Vodafone Warriors middle forward Lachlan Burr and centre Peta Hiku both return for tonight's fifth-round NRL ‘home’ clash against North Queensland at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).
The 27-year-old Burr comes straight back into the starting line-up after a head knock in a field session ruled him out of the opening match of the revived season against the St George Illawarra Dragons and also last week’s encounter with the Penrith Panthers.
The former Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans forward is now set to belatedly bring up his 50th NRL appearance this week in a career which was broken up by a stint in England.
His move to the Vodafone Warriors last season enabled him to revive his first-grade career after last playing in the NRL in 2016.
Burr’s comeback sees 315-game veteran Adam Blair revert to loose forward on a night when he will play his 50th match for the Vodafone Warriors since joining the club in 2018.
Hiku was confirmed last night to make his return from the rib injury he received in the match against the Dragons. Originally included on the extended bench, he comes into the centres with Hayze Perham dropping out.
While experienced front rower Agnatius Paasi was available again after serving a one-match suspension, he hasn’t been included in the game day 19-man squad after being dropped off the extended bench last night.
The four players slated to be on the interchange are the same as those used against the Panthers. Karl Lawton, originally named in the centres to face Penrith, ultimately moved to the interchange along with new arrivals Poasa Faamausili and Jack Murchie as well as 2020 rookie King Vuniyayawa.
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine Holmes
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Patrick HerbertWinger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Gerard BealeCentre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'Neill
Centre for Warriors is number 20 Peta HikuCentre for Cowboys is number 4 Esan Marsters
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Adam PompeyWinger for Cowboys is number 5 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake GreenHalfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake Clifford
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-BrownProp for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Lachlan BurrProp for Cowboys is number 13 Josh McGuire
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Mitchell Dunn
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Adam BlairLock for Cowboys is number 20 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Karl LawtonInterchange for Cowboys is number 8 Francis Molo
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Poasa FaamausiliInterchange for Cowboys is number 14 Reuben Cotter
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 King VuniyayawaInterchange for Cowboys is number 15 Tom Gilbert
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack MurchieInterchange for Cowboys is number 17 Gavin Cooper
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Tim Roby
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Video Referee: Ben Galea
- Senior Review Official: Steve Clark
Both players were heavily involved last Friday night when 2019 rookie Perham, in his first NRL match of the year, made 147 metres from 15 carries while fellow 2019 rookie Pompey finished with 122 metres from 13 carries.
With several players remaining on the injury list, the Vodafone Warriors will field a line-up featuring seven players with limited NRL experience including 2020 debutants Eliesa Katoa, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Vuniyayawa – who will all be playing just their fifth NRL match – while Murchie is set for his sixth, Adam Pompey his eighth, winger Patrick Herbert his 12th and Faamausili his 16th.
Of the 17 players poised to line up against the Cowboys, only Blair (313 games), centre Gerard Beale (189), captain and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (164), halfback Blake Green(164), second rower Tohu Harris (150), Hiku (127) and standoff Kodi Nikorima (104) have topped 50 games with Burr on 49 appearances, hooker Wayde Egan 33 and Lawton 29.