With prop James Gavet sidelined with injury, Chris Satae has been called up for his NRL debut in tonight’s 20th-round clash against North Queensland at 1300SMILES Stadium in Townsville (7.30pm kick-off local time; 9.30pm NZT).
Tongan-born Satae will become Vodafone Warrior #219.
The 192cm, 115kg prop-second rower, who played at NYC level for Penrith in 2012, has been impressive for the Vodafone Warriors’ Intrust Super Premiership side this season. He made 151 metres from 15 runs in Saturday’s 28-14 win against Illawarra.
Initially with the Glenora Bears after returning home from his stint with the Panthers, he then switched to the Point Chevalier Pirates.
Gavet will be out for up to six weeks with a broken arm.
No break was evident in x-rays after he injured his right arm in Friday night’s match against Penrith.
However, further x-rays showed a fracture in the radius after Gavet reinjured his arm at training on Wednesday.
He joins a casualty list which includes Shaun Johnson (knee), Ryan Hoffman (foot), Albert Vete (arm), Charlie Gubb (hernia) and Nathaniel Roache (hamstring).
The starting line-up tonight is as named on Tuesday with Satae joining Ata Hingano, Sam Lisone and Ligi Sao on the interchange.
Mason Lino plays his first NRL match in almost two years replacing injured halfback Shaun Johnson.
It means the 23-year-old Lino revives his NRL career against the same side he faced on debut as Vodafone Warrior #202 at Mount Smart Stadium on August 22, 2015.
It was the first of three matches he played at the tail-end of the 2015 campaign. Since then he has been a constant in the club’s Intrust Super Premiership side, leading it to the finals last season and second after 19 rounds in this year’s competition.
A calm organiser, Lino is also an accomplished goal-kicker. He scored more than 500 points in 62 NYC appearances and has 364 in 51 ISP games so far including 14 tries, 152 goals and four field goals.
Lino’s inclusion forced by Johnson’s injury is the only change to the starting line-up used in the 22-34 loss to the Panthers.
Veteran prop Jacob Lillyman plays his 246th career match when he faces his original NRL side (his 184th for the Vodafone Warriors) while wing David Fusitu’a lines up for his 51st first-grade appearance.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
7.30pm, Saturday, July 22
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 BLAKE AYSHFORD
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 KIERAN FORAN
7 MASON LINO
8 JACOB LILLYMAN
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 BEN MATULINO
11 BODENE THOMPSON
12 BUNTY AFOA
13 SIMON MANNERING
14 MAFOA’AEATA HINGANO
15 SAM LISONE
17 LIGI SAO
20 CHRIS SATAE
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY