An astonishing 61 players have gone down in just one week due to injury, suspension, disciplinary issues or resting - once again making a mockery of representative round.
And in a further insult, only nine players are set to miss more than a week.

The other 52 will either return next round or are yet to confirm comeback dates.
City coach Brad Fittler was worst hit, forced to name a staggering 10 debutants to take on NSW Country.

Fittler's list of unavailables included Adam Reynolds, Josh Reynolds, Matt Moylan, Jake Trbojevic, Wade Graham (rested), Blake Austin (hamstring), Dylan Walker (hip/ribs), Lachlan Coote (ribs), James Roberts (hip) and James Tedesco (fractured shoulder).

All but Tedesco will return next round, with the in-form Tigers fullback out for 4-6 weeks and therefore unavailable for the opening State of Origin game.


Even prior to the pull-outs, City-Country coaches had a limited talent pool to choose from after NSW mentor Laurie Daley gave leave passes to a host of incumbents, including Trent Hodkinson, Mitchell Pearce, Robbie Farah, Beau Scott, Ryan Hoffman, Trent Merrin, David Klemmer, Josh Morris and Josh Jackson.

Fittler was fuming: "This game, and this (representative) round, afterwards should be looked at pretty closely by the NRL.

"They will look at it closely and they should look at it closely.

"The fact that other people have control over players' opportunity to play rep football ... that's normally a lot of coaches.

"So the appropriateness of this round and this game will definitely be looked at. It's important the NRL take control, it's as simple as that."

At least nine players have legitimate excuses, including Tedesco, Dean Whare (ACL, season), Adam Clydesdale (ankle, round 12), Tom Trbojevic (ankle, round 14), Jayson Bukuya (suspension, round 11), Alex Glenn (calf, round 11), Korbin Sims (suspension, round 11), Kieran Foran (personal leave, indefinite) and Manu Vatuvei (medical leave, indefinite).

Sam Burgess was ineligible for any representative teams this week and is now aiming to return next match, despite initial fears he would miss a few weeks.

"There's good news with Sam," said Rabbitohs Physiotherapist Eddie Farah.

"We were a bit concerned there, but he has got the scans done. They've all been positive.
"So we'll be looking after him this week. He'll stay off his feet but we are very confident he'll be ready for the Parramatta game (next Friday)."