POMPEY REPLACES AITKEN IN ONLY CHANGE FOR KNIGHTS CLASH

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Via Warriors Media

Warriors head coach Nathan Brown has brought Adam Pompey into the centres to replace the injured Euan Aitken for Friday night’s second-round NRL encounter with the Newcastle Knights at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).

The 22-year-old Pompey’s inclusion is the only change to the line-up used in last Saturday’s season-opening 19-6 home win over Gold Coast.

After impressing in 13 outings last season, Pompey will team up on the left edge inside experienced winger Ken Maumalo.

Aitken is set to have surgery after a high ankle sprain in his left leg during his debut for the club in last Saturday’s 19-6 win over Gold Coast. It’s expected he will be side-lined for 8-10 weeks.

“It’s disappointing for Euan and for us as a team but we’ve got a very capable replacement in Adam,” said Brown.

“He was outstanding at the back end of last season and he has trialled very well for us against the Titans and Redcliffe in the lead-up to this season.”

Pompey split his appearances between the centres and the wing last year. In taking his career tally to 18 games, he scored five tries and averaged 108 metres a match. He’s also a goal-kicking option.

He was named in jersey #18 in the extended squad last week; that spot has been filled by new signing Marcelo Montoya.

There’s one other change in the 21-man squad which sees second rower Jack Murchie named in jersey #22 replacing Josh Curran.

Hooker Wayde Egan and second rower Bayley Sironen have been named but face further tests under the head injury protocols.

New recruit Addin Fonua-Blake, who topped 200 metres in his club  debut, will play his 99th career match while Maumalo will move to 97 appearances and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will edge his tally for the club to 96.

Friday night’s second consecutive home game in Gosford will provide a stern test for the Vodafone Warriors who face a buoyant Newcastle side coming off a 32-16 round one success against Canterbury Bankstown.

They also impressed up front with their big pack led by Daniel Saifiti, David Klemmer, new acquisition Tyson Frizzell and Mitch Barnett. They all made more than 170 metres each.

Last week’s win was just the 10th time in 27 attempts that the Vodafone Warriors have opened a season with a victory. They have won the first two games of a season only three times.

In 43 contests between the two sides, the Vodafone Warriors have a 22-20 edge with one match drawn. In their most recent meeting the Vodafone Warriors had their best win on the season, beating the Knights 36-6 in Tamworth last August.

WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

6.00pm, Friday, March 19, 2021

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2 DAVID FUSITU’A

3 ADAM POMPEY

4 PETA HIKU

5 KEN MAUMALO

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN

11 ELIESA KATOA

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN

13 TOHU HARRIS

Interchange:

14 JAZZ TEVAGA

15 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

16 LEESON AH MAU

17 BUNTY AFOA

18 MARCELLO MONTOYA

20 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

21 TOM ALE

22 JACK MURCHIE

 

HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN

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