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Katoa and Egan all set for first-round clash against Titans

Hooker Wayde Egan and second rower Eliesa Katoa have both recovered from injury to be named in the starting line-up for the Vodafone Warriors’ season-opening NRL encounter with Gold Coast at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).

Katoa, so impressive in his rookie season in 2020, comes back from cheekbone surgery to join new signing Bayley Sironen in the second row while Egan is set to start after being forced off the field with an elbow injury early in the club’s only trial against the Titans in Lismore on February 27.

Their availability has enabled first-year Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown to name his strongest starting line-up which features two of the club’s other new recruits centre Euan Aitken and prop Addin Fonua-Blake while the powerful Ben Murdoch-Masila is on the interchange.

Team
Team

Making their club debuts, Aitken becomes Vodafone Warrior #251, Fonua-Blake #252, Sironen #253 and Murdoch-Masila #254.

After returning home early last season, Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu’a are reunited with captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as a formidable back three with the skilful Peta Hiku in the centres with Aitken.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    Fullback for Titans is number 1 Alexander Brimson
  • Winger for Warriors is number 2 David Fusitu'a
    Winger for Titans is number 2 Anthony Don
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Euan Aitken
    Centre for Titans is number 3 Brian Kelly
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Titans is number 4 Patrick Herbert
  • Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken Maumalo
    Winger for Titans is number 5 Corey Thompson
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
    Five-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Ashley Taylor
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Halfback for Titans is number 7 Jamal Fogarty

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Titans is number 9 Mitch Rein
  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
    Prop for Titans is number 10 Moeaki Fotuaika
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
    2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
    2nd Row for Titans is number 12 David Fifita
  • Lock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu Harris
    Lock for Titans is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz Tevaga
    Interchange for Titans is number 14 Tyrone Peachey
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Ben Murdoch-Masila
    Interchange for Titans is number 15 Sam Lisone
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Leeson Ah Mau
    Interchange for Titans is number 16 Jaimin Jolliffe
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Bunty Afoa
    Interchange for Titans is number 17 Erin Clark

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Brown can also call on 2020’s season-ending regular halves combination of Kodi Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita, the club’s rookie of the year Jamayne Taunoa-Brown at prop and Simon Mannering Medal winner Tohu Harris at loose forward.

Set to make up the game day bench are Murdoch-Masila and Jazz Tevaga plus the vastly experienced Leeson Ah Mau and Bunty Afoa, who are both returning from serious injuries which ruined their 2020 campaigns.

Fonua-Blake will make his 98th career appearance on Saturday while Maumalo will play his 96th and Tuivasa-Sheck will take his club tally to 95.  

The Vodafone Warriors and Titans go head-to-head for the second time in two weeks after battling out a 12-12 draw in their trial in Lismore.

In the only encounter between the two sides last season, Gold Coast won 16-12 in contentious circumstances in Robina.

The Vodafone Warriors have an 18-9 record overall against Gold Coast including 19 wins in the last 22 contests.

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v GOLD COAST TITANS

3.00pm, Saturday, March 9, 2021

Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)

2 DAVID FUSITU’A

3 EUAN AITKEN

4 PETA HIKU

5 KEN MAUMALO

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN

11 ELIESA KATOA

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN

13 TOHU HARRIS

Interchange:

14 JAZZ TEVAGA

15 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

16 LEESON AH MAU

17 BUNTY AFOA

18 ADAM POMPEY

20 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

21 TOM ALE

22 JOSH CURRAN

HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN