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Penrith name stars for NRL minor premiership battle

Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS

Penrith have named a near full-strength side for their final-round clash with North Queensland in a move that could be crucial in swinging the NRL's minor premiership battle.

While first-placed Brisbane have rested a load of their stars - including the superstar trio of prop Payne Haas, fullback Reece Walsh and five-eighth Ezra Mam - for Thursday night's battle with Melbourne, it's a different story for the second-placed Panthers.

They've recalled fullback Dylan Edwards, winger Sunia Turuva and back-rower Scott Sorensen from rest and centre Izack Tago (leg) is lurking on the extended bench as he eyes a return for the first time since round 20.

The Cowboys are currently unchanged, looking for a victory to keep their finals chances alive.

Brisbane have chosen to rest up with Haas, Walsh and Mam joined by Herbie Farnworth, Selwyn Cobbo, Billy Walters, Kurt Capewell and Kobe Hetherington in sitting out a game where they could seal the minor premiership with a win.

They join the injured duo of halfback Adam Reynolds (calf) and Pat Carrigan (foot) along with suspended Kotoni Staggs on the sidelines.

The inclusions feature debutant duo five-eighth Josh Rogers and hooker Blake Mozer.

Fourth-placed Melbourne have gone in the same direction, resting 10 players including fullback Nick Meaney, five-eighth Cameron Munster and hooker Harry Grant.

Their entire starting spine will be missing with halfback Jahrome Hughes sidelined with a knee issue, although superstar No.1 Ryan Papenhuyzen has been named to continue his return from injury.

Elsewhere, the Sydney Roosters have named star centre Joey Manu for their make-or-break clash with South Sydney, just a week after he tweaked his hamstring against Wests Tigers.

Captain James Tedesco is back from a head knock while Fletcher Baker replaces suspended prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves in the front row.

Blake Taafe is in at No.1 for South Sydney with Latrell Mitchell suspended, Michael Chee Kam and Izaac Thompson are recalled in place of Taane Milne and Jacob Host.

Reigning Dally M medallist Nicho Hynes has been picked for sixth-placed Cronulla's game with seventh-placed Canberra, overcoming his quad issue for the match that will decide finals hosting rights.

Matt Moylan has been dropped to the bench.

Canberra have named Jack Wighton to continue in the centres, leaving Matt Frawley and Jamal Fogarty to again pair in the halves.

Prop Emre Guler is named to start in the absence of Josh Papali'i (bicep), while potential debutant Hohepa Puru has been picked on the bench and would likely start at No.13 should Corey Horsburgh's challenge to a three-game ban fail.

Fifth-placed Newcastle have, for now, opted against mass restings in their dead rubber against St George Illawarra, although Tyson Frizell, Dane Gagai and Phoenix Crossland will have a spell with a home final already locked in.

Kalyn Ponga (shoulder) is replaced at No.1 by Lachie Miller, while halfback Jackson Hastings is on the reserves list after his ankle injury.

And the Warriors have put their stars on ice with top four already secured, resting Addin Fonua-Blake, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Shaun Johnson and Wayde Egan for their trip to face the Dolphins.

Captain Tohu Harris (back) is also out.