Twin towers Sione and Sam Lousi have been named as the Vodafone Warriors’ starting front rowers for their 18th-round New South Wales Cup encounter with the Wentworthville Magpies at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday (5.10pm kick-off; match day sponsor: TNT).
While Sam has played the last three NSW Cup games after returning from injury, older brother Sione has been lined up for his comeback from a knee complaint.
He has been sidelined since leaving the field in the Vodafone Warriors’ 10th-round NRL match against Canterbury-Bankstown in Hamilton.
Saturday’s appearance is set to be his third for the club’s NSW Cup this year and another chance to play alongside his bigger brother after they combined earlier in this campaign.
The Lousi brothers come into the front row for Upu Poching and Agnatius Paasi; Poching shifts to the interchange bench while Paasi is in the second row with regular Raymond Faitala-Mariner named 18th man for the NRL squad this week.
Joining Paasi in the second row is Michael Ki after he turned out for the NYC side in its impressive 30-13 win against Penrith on June 29.
There’s also a change at fullback and in the halves with Tuimoala Lolohea not named this week. Captain Steve Waetford is listed to start at fullback with Sam Cook at halfback.
The Vodafone Warriors have suffered tight losses to Wyong and table-topping Penrith in their last two games but remain sixth with eight wins, a draw and seven losses in their 16 matches to date.
Coming off a bye they now face the second-placed Wentworthville Magpies, who pounded North Sydney 56-16 last week.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v WENTWORTHVILLE MAGPIES
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
5.10pm, Saturday, July 12
1 STEVE WAETFORD (c)
2 NGATAUA HUKATAI
3 SOLOMONE KATA
4 DOMINIQUE PEYROUX
5 JARROD TUA
6 CARLOS TUIMAVAVE
7 SAM COOK
8 SIONE LOUSI
9 SILIVA HAVILI
10 SAM LOUSI
11 MICHAEL KI
12 AGNATIUS PAASI
13 JOHN PALAVI
14 MICHAEL SIO
15 ALBERT VETE
16 UPU POCHING
17 DAVID BHANA
COACH: ROHAN SMITH