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‘Sensational’ young Joey clone to make debut

A Storm youngster with shades of rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns is set to make his NRL debut after being named in Melbourne’s 17 to meet the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday afternoon.

Twenty-year-old halfback Jonah Pezet has been named in Melbourne’s No.14 jumper for the club’s third-round clash.

The call-up followed a man-of-the-match performance in last year’s under-19 State of Origin clash at Leichhardt Oval, in which the Hunter product chalked up four try assists to lead New South Wales to a 32-4 victory.

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Rugby league great Paul Vautin compared Pezet to Johns after he set up a try for Jack Bostock, shaping to grubber but instead putting a deft chip kick over the Queensland defence.

And Johns? The Knights champion had glowing praise for the prodigious talent.

“He was sensational,” Johns said on Nine’s coverage.

“He’s got time, looks like he organises the team well, some of his kicks were sensational.

“But his pass … When he got in a try-scoring situation he found the right pass, which shows he’s not premeditating, thinking about who he’s going to pass to before he passes the ball.

“He’s watching the defence and reacting to the defence.

“He sees the game really well.

“That is class,” Johns said after Pezet’s set-up for Bostock.

THURSDAY

Manly Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels, 4 Pines Park, 8pm

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Josh Aloiai 14. Kaeo Weekes 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Sean Keppie 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Cooper Johns 20. Morgan Harper 21. Karl Lawton 22. Ben Condon

Analysis: Josh Schuster will play his first game of the season after beating a calf injury sustained in a pre-season match. The big-framed playmaker will replace Cooper Johns at five-eighth.

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Matt Doorey 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Jirah Momoisea 15. Jack Murchie 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Makahesi Makatoa 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Haze Dunster 20. Ofahiki Ogden 21. Ky Rodwell 22. Isaac Lumelume

Analysis: The Eels are unchanged from round two, in which they lost to the Sharks 30-26.

Referee: Adam Gee

FRIDAY

Newcastle Knights vs Dolphins, McDonald Jones Stadium, 6pm

Knights: 1. Lachlan Miller 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Dominic Young 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Jack Hetherington 11. Brodie Jones 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Leo Thompson 14. Ryan Rivett 15. Mathew Croker 16. Jack Johns 17. Dylan Lucas 18. Enari Tuala 19. Greg Marzhew 20. Oryn Keeley 21. Ben Talty 22. Thomas Cant

Analysis: The Knights will roll out a new-look spine, with Tyson Gamble named at five-eighth, Jackson Hastings at halfback and Phoenix Crossland at hooker. Kalyn Ponga and Jayden Brailey will miss the Dolphins clash after suffering head knocks in round two.

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. Kodi Nikorima 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Tom Gilbert 14. Connelly Lemuelu 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Kurt Donoghoe 18. Mason Teague 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. JJ Collins 21. Anthony Milford 22. Robert Jennings

Analysis: Kodi Nikorima has been named at hooker as the replacement for Jeremy Marshall-King, who on Monday accepted a two-game suspension for dangerous contact. Ray Stone is back after missing round two due to a knee injury.

Referee: Chris Butler

Gallen’s take on why Hastings ruffles feathers

Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, Allianz Stadium, 8pm

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

Analysis: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (back/hamstring) will play his first game of the season, having been named in the front row, while Victor Radley will return after suffering a head knock in round one.

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Isaiah Tass 4. Campbell Graham 5. Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Michael Chee Kam 13. Cameron Murray 14. Blake Taaffe 15. Hame Sele 16. Davvy Moale 17. Shaq Mitchell 18. Jed Cartwright 19. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 20. Ben Lovett 21. Taane Milne 22. Peter Mamouzelos

Analysis: Tevita Tatola will return to the South Sydney side, joining Thomas Burgess in the front row.

Referee: Gerard Sutton

Gus, Gallen unpack Tedesco-Suaalii conundrum

SATURDAY

Gold Coast Titans vs Melbourne Storm, Cbus Super Stadium, 2pm

Titans: 1. AJ Brimson 2. Alofiana Khan-Pereira 3. Brian Kelly 4. Aaron Schoupp 5. Phillip Sami 6. Kieran Foran 7. Tanah Boyd 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Chris Randall 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. David Fifita 12. Joe Stimson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Jayden Campbell 15. Erin Clark 16. Jo Vuna 17. Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui 18. Sam McIntyre 19. Klese Haas 20. Toby Sexton 21. Keano Kini 22. Treymain Spry

Analysis: Iszac Fa’asuamaleaui, the younger brother of Titans captain Tino, will make his NRL debut. Brian Kelly will play his first match of the season, having missed the first two rounds through suspension. Chris Randall is the replacement for Sam Verrills, who has a shoulder injury.

Stream the NRL premiership 2023 live and free on 9Now

Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Tyran Wishart 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Trent Loiero 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh King 14. Jonah Pezet 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Tariq Sims 17. Jordan Grant 18. Grant Anderson 19. Aaron Pene 20. Young Tonumaipea 21. Bronson Garlick 22. Kane Bradley

Analysis: In addition to debuting Jonah Pezet, the Storm will regain Xavier Coates (SC joint), Justin Olam (arm) and Tui Kamikamica (foot). Tariq Sims is also in line for his first Storm appearance, having been named on the bench after overcoming calf issues. Melbourne will be without Nelson Asofa-Solomona, who’s set for six to eight weeks on the sideline after suffering a knee injury in round two.

Referee: Grant Atkins

North Queensland Cowboys vs Warriors, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, 5.30pm

Cowboys: 1. Tomas Chester 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 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 14. Jake Granville 15. Griffin Neame 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. James Tamou 18. Heilum Luki 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Taniela Sadrugu 21. Riley Price 22. Mitchell Dunn

Analysis: Tom Chester will fill in for Scott Drinkwater, who copped a three-match suspension for a shot that broke Corey Oates’ jaw in round two. Gehamat Shibasaki will make his Cowboys debut, replacing Peta Hiku after the NRL journeyman was banned for two games for a crusher tackle.

Warriors: 1. Taine Tuaupiki 2. Edward Kosi 3. Brayden Wiliame 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Mitchell Barnett 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tohu Harris 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Curran 16. Bayley Sironen 17. Tom Ale 18. Viliami Vailea 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Ronald Volkman 22. Jazz Tevaga 23. Rocco Berry

Analysis: Taine Tuaupiki is the replacement for fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (concussion).

Referee: Chris Sutton

Oates denied try, left with broken jaw

Brisbane Broncos vs St George Illawarra Dragons, Suncorp Stadium, 7.35pm

Broncos: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Selwyn Cobbo 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Corey Jensen 9. Billy Walters 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Riki 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Cory Paix 15. Keenan Palasia 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Martin Taupau 18. Deine Mariner 19. Brendan Piakura 20. Xavier Willison 21. Jock Madden 22. Delouise Hoeter

Analysis: Jesse Arthars will replace winger Corey Oates, who’ll be sidelined for six to eight weeks with his broken jaw.

Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Moses Mbye 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Ben Murdoch-Masila 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Zane Musgrove 16. Toby Couchman 17. Josh Kerr 18. Michael Molo 19. Max Feagai 20. Jaiyden Hunt 21. Talatau Amone 22. Aaron Woods

Analysis: Anthony Griffin has named an unchanged squad after the Dragons downed the Titans 32-18 in round two.

Referee: Peter Gough

Broncos’ ‘champagne rugby league’ try

SUNDAY

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Wests Tigers, Belmore Sports Ground, 4.05pm

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. Jacob Preston 13. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 14. Jayden Okunbor 15. Corey Waddell 16. Franklin Pele 17. Fa’amanu Brown 19. Braidon Burns 20. Karl Oloapu 21. Josh Reynolds 22. Jackson Topine 23. Jayden Tanner

Analysis: Cameron Ciraldo has named an unchanged squad after overseeing a shock 26-12 win over the Storm in Melbourne.

Tigers: 1. Charlie Staines 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Brent Naden 4. Starford To’a 5. Junior Tupou 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Asu Kepaoa 12. Shawn Blore 13. Fonua Pole 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Alex Twal 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Brandon Tumeth 18. Justin Matamua 19. Alex Seyfarth 20. John Bateman 21. Ruatapu Ngatikaura 22. Jahream Bula

Analysis: Daine Laurie (knee), Jake Simpkin (concussion), Tommy Talau (concussion) and Isaiah Papali’i (suspension) will all miss the Bulldogs clash. Charlie Staines is the replacement for Laurie at fullback. Prized English recruit John Bateman, who’s yet to play this season, has been named in the extended squad.

Referee: Todd Smith

Addo-Carr rockets down wing to score

Canberra Raiders vs Cronulla Sharks, GIO Stadium, 6.15pm

Raiders: 1. Sebastian Kris 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Albert Hopoate 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 14. Tom Starling 15. Trey Mooney 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Emre Guler 18. Zac Woolford 19. Matt Frawley 20. James Schiller 21. Semi Valemei 22. Peter Hola

Analysis: Trey Mooney will play just his second NRL game, and first in 2023, after being named to replace Ata Mariota (hand).

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 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Royce Hunt 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Jack Williams 18. Connor Tracey 19. Thomas Hazelton 20. Mawene Hiroti 21. Jayden Berrell 22. Daniel Atkinson

Analysis: Nicho Hynes will miss another game due to his calf injury. Jack Williams has been named on the bench at the expense of Connor Tracey.

Referee: Ashley Klein

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