New signing Kodi Nikorima is all set to make his Vodafone Warriors debut at his old home ground Suncorp Stadium after being named today at standoff for Saturday’s NRL Magic Round encounter with St George Illawarra in Brisbane (5.30pm kick-off local time; 7.30pm NZT).

The 25-year-old Palmerston North-born Kiwi international will become Vodafone Warrior #236 just eight days after being signed from the Brisbane Broncos.

Nikorima has an intimate knowledge of Suncorp Stadium after playing at the venue in almost 50 of his 86 matches for the Broncos. His last outing for Brisbane was in its 29-6 seventh-round home win against Cronulla on April 27.

Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney, who worked with Nikorima in the Kiwis and when he was an assistant coach at Brisbane, has teamed up the club’s new arrival with veteran halfback Blake Green.

While Nikorima is the notable addition to the starting line-up, Kearney has made another significant selection by bringing in Nathaniel Roache as the starting hooker with Issac Luke moved to the extended bench in jersey #22. In line to fill the back-up dummy half role is Karl Lawton, who is recalled after making his one appearance so far this season against Gold Coast in round four.

The club’s most experienced player Adam Blair (297 appearances) will miss the trip to Brisbane for the ninth-round fixture after an early guilty plea was entered on the dangerous throw charge he faced from Sunday’s match against Newcastle. Lachlan Burr also landed a dangerous throw charge but is free to play after he too took an early guilty plea.  

Right wing David Fusitu’a is again included in the hope he will return from the rib injury which has ruled him out of the last two matches against Melbourne and Newcastle while utility Jazz Tevaga and prop Bunty Afoa are in line to return from leg injuries. Named for his second outing this season is middle forward Ligi Sao, who is named in the 17.

Chanel Harris-Tavita, who has played the last five games, is on the extended bench with utility Gerard Beale, prop Chris Satae and Luke.

The Dragons are coming off two straight losses including an 18-32 loss to Parramatta on Sunday which leaves them eighth on the ladder with eight points, four points ahead of the Vodafone Warriors who are 12th after their 18-36 defeat by the Knights.

Saturday’s fixture is a home game for the Vodafone Warriors. They have won just seven of 28 clashes against the Dragons but have prevailed in the last two matches and three of the last five between the two sides since 2016.

NRL MAGIC ROUND

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

5.30pm, Saturday, May 11, 2019

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Referees: Adam Gee and Gavin Badger

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2 DAVID FUSITU’A

3 PETA HIKU

4 PATRICK HERBERT

5 KEN MAUMALO

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 BLAKE GREEN

8 AGNATIUS PAASI

9 NATHANIEL ROACHE

10 LEESON AH MAU

11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I

12 TOHU HARRIS

13 LACHLAN BURR

Interchange:

14 JAZZ TEVAGA

15 BUNTY AFOA

16 LIGI SAO

17 KARL LAWTON

18 GERARD BEALE

20 CHRIS SATAE

21 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

22 ISSAC LUKE

HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY