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Warriors v Panthers: Harris, Townsend, Aitken to start; Kenny swap with Api

The Warriors' finals chances took a huge blow when they went down to the Sharks on Sunday as they now sit two games outside the eight.

After a strong start the Warriors committed too many errors and failed to mount any real pressure as halves Kodi Nikorima and Sean O'Sullivan struggled to take control.

The Panthers will be refreshed coming off a bye and will be hoping their Origin contingent come through unscathed as they look to build momentum over the next fortnight ahead of a round 20 blockbuster against the Storm.

The rundown

Team news

Warriors: The promotion of Tohu Harris, Chad Townsend (both shoulder) and Euan Aitken (isolation) from the extended bench 24 hours from kick-off triggered mass changes.

In contrast, the match-day moves were minimal with Kane Evans handed 18th man duties and Adam Pompey the last man cut from the final 17-man squad.

Aitken's return at centre pushed Marcelo Montoya to the wing and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to five-eighth, where he will form an all-new playmaking pairing with Townsend.

Kodi Nikorima drops to the interchange and Sean O'Sullivan is out of the squad altogether.

The accelerated return of Harris relegates Eliesa Katoa to the bench with Bunty Afoa the other Saturday omission from the squad.

Aitken and Josh Curran will be good to go despite training in isolation after completing a 14-day quarantine period.

They were passengers on a Virgin Australia flight on June 26 from the Gold Coast to Sydney in which a cabin crew member tested positive to COVID-19. 

Curran and prop Kane Evans replace Ben Murdoch-Masila and Jack Murchie on the bench, with both dropping out of the squad.

The Warriors have not won in Queensland since 2019.

Panthers: A late swap sees back-up dummy-half Mitch Kenny get the start with Origin rep Api Koroisau dropping back to the bench.

Izack Tago has been assigned 18th man duties while Matt Eisenhuth is the match-day omission.

Fullback Dylan Edwards returns from a foot injury so Charlie Staines shifts to the wing and Brent Naden into the centres. Matt Burton will play five-eighth in Jarome Luai's absence and Tyrone May has been named at No.7.

Centre Paul Momiroviski (hip) and winger Robert Jennings (foot) are at least another week away from returning after being the first cuts from the 21-man squad on Saturday.

Brian To'o, Isaah Yeo, Kurt Capewell and Liam Martin are all backing up from Origin III.

The Panthers have won seven of their past nine games against the Warriors.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
  • Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Charlie Staines
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco Berry
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Stephen Crichton
  • Centre for Warriors is number 20 Euan Aitken
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Brent Naden
  • Winger for Warriors is number 4 Marcelo Montoya
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 5 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Matt Burton
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 21 Chad Townsend
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Tyrone May


  • Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Matthew Lodge
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 22 Tohu Harris
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Kurt Capewell
  • Lock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
    Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo


  • Interchange for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
    Interchange for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 11 Eliesa Katoa
    Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Josh Curran
    Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Leeson Ah Mau
    Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Liam Martin


  • Reserve for Warriors is number 17 Kane Evans
    Reserve for Panthers is number 18 Izack Tago

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Butler
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Touch Judge: Peter Gough
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck v Matt Burton: The Warriors skipper takes on yet another role for Nathan Brown, partnering with Chad Townsend in the halves. It is the 194-game veteran's first formal start in the No.6 jumper but he has played plenty of first receiver. The pressure will be on Burton to aim up in the playmaking area with first-choice halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai sidelined by injury. This situation is exactly why Penrith resisted pressure from the Bulldogs to release Burton early.

Stat attack 

Prop James Fisher-Harris gets through a mountain of work to lay the platform for the Panthers' high-scoring backline. The recently re-signed front-rower ranks third for post-contact metres (1012) and fifth for runs (272) and run metres (2755). But, most impressively, he doesn't clock off if someone else gets the ball. Fisher-Harris is No.1 in the NRL for decoy runs with 141, well ahead of second-placed Storm teammates Dale Finucane and Tui Kamikamica on 123.


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Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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