You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Karl Lawton replaces injured Peta Hiku in the centres and Sydney Roosters loan player Poasa Faamausili has been brought straight onto the bench for the Vodafone Warriors’ fourth-round NRL encounter with the Penrith Panthers at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney on Friday (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).

Lawton was thrust into the left centre’s role 25 minutes into last Saturday’s clash against the St George Illawarra Dragons after veteran Hiku was forced off with a rib injury.

In his 55-minute shift in the position Lawton made 95 metres from 10 runs and helped to shore up the left edge defence with 18 tackles and no misses as the Vodafone Warriors opened the resumed NRL season with an 18-0 shutout of the Dragons.

With David Fusitu’a not yet ready to return to play after his late arrival in Australia, Lawton has been called on to start in the centres for just the second time in his career. The first was his debut for the Gold Coast Titans against the Vodafone Warriors in Auckland in 2016.

The 24-year-old Auckland-born Faamausili, who has joined his new teammates on loan this week, is straight into the fray for what will be his 15th NRL appearance. He’s set to become Vodafone Warrior #245 following ex-Canberra Raiders back rower Jack Murchie who had his first outing for his new club last week. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Caleb Aekins
    Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
    Winger for Warriors is number 2 Patrick Herbert
  • Centre for Panthers is number 3 Dean Whare
    Centre for Warriors is number 4 Gerard Beale
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
    Centre for Warriors is number 20 Hayze Perham
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
    Winger for Warriors is number 21 Adam Pompey
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Matt Burton
    Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Jarome Luai
    Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake Green

Forwards

  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
    Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
    Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
  • Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
    Prop for Warriors is number 10 Adam Blair
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Kurt Capewell
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
    Lock for Warriors is number 13 Isaiah Papali'i

Interchange

  • Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
    Interchange for Warriors is number 3 Karl Lawton
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Zane Tetevano
    Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Jack Murchie
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
    Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Poasa Faamausili
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 19 Billy Burns
    Interchange for Warriors is number 16 King Vuniyayawa

Faamausili comes in for regular front rower Agnatius Paasi, who is serving a one-match suspension for a dangerous contact charge involving St George Illawarra’s Corey Norman.

Filling the vacancy created by Lawton’s move to the starting line-up is ex-Sydney Roosters back rower Josh Curran. The last of his two matches for the Vodafone Warriors was in last year’s season-ending 24-20 win over Canberra; a leg injury ruled him out of contention for this season’s opening two matches against Newcastle and the Raiders.

Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney has retained the same starting forward packed used against the Dragons with Adam Blair and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown the starting props, hooker Wayde Egan backing up his 80-minute effort last week and a back row of Tohu Harris, Eliesa Katoa and Isaiah Papali’i.

Egan aside, the forwards all topped 100 metres, Harris the best of them with 219 metres while Katoa made 181, Taunoa-Brown 133, Blair 122 and Papali’i 121. Coming off the bench rookie King Vuniyayawa made 111 metres in his 29 minutes on the field.