Warriors name side to face Penrith

Published 3:28pm 23 August 2022

Warriors name side to face Penrith
Words by Kylie Knight

The Vodafone Warriors have revealed the side they’ll field in a David and Goliath match-up against Penrith on Friday night in Penrith.

Utility Chanel Harris-Tavita and middle forward Ben Murdoch-Masila are poised to return from injury for the clash against Penrith at BlueBet Stadium on Friday (6pm kick-off AEST).

Interim head coach Stacey Jones said today that Harris-Tavita had been close to coming back into the side against North Queensland last week after recovering from the MCL knee strain he picked up against Melbourne at Mount Smart Stadium on July 29.

It gives the 23-year-old Harris-Tavita the chance to make two last appearances for the club following the decision he announced in May to take a break from the game.

For Murdoch-Masila (31) this week is like starting all over again.

The powerhouse Mate Ma’a Tonga international has been side-lined since June 12 after leaving the field in excruciating pain after dislocating his left elbow in the round 14 match against Cronulla-Sutherland.

Murdoch-Masila had his arm in a brace for some time before he was able to resume work in his quest to make just his 10th appearance this season.

While Jones has been able to call on Harris-Tavita and Murdoch-Masila for Friday’s daunting challenge against the Panthers, he conceded today the wear and tear of the season meant some players were battling to be fit for the trip to Penrith.

One who will front again is the remarkably consistent Bunty Afoa, who has been entrusted with a starting role at loose forward in the wake of Jazz Tevaga being ruled out with a season-ending shoulder injury.

Eyeing his 23rd straight appearance of the season, Afoa has the distinction of being the only Vodafone Warriors player to have played in every match of the campaign.

After their pulsating 42-18 win over Canterbury Bankstown and Mount Smart Stadium, the Vodafone Warriors slid to their heaviest loss in history to the Cowboys (4-48) after being only 4-12 down in the shadow of half-time.

Having faced the impressive second-placed North Queensland last week, the pressure will be on again taking on the defending premiers who last week secured the minor premiership with two rounds to spare.

The Panthers posted a 40-6 victory when the two sides met in Redcliffe in June.

VODAFONE WARRIORS’ TEAM LIST

1 REECE WALSH

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

3 VILIAMI VAILEA

4 MARCELO MONTOYA

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 BUNTY AFOA

Extended bench:

14 FREDDY LUSSICK

15 DUNAMIS LUI

16 ELIESA KATOA

17 TOM ALE

18 ADAM POMPEY

20 ROCCO BERRY

21 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

22 DAEJARN ASI

23 TANIELA OTUKOLO

Head coach | STACEY JONES

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