Samoa keep door open for Origin stars, Warrior goes under the knife

Samoa have not selected players from the State of Origin series opener in their squad for next week’s Representative Round but have left the door open to add them to their squad if not chosen for the second match in Perth.

The Matt Parish-coached Samoans will take on Cook Islands at Campbelltown Sports Stadium next Saturday but they have only announced a 20-man squad while they wait on Brad Fittler and Billy Slater to name their NSW and Queensland line-ups.

They are looking to avoid a potential clash similar to Tonga, who have chosen Daniel Tupou and Kotoni Staggs in their 25-man squad to face New Zealand next Saturday but are likely to be selected for NSW and remain with the Blues.

Young Warriors playmaker Ronald Volkman, who is making his NRL debut this Saturday against Penrith, is a chance to earn his first Test jersey next weekend, likely on the bench with club teammate Chanel Harris-Tavita and Knights veteran Anthony Milford also in Samoa’s squad.

Martin Taupau. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Parish’s team features plenty of seasoned NRL first-graders with international experience, including Marty Taupau, Jaydn Su’A, David Nofoaluma, Luciano Leilua and Josh Aloiai.

Blues winger Brian To’o, centre Stephen Crichton, five-eighth Jarome Luai and props Payne Haas and Junior Paulo, and young reserve Joseph Suaalii are eligible to represent Samoa. A couple of them may not be selected for NSW in Origin II.

From the Queensland team, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Josh Papalii, Jeremiah Nanai, Murray Taulagi are also potential Samoan selections but all but certain to be in the Maroons squad for the Optus Stadium stoush.

Samoa squad
Anthony Milford (Newcastle Knights)
Bunty Afoa (Warriors)
Chanel Harris-Tavita (Warriors)
Charlie Staines (Penrith Panthers)
David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers)
Francis Molo (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
Izack Tago (Penrith Panthers)
Jaxson Paulo (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Jaydn Su’A (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
Jazz Tevaga (Warriors)
Josh Aloiai (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Josh Schuster (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Keenan Palasia (Brisbane Broncos)
Luciano Leilua (North Queensland Cowboys)
Martin Taupau (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
Mathew Feagai (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
Ronald Volkman (Warriors)
Spencer Leniu (Penrith Panthers)
Taylan May (Penrith Panthers)
Toafofoa Sipley (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

Murdoch-Masila out two months with elbow injury

Warriors veteran Ben Murdoch-Masila has been ruled out for eight weeks after undergoing an operation on Thursday to fix the gruesome elbow injury he suffered last weekend.

The front-rower was in excruciating pain after a tackle went wrong in the first half of the loss to the Sharks, his arm bent back at a horrible angle in the incident.

He has had a wretched run over the last two seasons.

A Lisfranc injury ended his 2021 campaign early and hampered his pre-season as he recovered. He missed another three games earlier this season after having his ankle injured in a hip-drop tackle which resulted in a suspension for Brisbane’s Thomas Flegler.  

The Tongan international, who is contracted to the Warriors until the end of next year, is hopeful of returning for the final month of this season, particularly with the club due to play home games at Mt Smart Stadium after nearly three years away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.