Centre Anthony Gelling and prop Chris Satae have been dropped off the extended bench for the Vodafone Warriors’ Harvey Norman Women in League encounter with Newcastle at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday night (8.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: Harvey Norman).
Line-ups have to be reduced to 19 players 24 hours out from each match.
With Gelling and Satae omitted, the six players left on the interchange are utility forward Jazz Tevaga, second rower Leivaha Pulu, front rower Bunty Afoa, utility back Peta Hiku and hooker Karl Lawton.
The match is a major milestone one for veteran hooker Issac Luke making his 250th NRL appearance.
The 31-year-old Luke, who has been in outstanding form this season, was on target to reach the mark against St George Illawarra last weekend until a calf injury side-lined him for the Gold Coast defeat on July 29.
Returning for his 249th game last weekend, Luke produced another stellar performance in the memorable 18-12 win over the Dragons. He scored a try – his fifth of the season – made five dummy half runs and came up with 49 tackles.
The 43-Test Kiwi plays his 62nd game for the Vodafone Warriors on Friday after moving to Mount Smart Stadium in 2016 following 188 games for South Sydney since his debut in 2007.
Luke will take his place in a starting line-up unchanged from the one used in the club’s first win over the Dragons in 11 attempts at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium.
Adam Blair will again be on the right edge this week with Simon Mannering at loose forward for his 297th NRL appearance.
Friday’s night encounter is the only meeting between the Vodafone Warriors and the 11th-placed Knights this season.
Having achieved the best away record in the club’s history last week – 8-3 with one game to go – the Vodafone Warriors go into the match in eighth spot on 26 points. A win in this match would give them their 13th victory of the year, their best regular-season return since 2011.
In 38 matches so far, the Vodafone Warriors have a 19-18 edge over Newcastle with one match drawn.
The Knights won the last time the teams met in Newcastle last year following four wins on end by the Vodafone Warriors. The Vodafone Warriors have won 11 of the last 12 matches against the Knights in Auckland, their last loss coming in 2012.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
8.00pm, Friday, August 10, 2018
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 GERARD BEALE
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 BLAKE GREEN
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JAMES GAVET
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 AGNATIUS PAASI
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
12 ADAM BLAIR
13 SIMON MANNERING
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 LEIVAHA PULU
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 PETA HIKU
20 JOSEPH VUNA
22 KARL LAWTON
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY