Clubs in selection game of two halves
THE Warriors, Panthers and Knights will all field new halves combinations this weekend after they lost key playmakers to season-ending injuries in the last round.
Stand-in Newcastle coach Danny Buderus, given the job yesterday for the rest of the season after Rick Stone was sacked, had an immediate selection issue with star five-eighth Jarrod Mullen succumbing to a toe problem.
The 28-year-old (pictured) was sidelined for 10 weeks after first suffering the complaint in May, before making his return against Canberra earlier this month.
He is set to have surgery tomorrow and is expected to be sidelined for four months.
His place against the Dragons on Sunday will be taken by Carlos Tuimavave who announced earlier this week he would take up a three-year deal with Super League club Hull FC at the end of the NRL season.
The Warriors have shifted the versatile Tuimoala Lolohea to halfback to replace Shaun Johnson after he broke his ankle against the Sea Eagles on Saturday.
Lolohea has already played at fullback, on the wing and in the centres this year, and faces a huge task trying to replace the brilliant No.7.
Johnson's loss is a huge blow to the Warriors, while Penrith's hopes of playing in the finals also took a hit with halfback Peter Wallace ruled out for the season.
The veteran playmaker will have surgery on his right knee for the third time in two seasons after suffering a torn ACL in Sunday's loss to Canberra.
Coach Ivan Cleary has shifted five-eighth Jamie Soward to halfback, with Isaac John to wear the No.6 jersey.