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Most of top squad selected for trial against Melbourne

Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown will use almost all of the club’s top-tier players in the opening NRL trial against the Storm in Melbourne on Saturday (4.00pm kick-off local time; 6.00pm NZT).

Among those included are new signings Ash Taylor, Aaron Pene and Jesse Arthars who will all be making their debuts for the club.

They’re joined by most of the club’s frontline players including Addin Fonua, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Marcelo Montoya, Euan Aitken, Bunty Afoa and Bayley Sironen.

Also making the trip are Kodi Nikorima, Chanel Harris-Tavita and Jazz Tevaga backing up from their impressive efforts in the Māori All Stars’ win over the Indigenous All Stars last Saturday night. However, Indigenous All Stars second rower Josh Curran won’t play after a head knock in the Sydney contest.

While they’ll miss the start of the season proper through suspensions from last season, prop Matt Lodge and fullback Reece Walsh are clear to play in the trials.

Named around the seasoned players and others with NRL experience are some of the young guns the Vodafone Warriors have taken to their Redcliffe base – Ali Leiataua and the Kepu twins Otukinekina and Valingi – as well as train and trial players Adam Cook, Garrett Smith and Jayden Corrigan.

Not being used this weekend are returning Vodafone Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson and hooker Wayde Egan along with captain Tohu Harris, second rower Jack Murchie and Curran. Brown says Johnson, Egan and Curran are all likely to be used in the second and final trial against Gold Coast at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe on February 26.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v MELBOURNE STORM

Casey Fields, Melbourne

4.00pm, Saturday, February 19

VODAFONE WARRIORS

Aaron PENE

Adam COOK

Adam POMPEY

Addin FONUA-BLAKE

Ali LEIATAUA

Ash TAYLOR

Bayley SIRONEN

Ben MURDOCH-MASILA

Bunty AFOA

ChaneL HARRIS-TAVITA

Dallin WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

Edward KOSI

Eliesa KATOA

Euan AITKEN

Garrett SMITH

Jayden CORRIGAN

Jazz TEVAGA

Jesse ARTHARS

Junior RATUVA

Kodi NIKORIMA

Marcelo MONTOYA

Matthew LODGE

Otukinekina KEPU

Pride PETERSON-ROBATI

Reece WALSH

Rocco BERRY

Taniela OTUKOLO

Valingi KEPU

Viliami VAILEA

Head coach: Nathan BROWN

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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