Mason Lino’s call-up for his NRL debut has forced more reshuffling for a Vodafone Warriors side already showing numerous changes for Saturday’s top of the table New South Wales Cup clash against Penrith at Mount Smart Stadium No 2 (1.00pm kick-off).

Lino has been brought in as a late replacement for Chad Townsend for the club’s first-grade encounter with North Queensland on the main ground (7.30pm kick-off).

He had been originally named for his 13th NSW Cup outing of the season but will now become the club’s 202nd NRL player in the final home game of the season.

Lino’s replacement in the NSW Cup side will be confirmed an hour before kick-off in the second to last round of the regular season with Penrith (third) and the Vodafone Warriors (fourth) level on 32 points on the top of the ladder with Wyong and the Mounties. The NSW Cup finals start in the first weekend of September.

After beating Wests Tigers 20-16 away last week, coach Stacey Jones has several players unavailable. Apart from Lino, Glen Fisiiahi remains on the injury list and has been joined by David Fusitu’a, who had only just come back from a knee problem. Also missing from the side used against the Tigers is back rower Sione Lousi – selected in the NRL squad – as well as winger Saula Solomona and hooker Zac Tippins.

Willie Peace, used twice earlier in the season, comes in as Solomona’s replacement while interchange back rower James Bell has been named to replace Fusitu’a in the centres. Coming into the back row for Lousi is Raymond Faitala-Mariner, back in the NSW Cup side after playing his 10th NRL match of the season last week.

Included on the bench are two debutants in Vodafone Junior Warriors prop Bunty Afoa and Otara Scorpions forward Uila Aiolupo. They become the 73rd and 74th players to appear for the NSW Cup side since the Vodafone Warriors took it over last season.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS

Mount Smart Stadium No 2, Auckland

1.00pm, Saturday, August 22

Referee: Aaron Donald


VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 VILIAMI KAVEINGA

2 WILLIE PEACE

3 MARATA NIUKORE

4 JAMES BELL

5 TOMAS AOAKE

6 ATA HINGANO

7 TBC

8 UPU POCHING

9 SILIVA HAVILI

10 SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO

11 JOHN PALAVI (c)

12 RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER

13 DAVID BHANA

Interchange:

14 LEVI NORTON

15 UILA AIOLUPO

16 SIONE FE’AO

17 BUNTY AFOA

COACH: STACEY JONES