Twin milestones are in store for captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and prop Sam Lisone while Solomone Kata returns from injury for the Vodafone Warriors’ 10th-round NRL encounter with the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).
Tuivasa-Sheck’s 16th appearance for the club will be his 100th career match while Lisone will reach his 50-game milestone after debuting for the club in 2015.
Kata was forced off in the first half of the Anzac Day match against the Melbourne Storm with a hamstring injury, forcing him to miss the last outing against the Sydney Roosters as well as ruling him out of last week’s representative round.
He has been named to return in his customary spot at left centre with Blake Ayshford and David Fusitu’a reunited on the right edge.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who became Vodafone Warrior #218 against the Roosters, is included on the extended eight-man bench along with veteran wing Manu Vatuvei.
Nicoll-Klokstad impressed for the Cook Islands in last Saturday night’s Pacific Test against Papua New Guinea while Vatuvei had a strong debut for Mate Ma’a Tonga in its win over Fiji Bati.
While Tuivasa-Sheck and Lisone eye landmark appearances this week, interchange prop Ben Matulino and second rower Bodene Thompson move within one game of milestones they’re set to jointly reach in the Vodafone Warriors’ 11th-round game against St George Illawarra at FMG Waikato Stadium on Friday, May 19 (8.00pm kick-off).
This week Matulino, again named on the bench, plays his 199th career game – all for the Vodafone Warriors – while Thompson makes his 49th appearance for the club (the 134th of his career). The match will be the Vodafone Warriors’ first ‘home’ game in Hamilton.
Heading into the Penrith match, they lie 11th on the table two points out of the top eight with a 4-5 win-loss record. The Panthers are 15th with a 2-7 record after losing their last five games.
Of the 37 encounters between the clubs since 1995 the Vodafone Warriors have 16 wins, Penrith 20 and there has been one draw.
The Vodafone Warriors have lost their last four away matches against the Panthers with their last win being a 30-16 victory in Penrith in 2012.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Pepper Stadium, Penrith
3.00pm, Saturday, May 13
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 BLAKE AYSHFORD
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 KIERAN FORAN
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JAMES GAVET
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 JACOB LILLYMAN
11 BODENE THOMPSON
12 RYAN HOFFMAN
13 SIMON MANNERING
14 NATHANIEL ROACHE
15 SAM LISONE
16 LIGI SAO
17 BEN MATULINO
18 MANU VATUVEI
20 MASON LINO
21 BUNTY AFOA
22 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY