Kiwi international Gerard Beale replaces David Fusitu’a on the right wing while Blake Green has again been listed at halfback for the Vodafone Warriors’ traditional Anzac Day encounter with Melbourne at AMII Park on Thursday (7.50pm kick-off local time; 9.50pm NZT).
Beale was used in the centres in last Saturday night’s 10-17 loss to North Queensland, coming into the side in the backline reshuffle which saw Peta Hiku move into the halves after Green was ruled out.
The 181-game veteran started three of his 13 Vodafone Warriors appearances on the wing last season.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney has again listed Green alongside rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves. He said the senior playmaker is being given every opportunity to prove his fitness after missing the narrow losses to South Sydney and the Cowboys with a groin injury.
The rest of the starting line-up named plus the first four players on the interchange are the same as those used against the Cowboys. Two changes have been made on the extended bench with standoff Hayze Perham and front rower Chris Satae joining middle forward Leivaha Pulu and centre Patrick Herbert.
Only nine of the 21 players selected were involved in last year’s corresponding Anzac Day fixture – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Hiku, Ken Maumalo, Green, Bunty Afoa, Agnatius Paasi, Isaiah Papali’i, Adam Blair and Jazz Tevaga. Former Melbourne second rower Tohu Harris, who missed the 2018 match with injury, is set to experience his first Anzac Day battle as a Vodafone Warrior.
The Vodafone Warriors head into the seventh-round match sitting 10th on the ladder for what will be the 10th Anzac Day match involving the two clubs. Since the first contest in 2009 – a 14-14 golden point draw – the Vodafone Warriors have won twice (in 2011 and 2016) while Melbourne has six victories.
After winning their first five games this season, the table-topping Storm fell to a 20-21 golden point loss to the Sydney Roosters in last Friday night’s 2018 grand final rematch.
With the Michael Moore Trophy again on the line, the Vodafone Warriors will be taking on the Storm for the 43rd time. The overall record favours Melbourne 24-16 with two draws.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v MELBOURNE STORM
7.50pm, Thursday, April 25, 2019
AMII Park, Melbourne
Referees: Matt Cecchin and David Munro
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 GERARD BEALE
3 PETA HIKU
4 SOLOMONE KATA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
7 BLAKE GREEN
8 AGNATIUS PAASI
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 LEESON AH MAU
11 ADAM BLAIR
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 LACHLAN BURR
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 NATHANIEL ROACHE
18 HAYZE PERHAM
20 LEIVAHA PULU
21 PATRICK HERBERT
23 CHRIS SATAE
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY