NRL Finals week two Early Mail: Expected team changes, injuries. Taylan May, Joe Tapine

Penrith’s Premiership hopes took a hit when star winger Taylan May was sidelined after two weeks of nightmares amid the Raiders’ huge MRC win. NRL finals early mail indoors.

Taylan May has been ruled out of Penrith’s preliminary final showdown as Canberra manager Ricky Stuart breathes a sigh of relief after key man Joe Tapine evaded punishment for a goal against Melbourne’s Jahrome Hughes.

Tapine had to wait nervously on Sunday morning when the Match Review Committee called the high shot that reported him in Saturday’s 28-20 win over the Storm.

But the MRC ruled that Tapine, who was best on the ground for Raiders at AAMI Park, had no case to answer and the in-form forward is free to face Parramatta.

Melbourne forward Felise Kaufusi faces a $1800 fine with an early plea deal to a first-class dangerous contact charge against Hudson Young.

The Raiders are likely to be without Adam Elliott against the Eels after the Castle heard “a cracking sound” in his pubic bone following a tackle from Nelson Asofa-Solomona late in the first half.

The likes of Peter Hola, Ata Mariota and Trey Mooney are in the running to replace Elliott in Stuart’s 17.

It comes after Penrith winger May accepted a week-long suspension for scoring at Parramatta center Will Penisini.

If May were to challenge the second-rate negligently high tackle charge with the judiciary and lose, he would also miss the grand final – if Penrith moves into the final week.

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The 21-year-old was already in doubt for the third week game after suffering a hamstring injury against Parramatta.

The extent of the hamstring injury will not be known until May has scans, which are scheduled for Monday.

The postponement for the finals in May has proved short-lived.

The Flyer had a two-game suspension related to an off-field altercation that was postponed until next season, allowing him to take the field in Friday night’s win over the Eels.

May was sanctioned by the NRL after being found guilty of assault following a late-night incident in Maroochydore in October, just days after Penrith won the grand final.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary is likely to call on Charlie Staines to replace May on the sidelines.

While Cleary has historically looked to Staines when a hole needs to be filled wide, the coach also has options in Robert Jennings, Sunia Turuva and Thomas Jenkins.

But Staines didn’t spoil his chances as Penrith beat Newtown in the second week of the NSW Cup on Saturday. As a full-back, Staines played a massive 316 yards and set up two tries. Jennings and Turuva traded for two tries, a play.

Cronulla’s Dale Finucae can escape a $3000 fine for a class one crusher tackle on North Queensland’s Joey Leilua with an early plea.

Originally posted as NRL Finals Week Two Early Mail: Projected Team Changes, Injuries NRL Finals week two Early Mail: Expected team changes, injuries. Taylan May, Joe Tapine

Nate Jones

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