Via Warriors Media
Rookie second rower Eliesa Katoa has been promoted to the starting line-up while two Adams – Pompey and Keighran – make NRL returns for the Vodafone Warriors’ round two encounter with the Canberra Raiders at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday (2.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).
After impressing in his first senior competitive match in Newcastle last Saturday, the 20-year-old Tonga-born Katoa has been moved straight into the run-on side for the contest which will be played behind closed doors.
In 52 minutes on the field, he made 144 metres from 17 runs – the most by a Vodafone Warriors forward – and had the most post-contact metres in the side with 50.
His inclusion on the edge sees Adam Blair switch to loose forward with Isaiah Papali’i moving to the interchange in what will his 50th career appearance.
With centre Peta Hiku and winger Patrick Herbert returning home on compassionate grounds utility Adam Keighran is named as Hiku’s replacement with Adam Pompey coming onto the right wing to partner David Fusitu’a. Keighran and Pompey were both in the side in the 24-20 upset win over the Raiders in the final round of the regular season last year.
The only other changes are on the extended bench where former Vodafone Junior Warrior Adam Tuimavave-Gerrard comes on for the injured Taane Milne (knee).
The Vodafone Warriors, who have been based in Kingscliff this week, have a squad of just 24 players to choose from, the three omitted being Tom Ale, Rocco Berry and Paul Turner (all on development contracts).
Saturday’s match will be Blair’s 313th career appearance, moving him two clear of the great Ruben Wiki as the record holder for most NRL games by a New Zealander after equalling Wiki’s mark in Newcastle last Saturday. Just three behind Blair and Wiki on 309 games is Kiwi captain Benji Marshall.
Milestones are also nearing for Tohu Harris, who plays his 149th game, and Fusitu’a, who lines up for the 98th time for the club.
- The Vodafone Warriors’ round two game against Canberra at Cbus Super Stadium will proceed as planned but the venue will be closed to spectators. The NRL and clubs are working in parallel to resolve questions that ticketed members have in relation to this unprecedented situation. We sincerely appreciate your ongoing patience and we will continue to keep you updated.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS
2.00pm, Saturday, March 21, 2020
Cbus Super Stadium, Robina
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 ADAM POMPEY
3 DAVID FUSITU’A
4 ADAM KEIGHRAN
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
7 BLAKE GREEN
8 LEESON AH MAU
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 LACHLAN BURR
11 ELIESA KATOA
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 ADAM BLAIR
14 KODI NIKORIMA
15 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN
16 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
17 KING VUNIYAYAWA
18 KARL LAWTON
20 HAYZE PERHAM
21 LEIVAHA PULU
22 ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY