Shock calls in wild team list Tuesday

Team lists for this weekend’s two must-win NRL semi-finals have delivered mixed news across the four teams with Warriors star Shaun Johnson named to take on Newcastle in Auckland after missing his team’s qualifying final loss to the Panthers with a calf issue.

But the Knights have suffered a devastating blow with experienced playmaker Jackson Hastings ruled out after he aggravated an ankle injury in the thrilling win over Canberra.

Melbourne Storm have lost winger Xavier Coastes but recalled Justin Olam and Reimis Smith for their must-win clash with the Roosters who have been forced in to mass changes after losing four members of its first-choice backline to injury.

Johnson’s inclusion looms as the biggest given the Warriors managed just six points without their superstar No.7 who leads the league for try assists, and his inclusion is a massive shot in the arm ahead of their first home final in 15 years.

The veteran still in some doubt with Dylan Walker the man most likely to replace him in the halves if he doesn’t recover in time, but the versatile veteran struggled in the role last week and was missed in the middle where his ball-playing has been on song.

As well as losing Hastings, Newcastle back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon (shoulder) is also set to miss the trip to New Zealand.

Adam Clune will play just his fourth game of the season, with the reliable playmaker combining well with Tyson Gamble for three wins while Hastings was out earlier in the year.

The injury to Fitzgibbon opens the door for Dylan Lucas to come in for just his seventh NRL game in what will be a daunting challenge against the Warriors’ potent right edge.

The second week of the finals kicks off on Friday night where the Storm will be without winger Coates who told media on Monday that he was a chance of making a miraculous recovery from an ankle injury.

It’s triggered a backline reshuffle with Smith recalled on the left wing, with powerhouse centre Olam also back in the side in place of Young Tonumaipea who struggled to contain Kotoni Staggs last week and also suffered a head injury in the loss.

Coach Craig Bellamy has resisted the temptation of bringing in young gun Sua Fa’alogo onto the bench in place of Ryan Papenhuyzen who suffered a heartbreaking ankle injury, with the Storm set to run with four forwards.

The Storm will look to bounce back from their ugly loss to the Broncos last week against a Roosters side that has lost four members of its first-choice backline.

Daniel Tupou (knee) is joined on the sidelines by Billy Smith (jaw), Joseph Manu (hamstring) and Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii (concussion) who all picked up injuries in the gutsy win over Cronulla.

Corey Allan and Jaxson Paulo will form a new look right edge for the Roosters, but the big surprise is the inclusion of centre Paul Momirovski who hasn’t played since Round 9 due to a shoulder injury.

Originally published as Injury crisis: Three teams deal with major setbacks as Warriors welcome back Dally M favourite

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