Roosters make brutal Brandon Smith call

2024 Men's State of Origin - NSW v QLD: Game 1
Nicho Hynes has one final chance to convince Michael Maguire he should keep his Blues jersey, with the Sharks star one of several NSW players to return this week. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The Roosters have made a strong statement about their standards with Brandon Smith dropped for disciplinary reasons after he failed to attend a team meeting during the team’s bye week.

Smith thought that he’d be sacked for missing the review, but instead he will miss Saturday night’s game against the Eels, with Connor Watson returning from a throat injury to start at hooker.

Sydney Roosters training vision
Brandon Smith won’t play this weekend after he was dropped for missing a team meeting. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“It was dumb by me,” Smith told The Bye Round podcast.

“You check your schedule before you sleep. But I was thinking on a normal game, you go to sleep and you have a day off after a game.

“A lot of rumours go up and about because I got a breach. I was starting to think I was going to get sacked, myself.

“It’s a warning but also a fine. I don’t know if I pay anything, it’s suspended. If I get that second breach then I pay that fine. But you don’t want a second breach.

They face an Eels side that welcome back Maika Sivo from a hamstring strain, with Maroons rookie J’maine Hopgood named despite playing on Monday with a nerve problem in his back.

Origin Team
Dylan Edwards will start at fullback for the Panthers in a bid to win back his Blues jersey which was taken away from him due to injury. Picture: Jonathan Ng

There is good news for Blues coach Michael Maguire everywhere he looks with Dylan Edwards named to return from the quad injury that robbed him of a State of Origin debut.

Panthers teammate Liam Martin has also been named on an extended bench for the trip to Newcastle after he was spotted in a moon boot last week, while NSW hopeful Bradman Best makes his return from injury for the Knights.

Blues halfback Nicho Hynes is back on deck for the Sharks for their game against the Dolphins after he was rested from the trip to Brisbane to allow his calf to heal.

He’ll partner Braydon Trindall who has kept his spot in the halves over Daniel Atkinson who has done a terrific job for Cronulla this year.

Maguire will also get a look at South Sydney skipper Cam Murray who is back from the hip flexor injury that has kept him sidelined for more than a month. Murray will start off the bench in a bid to force his way back into the Blues side.

The Sea Eagles have named Haumole Olakau’atu after he limped off with a calf concern last week and didn’t return, but it was only minor which means he gets another chance to convince Maguire that he should be retained for game two.

His inclusion is a boost for Manly given prop Josh Aloiai is suspended and will miss the Sunday showdown against the resurgent Dragons.

NRL Rd 14 -  Dragons v Tigers
The desperate Wests Tigers have named Api Koroisau at halfback. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Rookie coach Benji Marshall has made a big call to move skipper Api Koroisau from hooker into the halves alongside Aidan Sezer who is back from suspension.

Lachlan Galvin (hand) and Jayden Sullivan (hand) will miss the game against the Titans, with young gun Tallyn Da Silva to start at dummy-half as they look to avoid 10 losses on the trot.

And the Warriors are just about back to full health with star halfback Shaun Johnson returning from injury to partner Te Maire Martin in the halves, while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is expected to miss one more week despite being named in the reserves.

They host a Storm side missing Reimis Smith who is in concussion protocols following a late head knock in the win over the Knights. He’s been replaced by Dean Ieremia, with Ryan Papenhuyzen a chance of returning next week.