Dragons drop Norman to arrest NRL slump

St George Illawarra have dropped half Corey Norman for Thursday night's NRL match against Sydney Roosters.

ANTHONY MILFORD.
ANTHONY MILFORD. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

St George Illawarra star Corey Norman has been dropped for Thursday night's clash with Sydney Roosters, headlining a number of NRL stars missing for round 13.

After two-straight losses, Dragons coach Paul McGregor has swung the axe by relegating big-earning half Norman to an extended bench for their match against the premiers in Wollongong.

The Dragons are 11th on the NRL ladder but with eight games left in the season need to make up for an early string of poor form to play finals.

In a bid to spark the side, Adam Clune will return from injury at halfback alongside Ben Hunt against the Roosters, who have been hit hard by injury.

Roosters skipper Boyd Cordner has not been named as he continues to recover from concussion and will be joined by Kyle Flanagan in the casualty ward, although the halfback's ailment is unknown.

A host of other high-profile players in Bradman Best (Newcastle), Harry Grant, Alex Twal (Wests Tigers), Ryan Matterson (Parramatta), Anthony Milford (Brisbane) and Ryan Papenhuyzen and Cameron Smith (both Melbourne) will be missing in action this weekend.

Milford has been ruled out for at least a month after suffering a grade two hamstring tear at Broncos training on Monday.

The maligned five-eighth has battled with form this season but his injury will come as a blow for the Broncos before their grudge match with South Sydney on Friday night.

It comes amid calls for coach Anthony Seibold to dump the underperforming star after the Broncos last week lost their ninth game from their past 10.

Injuries have cruelled Brisbane this season with regulars Matt Lodge, Alex Glenn, David Fifita, Brodie Croft and Corey Oates all sidelined at various points.

However, in a boost Gold Coast-bound Fifita has been named to play his first NRL game in 140 days on Friday night after recovering from knee surgery.

Croft has been named to play in the halves alongside Tom Dearden after missing last week's loss to Cronulla with a shoulder complaint, while Lodge has been named on an extended bench and will push for a return.

The Knights are still waiting on specialist advice for powerful centre Best, who will be sidelined indefinitely with a syndesmosis injury.

It's feared surgery could end his season, where he would join teammates Jayden Brailey, Connor Watson, Edrick Lee, Sione Mata'utia and Andrew McCullough on the sidelines.

New recruit Blake Green was named at No.6 to partner halfback Mitchell Pearce for Saturday's match against the Wests Tigers in Newcastle.

Halfback Luke Brooks has been named to start for the first time since he was dropped to the bench by Tigers coach Michael Maguire.

The match will mark 250 NRL games for the club for Tigers veterans Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence.