Sharks get Bird back, Dragons lose Gaz - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks get Bird back, Dragons lose Gaz

By Liam FitzGibbon 29/07/2008 06:58:38 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla have received a double boost for Saturday's NRL derby against St George Illawarra with lock Greg Bird named to make his return and Dragons skipper Mark Gasnier ruled out of the match.

Bird has been named in the side for the Toyota Park clash, which will be his first since injuring his knee against Parramatta in round 15.

The NSW five-eighth was tipped to be a late inclusion in last Friday's loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium but coach Ricky Stuart opted to give him another week to recover.

While Bird's return is a significant boost for the fourth-placed Sharks, they received more good news when Gasnier was ruled out due to injury.

The rugby-bound centre suffered a corked thigh in Monday night's 30-0 win over the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

The injury is not considered serious but the Dragons said that with the short turnaround, Gasnier was not expected to make a full recovery.

He will be replaced in the centres by Chase Stanley, who returns from an ankle injury suffered a month ago.

Dean Young (virus) returns at hooker with Simon Woolford named on an extended bench and Beau Scott returning from suspension in the backrow, forcing Wendell Sailor back to Queensland Cup.

The Storm welcome back Billy Slater from suspension for Friday night's clash with the Gold Coast while the Titans have named Josh Lewis at halfback.

Wests Tigers-bound Lewis, who has spent this season playing in the Queensland Cup for Ipswich, will return in place of Brad Davis, who was dropped following last Saturday's 46-4 thrashing by Canberra.

Manly are still set to be without backrower Anthony Watmough (knee) for Friday's clash with Penrith, but have named Glenn Stewart (shoulder) to return.

The Panthers have lost boom rookie Lachlan Coote to a knee injury, with Maurice Blair named in his place.

Wests Tigers are again without courageous skipper Brett Hodgson (calf) for Sunday's clash with the Bulldogs, with Tim Sheens naming Shannon Gallant at fullback.

Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes has made further changes to his depleted side for the match, with Ben Roberts and Lee Te Maari restored to the line-up after they were dropped following alcohol-related indiscretions last week.

Parramatta coach Michael Hagan has kept Luke Burt at fullback for Monday night's match in Newcastle after he was a late inclusion in the Eels side that beat North Queensland on Friday.

Jarryd Hayne will again play in the centres, after complaining he wanted to move from the wing earlier this month, in what shapes as a vital match to both sides' top eight hopes.

"This match is vital but at this stage of the year, with the position we're in, they're all a bit that way," Hagan said.

"The two teams are equal on the ladder and with the competition so close a win would most certainly make a difference in the long run."

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