Wing Ken Maumalo returns from a one-game absence for the Vodafone Warriors’ 19th-round NRL encounter with Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).
The team’s top try scorer slots back into the line-up on the left wing after missing the 19-18 win over Cronulla last Friday following a head knock in the draw with Brisbane on July 13.
Maumalo was ruled out during the final field session last week after appearing in each of the Vodafone Warriors’ first 16 games of the season.
He replaces last week’s debutant Adam Pompey in a line-up otherwise unchanged from the one which prevailed for the club’s seventh win of the season.
This has been a watershed year for Maumalo, whose tally of 12 tries so far is almost double his previous best in a season (seven in 2017).
Despite missing last week’s match in Wellington, he boasts the most post-contact metres among all players with 1008 while he is second for most metres (3088), third for most runs (310) and fourth equal for most line breaks (12).
Kodi Nikorima picked up an ankle injury scoring his 62nd-minute try against the Sharks but has been named for his 96th NRL appearance.
Gerard Beale, who made 126 metres from 15 runs last week, again starts on the right wing for the injured David Fusitu’a while veteran Blake Ayshford remains as his centre partner in his 47th outing for the Vodafone Warriors and the 171st of his career.
Front rower Leeson Ah Mau, closing in on his 200th NRL game, starts his 18th consecutive match of the season; the only other player who has appeared in every game is centre Peta Hiku.
The bench again comprises middle forwards Lachlan Burr, Bunty Afoa and Sam Lisone plus utility Chanel Harris-Tavita. The players on the extended bench are Pompey, half Adam Keighran and middle forwards Ligi Sao and Chris Satae.
The Vodafone Warriors moved up to ninth on the table with their success against the Sharks, just one point behind eighth-placed Newcastle (18 points). The Eels, who lost 24-36 to the Sea Eagles on Sunday, are in sixth spot on 20 points along with Penrith.
They’ve prospered at their new home ground Bankwest Stadium, winning five of the six games they’ve played there so far, the most recent a 30-18 victory over the Wests Tigers on July 14.
This will be the 40th match between the Vodafone Warriors and Parramatta with the Eels winning 21 times so far, the Vodafone Warriors 18. Parramatta has a 13-6 advantage in 19 home encounters, the last two played at ANZ Stadium where the Eels won in 2017 and the Vodafone Warriors 24-14 last year.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v PARRAMATTA EELS
3.00pm, Saturday, July 27, 2019
Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Referees: Chris Sutton and Chris Butler
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 GERARD BEALE
3 PETA HIKU
4 BLAKE AYSHFORD
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 KODI NIKORIMA
7 BLAKE GREEN
8 AGNATIUS PAASI
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 LEESON AH MAU
11 ADAM BLAIR
12 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
13 JAZZ TEVAGA
14 LACHLAN BURR
15 SAM LISONE
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
18 ADAM POMPEY
20 ADAM KEIGHRAN
21 LIGI SAO
23 CHRIS SATAE
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY