Moses, Elliott racing clock, Burgess downgrade his only chance to beat ban

Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses is no guarantee to be lining up for Friday’s Semi-Final against Canberra after suffering a head knock in the playoff loss to Penrith.

Jake Arthur is at the ready to replace Moses in the No.7 jersey for the CommBank Stadium showdown if the star halfback does not pass the concussion protocols later this week.

Moses was replaced midway through the second half of last Friday’s 27-8 defeat to the Panthers after a tackle on Fijian forward Viliame Kikau went wrong. 

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has his own injury concern with lock Adam Elliott aggravating a hip problem in the 28-20 upset of the Storm in Melbourne.

He went off during the first half and did not return, however the Knights-bound forward has been carrying the injury for more than a month so it would not be a surprise to see him shrug it off to tackle the Eels.

Rabbitohs forward Tom Burgess needs to beat a grade-two careless high tackle charge to take on Cronulla at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night. 

Burgess is facing a minimum two-week ban for his high shot on Sydney Roosters captain James Tedesco, along with a further $1800 fine for another hit on Matt Lodge a minute later.

Already battling to overcome a concussion in time for Saturday’s clash with the Sharks, Burgess will now need to go to the judiciary and downgrade if he wishes to play again before the grand final.

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However even that comes with a risk given he would cop an extra week if he fights the charge and loses, meaning his season would be over and his England World Cup plans would be jeopardised.

Souths winger Taane Milne is facing a fine of $1800-$2500 for a high tackle on Joseph Suaalii but no other Rabbitohs were charged from the spiteful win over the Roosters.

The Cowboys and Penrith are through to the preliminary finals with Panthers winger Taylan May the only casualty from either side. He has a hamstring problem but has also been banned one week for a high tackle so is not eligible to play until the Grand Final, if the premiers qualify. Teammate Spencer Leniu was fined $750 for a high tackle on Isaiah Papali’i.

All teams for week 2 of the playoffs will be announced at 4pm AEST on Tuesday


First Semi-Final: (4) Eels vs (8) Raiders, 7.50pm at CommBank Stadium

Eels: Mitchell Moses (concussion) is coach Brad Arthur’s main concern, with his son Jake, who replaced him in the second half against Penrith, the replacement option if the former NSW half does not pass the protocols.

Raiders: Adam Elliott (hip) will likely be named and given until game day to prove he can play. Corey Harawira-Naera is likely to come into the starting side with Elliott Whitehead switching to the middle forward rotation if Elliott is sidelined.


Second Semi-Final: (2) Sharks vs (7) Rabbitohs, 8pm at Allianz Stadium

Sharks: Coach Craig Fitzgibbon has no injury concerns in his squad after their 93-minute epic against the Cowboys and is likely to field the same 17-man line-up. Dale Finucane is free to play despite being charged with a grade-one crusher tackle, copping a $3000 fine for the incident on Cowboys forward Luciano Leilua.

Rabbitohs: Tom Burgess (careless high tackle) needs a downgrade or to somehow prove he did not hit James Tedesco high at the judiciary on Tuesday night. He can escape with a second fine if he gets the offence reduced to a grade-one.

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