New signing Marcelo Montoya will be the Vodafone Warriors’ fourth different centre in four weeks when he makes his club debut in Sunday’s fourth-round NRL clash against the Sydney Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground (6.15pm kick-off local time; 8.15pm NZT).
The 25-year-old Fiji Bati international becomes Vodafone Warrior #256, coming into the side for veteran Peta Hiku, who is out for several weeks after picking up a knee injury early in the second half of the heart-stopping 34-31 win against the Canberra Raiders on Saturday.
Hiku’s injury leaves head coach Nathan Brown without both of his first-choice centres after losing offseason acquisition Euan Aitken to an ankle injury after the opening-round win over the Titans.
Adam Pompey (22) came in as his replacement, immediately impressing on his NRL return in the last-minute loss to Newcastle on March 19 and stepping up another level against Canberra.
He has scored in both games – including the match-winner against the Raiders – while running 125 metres against the Knights and 145 against Canberra.
Montoya has linked up with the Vodafone Warriors this season after 54 matches for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs since 2017.
Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James TedescoFullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel TupouWinger for Warriors is number 2 David Fusitu'a
Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh MorrisCentre for Warriors is number 3 Adam Pompey
Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph ManuCentre for Warriors is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett MorrisWinger for Warriors is number 5 Ken Maumalo
Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew HutchisonFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam WalkerHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan
Prop for Roosters is number 8 Isaac LiuProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Freddy LussickHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua TaukeiahoProp for Warriors is number 10 Bunty Afoa
2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua2nd Row for Warriors is number 13 Tohu Harris
Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor RadleyLock for Warriors is number 14 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-HargreavesInterchange for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat ButcherInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Ben Murdoch-Masila
Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Fletcher BakerInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Leeson Ah Mau
Interchange for Roosters is number 19 Ben MarschkeInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack Murchie
- Referee: Ben Cummins
- Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
While he played on the wing in all but one of his 34 games in his first two years at first-grade level, all but four of his last 20 outings have been in the centres.
He played on the wing for an injured David Fusitu’a in the club’s trial against the Titans. In the opening round of the Intrust Super Cup, Montoya was on the wing for feeder club Redcliffe, scoring a try and making 125 metres in a 30-28 win over the Mackay Cutters.
His inclusion for Hiku is the only change to the 17-man squad used in the epic encounter with Canberra.
With Hiku added to the casualty list, Brown is now missing four of his first choice starting players after just three rounds. As well as Hiku and Aitken (sidelined for up to 10 weeks with an ankle injury), halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita is recovering from a foot operation which will keep him out for up to 12 weeks. Also out of action is prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who serves the second match of a three-game ban this week for a crusher tackle offence against Newcastle.
The back-up players have all made significant contributions.
Pompey has matched his efforts with the ball with solid defensive displays while Sean O’Sullivan and Jack Murchie fitted in well against the Raiders.
In his club debut replacing Harris-Tavita, O’Sullivan had 56 touches, 39 passes, ran the ball 14 times for 111 metres and made four tackle breaks plus 19 tackles with just one miss. He also shared the kicking duties nicely with Kodi Nikorima, making 211 metres from eight kicks.
Murchie matched up against his old club with a valuable cameo in 30 minutes off the bench including 60 metres from six carries and 15 tackles without a miss.
Sunday’s match sees left winger Ken Maumalo lift his career tally to 99 games leaving him set for his 100th against Manly on April 9 while Roger Tuivasa-Sheck edges his club total to 98 games.
The Vodafone Warriors have a record of 22 wins, a draw and 19 loss in 42 games against the Roosters but have lost the last three. Before that they won four on end.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS
6.15pm, Sunday, April 4, 2021
Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Referee: Ben Cummins
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
2 DAVID FUSITU’A
3 ADAM POMPEY
4 MARCELO MONTOYA
5 KEN MAUMALO
6 KODI NIKORIMA
7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN
8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 BUNTY AFOA
11 ELIESA KATOA
12 BAYLEY SIRONEN
13 TOHU HARRIS
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA
16 LEESON AH MAU
17 JACK MURCHIE
18 TOM ALE
20 PAUL TURNER
21 KANE EVANS
22 ROCCO BERRY
HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN