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Burr and Hiku back in side

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.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine Holmes
  • Winger for Warriors is number 2 Patrick Herbert
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Gerard Beale
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'Neill
  • Centre for Warriors is number 20 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Esan Marsters
  • Winger for Warriors is number 5 Adam Pompey
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake Green
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake Clifford

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Lachlan Burr
    Prop for Cowboys is number 13 Josh McGuire
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Mitchell Dunn
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess
  • Lock for Warriors is number 13 Adam Blair
    Lock for Cowboys is number 20 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Karl Lawton
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 8 Francis Molo
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Poasa Faamausili
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Reuben Cotter
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 King Vuniyayawa
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Tom Gilbert
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack Murchie
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Gavin Cooper

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.