DWZ AND TOWNSEND STRAIGHT IN FOR DRAGONS CLASH, EGAN AND KOSI RETURN

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Via Warriors Media

Midseason signings Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Chad Townsend come straight into the side for the Vodafone Warriors’ 16th-round NRL clash against St George Illawarra at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on Friday (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).

Watene-Zelezniak (25) and Townsend (30), who trained with the team for the first time yesterday, instantly provide the Vodafone Warriors with a combined 330-game injection of experience.

New Zealand captain Watene-Zelezniak makes his club debut on the wing as Vodafone Warrior #262 while Townsend (#186) comes in at halfback for his first appearance for the side since his 41st outing in the final round of the Vodafone Warriors’ 2015 campaign.

The inclusion of the two new arrivals is offset by the loss of centre Euan Aitken and loose forward Josh Curran, who are both in isolation for the next two weeks.

With Aitken out, Marcelo Montoya moves into the centres while Tohu Harris takes Curran’s spot at loose forward.

Also out of the side is would-be Queensland Origin debutant Reece Walsh. The hamstring strain which forced him out of Origin II prevents him making his eighth NRL appearance of the season.

That results in captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck switching to fullback and 2021 rookie Edward Kosi named on the wing for his fourth NRL match.

With Harris moved to the #13 jersey, Brown has brought Eliesa Katoa into the second row and moved Ben Murdoch-Masila onto the edge after using him as a starting prop in the 6-10 loss to Newcastle on June 19. Taking Murdoch-Masila’s place in the front row is the experienced Kane Evans.

After missing the Newcastle contest, Wayde Egan is back at hooker while Jazz Tevaga, who started at dummy half against the Knights, reverts to the #14 jersey. The others on the game day interchange are Leeson Ah Mau, Bunty Afoa and Bayley Sironen.

WARRIORS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

6.00pm, Friday, July 2, 2021

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

3 ADAM POMPEY

4 MARCELO MONTOYA

5 EDWARD KOSI

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 CHAD TOWNSEND

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 KANE EVANS

11 ELIESA KATOA

12 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

13 TOHU HARRIS

Interchange:

14 JAZZ TEVAGA

15 LEESON AH MAU

16 BUNTY AFOA

17 BAYLEY SIRONEN

18 ROCCO BERRY

20 JACK MURCHIE

21 TANIELA OTUKOLO

22 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN

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