Via Warriors Media
Hooker Wayde Egan returns after a one-week absence while Ronald Volkman comes into the halves for the One New Zealand Warriors’ fifth-round NRL encounter with Cronulla-Sutherland at PointsBet Stadium in Sydney on Sunday (4.05pm kick-off local time; 6.05pm NZT).
Egan missed the 16-14 win over Canterbury-Bankstown after being concussed in the third-round win over North Queensland but has passed protocols to replace Freddy Lussick, who shifts to the extended bench.
Te Maire Martin, used at standoff in each of the club’s first four matches, left the field after a head knock late in Sunday’s win at Mount Smart Stadium and hasn’t been cleared to play this week.
That opens the way for 20-year-old Volkman to partner the in-form Shaun Johnson in the halves for the third time in his three-match NRL career.
Volkman has been in fine touch in the New South Wales Cup where he has helped the One New Zealand Warriors to a three wins-one loss record to sit third on the ladder.
He is one off the lead for try assists and line break assists with five of each and has the most kicks (53) and kick metres (1296). He is also averaging 95 per cent with the boot after kicking 19 goals.
The rest of the 17-man squad used against the Bulldogs is unchanged including the back five which again excelled with a collective total of 84 runs and close to 700 metres.
Also intact is the interchange of Dylan Walker, Bayley Sironen, Jazz Tevaga and Tom Ale, Walker and Tevaga proving a potent double act when they again came into the game at the same point in the first half. They both topped 140 metres while making a combined total of 42 tackles and nine tackle breaks.
The One New Zealand Warriors’ 3-1 start to the season is one of the best in the club’s history, bettered only once (four from four in 2018) but the club now enters another testing phase with the second of two back-to-back road assignments in the opening six rounds.
They travelled to the Roosters and North Queensland in rounds two and three and have been handed a second dose with the Sharks and the Knights on the road in the next two weeks.
After four rounds the One New Zealand Warriors have the best completion rate (83 per cent), the most line breaks (25) and line break assists (20), the third most runs (755) and the third most kick return metres (746).
The Sharks, fortified by the return of Dally M winner Nicho Hynes, are also among the competition’s best in a number of categories.
Lying sixth two points behind the fourth-placed One New Zealand Warriors, Cronulla has scored the most points (108) and most tries (19), has the most try assists (18) and is second for most line breaks (23) and line break assists (19).