Via Warriors Media
Forwards Matt Lodge and Jazz Tevaga are back in the Vodafone Warriors’ squad for the traditional Anzac Day contest against Melbourne at AAMI Park next Monday (7.00pm kick-off local time; 9.00pm NZT).
Lodge sat out the gruelling battle against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday as he recovered from a side strain picked up in the fourth-round win over his former Brisbane club.
He’s cleared to return for his 88th career appearance and his first Anzac Day outing for the Vodafone Warriors.
Tevaga is also back, named on an extended bench after serving a two-match suspension for a dangerous contact offence in the Brisbane win. The invaluable energiser will move within four games of joining the Vodafone Warriors’ 100-game club if he plays on Monday.
Lodge and Tevaga significantly bolster a Vodafone Warriors pack which was short of four experienced campaigners for the encounter with the Roosters. Also missing were big Ben Murdoch-Masila and still-recovering captain Tohu Harris.
That stripped the Vodafone Warriors of a combined total of 440 NRL appearances and left head coach Nathan Brown with just three frontline props in captain Addin Fonua-Blake, Bunty Afoa and Aaron Pene to take on the Roosters.
The 17 named is the same as that originally named ahead of the match against the Roosters before Lodge was ruled out with Pene moving into the starting line-up and hooker Taniela Otukolo added to the interchange.
Apart from Tevaga, named in jersey #20, another included on the extended list is train and trial prop Garrett Smith, who scored a try for the Vodafone Warriors in their preseason win over Melbourne in February.
This will be the 12th Anzac Day match between the two clubs on a day when the Michael Moore Trophy will also be at stake,
The Storm have put together a run of 11 straight victories over the Vodafone Warriors since their last defeat at Mount Smart Stadium in 2015. They’ve also won the last five Anzac Day encounters since the Vodafone Warriors won 16-10 at AAMI Park in 2014.