The Vodafone Warriors are as selected for today's 17th-round NRL encounter with third-placed Parramatta at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford (4.05pm kick-off local time; 6.05pm NZT).
After Adam Keighran was omitted yesterday, Paul Turner and Tom Ale dropped out of the squad when the final 17-man game day line-up was confirmed today.
The Vodafone Warriors were able to call on just 20 fit players this week when naming their extended squad on Tuesday.
Normally required to submit 21 names, the club was given dispensation to list just three players as reserves.
The Vodafone Warriors are without impressive rookie second rower Eliesa Katoa, who is out for at least two weeks with a fracture in his left hand which he picked up in his first carry in Saturday’s stunning 36-6 victory over Newcastle at Scully Park in Tamworth. Her had surgery on the hand earlier this week.
Parramatta loan players George Jennings and Daniel Alvaro are also out of the side. They weren't released by the Eels this week after being in the line-up the past five weeks, a period in which the Vodafone Warriors have beaten the Wests Tigers, Manly, Canterbury Bankstown and Newcastle while losing just 12-18 to competition leader Penrith.
Promoted from the bench to take Katoa’s spot is mid-season signing Jack Murchie, who has been outstanding since returning to the side two weeks ago.
He came off the interchange to score two tries, create another, run 73 metres from seven carries and make 32 tackles with no misses in the 20-14 win over the Bulldogs followed by a 58-minute stint against the Knights when he made 116 metres from 11 runs, had three tackles breaks and made 28 tackles with just one miss.
Match: Warriors v Eels
Round 17 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Adam PompeyWinger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Hayze PerhamCentre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Peta HikuCentre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Gerard BealeWinger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Jai Field
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Chanel Harris-TavitaHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-BrownProp for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Karl LawtonHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Lachlan BurrProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jack Murchie2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz TevagaLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Wayde EganInterchange for Eels is number 14 Ray Stone
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Adam BlairInterchange for Eels is number 15 Marata Niukore
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Josh CurranInterchange for Eels is number 16 Kane Evans
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Isaiah Papali'iInterchange for Eels is number 17 Oregon Kaufusi
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Called in to replace the in-form Jennings on the wing is ex-Kiwi international Gerard Beale. The 30-year-old will be making his seventh appearance of the season and the 194th of his career in what will be his first outing since playing in the 26-16 win over Brisbane on July 4. Used four times in the centres and twice on the wing so far this year, he has averaged 111 metres a game.
With Alvaro out and Murchie moved into the starting line-up, Isaiah Papali’i returns to the interchange for his 60th match after missing the Newcastle game while Josh Curran, used only once so far this season, is line for his fifth career appearance.
This will be the first time since the round three match against St George Illawarra on May 30 – the opening game of the resumed season – that the Vodafone Warriors haven’t had at least one loan player in their side.
They were able to use a loan player for the first time against Penrith in round four when Sydney Roosters prop Poasa Faamausili made the first of four appearances for the club before being recalled by the Roosters.
Penrith’s Jack Hetherington followed with six games while Jennings and Alvaro – together with Hetherington – gave the Vodafone Warriors three loan players in the same game when they debuted for the club in the win over the Tigers with all three again in the side a week later against Manly.
With Hetherington suspended and Jennings and Alvaro forced out plus Katoa injured, the Vodafone Warriors were left so stretched for available players that they were able to name just 20 players this week.
While the Vodafone Warriors come off their best performance of the season – which has lifted them to ninth on the points table – the Eels will be desperate and dangerous after just their fourth and easily the heaviest defeat of the season when they went down 0-38 to South Sydney.
They have the benefit of a longer turnaround after playing last Thursday night at home while the Vodafone Warriors travelled to and from Tamworth last Saturday (a 12-hour round trip by the time they arrived back in Terrigal).