Via Warriors Media
Sporting their stunning 2021 Indigenous kit, the Vodafone Warriors are set to welcome back front rower Addin Fonua-Blake from a 10-week injury lay-off for their 14th-round NRL encounter with the Melbourne Storm at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on Sunday (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).
The 25-year-old Mate Ma’a Tonga international hasn’t played since being forced off the field with a serious leg injury just 13 minutes into only his fourth appearance for the club against the Sydney Roosters on April 4.
One of the biggest signings in the Vodafone Warriors’ history, Fonua-Blake made a huge impact in his start with the club averaging 173 metres a game in his first three outings.
After only a few minutes against the Roosters, he has since missed the last eight games.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown indicated before last weekend’s bye that the influential Fonua-Blake was on target to return against the Storm and has now named him on the side’s extended bench for Sunday’s Michael Moore Trophy battle.
His return would add another layer to a huge day for the Vodafone Warriors as they host their Great Big Kiwi Coast Party at Central Coast Stadium, an event which is headlined by legendary Kiwi rock band Dragon kicking off a concert at 12.00pm.
On the field the Vodafone Warriors will wear their Indigenous Round strip which they were unable to unveil two weeks ago due to a clash with North Queensland’s Indigenous kit.
The day will also be marked by a significant milestone when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck leads the Vodafone Warriors for the 100th time, becoming only the second player to achieve the mark behind former captain Simon Mannering.
After making his 100th appearance for the club overall in the win over St George Illawarra in April, Tuivasa-Sheck returns to fullback this week replacing rookie Reece Walsh, who is serving a one-match suspension.
Also suspended is regular centre Adam Pompey, paving the way for three-game rookie Rocco Berry to return after a two-game absence. He was ruled out of the Wests Tigers encounter after a head knock and then was unused as 18th man against North Queensland.
The 20-year-old Berry was outstanding for feeder club Redcliffe in their 34-24 victory over the Falcons in the Intrust Super Cup on Saturday. He scored the first two tries of the game and laid on a double for fellow Vodafone Warriors rookie Edward Kosi finishing with 118 metres from 11 runs, two line breaks, two line break assists, two try assists three tackle and two off loads plus 14 tackles.