Utility Peta Hiku has been named to start his first NRL match in six weeks when the Vodafone Warriors face Penrith in tomorrow night’s 24th-round NRL clash at Mount Smart Stadium (8.00pm kick-off).

With Gerard Beale tonight omitted after failing to recover from a hamstring injury, Hiku has been brought up from the bench to slot in at right centre for what will be his 100th career appearance.

His last start was in the 26-6 victory over Brisbane on July 15 before a hand injury kept him on the sideline. In the last two rounds he has had a bench role against Newcastle and Canterbury-Bankstown.

The other player omitted from the original 21 named is hooker Karl Lawton.

The Vodafone Warriors sit eighth on the ladder with 28 points, two behind the Dragons, Panthers and Sharks with the Storm, Roosters and Rabbitohs all locked on 32 points at the top of the table.

Penrith rebounded from an 18-50 loss to Brisbane with three late comebacks to beat the Sea Eagles, Raiders and Titans but lost 12-20 to the Knights last Saturday.

In 40 meetings since 1995, the Vodafone Warriors have 16 wins and the Panthers 23 with one match drawn.

The Vodafone Warriors have won only two of the last 10 contests against Penrith, both of those at Mount Smart Stadium (2014 and 2016) while the ledger is 9-9 in the 18 games the two sides have played in Auckland.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS
8.00pm, Friday, August 24, 2018
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
17 PETA HIKU
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 MASON LINO
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JAMES GAVET
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 AGNATIUS PAASI
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
12 ADAM BLAIR
13 SIMON MANNERING
Interchange:
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 TOHU HARRIS
16 BUNTY AFOA
18 LEIVAHA PULU
20 ANTHONY GELLING
21 CHRIS SATAE

HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY