Billy Slater denies North Queensland Cowboys’ request to release Tom Dearden for Parramatta Eels showdown

NSW have selected Campbell Graham as their 18th man. He’s out with a sternum injury but still has a chance to play for the South on Saturday on painkillers. New 18th man Stephen Crichton will not miss any games as Penrith has a bye.

Queensland Rugby Union chief Bruce Hatcher said concerns over Cameron Munster’s rib injury justified keeping Dearden in training camp.

Todd Payten (far right) had lunch with members of the Wests Tigers 2005 Premier League team last week

Todd Payten (far right) had lunch with members of the Wests Tigers 2005 Premier League team last weekCredit: instagram

“If Munster doesn’t play, would we be happy to have a center back who plays at the weekend and only has a few days to recover?” Hatcher asked. “Tommy may not really be running, but if he does, you want to make sure he’s as energetic as everybody else.

“I wouldn’t take a shot at Todd or the Cowboys if that’s what the club wants, but they’d love a two-day training camp and then their players would come back to the club the next day.

“It’s the best game in rugby league, the quality of the game is only going to get better and it’s so competitive that a new player could be the difference between winning and losing.”


cowboys are leaving Whipping West Tigers 66-18as the players stayed in Sydney for training camp, it made for a few “gloomy” days for them.

A picture emerged on social media of Payten having lunch with members of the Tigers’ 2005 Premier League squad at Bondi fast food restaurant Totti’s, but the former supporter said he was grateful the gathering came the day before Leichhardt’s injury and Not the day after.

“We have to understand why and how it happened last Saturday,” Payten said. “The first few days in camp were sombre. We had some straight conversations.

“At the end of the day, football is about winning by collision and we didn’t do that when attacking and defending. Once you’re out of pace in that area, it’s hard to win games. No talent needed [be physical].

“We need to get back to our style of football, starting with the physical part of the game, with and without the ball, making winning decisions. We know we can do it and that keeps us positive.”

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