Big Guns Return For NRL Heavyweights

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Big Guns Return For NRL Heavyweights

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Premiership heavyweights Sydney Roosters and Melbourne have been bolstered by the return of some big names for round five as they look to assert their position at the top of the ladder.

The Roosters, unbeaten competition leaders, welcome back captain Jake Friend (teeth) while Blake Ferguson (rib) was named on an extended bench for Friday's NRL clash against in-form Manly.

The Storm are the only other side yet to taste defeat over the opening month, and get first-choice front-rower Jordan McLean (calf) back to take on Penrith.

Forward Christian Welch (concussion) was also included on the bench.

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Fourth-placed North Queensland are also set to be boosted ahead of their meeting with South Sydney following the key inclusions of Lachlan Coote (calf) and Jason Taumalalo (suspension).

Teenage sensation Kalyn Ponga is in the No.18 jumper.

Warriors five-eighth Kieran Foran is set to make his long-awaited season debut, which was delayed after pulling out of last week's defeat due to a hamstring injury in the warm-up.

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They take on a Gold Coast side that named skipper Ryan James, who is challenging a shoulder charge suspension at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night.

Agnatius Paasi (shoulder) is out and is replaced by late signing Chris Grevsmuhl.

Former Penrith and South Sydney forward Grevsmuhl hasn't played in the NRL since being released by the Panthers due to personal issues in November.

"He's training with the squad and is fit so we'll see how he goes throughout the week in the lead up to Sunday," Titans coach Neil Henry told reporters on Tuesday.

"He's included in the squad and we'll see how it goes we're obviously waiting on Ryan James and tonight and will have to wait and see."

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Elsewhere, South Sydney get Braidon Burns (suspension) back on the wing, while Canberra have included Dave Taylor on the bench following a ban for Elliott Whitehead.

However star hooker Josh Hodgson is in doubt with a sternum problem.

Penrith second-rower Bryce Cartwright (ankle) was left out of the 21-man squad, with rookie Corey Harawira-Naera deputising again in the forward pack.

Jack Littlejohn is in the No.7 for Luke Brooks (hamstring) at the Wests Tigers, who have named Jamal Idris to start in the centres and Matt Ballin on the main bench.

Canterbury have handed Matt Frawley a debut in place of Moses Mbye (suspension).

Photo: Getty Images

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