Danny Wicks to complete Parramatta return

FRONT-ROWER Danny Wicks could return to the NRL after a five-year exile for the Eels against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.

Wicks was released from Glen Innes jail in March 2013 after serving 18 months of a three-year prison sentence for drug trafficking.

Wicks (pictured) has signed a one-year deal with Parramatta and impressed in the NSW Cup last weekend.

The 29-year-old has been named in a 19-man squad for the Eels, but one of the players named on the extended bench, prop Junior Paulo, is an unlikely starter.

Paulo faces up to nine weeks out after being slapped with a dangerous-throw charge on Manly's Matt Ballin from round one, but will fight the grading at the judiciary tonight.

Wayne Bennett has dumped former Broncos captain Sam Thaiday to the bench for Friday night's clash against the Sharks at Remondis Stadium.

Bennett was openly critical of Thaiday's lack of discipline in the round-one 36-6 loss to the Rabbitohs. Matt Gillett will start in the second row in place of Thaiday.

Joe Ofahengaue - the nephew of former Wallaby Willie Ofahengaue - is set to make his NRL debut for Brisbane off the bench.

Manly has made several changes following its thrashing at the hands of the Eels.

Steve Matai returns to the centres, replacing Clint Gutherson, who will miss the entire season after rupturing his ACL in round one.

Jack Littlejohn replaces Kieran Foran (hamstring) at five-eighth, with the playmaker expected to miss three games.

For the Cowboys, veteran forward Glenn Hall has been replaced on the bench by Kelepi Tanginoa.

North Queensland is aiming to bounce back from its 28-4 thrashing to the Roosters, against Newcastle in Townsville on Saturday night.

For the Knights, captain Kurt Gidley has been named at fullback after pulling out of round one with a hamstring injury, meaning Kangaroos representative Sione Mata'utia has been named on an extended bench.

Also for North Queensland, Lachlan Coote has been named on an extended bench, with Michael Morgan keeping his spot at fullback.


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