Via Warriors Media
Injuries to three of their most experienced players have forced the One New Zealand Warriors to reshuffle their side significantly for Sunday’s ninth-round NRL encounter with the Sydney Roosters at Mount Smart Stadium (4.00pm kick-off; Game day sponsor: Census).
Captain Tohu Harris (knee), fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and middle forward Jazz Tevaga have all been ruled out after leaving the field in last night’s Anzac Day battle against Melbourne.
After leading at halftime and stretching their advantage to 22-12 early in the second half the One New Zealand Warriors hung in despite having no fit players on their interchange late in the match.
Head coach Andrew Webster has recalled Taine Tuaupiki at fullback, Josh Curran starts at loose forward and Bunty Afoa moves to prop for Tevaga.
Dylan Walker has been named but has been charged with grade two dangerous contact offence.
Returning to the side is hooker Wayde Egan after missing the last two matches (concussion).
This results in Freddy Lussick going to the interchange where he’s joined by Bayley Sironen, Tom Ale and Viliami Vailea.
The extended bench comprises Demitric Sifakula, Ronald Volkman, Ali Leiataua, Zyon Maiu’u and Kalani Going, all regulars for the club’s top of the table New South Wales Cup side.
The Roosters, coming off a dramatic 27-26 win over St George Illawarra yesterday, pose another huge challenge for the One New Zealand Warriors, even more so given the key players the home side will be missing.
Ticket sales have been strong but One New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George has appealed to members and fans to fill the stadium.
“We had a tremendous crowd for our last game at Mount Smart but we’d love to see 25,000 at the ground on Sunday to support our boys and to create an unreal atmosphere for them,” he said.
“They’ve shown how tough they are despite a really challenging draw. Let’s get in behind them and show them how much they mean to us.”