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Cowboys lose Taumalolo with knee blow

North Queensland have been dealt a monster blow with Jason Taumalolo ruled out of their clash with Cronulla with a minor knee injury.

Taumalolo played through pain in the second half of the Cowboys win over the Gold Coast last weekend, and scans have revealed some bone bruising.

Cowboys coach Paul Green is hopeful he will miss just the one week, with Josh McGuire to shift to lock and Gavin Cooper back into the team.

Taumalolo's absence could be crucial to the Cowboys, given they have won just one of seven without him since the start of 2018.

"Sometimes (with) bone bruising you don't know how long it will take to actually get better but fingers crossed it will only be a week," Green said.

"Everyone has to (step up), particularly when you lose a good player like Jase."

Meanwhile the Sharks will be without halfback Chad Townsend, who has succumbed to a hamstring injury and ended a streak of 107 straight matches.

Matt Moylan will play five-eighth, confident he is ready to get through 80 minutes after coming back from injury via the bench last week.

The Sharks' star last played No.6 for Cronulla in 2018 before Shaun Johnson's arrival at the club.

"I feel pretty confident. I have worked hard on getting my hammy and calf under control," Moylan said.

"But the only way to know for sure is to go out there and put a performance in."

Elsewhere, Mitchell Pearce has recovered from a concussion to be named at halfback for Newcastle, who will welcome Kalyn Ponga back from suspension.

Andrew McCullough will also come into the team to start at No.9 for the clash with Canberra, with rookie Chris Randall to miss out after his Herculean 68-tackle effort on debut.

The Raiders will again be without John Bateman, who has failed to overcome a shoulder injury to play in the match.

Brisbane have named teenage livewire Tesi Niu to debut from the bench against the Sydney Roosters and 20-year-old Ethan Bullemor to start in the second row for the injured Alex Glenn.

Sio Siua Taukeiaho is a chance of a return for the Roosters after missing the resumption with a hamstring injury, named alongside Mitchell Aubusson on an extended bench.

Meanwhile Justin Holbrook has swung the axe on the Gold Coast after three straight losses ahead of their match against Wests Tigers.

Queensland State of Origin forward Jarrod Wallace has been dropped, as has hooker and former NSW No.9 Nathan Peats.

Erin Clark will start at dummy-half for the first time in his career, while Bryce Cartwright has been recalled on the bench.

The Titans are expected to get a boost soon however, the club zeroing in on a deal with Tigers back Corey Thompson.

Under-pressure St George Illawarra coach Paul McGregor has also made changes, with Corey Norman moving to fullback and Matt Dufty and Korbin Sims dropped.

Rookie Adam Clune will play halfback, while Ben Hunt is five-eighth and Issac Luke comes onto the bench against Canterbury.

The Bulldogs have also got five-eighth Kieran Foran back from injury to partner Lachlan Lewis.

NRL ROUND 4 MATCHES (ALL TIMES AEST)

Thursday

Brisbane v Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium, 7.50pm

Friday

Penrith v Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium, 6pm

Melbourne v South Sydney at AAMI Park, 7.55pm

Saturday

Parramatta v Manly at Bankwest Stadium, 5.30pm

North Queensland v Cronulla at QCB Stadium, 7.35pm

Sunday

Canberra v Newcastle at Campbelltown Stadium, 4.05pm

Gold Coast v Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium, 6.30pm.

Monday

Canterbury v St George Illawarra at Bankwest Stadium, 4.05pm.

--End of article--

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