Vodafone Warriors outside back David Fusitu’a has been forced out of this weekend’s Downer NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park.
The 21-year-old, who was set to play in the tournament for the second time, wasn’t able to recover sufficiently from an ankle he picked up in training this week.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden has called in 19-year-old Nathaniel Roache to replace Fusitu’a.
“David’s injury isn’t too bad but he won’t be ready for the weekend,” he said.
“It’s disappointing to lose him because he was a big part of our plans.”
Roache was in the club’s NRL Nines squad last year but didn’t have any game time.
A couple of niggles meant he wasn’t considered when the side was first announced last week but McFadden said Roache had since recovered fully.
McFadden said Fusitu’a was expected to be available for the Vodafone Warriors’ first NRL trial against Gold Coast at Toll Stadium in Whangarei next Saturday (February 13, 5.30pm kick-off).
The club’s second and final NRL trial is the ‘Mike Pero Battle of Trafalgar’ against St George Illawarra at Trafalgar Park in Nelson on Saturday, February 20 (5.00pm kick-off).
VODAFONE WARRIORS | 2016 DOWNER NRL NINES
1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2 Ryan Hoffman
3 Jacob Lillyman*
4 Blake Ayshford
5 Solomone Kata
6 Tuimoala Lolohea
7 Shaun Johnson (c)
8 Charlie Gubb
9 Henare Wells*
10 Konrad Hurrell
11 Ben Matulino
12 Ken Maumalo
13 Jonathan Wright
14 Jeff Robson*
15 Sam Lisone
16 Nathaniel Roache
17 Albert Vete*
18 Ata Hingano*
- Asterisk denotes players making NRL Auckland Nines debuts