NRL Teams: Bennett, Arthur wield the axe

Brisbane will stick with star recruit Jack Bird in the halves despite coach Wayne Bennett repeatedly publicly guaranteeing Kodi Nikorima the No.7 jersey for the rest of the NRL season.

Bird trained alongside Anthony Milford in the Broncos' scrumbase on Tuesday at Red Hill, and the pair were named together for Friday night's clash with Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium, with Nikorima on the bench.

In the absence of Nikorima due to a thigh injury, Bird and Milford sparked the Broncos on the weekend as they inflicted the Warriors' first loss of the year.

Bennett was one of several coaches to make crucial changes for round-seven matches, as a number of teams outside the top eight lost patience with players after the opening rounds.

Parramatta have rushed Jarryd Hayne back from injury for Sunday's clash with Manly, for the high-profile Bevan French.

French is struggling to overcome a shoulder injury, but he was disappointing in Saturday night's loss to Canberra where he had just one run for 15 metres.

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French had a poor showing against the Raiders. Pic: Getty

Beau Scott and Kaysa Prichard have also been dropped by coach Brad Arthur after their worst start to a season since 1991, while a rib injury has sidelined outside back Kirisome Auva'a.

Kiwi prop Jared Waerea-Hargeaves has been punted to the bench for Thursday night's date with Canterbury, despite Sio Siua Taukieaho's knee injury at the Sydney Roosters after last week's carve-up through the middle at the hands of South Sydney.

Brock Lamb is also missing from Newcastle's bench for their match against the Wests Tigers, with Bulldogs-bound Jack Cogger called up for his first game of the season.

But the most notable of all those calls is Brisbane's move to drop Kiwi international Nikorima back to the bench, after he and Milford had failed to register a try assist in the first five rounds.

"Birdy went really well (against the Warriors) and it's going to be a really hard decision for the coach," back-rower Alex Glenn said on Tuesday morning.

"With two great selections there, it's great for us.

"We had the same dilemma last year with Benji Marshall as well. It adds strike to our team having three great halves."

Elsewhere, Josh Reynolds is out again for the Tigers with a shoulder injury, while Souths' Cameron Murray is in doubt with a hamstring issue for their match against Canberra..

Cronulla have named Andrew Fifita and Luke Lewis (both knee injuries) for their clash with Penrith, who will welcome Dallin Watene-Zelezniak back early from a broken jaw to replace Josh Mansour (cheekbone).

Jackson Hastings hasn't been named at Manly, just a day after reports that the Sea Eagles' playing group had told coach Trent Barrett they didn't want to play alongside him.

Hastings missed last week's loss to the Tigers with an achilles injury, while captain Daly Cherry-Evans admitted after the match they'd had a "lover's tiff".


NRL TEAMS

BULLDOGS v ROOSTERS

Thursday, 19th April, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium

Bulldogs: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Jeremy Marshall-King, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Adam Elliott Interchange: 14 Asipeli Fine, 15 Danny Fualalo, 16 Greg Eastwood, 17 Kerrod Holland Reserves: 18 John Olive, 19 Rhyse Martin, 20 Renouf Toomaga, 21 Matthew Frawley

Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Zane Tetevano, 9 Jake Friend (c) 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu Interchange: 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 16 Nat Butcher, 17 Victor Radley Reserves: 18 Sitili Tupouniua, 19 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 20 Kurt Baptiste, 21 Reece Robinson

WARRIORS v DRAGONS

Friday, 20th April, 6:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 15 Sam Lisone, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair Interchange: 8 Bunty Afoa 14 Jazz Tevaga, 16 Albert Vete, 17 Anthony Gelling Reserves: 18 Chris Satae, 19 Mason Lino, 20 Isaiah Papali’i, 21 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Dragons: 1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin Interchange: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Hame Sele Reserves: 18 Jacob Host, 19 Zachary Lomax, 20 Mitchell Allgood, 21 Blake Lawrie

BRONCOS v STORM

Friday, 20th April, 7:55pm, Suncorp Stadium

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 18 Tom Opacic, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Jack Bird, 7 Anthony Milford, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Tevita Pangai jnr, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Korbin Sims, 13 Josh McGuire

Interchange: 14 Sam Thaiday, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Kodi Nikorima, 17 Jaydn Su’a

Reserves: 18 Jonus Pearson, 19 Troy Dargan, 20 Sam Tagataese, 21 Payne Haas

Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Ryley Jacks, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Tim Glasby

Interchange: 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Kenny Bromwich, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano

Reserves: 18 Young Tonumaipea, 19 Joe Stimson, 20 Patrick Kaufusi, 21 Brodie Croft

RABBITOHS v RAIDERS

Saturday, 21st April, 3:00pm, GIO Stadium

Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Greg Inglis (c), 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Sam Burgess

Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Tevita Tatola

Reserves: 18 Robbie Farah, 19 Hymel Hunt, 20 Cameron Murray, 21 Kyle Turner

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Luke Bateman

Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Shannon Boyd, 16 Josh Papalii, 17 Dunamis Lui

Reserves: 18 Liam Knight, 19 Michael Oldfield, 20 Brad Abbey, 21 Jack Murchie

TIGERS v KNIGHTS

Saturday, 21st April, 5:30pm, Scully Park, Tamworth

Tigers: 1 Corey Thompson, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Benji Marshall (c), 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Matthew Eisenhuth, 9 Jacob Liddle, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Josh Aloiai, 12 Robbie Rochow, 13 Elijah Taylor (c)

Interchange: 14 Pita Godinet, 15 Alex Twal, 16 Michael Chee-Kam, 17 Sauaso Sue

Reserves: 18 Tim Grant, 19 Chris McQueen, 20 Tyson Gamble, 21 Tuimoala Lolohea

Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Ken Sio, 6 Jack Cogger, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Jacob Lillyman, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Mitchell Barnett

Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Jacob Saifiti

Reserves: 18 Daniel Saifiti, 19 Josh King, 20 Luke Yates, 21 Cory Denniss

COWBOYS v TITANS

Saturday, 21st April, 7:30pm, 1300 Smiles Stadium

Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Ben Hampton, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange: 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 John Asiata, 16 Corey Jensen, 17 Ethan Lowe

Reserves: 18 Francis Molo, 19 Javid Bowen, 20 Enari Tuala, 21 Sam Hoare

Titans: 1 Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Phillip Sami, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Tyronne Roberts-Davis, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Mitch Rein, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Will Matthews, 13 Jai Arrow

Interchange: 14 Max King, 15 Bryce Cartwright, 16 Jack Stockwell, 17 Keegan Hipgrave

Reserves: 18 Morgan Boyle, 19 Ryan Simpkins, 20 Brenko Lee, 21 Brendan Elliot

EELS v SEA EAGLES

Saturday, 22nd April, 2:00pm, ANZ Stadium

Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson, 2 Jarryd Hayne, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Kane Evans, 9 Cameron King, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tony Williams, 13 Peni Terepo

Interchange: 14 Will Smith, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 David Gower, 17 Daniel Alvaro

Reserves: 18 Beau Scott, 19 Josh Hoffman, 20 Suaia Matagi, 21 Marata Niukore

Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Brad Parker, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Jack Gosiewski, 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange: 14 Matthew Wright, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Taniela Paseka

Reserves: 18 Jonathan Wright, 19 Lewis Brown, 20 Frank Winterstein, 21 Toafofoa Sipley

SHARKS v PANTHERS

Sunday, 23rd April, 4:00pm, Southern Cross Group Stadium

Sharks: 1 Josh Dugan, 2 Edrick Lee, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Valentine Holmes, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis (c), 12 Kurt Capewell, 13 Joseph Paulo

Interchange: 14 Scott Sorensen, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Avagalu Seumanufagai, 17 Kurt Dillion

Reserves: 18 Jack Williams, 19 Trent Hodkinson, 20 Wade Graham (c), 21 Braden Uele

Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3 Corey Harawira-Naera, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Christian Crichton, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris

Interchange: 14 Sione Katoa, 15 Kaide Ellis, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Tamou

Reserves: 18 Wayde Egan, 19 Nick Lui-Toso, 20 Thomas Eisenhuth, 21 Jack Hetherington

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