Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown has enjoyed rare good fortune in being able to name an unchanged playing 17 for the club’s Indigenous Round encounter with North Queensland in Townsville on Friday night (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).
Not a week has gone by when Brown, in his first season with the club, hasn’t been forced to make changes through injuries and also a few suspensions.
Such has been the attrition he had already used 28 players in the opening eight rounds but today he has been able to select the same 17 used in last Friday night’s come from behind 30-26 win over the Wests Tigers in Gosford.
There are some tweaks in the listed side from the one that started against the Tigers but the comfort for Brown is having the same group of players available.
This time teenage sensation Reece Walsh is named in the #1 jersey rather than being listed on the bench as was the case last week. Bunty Afoa was swapped with Kane Evans when the starting side was revealed for the Tigers but Evans is again named in #10 this week.
In the most significant shuffle Brown has named Eliesa Katoa and Jack Murchie as his starting second rowers this week with big Ben Murdoch-Masila on the interchange in #17. Katoa was originally named in #18 a week ago but ultimately started.
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine HolmesFullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Warriors is number 2 Marcelo Montoya
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Javid BowenCentre for Warriors is number 3 Adam Pompey
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Hamiso Tabuai-FidowCentre for Warriors is number 4 Euan Aitken
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray TaulagiWinger for Warriors is number 5 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott DrinkwaterFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake CliffordHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Chanel Harris-Tavita
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Tom GilbertProp for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece RobsonHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Warriors is number 10 Kane Evans
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jack Murchie
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Mitchell Dunn2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Eliesa Katoa
Lock for Cowboys is number 16 Corey JensenLock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu Harris
Interchange for Cowboys is number 13 Coen HessInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake GranvilleInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Leeson Ah Mau
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Peter HolaInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty Afoa
Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Heilum LukiInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Ben Murdoch-Masila
Reserve for Cowboys is number 20 Daejarn AsiReserve for Warriors is number 20 Rocco Berry
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Tyson Brough
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall
The only personnel changes are on the extended bench where 2021 rookie Rocco Berry and prop Jackson Frei are included alongside young hooker Taniela Otukolo and halfback Sean O’Sullivan.
Now confirmed at fullback, Walsh has more than matched his anticipated promise in his first five NRL appearances. Last Friday night his statistics were exceptional with a try, 140 metres from 15 runs, a line break, four line break assists, three try assists, two tackle breaks and two off loads.
Overall he has three tries, seven try assists, six line breaks, 18 tackle breaks and he has averaged 102 metres a game.
The Vodafone Warriors head to Townsville tomorrow where they’ll have their final field session ahead of their first appearance at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the Cowboys’ new home ground.
The two sides are meeting for the second time in a month, the Vodafone Warriors winning 24-20 when they last met in Gosford on May 2. On that occasion they were outstanding in the first half when they led 24-4 but then had to withstand a withering comeback by North Queensland when they failed to score any more points.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
6.00pm, Friday, May 28, 2021
Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
1 REECE WALSH (Indigenous-Ngāti Kahungunu)
2 MARCELO MONTOYA
3 ADAM POMPEY (Tainui)
4 EUAN AITKEN
5 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
6 KODI NIKORIMA (Ngāi Tahu Ngā Rauru)
7 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA (Ngāpuhi)
8 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN (Ngāti Kahungunu; Kaurna, Narungga)
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 KANE EVANS
11 JACK MURCHIE
12 ELIESA KATOA
13 TOHU HARRIS (Ngāti Kahungunu)
14 JAZZ TEVAGA
15 LEESON AH MAU
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA
18 TANIELA OTUKOLO
20 ROCCO BERRY
21 SEAN O’SULLIVAN
22 JACKSON FREI
HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN