DWZ, SIRONEN NAMED TO RETURN AS WARRIORS CHASE FOUR STRAIGHT

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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is one of three frontline players back in the frame for his 150th career appearance when the Vodafone Warriors face Brisbane in Sunday’s 23rd-round NRL contest at Suncorp Stadium (4.05pm kick-off local time; 6.05pm NZT).

After a false start following his one-game suspension last weekend, Watene-Zelezniak will become the second Vodafone Warrior in successive games to celebrate reaching the 150-game career milestone (centre Peta Hiku hit the mark against the Bulldogs).

He comes straight back into the side on the right wing, replacing rookie Edward Kosi who snared his first career try in last Sunday’s 24-10 win over Canterbury Bankstown.

The only other changes head coach Nathan Brown has made to the game day 17 from last week see Bayley Sironen back at loose forward with Jazz Tevaga moved to the interchange and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown coming into the starting line-up for debutant prop Jackson Frei.

Again included on the extended bench is veteran halfback Chad Townsend who was rated a 50-50 chance to return last week before being omitted 24 fours before kick-off.

The Hamilton-born Watene-Zelezniak (25) makes it to the 150-mark after starting his career with 106 appearances for Penrith from 2014-2019 followed by 37 for the Bulldogs from 2019-2021.

In his first six outings with the Vodafone Warriors he has scored two tries, averaged 167 metres a game and made 22 tackle breaks.

Paired again in the second row are converted centre Euan Aitken and Josh Curran, who has been enjoying a breakout season.

They played the full 80 minutes last week, Curran making 175 metres and Aitken 156 while Curran had a try, three line breaks, a line break assist and a try assist. They both had four tackle breaks and were outstanding on defence, Curran with 42 tackles and one miss, Aitken with 39 and no misses.

The Vodafone Warriors go into Sunday’s critical encounter with the chance to secure their fourth straight victory, edging them closer to equalling the five-game winning sequence at the start of the 2018 campaign.

WARRIORS v BRISBANE BRONCOS

4.05pm, Sunday, August 22, 2021

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

WARRIORS

1 REECE WALSH

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

3 PETA HIKU

4 ADAM POMPEY

5 MARCELO MONTOYA

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (c)

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN

11 EUAN AITKEN

12 JOSH CURRAN

13 BAYLEY SIRONEN

Interchange:

14 KODI NIKORIMA

15 BUNTY AFOA

16 ELIESA KATOA

17 JAZZ TEVAGA

18 EDWARD KOSI

20 JACKSON FREI

21 JACK MURCHIE

22 CHAD TOWNSEND

 HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN

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