Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Blake Green and David Fusitu’a have all been selected for the Vodafone Warriors’ eighth-round NRL clash against the Newcastle Knights at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday (4.05pm kick-off).
Green has missed the last three games against South Sydney, North Queensland and Melbourne while Tuivasa-Sheck and Fusitu’a were both ruled out of the Anzac Day battle against the Storm.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney is hopeful all three will come through training this week to take their places against the Knights.
Not selected is utility Jazz Tevaga, who was forced off the field with a leg injury after playing just 14 minutes against Melbourne.
With Tuivasa-Sheck, Green and Fusitu’a named, Kearney has switched Peta Hiku back to left centre, Tohu Harris returns to the second row and Gerard Beale goes to the bench. Retained at right centre is Patrick Herbert following his impressive debut last week.
There’s a positional switch in the starting forward pack. Isaiah Papali’i remains as an edge forward with the seasoned Adam Blair providing experience on a bench which also includes hooker Nathaniel Roache and prop Bunty Afoa. Blair heads into this weekend’s encounter just four games short of joining the NRL’s 300-game club.
The four additional players on the extended interchange are standoff-halfback Hayze Perham, centre Solomone Kata and middle forwards Ligi Sao and Chris Satae.
The Vodafone Warriors and Newcastle are both on four points after seven rounds, the Knights 11th with a points for and against differential of minus 22 while the Vodafone Warriors are 12th with a differential of minus 24.
In 39 matches between the two clubs, the Vodafone Warriors have won 20, the Knights 18 with one draw. The Vodafone Warriors have won the last six contests at Mount Smart Stadium since losing 19-24 to the Knights in 2012.
The NRL fixture rounds out a packed game day programme which features Vodafone Warriors teams lining up against the Sydney Roosters in the opening round of the inaugural NRL Touch Premiership. The women’s match starts at 12.05pm while the men’s contest begins at 12.45pm.
Earlier the Vodafone Junior Warriors take on the Knights in the Jersey Flegg Cup (10.00am kick-off) while the club’s Canterbury Cup side meets Newcastle at 1.45pm leading into the NRL fixture.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
4.05pm, Sunday, May 5, 2019
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Referees: Chris Sutton and Phil Henderson
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 PETA HIKU
4 PATRICK HERBERT
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
7 BLAKE GREEN
8 AGNATIUS PAASI
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 LEESON AH MAU
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 LACHLAN BURR
14 NATHANIEL ROACHE
15 ADAM BLAIR
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 GERARD BEALE
18 HAYZE PERHAM
20 SOLOMONE KATA
21 LIGI SAO
23 CHRIS SATAE
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY