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Lodge in, Walsh, Nikorima and Berry back to face Sharks

After just a few days in camp, new signing Matt Lodge has been immediately called in to make his club debut in the Vodafone Warriors’ 17th-round NRL encounter with the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney on Sunday (4.05pm kick-off local time; 6.05pm NZT).

The other selection features see fullback Reece Walsh and standoff Kodi Nikorima both returning from injury lay-offs along with rookie centre Rocco Berry (hamstring).

The 26-year-old Lodge, released by Brisbane just last Friday, comes straight into the starting line-up as Vodafone Warrior #263 to provide further experience and size to the pack.

Together starting props Addin Fonua-Blake and Lodge will give the Vodafone Warriors one of, if not, the biggest front rows in the club’s history; the 189cm Fonua-Blake weighs in at 123kg, the 191cm Lodge 117kg.

They also deliver a double punch carrying the ball. Fonua-Blake was back to his early-season form last week in his third appearance back from a long injury stint, making 192 metres from 19 runs in 76 minutes on the field; in his last four outings for the Broncos, Lodge clocked up run metre totals of 214, 150, 124 and 161.   

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
    Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco Berry
  • Centre for Sharks is number 6 Connor Tracey
    Centre for Warriors is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Winger for Warriors is number 5 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 14 Braydon Trindall
    Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Shaun Johnson
    Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan

Forwards

  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Aiden Tolman
    Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Aaron Woods
    Prop for Warriors is number 10 Matthew Lodge
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 15 Siosifa Talakai
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Toby Rudolf
    Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga

Interchange

  • Interchange for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Leeson Ah Mau
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty Afoa
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Braden Hamlin-Uele
    Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Ben Murdoch-Masila
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 19 Mawene Hiroti
    Interchange for Warriors is number 20 Jack Murchie

Reserves

  • Reserve for Sharks is number 21 Luke Metcalf
    Reserve for Warriors is number 18 Adam Pompey

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Darian Furner
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

With Lodge starting, the seasoned Kane Evans moves to the bench alongside fellow props Bunty Afoa and Leeson Ah Mau and the imposing Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Lodge, who has made 77 appearances for the Wests Tigers and Brisbane in his disrupted career, provides a major selection boost at a challenging time for the Vodafone Warriors.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Matthew Lodge (@matt_lodge)

Already without Peta Hiku (shoulder), Chanel Harris-Tavita (pectoral), David Fusitu’a (hamstring) and Tom Ale (ankle), they’ve lost two more frontline players to injury from last week’s golden point loss to St George Illawarra.

After making his return for the club last week, new signing Chad Townsend has been ruled out with a shoulder injury while inspirational second rower Tohu Harris (shoulder) is also on the side-line.

Townsend’s injury means he misses the chance to line up against the Sharks after leaving his old club leaving less than two weeks ago.

Apart from the six injured players, head coach Nathan Brown is still unable to call on centre Euan Aitken and back rower Josh Curran who remain in isolation for another week.

As well as Lodge, the other positives are Nikorima’s availability to come back into the halves with Harris-Tavita and Townsend both out while the impressive Walsh returns to add spark to the backline along with the highly promising Berry.  

Lodge's inclusion will mean the Vodafone Warriors have used 31 players so far this season with Tuivasa-Sheck and Ah Mau the only players who have appeared in every match so far. 

VODAFONE WARRIORS v CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS

4.05pm, Sunday, July 11, 2021

Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 REECE WALSH

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

3 ROCCO BERRY

4 MARCELO MONTOYA

5 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK

6 KODI NIKORIMA

7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 MATT LODGE

11 ELIESA KATOA

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN

13 JAZZ TEVAGA

Interchange:

14 KANE EVANS

15 LEESON AH MAU

16 BUNTY AFOA

17 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA

18 ADAM POMPEY

20 JACK MURCHIE

21 TANIELA OTUKOLO

22 EDWARD KOSI

HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN