The Dragons raced to a 16-0 lead against Souths but failed to go on with the game – nor exploit Reynolds’ side of the field – and $850,000-a-year star Norman paid the heaviest penalty.
In the team for his attack and not his defence, Norman was yesterday overlooked for Ben Hunt and the returning Adam Clune, with little livewire Tristan Sailor retaining a bench spot.
Unlike last weekend, Sailor is expected to be injected into the game much earlier against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night at WIN Stadium. He will play five-eighth, with Ben Hunt to shift to hooker and Cameron McInnes to lock forward, which was the case late last week.
Sailor was shopped to rivals the Wests Tigers just a fortnight ago as he struggled to get any game time.
He told reporters earlier this week he was keen to get the chance to link up with Clune in the halves, also confirming his manager had reached out to the Tigers about a potential loan deal.
The Roosters will have loyal clubman Mitch Aubusson bring up 300 games, but Kyle Flanagan was rested and Lachlan Lam named at No.7. Chooks captain Boyd Cordner was given an extra week to overcome the second head knock he received at training last Friday week.
Former Warriors playmaker Blake Green only signed with Newcastle late Monday but was rushed straight into the Knights’ No.6 jersey against the Tigers.
The Tigers named Luke Brooks in their own No.6 jersey while club favourites Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence will bring up a couple of milestones – Marshall his 250th game in Tigers colours, and Lawrence his 250th in the NRL.
Marshall, 35, and Lawrence, 31, both had their obituaries written at the Tigers more than once, so to be running out together on Saturday evening is a testament to their form and staying power.
“My obituary was written again five weeks ago,” Marshall quipped to the Herald in reference to being dropped.
“There was a stage I didn’t think I’d get to 100 games because of injuries.
“To play 250 games here at the Tigers is something I’m really proud of. I knew it was coming a while ago, but I’d actually forgotten.”
As for 2021, Marshall said: “I’m feeling OK. The end of the season is still a long way away.”
Lawrence overcame a shocking hip injury early in his career and then facial injuries during a New Zealand Warriors trial last season, which forced him to remain stranded on the other side of the Tasman and unrecognisable to his young daughter.
“Chris has been [through] the good times of making the finals and the tough times of not making the finals, the facial injuries … when I think of the heart of the Wests Tigers, I think of Chris Lawrence,” Marshall said.
Souths’ Bayley Sironen will have the torrid job of stopping returning Broncos’ right-edge back-rower David Fifita with Reynolds named at halfback, despite lasting just seven minutes against the Dragons.
Matt Moylan was named in the halves for Cronulla, while Josh Dugan and Jesse Ramien were both listed in the centres for the Sunday afternoon blockbuster against Parramatta.
Malakai Watene-Zelezniak will replace injured flyer Charlie Staines on the Penrith wing and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad returns from a finger injury in the Raiders’ No.1.
Brandon Smith wears Cameron Smith’s Melbourne No.9 jersey as he overcomes a rare shoulder injury.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.