More backline changes for Warriors

Published 3:30pm 26 July 2022

More backline changes for Warriors
Words by Kylie Knight

Warriors interim Head Coach Stacey Jones has made four backline changes plus two on the interchange bench for the club’s second Homecoming Series clash against Melbourne at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday (6pm kick-off).

Jones has lost centre Jesse Arthars (thigh strain) and is again without interchange prop Aaron Pene, who was ruled out late with a virus last week.

Also unavailable is second rower Jack Murchie, who has remained Australia to be with his expectant partner.

With Rocco Berry (foot injury) also out of contention, Jones has moved left wing Marcelo Montoya into the centres with Edward Kosi back on the wing for his second outing in three games.

Montoya has been used on the wing in his past 22 matches for the Warriors but his 86-game career includes more than 20 starts in the centres.

The other backline changes are at fullback and standoff with Chanel Harris-Tavita moving from fullback into the halves replacing Daejarn Asi and Reece Walsh, used off the bench against Canberra on Saturday, returning to the starting line-up in the #1 jersey.

Eliesa Katoa, brought in late to replace Pene last week, is confirmed on the interchange for what will be his first NRL game at Mount Smart Stadium after playing his first 41 matches on Australian soil since his 2020 debut.

Coming onto the interchange for just his second NRL appearance is prop Jackson Frei, who made his debut against Canterbury Bankstown last August.

Recalled on the bench is recently re-signed hooker Freddy Lussick with prop Bunty Afoa rounding out the interchange.

The forward pack is unchanged from the one originally selected to face Canberra.

As well as Arthars, Pene, Murchie and Berry other players unavailable were Bayley Sironen (eye socket) and Ben Murdoch-Masila (elbow), who remain on the injured list.

The Warriors have lost their past 12 contests with the Storm (four at Mount Smart Stadium).

Their last success in 2015 was one of the most memorable in the club’s history, the 28-14 victory in Auckland which featured Nathan Friend’s upside-down-between-the-legs offload which led to an astonishing Tuimoala Lolohea try.

This will be the 49th clash between the clubs with Melbourne holding a 30-16 advantage with two draws. In 22 matches at Mount Smart Stadium, the ledger favours the Storm 13-9.

VODAFONE WARRIORS TEAM LIST

1 REECE WALSH

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

3 MARCELO MONTOYA

4 ADAM POMPEY

5 EDWARD KOSI

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

7 SHAUN JOHNSON

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 TOHU HARRIS (c)

11 EUAN AITKEN

12 JOSH CURRAN

13 JAZZ TEVAGA

Extended bench:

14 FREDDY LUSSICK

15 BUNTY AFOA

16 ELIESA KATOA

17 JACKSON FREI

18 TOM ALE

20 DAEJARN ASI

21 RONALD VOLKMAN

22 VILIAMI VAILEA

23 TANIELA OTUKOLO

Head coach | STACEY JONES

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