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Luke Lewis finally back for Sharks in NRL

Test forward Luke Lewis has been asked to deputise for injured playmaker Todd Carney in his long-awaited NRL comeback for Cronulla against Parramatta on Monday night.
Luke Lewis finally back for Sharks in NRL
by AAP

By Darren Walton

SYDNEY, May 6 AAP - Test forward Luke Lewis has been asked to deputise for injured playmaker Todd Carney in his long-awaited NRL comeback for Cronulla against Parramatta on Monday night.

Lewis hasn't played since crashing into advertising hoardings during Australia's triumphant World Cup campaign last November in England.

But far from easing his way back, the NSW State of Origin star will line up at five-eighth at Pirtek Stadium, with Carney nursing a hamstring strain.

The Sharks will also be without hard-running prop Sam Tagataese, who will miss one game after being sent off in Samoa's Test win over Fiji on Saturday night.

Cronulla's injury and suspension concerns are nothing compared to Manly's woes.

The Sea Eagles are not only missing skipper Jamie Lyon, five-eighth Kieran Foran and strike forward Glenn Stewart, but also have halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and back-rower Anthony Watmough in doubt for Saturday's showdown with the Storm in Melbourne.

Coach Geoff Toovey is hopeful both will play, but has placed former Origin forward Jamie Buhrer on standby to cover for Foran, with one-game rookie Jack Littlejohn set to replace Cherry-Evans if the Test playmaker fails to fully recover from a calf strain.

Buhrer's one and only previous NRL game at five-eighth came three years ago opposing the great Darren Lockyer in his farewell game for Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.

"I think I topped the hit-up count, so that's probably how I'd play if I had to do it again," Buhrer said on Tuesday.

"Obviously my role wouldn't be to be Daly Cherry-Evans. If I was thrust into the halves, it'd just be about playing some simple footy.

"We'd have Jack Littlejohn there to do the majority of the kicking so it'd be more about shoring up one side defensively, running when I have to and passing when I have to."

Fullback Brett Stewart will captain the depleted Eagles for the first time.

Despite fears he might be sidelined for an extended period with a shoulder injury, Blues five-eighth James Maloney has been named for the Sydney Roosters' clash with Wests Tigers at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.

If he starts, Maloney will line up opposite youngster Blake Austin, who has been named as Tigers five-eighth in Braith Anasta's absence.

Konrad Hurrell will start for the Warriors in Saturday's clash with Canberra in Auckland, with coach Andrew McFadden ignoring the distraction of the 22-year-old centre's leaked sex video.

The NRL Integrity Unit is investigating the video, which reportedly depicts Hurrell engaged in a sex act while driving.

In other key selections, NSW winger Akuila Uate returns from a leg injury for Newcastle's hosting of Penrith on Sunday.

Panthers prop Tim Grant will miss the match after straining his calf at training.

St George Illawarra trio Josh Dugan, Tyson Frizell and Trent Merrin have all been named in the Dragons' side to face Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on Sunday despite withdrawing from last weekend's City-Country clash.

But Kiwi international winger Jason Nightingale is definitely out for the Dragons.

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright has named Albert Kelly and Aidan Sezer despite injury concerns over both while Will Zillman will return from injury in the centres with David Mead retaining the fullback spot.




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