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Barba not named for Canterbury

Ben Barba has not been named to make his return from an ankle injury, with the cloud of uncertainty hanging over Canterbury and the star fullback threatening to cruel the club's NRL finals campaign.
Barba not named for Canterbury
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic and Laine Clark

SYDNEY, Sept 3 AAP - Ben Barba has not been named to make his return from an ankle injury, with the cloud of uncertainty hanging over Canterbury and the star fullback threatening to cruel the club's NRL finals campaign.

Barba had been expected to return against Brisbane on Thursday night from an injury, sustained six weeks ago against Parramatta, in what shaped as the final tune-up ahead of the finals.

But prop Sam Kasiano was the only addition to the side which beat Penrith last Saturday - with no word on whether Barba had been overlooked due to his ankle or the scrutiny placed on his early-season suspension.

The NRL integrity unit has been called in to review the Bulldogs' actions in standing Barba down back in February, following weekend newspaper reports in which the Dally M medal winner was alleged to have punched a woman in the face the day before he was suspended.

The absence of skipper Kurt Gidley with a foot injury is set to make Danny Buderus' Newcastle farewell a slightly longer one - the veteran hooker set for an increased role against Parramatta on Sunday.

Depending on other results before they play, the Knights might have to win to make the finals.

And while 80 minutes might be a bit too far a stretch, Buderus was committed to doing what he could to help the Knights into the finals.

"I don't have to hold anything back - this is my last hurrah," the retiring Buderus said.

"I'll do anything for the team leading into the run home ... if that means playing as many minutes as we can, so be it.

"We haven't got too many hookers in the club at the moment - we'll have to manufacture something."

Co-captain Jarryd Hayne was not named for the Eels, but he said on Monday night he held out some hope of playing in the final-round encounter.

Gold Coast prop Nate Myles was named but remains under a cloud after injuring his ankle, the Titans needing to beat Melbourne and hope other results go their way to make the top eight.

North Queensland will be without Test prop Matt Scott against Wests Tigers on Saturday night due to a broken middle finger which was surgically repaired on Monday.

His place has been taken by Scott Bolton.

"It's quite a nasty fracture, low down in the finger," coach Neil Henry said.

"The prognosis at the moment is three weeks will be the minimum.

"He's no chance this week and a low chance for the first week of the finals if we get that far.

"Hopefully we are still in there with a chance (when he returns)."

Manly will be without Brett Stewart (hamstring) and Anthony Watmough (knee) for Sunday's home game against Penrith, while Canberra will hand a debut to under 20s halfback Mitch Cornish against Cronulla pending salary cap approval from the NRL.


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