KATA NAMED, VETE PROMOTED FOR DRAGONS SHOWDOWN

It shaped as the most intriguing Team List Tuesday since Round 1 for Warriors fans, but Stephen Kearney’s squad to face undefeated St George Illawarra on Friday night is relatively light on major talking points.

With Leivaha Pulu sidelined by a foot injury, Simon Mannering makes his first start of the season in the second-row.

Mannering’s spot on the interchange will be filled by Albert Vete, who has not played a first-grade game since Round 17 last year. Chris Satae and Isaiah Papali’i – who have both played, and shone, in the NRL this season – are both in the extended reserves contingent.

Vete has enjoyed a strong start to the season in the Warriors’ reserve grade side and was named in the InTrust Super Premiership Team of the Week in Round 6.

The squad is otherwise the same as the one that went down 27-18 to Brisbane on Saturday.

After initial reports had him missing up to a month of footy, Solomone Kata was named at centre despite being helped off with an ankle injury in the latter stages of the loss to the Broncos. Kearney said Kata is “a chance” of lining up on Friday.

Meanwhile, Anthony Gelling – who had a cameo shocker after Kata left the field but was in line for his first NRL start if the nuggetty centre had been ruled out – has retained his place in the 17.

Gelling or reserves selection Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad are the contenders to come into the backline if Kata fails to take his place, with experienced centre Blake Ayshford currently sidelined with a back injury and Gerard Beale still a few weeks away from being available.

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
8.00pm, Friday, April 20, 2018

WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 PETA HIKU
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 BLAKE GREEN
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 BUNTY AFOA
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 AGNATIUS PAASI
11 SIMON MANNERING
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 ADAM BLAIR
Interchange:
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 SAM LISONE
16 ALBERT VETE
17 ANTHONY GELLING
18 CHRIS SATAE
20 MASON LINO
21 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
22 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD

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