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New loan player Jack Hetherington has been rushed straight into service for the Vodafone Warriors’ eighth-round NRL clash against the Brisbane Broncos at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm local time; 7.30pm NZT).

The 24-year-old Penrith prop is in line to become Vodafone Warrior #246 after being named on the bench in a match which will see winger David Fusitu’a in line to make his delayed 100th appearance for the club.

Fusitu’a was poised to become the 24th 100-game player in Vodafone Warriors history in the encounter with Melbourne last week but was ruled out after failing to fully recover from the head injury he suffered against South Sydney.

Hetherington became the club’s second loan player after the Vodafone Warriors and Penrith reached agreement for him to join the team last Sunday. The 16-game NRL player replaced Sydney Roosters front rower Poasa Faamausili, who was recalled by his club on Saturday after playing four times for the Vodafone Warriors.

The 1.90cm, 107kg Hetherington, Penrith’s 2018 NRL rookie of the year, is reunited with former Panthers teammate Wayde Egan, back in the line-up after being suspended last week being.

Vodafone Warriors interim head coach Todd Payten has made a number of changes to the combination he used in last Friday night’s loss to the Storm.

The backline is the same as the original one named last week, Fusitu’a on the right wing with Patrick Herbert back in the centres and Gerard Beale returning to the extended bench.

The main question mark over the backline surrounds captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who has a judiciary hearing tonight after pleading not guilty to a shoulder charge offence from the Melbourne contest.

The front row is completely changed from the one used against the Storm. Egan is in for Lawton at hooker, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown returns to the starting side after being switched to the interchange last week and Agnatius Paasi has been named in the run-on side after being used off the bench in his three appearances since the season resumed. He played 27 minutes against St George Illawarra, 28 against South Sydney and 30 against Melbourne.

Adam Blair, who started at prop last week, reverts to loose forward, Tohu Harris is named in the second row after being used in the middle last week and Jack Murchie remains on the edge with Eliesa Katoa (ankle) still injured.

Lawton is being put through head injury protocols and has been named on the bench in the hope he is cleared to play. Also named is Chanel Harris-Tavita, who played 66 minutes at dummy half against Melbourne. The other two players named in the 17 are Hetherington and Josh Curran.

The match marks a welcome return for the Vodafone Warriors to their ‘home’ ground in Gosford after tough matches on the road against the Rabbitohs and the Storm. In their two games at Central Coast Stadium they have beaten St George Illawarra 18-0 and North Queensland 37-26.

The game will also see the Vodafone Warriors playing in front of spectators for the first time. Tickets are now on sale through here through Ticketek.

Warriors v Brisbane Broncos at Central Coast Stadium (7.30pm NZT)

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Wayde Egan 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Jack Murchie 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Jack Hetherington 16. Karl Lawton 17. Josh Curran 18. King Vuniyayawa 20. Isaiah Papali’i 21. Adam Pompey 22. Gerard Beale

Broncos: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tom Dearden 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Ben Te’o 18. Corey Oates 19. Cory Paix 20. Richard Kennar 21. Jamil Hopoate

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Categories: Team News + Stats, WARRIORS NEWS

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