BLAIR, FUS AND BIG KEN RETURN FOR PENRITH ROAD TRIP

Injuries and returning stars have seen the Warriors make a stack of changes to the 17 that went down to Cronulla last Friday as the team prepares for their pivotal Round 17 encounter with Penrith.

The worrying news that consistent forward duo Bunty Afoa (elbow) and Tohu Harris (knee) will be out for up to six weeks has been tempered slightly by the availability of several top-liners.

Adam Blair returns from suspension at lock, which allows Simon Mannering to slot into Tohu Harris’ spot in the second-row. Ligi Sao has been recalled for the first time since Round 4 to take Afoa’s place on the bench, edging out Sam Lisone for a seat on the pine.

Meanwhile, the NRL’s leading try-scorer, David Fusitu’a (ankle), returns on the wing after missing the Warriors’ last two matches and Tonga’s Test against Samoa, and Ken Maumalo – rested after making his Kiwis debut in Denver – is back on the left flank.

That sees Peta Hiku revert to centre, Gerard Beale move back to an interchange role and Anthony Gelling drop out of the squad altogether.

Beale takes the bench spot of Karl Lawton, who was left unused against the Sharks. Lawton, Lisone and Joesph Vuna could all be considered a chance of snaring the fourth interchange berth from utility-back Beale, however.

The Panthers, who will be without NSW Origin stars Nathan Cleary, James Maloney and Tyrone Peachey, are looking to avoid three straight losses after going down to Sydney Roosters and Manly in their past two outings. The Warriors have not lost back-to-back games in 2018.

The rival clubs are locked on 22 points in a three-way share of third place with Melbourne Storm.

WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS

7.55pm AEST/9.55pm NZT, Friday, July 6, 2018
Panthers Stadium, Penrith

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 JAMES GAVET
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 AGNATIUS PAASI
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
12 SIMON MANNERING
13 ADAM BLAIR
Interchange:
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 CHRIS SATAE
16 LIGI SAO
17 GERARD BEALE
18 JOSEPH VUNA
20 KARL LAWTON
21 SAM LISONE
22 MASON LINO

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