Sean O’Sullivan, Jazz Tevaga and Reece Walsh all come into the spine for the Vodafone Warriors’ 15th-round NRL encounter with the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).
The 22-year-old O’Sullivan made four consecutive appearances replacing injured Chanel Harris-Tavita at halfback earlier in the season and now he reprises the role after Harris-Tavita was forced off the field with a pectoral complaint in Sunday’s loss to Melbourne.
O’Sullivan, set to play his 14th NRL game, last appeared in the 20-14 round six win over St George Illawarra while he was 18th man against North Queensland in the eighth round but wasn’t used.
With regular hooker Wayde Egan ruled out following a head knock in Sunday’s defeat by the Storm, the recently re-signed Tevaga returns to the side at dummy half after being omitted for the Melbourne match.
And 18-year-old Walsh is back in the #1 jersey after serving a one-game suspension on a striking charge he landed after the 28-29 loss to North Queensland; that sees captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck again moving to the right wing.
Match: Knights v Warriors
Round 15 -
Fullback for Knights is number 3 Kurt MannFullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
Winger for Knights is number 2 Dominic YoungWinger for Warriors is number 2 Marcelo Montoya
Centre for Knights is number 4 Enari TualaCentre for Warriors is number 4 Euan Aitken
Centre for Knights is number 12 Brodie JonesCentre for Warriors is number 21 Adam Pompey
Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel HuntWinger for Warriors is number 5 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Jake CliffordFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan
Prop for Knights is number 8 Jacob SaifitiProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Jayden BraileyHooker for Warriors is number 9 Jazz Tevaga
Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel SaifitiProp for Warriors is number 10 Ben Murdoch-Masila
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Bayley Sironen
2nd Row for Knights is number 13 Mitchell Barnett2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris
Lock for Knights is number 16 Sauaso SueLock for Warriors is number 13 Josh Curran
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Connor WatsonInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Eliesa Katoa
Interchange for Knights is number 15 David KlemmerInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Leeson Ah Mau
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Jack JohnsInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Kane Evans
Interchange for Knights is number 18 Josh KingInterchange for Warriors is number 22 Taniela Otukolo
Reserve for Knights is number 19 Tex HoyReserve for Warriors is number 18 Edward Kosi
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Also returning is 20-year-old centre Rocco Berry – a late defection with a hamstring twinge for the Storm game – as well as second rower Eliesa Katoa, who has been included on the bench.
Aside from Tevaga’s forced selection at hooker, the other key change in the starting pack sees prop Addin Fonua-Blake named to start after playing a total of 50 minutes in his two stints against Melbourne. He finished with 81 metres from nine runs and made 20 tackles.
He’ll team up with fellow new signing Ben Murdoch-Masila to form a big starting front row while head coach Nathan Brown has retained the same back row of Tohu Harris and Bayley Sironen in the second row with re-signed Josh Curran at loose forward. Leeson Ah Mau moves out of the front row to join the interchange.
Included on the extended bench is centre Adam Pompey - back from a one-match suspension - and promising young hooker Taniela Otukolo.
With Egan sidelined, Ah Mau, Tuivasa-Sheck and standoff Kodi Nikorima are now set to the only players to appear in every match so far this season.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
3.00pm, Saturday, June 19, 2021
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
1 REECE WALSH
2 MARCELO MONTOYA
3 ROCCO BERRY
4 EUAN AITKEN
5 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (c)
6 KODI NIKORIMA
7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN
8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
9 JAZZ TEVAGA
10 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA
11 BAYLEY SIRONEN
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 JOSH CURRAN
14 ELIESA KATOA
15 LEESON AH MAU
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 KANE EVANS
18 EDWARD KOSI
20 JACK MURCHIE
21 ADAM POMPEY
23 TANIELA OTUKOLO
HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN