Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith AAP

Storm name Cameron Smith despite ankle injury

RUGBY league ironman Cameron Smith is odds-on to play for Melbourne against defending premiers the Roosters despite being on crutches early in the week.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy has named his inspirational skipper for the clash despite him being under treatment for a high left ankle sprain suffered in the first half of last weekend's win over Brisbane.

Smith bravely soldiered on in the second half to guide his side its 14th finals campaign in 17 seasons.

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin, who, as reported by APN earlier in the week, has pinned his faith in 19-year-old giant Corey Oates to cover for injured centre Jack Reed, will welcome back bustling Sam Thaiday for the all-Queensland showdown with a firing Cowboys in Townsville with fans camping out to secure seats for the elimination final.

With Thaiday back in the front row, Corey Parker returns to lock and Ben Hannant drops back to the bench which includes Jarrod Wallace, big Martin Kennedy and Todd Lowrie with David Hala travelling as 18th man.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey has named fullback Brett Stewart in his 17-man side to take on Souths after he missed last week's loss to the Cowboys while Brenton Lawrence returns from injury into the front row against George Burgess.

The Rabbits welcome back halfback Adam Reynolds allowing Luke Keary back in the No.6 with John Sutton slotting into a powerhouse back trio with Kyle Tuner and Sam Burgess.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary has made just one change to the side which cleaned up the Warriors at the weekend with Jeremy Latimore replacing prop Tim Grant on the bench against the Roosters for Saturday's qualifying final at Allianz Stadium.

Roosters rake Jake Friend, who had to be rushed to hospital last Sunday in a serious condition after losing a lot of blood from internal injuries, was back in the training field, but was not expected to be included in coach Trent Robinson's side for the clash,


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