Via Warriors Media
Interim head coach Stacey Jones has made significant line-up changes for the Vodafone Warriors’ final game at their Redcliffe base before their Mount Smart Stadium homecoming match in Auckland on July 3.
In his second game since stepping in for the departed Nathan Brown, Jones has highlighted his selection by handing 19-year-old Ronald Volkman his NRL and club debut in the 15th-round encounter with the competition-leading Penrith Panthers at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off local time; 7.30pm NZT).
Volkman, who arrived from the Sydney Roosters last month, is poised to become Vodafone Warrior #272 partnering veteran Shaun Johnson in the halves.
Set to re-join the side is first-choice prop Addin Fonua-Blake after being sidelined with a foot injury since the round 11 loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons. He has been named on the extended bench in #23.
There’s a change in the centres with Jesse Arthars coming in for Rocco Berry. Arthars played seven of the first eight games of the season including each of the club’s four wins over the Wests Tigers, Brisbane, North Queensland and Canberra but picked up a shoulder injury in the golden point win against the Raiders.
With Ben Murdoch-Masila (elbow) ruled out, prop Bunty Afoa is listed to start his 99th career game although a front row shuffle is likely if Fonua-Blake comes through training this week.
Experienced second rower Euan Aitken (concussion) has been ruled out which results in Josh Curran coming into the starting back row.
Chanel Harris-Tavita, moved out of the halves to make way for Volkman, is on the bench to provide utility cover.
The highly regarded Volkman, initially signed on a three-year deal from next season, joined the Vodafone Warriors early last month and will become the seventh player to make his club debut this year.
After coming through the Roosters’ age group sides and the North Sydney Bears in the New South Wales Cup, he has had two outings with the Vodafone Warriors’ feeder club Redcliffe in the Hostplus Cup (Queensland Cup) in the past fortnight.
The Dolphins beat the Ipswich Jets 54-0 on June 4 and the Mackay Cutters 34-32 last week, Volkman marking his second outing with a try, a line break, line break assist and try assist plus five tackle breaks.
He and the rest of his teammates face a huge challenge taking on Penrith in the Vodafone Warriors’ farewell appearance at their adopted home ground in Redcliffe. The Panthers, four points clear at the top of the ladder, have lost only once while scoring the most points (416) and conceding the fewest (152).
Hooker Wayde Egan makes his 50th Vodafone Warriors appearance, achieving it against his former club. The July 3 homecoming match will be his first at Mount Smart Stadium.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe
5.30pm, Saturday, June 18
1 REECE WALSH
2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
3 JESSE ARTHARS
4 ADAM POMPEY
5 MARCELO MONTOYA
6 RONALD VOLKMAN
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 BUNTY AFOA
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 JAZZ TEVAGA
11 JACK MURCHIE
12 TOHU HARRIS (c)
13 JOSH CURRAN
14 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
15 AARON PENE
16 DUNAMIS LUI
17 BAYLEY SIRONEN
18 FREDDY LUSSICK
20 ELIESA KATOA
21 ROCCO BERRY
22 DAEJARN ASI
23 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
Head coach | STACEY JONES