Farah in blockbuster four-club trade
FORGOTTEN Rabbitohs star Robbie Farah has been linked to a blockbuster four-club trade.
The Wests Tigers premiership winner who has struggled to cement a spot since moving to the Rabbitohs has repeatedly been linked with a move to Canberra despite the Raiders signing Siliva Havili and Ata Hingano as a replacement for injured star Josh Hodgson.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart is yet to find the right balance between his halves and No. 9, with Sam Williams, Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer moved around during the club's winless start to 2018.
The club on Tuesday named Austin on an extended bench, outside the first-strength 17 to play Manly on Saturday.
Farah has now been linked to a move to the Raiders in a complicated trade which would see Sezer given permission to return to Canterbury.
Reports emerged on Wednesday indicating the four-way trade would see Faraj join the Raiders, Sezer join the Bulldogs and star Canterbury forward Aiden Tolman move to Cronulla.
The sportingnews.com report claims the biggest hurdle holding up the trade is that South Sydney are not prepared to release Farah under the conditions offered by the Raiders.
"The Raiders are considering releasing halfback Aidan Sezer immediately to the Bulldogs, who are desperate for an experienced playmaker to help Kieran Foran steer the team around the park," the report states.
"But Canberra will only let Sezer go if they get their hands on Souths veteran Robbie Farah, who is being wasted at the Bunnies behind Damien Cook.
"And then if the Bulldogs get Sezer, they will release prop Aiden Tolman to the Sharks.
"Cronulla have been after Tolman for weeks but the Bulldogs have been reluctant to let him go."
Farah has been playing reserve grade in 2018 with Rabbitohs coach favouring Damien Cook in an 80-minute hooking role that has seen Farah dumped off the bench.
Stuart and Farah's NSW State of Origin connection has previously been mentioned as one of the incentives pushing Farah to Canberra.
Stuart on Tuesday swung the axe with playmaker Austin chopped from the Raiders' starting 17.
The Raiders mentor has run out of patience after his side failed to protect a late lead in each of the first three weeks of the competition. He has replaced the misfiring Austin with former Warrior Ata Hingano on the bench.
After being dropped from the starting side for Sam Williams in the opening three rounds, Austin has now been dropped to reserve grade.
In other teams news, Wests Tigers playmaker Benji Marshall has declared himself a likely starter despite rupturing the lateral ligament in his ankle while Tyrone Peachey will replace the injured Nathan Cleary in the Penrith halves.
As well, Matt Moylan and Luke Lewis return for Cronulla and Will Smith will take the Parramatta No. 1 jersey following injuries to Bevan French and Jarryd Hayne. Marshall initially feared he would have to undergo surgery after suffering his injury in last week's controversial loss to Brisbane.
The injury usually requires one to two weeks rest, but given the side's long turnaround the 33-year-old is confident and has been named to take on the Eels.
Marshall is yet to train with teammates this week and hopes to take part in the side's training runs on Thursday or Saturday.
He said as long as he was running freely by Saturday, he will line up against the winless and desperate Eels at ANZ Stadium on Monday.
"I can still probably play with that," Marshall said.
"The problem is just trying to get the swelling out of the ankle and trying to get range in your ankle.
"I haven't run yet. I probably won't try to run until Saturday or Sunday. If I feel alright I'll play." Tui Lolohea has been named on an extended bench and could return if Marshall falls short while youngster Tyson Gamble has also been named in the No.18 jersey.
With Cleary out for 10 weeks with a knee injury, Panthers coach Anthony Griffin has elected to name Peachey in the halves with Peter Wallace to remain at hooker.
The highly-rated Jarome Luai will make his debut off the bench. Smith will wear the Eels No.1 jumper with French and Hayne suffering the Parramatta fullback injury curse which has also claimed Clint Gutherson. Brock Lamb will start at five-eighth for Newcastle following Connor Watson's shoulder injury.
Brisbane's Corey Oates (hip) and Tevita Pangai Jr (hamstring) are replaced by Jonus Pearson and Jaydn Su'a.
North Queensland fullback Lachlan Coote is a chance to return after being included on an extended bench.
Lewis (foot) and Moylan (hamstring) will make welcome returns for the Sharks ahead of their showdown with premiers Melbourne on Friday.