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Senior players out in force in Rotorua

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will lead the strongest available side in the Vodafone Warriors’ final NRL trial against Wests Tigers at the International Stadium in Rotorua on Sunday (2.00pm kick-off).

After fielding a host of emerging players in last Saturday’s 16-18 loss to Melbourne in Palmerston North, head coach Stephen Kearney has named a vastly experienced squad.

Maori Kiwis co-captain Adam Blair and standoff Kodi Nikorima both come into the side after helping their side to a famous 30-16 win over the Australian Indigenous team in Saturday night’s intense All-Stars contest.

Blair is selected to start in the second row while Nikorima lines up in the halves alongside veteran Blake Green.

Front rower Josh Curran and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown will back up from the bench after playing for the Australian Indigenous side in Robina.

In other features Kiwi second rower Tohu Harris starts after recovering from a foot injury which has side-lined him since June last year, David Fusitu’a is again named in the centres – he was used in the role in Palmerston North – with Patrick Herbert on the right wing and new signing Wayde Egan starting at hooker.

As well as Tuivasa-Sheck, Blair, Harris, Nikorima and Green, other first-choice players having their first and only trial ahead of the 2020 campaign will be front rowers Agnatius Paasi and Leeson Ah Mau, Isaiah Papali’i – named at loose forward – and Kiwi winger Ken Maumalo.

Included on a 12-man bench are halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita and middle forward Lachlan Burr – both used in Pamerston North – and centre Peta Hiku, who returns from offseason surgery. Also on the interchange is hooker Karl Lawton after returning from surgery last weekend.

The match will be a special occasion for 2019 NRL rookie and Rotorua Boys’ High School product Hayze Perham; he starts in the centres.

Sunday’s trial is the fifth the Vodafone Warriors have played in Rotorua. Their first was against the Sydney Roosters in 2010 when they won 26-8 while the other three also provided wins over Parramatta (24-4) in 2011, Penrith (18-4) in 2015 and the Storm (20-14) in 2018.  

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v WESTS TIGERS

2.00pm, Sunday, March 1, 2020

International Stadium, Rotorua

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1       ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2       PATRICK HERBERT

3       HAYZE PERHAM

4       DAVID FUSITU’A

5       KEN MAUMALO

6       KODI NIKORIMA

7       BLAKE GREEN

8       LEESON AH MAU

9       WAYDE EGAN

10     AGNATIUS PAASI

11     ADAM BLAIR

12     TOHU HARRIS

13     ISAIAH PAPALI’I

Interchange:

14     CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

15     JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN

16     ADAM TUIMAVAVE-GERRARD

17     KARL LAWTON

18     PAUL TURNER

20     TAANE MILNE

21     JOSH CURRAN

24     PETA HIKU

25     LACHLAN BURR

26     ELIESA KATOA

27     EDWARD KOSI

28     LEIVAHA PULU

HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY