French international Remi Casty will make his debut for the Sydney Roosters after an injury-riddled start to his career in Australia.
Casty hasn’t played for the club since February’s World Club Challenge victory against Wigan after sustaining two separate injuries, but the former Catalans Dragons forward will start on the bench in Friday’s clash against the Bulldogs.
“I’m very happy I am going to play for Roosters in the NRL,” Casty said. “I’m very pumped and I want to bring some energy to the team. This time I stay quiet and I’m waiting for the game because the first two injuries were unlucky. Maybe because my family and friends are far away, there was a lot of frustration when I’m injured. But now I’m OK. I’m very happy.”
With Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson with the Blues on Origin duty, Reni Maitua and Moses Mbye are the new halves pairing for the Bulldogs, while Krisnan Inu replaces Josh Morris, and Chase Stanley moves to the centres.
Beau Henry will join Albert Kelly in the halves for Gold Coast’s match against the Warriors on Saturday. Regular five-eighth Aidan Sezer is likely to miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury.
In the absence of Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston, prop Ashton Sims will captain the Cowboys for the first time when they travel to Canberra on Sunday.
Sims was chosen a fortnight ago as skipper of the Fiji Test team against Samoa.
“I was just saying before that in the last month two of the biggest things in my footy career have happened but captaining the Cowboys supersedes everything,” Sims said.
“This means everything to me. I’m really happy and humble that the coaching staff have chosen me to lead these men into battle.”
Curtis Rona, Ray Thompson and Jason Taumalolo are carrying injuries but all trained with the team on Thursday and are expected to play.
For the Raiders, Mitchell Cornish will make his debut on the bench.
The Rabbitohs welcome back Nathan Merritt from the NSW Cup, who will line up at fullback in the absence of Greg Inglis on Origin duty.
The Sharks are already without Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis on Origin duty but are also expecting to be missing Todd Carney, Beau Ryan, Anthony Tupou and Andrew Fifita through injury.
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