Sam Wood looks a front runner to replace suspended Danny Brough when Huddersfield Giants travel to St Helens on Friday night.
The 20-year-old centre or outside back returns to the Giants 19-man squad , along with Tyler Dickinson and Colton Roche, while winger Innes Senior keeps his place after scoring three tries in the last two matches.
Vastly-experienced Brough starts a three-match ban against Saints, having admitted to verbally abusing a touchjudge during the 30-12 home defeat by Salford Red Devils.
And interim head coach Chris Thorman – who is also without Matty English and Jared Simpson – explained: “The ban was totally justified.
“I went with Danny and we both apologised.
“He is a passionate bloke who plays with his heart on his sleeve.
“We all know what Danny Brough brings to the team, but what he said was not acceptable – you can’t say that to the officials.
“That is one thing which separates rugby league from other team sports in this country and around the world, rugby league is a family sport, we base a lot of our stuff around that and you just can’t talk to officials like that.”
Thorman said he was disappointed in one of his senior members of the squad – Brough also got a £500 fine – and said he had spoken to the players about their discipline going forward.
“Danny acknowledged it (that he was wrong) and I acknowledged it and the RFL went through their proceedures,” added Thorman.
“We probably got out of it as well as we expected. The judicial system was really fair and they took into account a couple of preceding incidents that affected Danny’s frustration, but ultimately you can’t say that to the official.”
Thorman claimed Brough was elbowed in the face by Weller Hauraki and was also upset by some of the penalty decisions going against his team when they were still in the “arm wrestle”.
So how will the Giants approach playing without Brough as their playmaker?
“We have to find a way of playing without him and we’ve done it before, because he has missed a couple of games because of his ankle injury,” he explained.
“One person’s disappointment is another person’s opportunity, and I’ve brought Sam Wood into the squad.
“Whether we go with him I’m not sure, but he has trained well.
“He is a young man who has been through our system for a while and he has been an absolute utility player for us.
“Sam is someone I can trust and he just knows a few roles when you ask him to play, whether he plays centre or back row or stand off, so we have a couple of decisions to make.”
Jack Ashworth and James Bentley have been called into the Saints squad.
Mark Percival is suspended and Zeb Taia injured, and there is no place for James Roby.
Giants squad: Jordan Turner, Aaron Murphy, Lee Gaskell, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Kruise Leeming, Shannon Wakeman, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Jordan Rankin, Oliver Roberts, Ukuma Ta’ai, Paul Clough, Daniel Smith, Adam Walne, Alex Mellor, Darnell McIntosh, Tyler Dickinson, Colton Roche, Sam Wood, Innes Senior.
Saints: Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Ryan Morgan, Theo Fages, Matty Smith, Kyle Amor, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Luke Douglas, Morgan Knowles, Luke Thompson, Dom Peyroux, Danny Richardson, Regan Grace, Matty Lees, Jack Ashworth, Ben Barba, James Bentley, Matty Costello.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.