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18 Nov 2017 17:37
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Beale in for Holmes in Sharks NRL opener

    Cronulla captain Paul Gallen says Valentine Holmes won't recover from a hamstring injury in time for Thursday's NRL season opener against Brisbane.

    - article from

    Cronulla's top fullback candidate Valentine Holmes is unlikely to play in Thursday's NRL season-opener against Brisbane despite being named on Tuesday.

    In a revamped team-list Tuesday for 2017, club coaches have been asked to name a 21-man squad before trimming their line-ups to 19 the day before the game.

    Holmes's pre-season has been hampered by a hamstring complaint but has been named by coach Shane Flanagan on the end of his extended bench and will be replaced by Gerard Beale.

    Rookie Jayden Brailey won the hotly contested No.9 jumper, with utility Fa'amanu Brown on the bench with Daniel Mortimer in the extended squad.

    "(Holmes is) keen to play, he's telling everyone he's playing but our medical staff will probably give him the week off," Flanagan said on Tuesday.

    "He should be right for Canberra (round two). It's one of those things the hamstring. With an athlete like Val, he does a lot of high-speed running. We need to make sure that he is 100 per cent right, not 95.

    "Some of the other players in the team, they mightn't reach high speeds too often, but Val is going to 20 or 30 times per game. We need to make sure he is 100 per cent right."

    North Queensland have included Antonio Winterstein despite the winger picking up an ankle injury during the trials, with Kalyn Ponga and Gideon Gela-Mosby on an extended bench.

    St George-Illawarra veteran Josh McCrone received the nod ahead of rookie Jai Field.

    New faces Brian Kelly and Akuila Uate have been named in a new-look backline, as has centre Brenko Lee at Canterbury, where Kerrod Holland starts on the wing.

    Wests Tigers rake Matt Ballin has fallen short in his bid to come back from a major knee reconstruction, with Matt McIlwrick named in the No.9 jumper and Jamal Idris in the centres.

    Ballin, however, will return to action off the bench in reserve grade.

    At South Sydney, journeyman Luke Kelly deputises for the injured Adam Reynolds, while Zane Musgrove is the surprise starter over George Burgess, who's been named No.20.

    Robbie Farah is in the run-on side and Damien Cook is on the bench with rookie Braidon Burns and controversial returnee Anthony Cherrington.

    Tautau Moga is in the centres for Brisbane, who have experienced signing David Mead in a 21-man squad that doesn't include injured former international Benji Marshall.

    For Melbourne, Young Tonumaipea will wear the No.1 jumper over the shelved Billy Slater, with Cameron Munster at six, and shock selection Felise Kaufusi in the second row.

    Rookie Brodie Croft is in the 17.

    Regular second-rower Elliott Whitehead has been named in the centres in place of injured skipper Jarrod Croker, with Iosaia Soliola on the flanks and Luke Bateman at lock.

    Newcastle have selected youngster Dylan Phythian at fullback alongside two rookies in Sam Stone and Luke Yates on a bench that includes No.21 Anthony Tupou.

    At Parramatta, Kaysa Pritchard is the shock selection at No.9, with Cameron King in the extended squad and veteran Isaac De Gois not named.


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