Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden has confirmed Jazz Tevaga is the player to drop off an extended bench for tonight’s sixth-round NRL clash against the Manly Sea Eagles at Mount Smart Stadium (7.30pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Woodstock).
With utility Thomas Leuluai (30) making his comeback from a long injury lay-off, 2016 rookie Tevaga makes way after appearing in each of the last three matches.
The rest of the line-up is as named on Tuesday with Leuluai set for his first outing in almost 11 months after his season-ending ACL injury in May last year.
Club legend Ali Lauitiiti has been named 18th man tonight after appearing for the club’s Intrust Super Premiership side in each of the first five rounds.
Jonathan Wright is on the left wing for Manu Vatuvei, who was forced off with a hamstring injury 66 minutes into Sunday’s 32-28 golden point win over the Sydney Roosters in Gosford. He made a try-scoring appearance filling in for Vatuvei against Melbourne on March 28, his only previous NRL outing so far this season.
McFadden has made one other change to the starting line-up used against the Roosters, moving Sam Lisone to loose forward with Albert Vete going to the bench.
Manly has a 19-8 advantage in 27 games between the two clubs and boasts a 10-3 record in meetings at Mount Smart Stadium. The Sea Eagles have won nine of the last 10 contests with the Vodafone Warriors’ sole success an 18-16 win in Auckland in 2013.
The Vodafone Warriors’ back-to-back wins over Newcastle and the Roosters have netted 72 points including a total of 13 tries, half Shaun Johnson collecting three to lift his career tally to 49 while his overall points total now sits at 586.
Centre Solomone Kata bagged his second double of the season on Sunday giving him six tries so far – second behind Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco – and 18 in total in 29 consecutive games since his debut in round one last year.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tuimoala Lolohea, the architects of the match-winning try against the Roosters, come into the Manly match with impressive form.
Tuivasa-Sheck finished with a game-high 171 metres from 18 runs. His try aside, he came up with try assists for Vatuvei and for Kata’s second try, three line break assists, three tackle breaks and 14 supports.
As well as inspiring Tuivasa-Sheck’s moment of glory, Lolohea made 160 metres from 12 runs, produced try assists for Johnson’s second and for Tuivasa-Sheck’s touchdown plus two line breaks.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v MANLY SEA EAGLES
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
7.35pm, Saturday, April 9
Referees: Gavin Reynolds and Chris Sutton
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK
2 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
3 BLAKE AYSHFORD
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 JONATHAN WRIGHT
6 SHAUN JOHNSON
7 JEFF ROBSON
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 BEN MATULINO
11 SIMON MANNERING
12 RYAN HOFFMAN (c)
13 SAM LISONE
15 ALBERT VETE
16 CHARLIE GUBB
17 KONRAD HURRELL
18 THOMAS LEULUAI
HEAD COACH | ANDREW McFADDEN