The Vodafone Warriors will field their strongest line-up in their sudden-death Intrust Super Premiership final against Newcastle at UOW Jubilee Oval in Sydney tonight (7.05pm kick-off local time; 9.05pm NZT).
The starting line-up is as selected 1-13 including 10 players with NRL experience while all four forwards confirmed on the interchange have played at first-grade level.
Coach Ricky Henry has settled on a bench of hooker Jazz Tevaga and big men Albert Vete, Ligi Sao and Toafofoa Sipley.
Three 2017 regulars have been omitted from the original extended bench – Sam Cook, who has played all 23 games this year, Chris Satae (19 games) and Semisi Fotu (19 games) while prop Pat Sipley (19 games) didn’t make the initial squad.
Newcastle’s line-up includes Chanel Mata’utia and veteran front rowers Mickey Paea and Dane Tilse.
Halves Mason Lino and Ata Hingano, wing Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and forwards Charlie Gubb, Isaiah Papali’i and Tevaga are back on ISP duty after playing for the club’s NRL side against Wests Tigers last Sunday.
On the same day the under-strength Vodafone Warriors, second in the regular season, lost 20-36 to third-placed Penrith leaving them in a sudden-death playoff against the Knights tonight. Seventh-placed Newcastle eliminated sixth-ranked North Sydney 40-18 last week.
Of the starting line-up, the only players who haven’t appeared at NRL level are prop Daniel Palavi, second rower Ofahiki Ogden and centre Junior Pauga.
Pauga has appeared in all 23 matches so far while Ogden has missed only one match and Palavi has been used 18 times.
The Vodafone Warriors took over full control of the side in 2014. Loose forward James Bell has the record for most appearances over the four seasons, this match being his 64th while Lino is playing his 54th match in the grade; Lino also has the record for most points with 378 including 142 this season.
Centre Matt Allwood plays his 49th ISP match for the club.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
7.05pm, Sunday, September 10
1 ZAC SANTO
2 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD
3 MATTHEW ALLWOOD
4 JUNIOR PAUGA
5 BURETA FARAIMO
6 MAFOA’AEATA HINGANO
7 MASON LINO (c)
8 DANIEL PALAVI
9 MANAIA CHERRINGTON
10 CHARLIE GUBB
11 OFAHIKI OGDEN
12 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
13 JAMES BELL
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
16 ALBERT VETE
17 LIGI SAO
18 TOAFOFOA SIPLEY
COACH | RICKY HENRY