Kieran Foran closes in on shock NRL return for Bulldogs

2019-04-30 08:23:39

Canterbury star Kieran Foran is a step closer to returning two months early from an ankle injury and Dylan Napa could join him on Saturday against Manly.

Foran was on Tuesday named on an extended bench for the Bulldogs, just a month after he was ruled out for up to 12 weeks following surgery on a syndesmosis injury.

Prop Napa was also expected to miss up to six weeks when he hurt his ankle in round four, but could play Saturday after too being named on an extended bench.

Manly also have changes in their halves, with Kane Elgey brought in to partner Lachlan Croker with Daly Cherry-Evans injured.

It came on a chaotic day of team news for the NRL's youngest playmakers, with seven clubs facing possible changes in the halves.

Brisbane confirmed teenage halfback Tom Dearden will be thrown into the deep end when he debuts in one of the most hyped games of the season against South Sydney on Saturday.

The 18-year-old will step in against Wayne Bennett's South Sydney and have a chance to claim the spot for the season given Kodi Nikorima's likely move to the Warriors.

Dearden has played just four Queensland Cup games but has impressed while training with the main squad, notably bulking up since the start of the summer.

His elevation comes as Nikorima was given time to fix his calf and mull over his future, amid criticism of his combination with Anthony Milford's this year.

"He's a young kid but he's definitely ready, he's got all the attributes," Broncos captain Darius Boyd said.

"Age is only a number; if you're ready your ready.

"He's beyond his years. He's shaking hands, he makes eye contact, he's humble he's polite he asks questions and trains hard."

Fellow youngster Kyle Flanagan has also been given the Cronulla No 6 jersey in place of the injured Shaun Johnson against Melbourne, while Josh Dugan is on the extended bench as he fights a hamstring strain.

Veteran five-eighth Benji Marshall has also been named to return from a hamstring injury at the Wests Tigers for their clash with the Sydney Roosters, replacing the injured Josh Reynolds.

Luke Keary (concussion) is back in the halves for the Roosters, while Blake Green has been named to return alongside Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a for the Warriors against Newcastle.

Meanwhile fullback Te Maire Martin will miss North Queensland's game against the Gold Coast after suffering severe headaches, with Jordan Kahu named at No 1 and Jason Taumalolo again on an extended bench.

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