Watene-Zelezniak out of Dogs-Dragons clash

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will miss Canterbury's NRL clash with St George Illawarra because of injury.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will miss Canterbury's NRL clash with St George Illawarra because of injury.

A foot injury has ruled Dallin Watene-Zelezniak out of Canterbury's clash with St George Illawarra as the Kiwi Test fullback's immediate future remains up in the air.

Watene-Zelezniak dropped out of the Bulldogs' 19-man squad update on Sunday, with club officials confirming he had suffered a foot injury before the bye.

Canterbury coach Trent Barrett has instead named Tui Katoa to start in the fullback role for the first time for the annual Queen's Birthday clash.

Watene-Zelezniak is contracted with the Bulldogs until the end of next year, but the club is in the midst of a backline overhaul with Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton and Brent Naden joining the club in 2022.

The Warriors on Sunday farewelled Ken Maumalo, with the winger scoring a hat-trick before joining Wests Tigers on Monday morning.

Warriors coach Nathan Brown then confirmed his team's interest in the 25-year-old Watene-Zelezniak as an immediate target.

Meanwhile the Dragons will have NSW second-rower Tariq Sims back up for Monday's clash, with the benefit of a five-day turnaround from State of Origin I.

Sims played 62 in the Blues' big win, dominating on the left edge and pulling up fine on returning to the Dragons over the weekend.

"He will start tomorrow. He has pulled up really well," Dragons coach Anthony Griffin said.

"To his credit he was straight on the phone Thursday morning and wanted to play, which is what you want to see out of your rep players.

"He's pulled up really well. Obviously the longer turnaround helped him."

Griffin also intends on giving more game to Jack de Belin, after playing 26 minutes on return against Brisbane.

The 30-year-old had a defensive error early before rebounding to play a role in two tries, but is still expected to come off the bench against the Bulldogs.

"The break has been good for him. He had a court case and then played two games in six days," Griffin said,.

"The 11-day break has been good for him. He has freshened up well, he is great nick.

"We will lock to build his minutes tomorrow and just keep an eye on him over the next month as to what that looks like.

"Hopefully he will play more minutes there tomorrow and we will build on that."

Australian Associated Press