NRL: Mannah could be back in play

Tim Mannah. Photo / Getty Images
Tim Mannah. Photo / Getty Images

Tim Mannah could be in line for a shock return for Parramatta's NRL clash with North Queensland tonight.

The prop, who has been one of the few players to stand out for the struggling Eels this season, limped off against Penrith on Monday with a suspected broken leg.

However, scans this week cleared Mannah of any serious injury and the swelling has reduced dramatically around the affected area.

Mannah did not join in training with his teammates yesterday but was put through a fitness test by the Eels' medical staff.

A decision will be made before the game about his availability.

Parramatta, who are one place off the bottom of the ladder after being hammered 42-12 by an under-strength Panthers side, could also be boosted by the return of the talented Jacob Loko.

The 20-year-old centre signed a new contract with the club this week but has not been named in the side to take on the Cowboys at Parramatta Stadium.

Loko injured his leg after being tackled by Sam McKendry on Monday but eased through a final training run at Parramatta Stadium.

He has already undergone two knee reconstructions in his young career and is desperate to get back on the paddock.

"I am not too sure if I'll be in the team yet, as they need to see how I pull up tomorrow," said Loko.

"It feels OK, but we will just have to wait and see as I got a real bad cork in my leg.

"I've had a lot of injuries in my career and it's been great being back out there doing what I love.

"It's been a while and I don't want to miss too many more games."

•State of Origin hopeful Ryan James isn't upset with missing out on a starting spot for Gold Coast against the Warriors.

James is a possible selection bolter for NSW in this year's Origin series following his impressive displays off the bench for the Titans.

An injury to starting lock Ashley Harrison opened up a spot in the Titans pack for tomorrow's trip to Auckland as co-captain Nate Myles was moved into Harrison's spot from the front-row.

But coach John Cartwright opted to retain James in an impact role with veteran Luke Bailey given the starting nod.

James was also used off the bench by Blues coach Laurie Daley for NSW Country last month in his representative debut and it appears he's not itching for a starting spot just yet.

"I'll just do whatever the team needs me to do at the moment," he said.

"If it's play off the bench, it's play off the bench.

"If it's start the game, I'll be happy to start the game."

Harrison's injury means he joins fellow forwards including Matt White and Ben Ridge on the sidelines for the Titans.

But James is confident his teammates will still have the numbers to overcome a physical and experienced Warriors pack.

"We've got a big pack as well - we've just got to outlast their hits," he said.

"They're big, strong boys, all international players, so it'll be a good test for us to see how we're going in the middle.

"Obviously with a few out, that's a little bit harder but we've got the players and depth to back that up."

- AAP

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