau is out through suspension. Picture: Brett CostelloSource:News Corp Australia

South Sydney Rabbitohs

1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 16. Jed Cartwright 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Liam Knight 17. Keaon Koloamatangi 18. Steven Marsters 19. Hame Sele 20. Troy Dargan 21. Patrick Mago

Analysis: Campbell Graham comes out with a groin injury, and Jed Cartwright comes on to face his old team. Hame Sele moves onto the bench.

ORIGIN GUNS FIRM FOR STORM

Melbourne Storm star Dale Finucane is bullish about being cleared to face Canberra Raiders in Friday night’s preliminary final despite missing nine weeks with a torn calf.

Finucane completed a modified session, including some contact, on Monday. He has been named on an extended bench.

Premiership lock Finucane was on track to get back a fortnight ago but a calf relapse thwarted those plans.

Dale Finucane training on the Sunshine Coast.Source:News Regional Media

“I only really kicked on a little bit towards the back end of last week, what I was able to do on the field and specific football-related things at training,” Finucane said.

“I only made a progression onto that Sunday, I did some contact stuff this morning and I’ll try and integrate completely with the team.

“Once I get through all those things it will give me a lot more confidence, I’m optimistic and confident I’ll be involved in the game.”

Finucane pinged the calf just days after the Round 14 win over Sydney Roosters.

The risk of coming back too soon and potentially missing out on a grand final, should Storm get by the Raiders at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, does not faze the Origin lock.

“Nothing is in concrete,” Finucane said.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be a lot more volume, the most volume I’ve done the past few weeks, it will all be dependent on how I get through that work whether or not I play.

“I got through a contact component of training today (Monday) … I didn’t have any issues with any of the contact or running the ball and getting tackled.

“The biggest thing for me, obviously, would be the load, or the lack of running I haven’t done.”

Despite the setback, Finucane, a noted workhorse in the gym, has managed to stay match fit with cardio-focused weights circuits as well as time spent on a grinder, bike and rowing machine.

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The relapse on the eve of the finals only sharpened Finucane’s focus to work harder.

“I was never really putting a time frame on (the injury) myself,” Finucane said.

“My main thinking or mentality of it was if I do all my rehab right, icing and compressions, do everything right then that (comeback) will take care of itself.

“Obviously, it is out of my control what happens (at selection) … hopefully I get through all my tests this week and I’ll be OK to play.”

Melbourne Storm’s Dale Finucane training at Sunshine Coast Stadium.Source:News Regional Media

Finucane joined the chorus of Storm personnel backing captain Cameron Smith’s public silence about his future.

“He’s still thriving,” Finucane said.

“It’s not as if he’s someone on the way out in terms of his playing ability.

“He’s earned the right to do whatever he likes in terms of the time he takes to make his decision.”

— Gilbert Gardiner

MUNSTER IN NO DOUBT DESPITE KNEE DRAMA

Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster is in “no doubt” of playing in Friday’s preliminary final against the Raiders in a do-or-die clash for a spot in this year’s grand final.

Munster has been nursing a minor knee injury for the past week – suffered in their 36-24 qualifying final win over Parramatta.

It was feared his season was over when he limped off in the 70th minute of the match, throwing away his mouthguard in frustration as he made his way to the sideline.

However, Storm officials are confident their five-eighth is fit enough to take on the Canberra Raiders in Friday’s blockbuster clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Cameron Munster left the field after appearing to suffer yet another serious knee injury. Picture: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

DOWNLOAD YOUR NRL TEAM’S FINALS POSTER TODAY

Melbourne football manager Frank Ponissi confirmed the news on Sunday, revealing Munster will return to full contact training this week.

“(Munster) is expected to fully train with the team,” Ponissi said.

“There are no doubts on him whatsoever”.

Melbourne’s week off has come as a huge advantage, allowing players such as Munster and Fijian winger Suliasi Vunivalu to freshen up from niggling injuries.

It sets up for an enticing blockbuster against the Raiders in a rematch of last year’s semi-final clash where the Green Machine overcame Melbourne to book a spot in the grand final.

However, Munster’s return this week is no clear indication whether he will don a Maroons jersey in this year’s Origin series.

As revealed by The Courier-Mail on Friday, Munster could be the eighth Queensland player to be rubbed out of this year’s series through injury.

It comes as Michael Morgan, Kyle Feldt, David Fifita, Moses Mbye, Corey Oates and Ash Taylor have all been scratched from the Maroons train-on squad because of injury.

Munster’s likely return is a huge boost for the Storm, who will need all hands on deck if they are to make the 2020 Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Ponissi last week said the club would give Munster the green light to play Origin but conceded he needed a break.

“If he needed surgery or playing on was risking further injury then we would definitely be having a discussion with him,” he said.

“But the medical staff are very happy for him (to play Origin).

“The ligaments are fine but there’s a little bursa behind the knee and when he gets a whack on the knee it gets swollen. He needs a good rest and to rehab it and he’s not going to get that until after Origin.”

— Chris Honnery

Originally published asRabbitohs star to miss prelim clash with groin injury

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