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Frei makes debut in Hiku's 150th career appearance

Peta Hiku eyes his 150th milestone appearance while prop Jackson Frei has been named to make his debut in the Vodafone Warriors’ 22nd-round NRL encounter with Canterbury Bankstown at Redcliffe’s Moreton Daily Stadium on Sunday (1.50pm kick-off local time; 3.50pm NZT).

With front row resources depleted by suspension, injury and unavailability, head coach Nathan Brown has called up the 23-year-old Queenslander Frei to start alongside in-form captain Addin Fonua-Blake.

Frei, who joined the Vodafone Warriors in 2019, was a regular for feeder club Redcliffe in the Intrust Super Cup until the latest Covid-19 lockdown put the competition on hold. In 10 outings for the Dolphins he has averaged 104 metres and 25 tackles a game. 

He will become the 34th player the Vodafone Warriors have used this season, the 15th to debut for the club and the sixth to play his first NRL game after Rocco Berry, Reece Walsh, Edward Kosi, Taniela Otukolo and Viliami Vailea. 

In another key feature, experienced halfback Chad Townsend and hooker Wayde Egan are both on the extended bench after recovering from shoulder injuries.

Both Hiku and winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak were set for a double 150th celebration this week but Watene-Zelezniak will now miss the match after failing to overturn a contrary conduct charge at the NRL judiciary tonight.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick Meaney
  • Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Falakiko Manu
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta Hiku
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Will Hopoate
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Aaron Schoupp
  • Winger for Warriors is number 18 Edward Kosi
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 20 Jayden Okunbor
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Bailey Biondi-Odo
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Sean O'Sullivan
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jake Averillo

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Ava Seumanufagai
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 22 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Jackson Frei
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Ryan James
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Josh Curran
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Adam Elliott
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Euan Aitken
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Matt Doorey
  • Lock for Warriors is number 9 Jazz Tevaga
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Josh Jackson

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Kodi Nikorima
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Sione Katoa
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Bunty Afoa
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Chris Patolo
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Corey Horsburgh
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Eliesa Katoa
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Joe Stimson

Reserves

  • Reserve for Warriors is number 20 Jack Murchie
    Reserve for Bulldogs is number 19 Kyle Flanagan

Match Officials

  • Referee: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated:

The Vodafone Warriors have also lost experienced front rowers Matt Lodge and Kane Evans after they took early guilty pleas on charges they picked up against the Sharks; Evans has been suspended for one match and Lodge for two.

With veteran Leeson Ah Mau cleared to return home early last month and Ben Murdoch-Masila out for the rest of the season with a foot injury, the Vodafone Warriors are left with only three established props in captain Addin Fonua-Blake, Bunty Afoa and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Brown has brought Taunoa-Brown onto the interchange to replace Evans while Afoa remains on a bench which also includes Kodi Nikorima and Eliesa Katoa.

Hiku (28), who made his NRL debut in 2013, has his 70th game for the Vodafone Warriors on Sunday after 60 games for Manly (2013-2015) and 20 for Penrith (2016-2017).

In their wins over the Tigers and Sharks – the first back-to-back successes this season – the Vodafone Warriors' back five were key to the performances.

Against the Tigers, winger Marcelo Montoya made 195 metres, Watene-Zelezniak 190, centre Adam Pompey 124 and fullback Reece Walsh 116.

Every one of the back five topped 100 metres against Cronulla – Hiku 196, Walsh 156, Watene-Zelezniak 155, Montoya 129 and rookie Viliami Vailea 122.

Sunday’s match will have special meaning for the Vodafone Warriors playing a home game at feeder club Redcliffe’s Moreton Daily Stadium. Several of the players in this week’s side have appeared for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Intrust Super Cup this season.

Of the 21 players named today, nine have played for the Dolphins at some stage this season.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANTERBURY BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS

1.50pm, Sunday, August 15, 2021

Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe

 

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 REECE WALSH

2 TBC

3 PETA HIKU

4 ADAM POMPEY

5 MARCELO MONTOYA

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

7 SEAN O’SULLIVAN

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (c)

9 JAZZ TEVAGA

10 JACKSON FREI

11 EUAN AITKEN

12 JOSH CURRAN

13 BAYLEY SIRONEN

Interchange:

14 KODI NIKORIMA

15 BUNTY AFOA

16 JAMAYNE TAUNOA-BROWN

17 ELIESA KATOA

18 EDWARD KOSI

20 JACK MURCHIE

21 CHAD TOWNSEND

22 WAYDE EGAN

HEAD COACH | NATHAN BROWN