Middle forwards Jack Murchie and Josh Curran were the two players to drop off the Vodafone Warriors' extended bench 24 hours before tonight's Indigenous Round encounter with Wests Tigers at the Sydney Cricket Ground, home of the Gadigal people.
Isaiah Papali'i (#18) and Adam Keighran (#20) remain in the 19-man squad which will be trimmed to the game day 17 an hour before kick-off.
Just 48 hours after joining the Vodafone Warriors, Parramatta loan players Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings came straight into the line-up for tonight's match.
The 27-year-olds came into camp with their new team in Terrigal on Sunday and trained with the side for the first time on Monday.
They’ve seen little game time with the high-flying Eels this season, Jennings scoring a try in his only appearance (an 18-22 loss to Manly two weeks ago) and Alvaro used for just seven minutes from the bench in the 25-24 seventh-round win over Canberra.
With frontline wingers David Fusitu’a (62 tries in 103 games) and Ken Maumalo (36 tries in 95 matches) now in isolation after returning home on Monday, Vodafone Warriors interim head coach Todd Payten has handed Jennings left wing Maumalo’s #5 jersey (Jennings will become Vodafone Warrior #247). Taking the #2 jersey dominated by Fusitu’a on the right flank will be Patrick Herbert, who has split his appearances this year between the wing and the centres.
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Adam DoueihiFullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David NofoalumaWinger for Warriors is number 2 Patrick Herbert
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Chris LawrenceCentre for Warriors is number 3 Adam Pompey
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Moses MbyeCentre for Warriors is number 4 Peta Hiku
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Tommy TalauWinger for Warriors is number 5 George Jennings
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Billy WaltersFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Benji MarshallHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake Green
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh AloiaiProp for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Harry GrantHooker for Warriors is number 9 Karl Lawton
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver ClarkProp for Warriors is number 10 Jack Hetherington
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Alex TwalLock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Sam McIntyreInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Wayde Egan
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas MikaeleInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Adam Blair
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Luke BrooksInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Daniel Alvaro
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Shawn BloreInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Lachlan Burr
Alvaro, boasting 88 games for the Eels in six seasons, joins fellow middle forwards Adam Blair and Lachlan Burr on the interchange as a ready replacement in the slot usually filled by the experienced Agnatius Paasi. Alvaro will become Vodafone Warrior #248.
Added to the interchange this week is hooker Wayde Egan, back after missing the match against the Roosters with a hip complaint; he’s in for Chanel Harris-Tavita who has been ruled out with a wristinjury picked up against the Roosters last Saturday.
The starting pack named is unchanged from the one that matched up to the vaunted back-to-back premiers.
The Vodafone Warriors opened up with only one forward who counted more than 60 NRL games (Tohu Harris) and included two rookies (Jamayne Taunoa-Brown and Eliesa Katoa) as well as Jack Hetherington, who was playing only his 20th game. Lined up against them were three players with well in excess of 200 games – one almost 300 – plus another with 150-plus and one playing his 120th.
Apart from Herbert and Jennings on the wing, the rest of the backline remains in intact from last week.
The match has deep meaning as all 16 clubs mark the annual Indigenous Round.
To acknowledge the occasion, the Vodafone Warriors will play in a stunning Canterbury of New Zealand-designed jersey named Tāua Tahi. Tāua Tahi is the Māori way of saying “That’s Us”.
Indigenous populations share many cultural similarities in how they relate to their environments particularly land, water, people and language.
Tāua Tahi recognises and pays respect to the tangata whenua of New Zealand as well as Australia’s indigenous people and the spiritual connection that binds both of them together as people of the land.
The kowhaiwhai design in the background represents growth, life, positivity, reaching upward toward the light, new beginnings, nurturing, belonging and all things being connected.
The colour scheme of red, black and white (traditional colours of the Māori world) have been chosen to enhance this design.
The Vodafone Warriors’ initial extended 21-man squad included seven players who will honour their Māori heritage, one of whom – Taunoa-Brown – is also of indigenous Australian extraction. An eighth player Josh Curran has indigenous Australian heritage and, with Taunoa-Brown, represented the Indigenous All-Stars against the Maori Kiwis All-Stars in Robina in February. Blair and Kodi Nikorima were in the victorious Maori side.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS
6.00pm, Friday, July 31, 2020
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Referee: Peter Gough
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 PATRICK HERBERT (Ngāi Tūhoe)
3 ADAM POMPEY (Tainui)
4 PETA HIKU (Ngāriki Kaiputahi)
5 GEORGE JENNINGS
6 KODI NIKORIMA (Ngāi Tahu Nga Rāuru)
7 BLAKE GREEN
8 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN (Ngāti Kahungunu; Kaurna, Narungga)
9 KARL LAWTON
10 JACK HETHERINGTON
11 ELIESA KATOA
12 TOHU HARRIS (Ngāti Kahungunu)
13 JAZZ TEVAGA
14 WAYDE EGAN
15 ADAM BLAIR (Ngāpuhi)
16 DANIEL ALVARO
17 LACHLAN BURR
18 ISAIAH PAPALI’I
20 ADAM KEIGHRAN
21 JACK MURCHIE
23 JOSH CURRAN (Dharug)
HEAD COACH | TODD PAYTEN