A new-look Agnatius Paasi will make his 100th career appearance in the Vodafone Warriors’ last home game of the season against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday (8.00pm kick-off).
The 27-year-old front rower had gone four years without a haircut but will sport a sleek look after having it all cut off today in support of the Shave for a Cure charity.
The cause is deeply personal for ‘Iggy’, whose aunt Ponisitia (Tia) Paasi, a former Black Ferns rugby union international, died from cancer last year.
The shave coincides with Agnatius Paasi achieving the biggest milestone of his career so on Friday night.
After making his NRL debut with the Vodafone Warriors in 2014 – his sole appearance that season – he went on the play 54 times for the Gold Coast Titans from 2015-2017 before returning to Mount Smart Stadium last year.
Paasi started from the bench in last Saturday’s loss against Cronulla-Sutherland but has been named in the starting line-up to take on the Rabbitohs with Lachlan Burr returning to the interchange.
There’s a switch in the halves with Kiwi Kodi Nikorima back alongside Blake Green and rookie Chanel Harris-Tavita on the bench; Nikorima will be playing his 99th career game. In another change to the preferred four interchange players, middle forward Ligi Sao comes in for centre Blake Ayshford.
Ayshford is on the extended bench with Bunty Afoa, Adam Keighran and Adam Pompey.
Centre Peta Hiku and prop Leeson Ah Mau will be making their 23rd appearances of the year, the only players in the squad involved in every game so far.
With his try against the Sharks last week, David Fusitu’a lifted his career tally to 60 in 95 games, fifth equal with Francis Meli (110 games) on the club’s all-time list behind Manu Vatuvei (152 in 226 games), Stacey Jones (77 in 261) and Shaun Johnson (63 in 162) and Simon Mannering (63 in 301).
In 34 previous encounters, the Vodafone Warriors have a 19-15 edge in wins over South Sydney with the Rabbitohs winning the most recent match 28-24 on the Sunshine Coast on April 13.
The Vodafone Warriors have beaten Souths just once since winning in Auckland in 2012. That victory was in the opening round in Perth last year.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
8.00pm, Friday, August 30, 2019
Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Referees: Grant Atkins and David Munro
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 ISSAC LUKE
10 LEESON AH MAU
11 ADAM BLAIR
12 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
13 JAZZ TEVAGA
14 LACHLAN BURR
15 SAM LISONE
16 LIGI SAO
17 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
18 BUNTY AFOA
20 BLAKE AYSHFORD
21 ADAM KEIGHRAN
22 ADAM POMPEY
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY