NRL Late Mail Round 1 2023: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ruled out, Klese Haas a last-minute cheapie

The Warriors have suffered a late blow, with a star back ruled out, while an injury crisis at the Titans has created a huge opportunity for an unknown KFC SuperCoach cheapie.

Queensland Origin hopeful Beau Fermor has been dealt a crushing blow after suffering a likely season-ending knee injury.

Fermor is set to miss the entire 2023 NRL season after rupturing his ACL at a Gold Coast Titans training session this week.

Fermor, 24, was in tremendous shape and primed for a big season, recently revealing he had a goal of playing State of Origin this year.

Fermor was part of Queensland’s extended squads last year and had been earmarked by Maroons coach Billy Slater as an Origin player of the future.

But his dream is likely to be put on hold until next year as he awaits a specialist’s opinion after scans confirmed the ACL rupture, which generally has a 9-12 month recovery following surgery.

It’s Fermor’s second ACL injury after he suffered a similar injury in 2019 while with the Newcastle Knights.

Fermor has been ruled out of Sunday night’s NRL season-opener against the Wests Tigers, with Klese Haas and Sam McIntyre in the frame to replace him.

Haas becomes a last-minute KFC SuperCoach cheapie option at $234,800.


Penrith recruit Luke Garner was a popular pick in KFC SuperCoach NRL all pre-season.

A less than stellar run in the World Club Challenge saw Garner ownership plunge, but that may be a mistake.

If Garner were guaranteed eighty minutes on the lethal left edge of the Panthers then he’s a steal at $435,100.

Team List Tuesday provided a huge hint that this might occur when Zac Hosking was named 18th man rather than on the interchange bench.

The Panthers play at 8:05pm Friday. Check back here an hour before kick-off, and provided Hosking is not a late inclusion, Garner would be a great addition to your squad.


From the loss of Luke Thompson (foot) emerges the story of a rookie Bulldog who Canterbury officials have high hopes for. 

Jayden Tanner, a 22-year-old prop, is a SuperCoach cheapie that the Bulldogs coaching staff believe could develop into a 100-game NRL player. 

He will make his NRL debut against Manly on Saturday. 

Tanner, who has progressed through the lower grades of the Sharks and the Panthers’ NSW Cup team before joining the Dogs, has a junior representative resume that suggests a bright future. 

Tough and hardworking, Tanner won the coaches award for the Sharks 2018 SG Ball season. 

It was in the same year that the former Patrician Brothers Blacktown talent was chosen in the Australian Schoolboys squad that included NRL players Stephen Crichton, Tom Dearden, Jason Saab, Tommy Talau, Bronson Xerri, Tesi Niu, Bradman Best and Matt Doorey. 

Meanwhile, officials are hopeful Thompson will avoid surgery after fears the star Canterbury prop would miss the season.

Thompson could now be sidelined for just two months after scans revealed the Englishman may not have to undergo an operation to repair his injured foot.

If the injury heals as hoped, Thompson may now only be sidelined for the opening six to eight matches.

The news has huge implications for KFC SuperCoaches, who have loaded up on Franklin Pele at 25 per cent ownership on the assumption Thompson was out long-term.

Stay tuned for full Late Mail at lunchtime Thursday.


Saturday 4 March, 4 Pines Park, 3:00pm

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cooper Johns 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Sean Keppie

Bench: 14. Kaeo Weekes 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Josh Aloiai

Reserves: 18. Toafofoa Sipley, 22. Gordon Chan Kum Tong

Players cut: 19. Ben Condon, 20. Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega, 21. Morgan Harper

Late Mail: No changes with Tom Trbojevic (hamstring) is confirmed to return.

Bulldogs: 1. Hayze Perham 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Jake Averillo 4. Paul Alamoti 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Max King 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Ryan Sutton 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Fa’amanu Brown

Bench: 14. Jayden Tanner 15. Corey Waddell 16. Franklin Pele 17. Jacob Preston

Reserves: 19. Braidon Burns, 23. Jayden Okunbor

Players cut: 20. Josh Reynolds, 21. Andrew Davey, 22. Jackson Topine

Late Mail: The injuries to Luke Thompson and Tevita Pangai Jnr have left the Bulldogs very short on middle forwards to begin the season.

It’s opened up an NRL debut for Jayden Tanner, but it’s two other SuperCoach cheapies who are the big winners in regards to minutes.

Franklin Pele will be forced to play greater time, while Jacob Preston will feature for significant periods on the edge.

Expect Raymond Faitala-Mariner to spend ample time in the middle of the field, he may even start at lock, with Nu Brown benched and Preston starting on the edge.


Saturday 4 March, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, 5:30pm

Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Coen Hess 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo

Bench: 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. James Tamou

Reserves: 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Riley Price

Players cut: 20. Tom Chester 21 Gehamat Shibasaki 22. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki

Late Mail: No changes expected to the Cowboys’ very settled 17, with Coen Hess to make the move back to the edge outside Tom Dearden.


Raiders: 1. Sebastian Kris 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Pasami Saulo 9. Danny Levi 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Corey Harawira-Naera

Bench: 14. Tom Starling 15. Ata Mariota 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Emre Guler

Reserves: 18 Albert Hopoate 19 Matt frawley

Players cut: 20 Zac Woolford 21. Trey Mooney 22 Peter Hola

Late Mail: With Josh Papali’i out, Pasami Saulo has been named to start at prop, while Corey Harawira-Naera has been named at lock.

Come game day, both Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler may replace that pairing in the starting line-up.

Seb Kris will get first crack at replacing Xavier Savage at fullback, with Jordan Rapana on the wing.


Saturday 4 March, PointsBet Stadium, 7:35pm

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Siosifa Talakai 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Matt Moylan 7. Braydon Trindall 8. Toby Rudolf 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Braden Hamlin-Uele 11. Briton Nikora 12. Teig Wilton 13. Dale Finucane

Bench: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Wade Graham 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Jack Williams

Reserves: 19. Mawene Hiroti 20. Thomas Hazelton

Players cut: 18. Connor Tracey, 21. Jayden Berrell 22. Niwhai Puru

Late Mail: Another settled line-up with no changes expected. Braydon Trindall will replace the injured Nicho Hynes at halfback and also take over the goal-kicking duties.

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Tom Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray.

Bench: 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Michael Chee-Kam 16. Davvy Moale 17. Shaq Mitchell

Reserves: 18. Jed Cartwright, 21. Daniel Suluka-Fifita

Players cut: 19. Terrell Kalo Kalo 20. Ben Lovett, 22. Josiah Karapani

Late Mail: No changes expected to the Rabbitohs line-up. Jai Arrow may spend some time in the middle with Hame Sele and Siliva Havili both unavailable due to injury.


Sunday 5 March, Suncorp Stadium, 4.05pm

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Brenko Lee 5. Tesi Niu 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Tom Gilbert 14. Herman Ese’ese 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Kurt Donoghoe 18. Connelly Lemuelu 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Mason Teague 21. Anthony Milford 22. Robert Jennings

Late Mail: No changes expected to the 17 named on Tuesday.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph Suaalii 4. Corey Allan 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Brandon Smith 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Egan Butcher 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Naufahu Whyte 17. Terrell May 18. Jake Turpin 19. Tuku Hau Tapuha 20. Sandon Smith 21. Siua Wong 22. Junior Pauga

Late Mail: Jaxson Paulo is expected to run out at centre despite being named on the wing, with Corey Allan shifting to the wing.

Jake Turpin is a chance to replace Drew Hutchinson on the bench.

Luke Keary is in some doubt after another pre-season head knock, however he is expected to face the Dolphins, lining up on the left edge as per the late change last season.


Sunday 5 March, Leichhardt Oval, 6:15pm

Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Tommy Talau 5. Charlie Staines 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Api Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’I 12. Shawn Blore 13. Joe Ofahengaue

Bench: 14. Jake Simpkin 15. Alex Twal 16. Fonua Pole 17. Asu Kepaoa

Reserves: 18. Alex Seyfarth, 19. Starford Toa, 20. Brandon Wakeham, 21. Justin Matamua, 22. Junior Tupou

Late Mail: Jake Simpkin is expected to deputise for Api Koroisau early in the season. Asu Kepaoa has been named as the backline utility, but may also spend time as a roaming forward when injected into the game.

Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Phillip Sami 5. JoJo Fifita 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Jaimin Jolliffe 9. Sam Verrills 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (C) 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Isaac Liu

Bench: 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Moeaki Fotuaika 17. Joe Stimson

Reserves: 18. Sam McIntyre, 19. Keano Kini, 20. Chris Randall, 21. Klese Haas, 22. Treymain Spry

Late Mail: Beau Fermor suffered an ACL injury this week, likely bringing an end to his 2023 campaign before it begun. This is likely to open up an edge role for Klese Haas, while Alex Seyfarth is another option if Justin Holbrook opts for more experience.

BYE: Dragons

Originally published as NRL Late Mail Round 1 2023: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak ruled out, Klese Haas a last-minute cheapie

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