Via Warriors Media
Young second rower Eliesa Katoa, halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita and centre Euan Aitken have all been included in the Vodafone Warriors’ 21-man squad for Sunday’s ninth-round NRL encounter with Manly-Warringah at Lottoland in Sydney (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).
The 21-year-old Katoa comes straight back into the starting line-up replacing powerhouse forward Ben Murdoch-Masila, who has been ruled out following a head knock late in the second half of Sunday’s 24-20 win over North Queensland.
Katoa’s last NRL appearance was coincidentally against Manly when the Vodafone Warriors fell to a 12-13 fifth-round loss at Central Coast Stadium.
He had an impressive outing for feeder club Redcliffe in the Intrust Super Cup the following week only to pick up a toe injury which has had him side-lined the last two weeks.
Harris-Tavita has been listed in jersey #20 as he eyes a return after being side-lined for the last six rounds following surgery for a stress fracture in his left foot picked up in the 16-20 round two loss to Newcastle.
New signing Aitken has appeared only in the season-opening 19-6 win over Gold Coast when he suffered an ankle injury which required surgery. He has been listed in jersey #22.
Other than Katoa coming in for Murdoch-Masila, the starting side and nominated bench is unchanged from the victory over the Cowboys.
It again sees two-game centre Rocco Berry and last week’s debutant winger Edward Kosi named on the right edge while the exciting rookie Reece Walsh is selected in the halves with the experienced Kodi Nikorima.
After eight rounds – a third of the season – the Vodafone Warriors sit seventh on the NRL ladder with a four win-four loss record.
Hit with a heavy injury toll and suspensions, head coach Nathan Brown had already been forced to use 28 players with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Wayde Egan, Jazz Tevaga and Leeson Ah Mau the only ones set to make their ninth straight appearance this week.
Tuivasa-Sheck goes into the return clash against Manly in a three-way share of the lead on the Dally M points table after collecting three points against the Cowboys when he made 225 metres (including 62 post contact metres) from 28 runs with eight tackle breaks, a line break, a try assist and three off loads.
He’s first among all players for most runs (196), second for most metres (1965), third for most post contact metres (571) and fourth for most tackle breaks (44).
WARRIORS v MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
2.00pm, Sunday, May 9, 2021
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 EDWARD KOSI
3 ADAM POMPEY
4 ROCCO BERRY
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 REECE WALSH
7 KODI NIKORIMA
8 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 KANE EVANS
11 JOSH CURRAN
12 ELIESA KATOA
13 TOHU HARRIS
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 LEESON AH MAU
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 BAYLEY SIRONEN
18 JACK MURCHIE
20 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
21 TOM ALE
22 EUAN AITKEN
HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN