Two front-line players return from injury and suspension to help captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck mark his 100th match for the Vodafone Warriors in Sunday’s sixth-round encounter with the St George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).
Tuivasa-Sheck becomes the 26th player to reach the milestone for the club just a week after winger Ken Maumalo achieved the feat against Manly-Warringah last Friday night.
Lining up alongside Tuivasa-Sheck for the special occasion will be prop Bunty Afoa – back from suspension – as well as veteran centre Peta Hiku who returns after a two-game absence with a knee complaint. He has been listed to start on the right wing with Marcelo Montoya named in the centres.
While Afoa and Hiku return, right winger David Fusitu’a and second rower Eliesa Katoa are both out and so is second rower Bayley Sironen (shoulder) who is missing for the second week on end. Fusitu'a has a hamstring issue.
Coming into the second row is Josh Curran with prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown – back from a three-match suspension – included on the extended bench.
Match: Dragons v Warriors
Round 6 -
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matt DuftyFullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Cody RamseyWinger for Warriors is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jack BirdCentre for Warriors is number 2 Peta Hiku
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Zac LomaxCentre for Warriors is number 3 Adam Pompey
Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Warriors is number 5 Ken Maumalo
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey NormanFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Adam CluneHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul VaughanProp for Warriors is number 16 Kane Evans
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Andrew McCulloughHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Dragons is number 15 Trent MerrinProp for Warriors is number 21 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Josh Kerr2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Josh Curran
2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims2nd Row for Warriors is number 14 Ben Murdoch-Masila
Lock for Dragons is number 13 Tyrell FuimaonoLock for Warriors is number 10 Tohu Harris
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Kaide EllisInterchange for Warriors is number 8 Leeson Ah Mau
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Daniel AlvaroInterchange for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Brayden WiliameInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Bunty Afoa
Interchange for Dragons is number 20 Josh McGuireInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Paul Turner
Reserve for Dragons is number 19 Billy BurnsReserve for Warriors is number 12 Jack Murchie
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Curran apart, the starting pack named is the same as the one used in the 12-13 loss to the Sea Eagles. Afoa joins Ben Murdoch-Masila, Kane Evans and Paul Turner on the interchange. He turned out for feeder club Redcliffe in the Intrust Super Cup last Saturday making 125 metres from 10 runs and 25 tackles without a miss as the Dolphins beat the Central Queensland Capras 24-22.
The 27-year-old Tuivasa-Sheck will lift his career tally to 184 appearances this week as he eyes the 200-match mark in his last season with the club.
The Dragons have been the Vodafone Warriors’ most challenging opponents in the club’s history with St George Illawarra heading the win ledger 21-9 in the 30 encounters between the two sides since they first met in 1999.
However, the Vodafone Warriors have won the last four straight starting with a 20-12 success at Mount Smart Stadium in 2016 followed by the historic 18-12 win in Wollongong in 2018, a 26-18 triumph in the Magic Round in Brisbane in 2019 and an 18-0 shutout in Gosford last year.