JOHNSON AND KATA RULED OUT OF DRAGONS SHOWDOWN

The Warriors have been dealt a double-blow on the eve of Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons, with Shaun Johnson and Solomone Kata both ruled out through injury.

Mason Lino will fill the breach at halfback, while Anthony Gelling receives his maiden NRL start at centre.

Johnson missed the Warriors’ Round 4 victory over Sydney Roosters, before returning with a brilliant display in the win against North Queensland and scoring a try in last weekend’s loss to Brisbane. The good news is long-serving lower-grader Lino was arguably the best on ground in the Roosters boilover, dotting down for the first try, setting up another and kicking seven from seven.

Kata’s withdrawal was widely anticipated after the club reported he was set to miss a month with an ankle injury after leaving the field late against the Broncos, but fans may be a little tentative about former Wigan star Gelling’s initial run-on assignment.

Gelling has made late interchange appearances in each of the Warriors’ last three matches, culminating in an erratic showing in the Broncos loss that stymied their late comebacks attempt.

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
17 ANTHONY GELLING
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 BLAKE GREEN
20 MASON LINO
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
18 CHRIS SATAE
21 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
22 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD

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