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AFB's chances of playing slightly improved

Vodafone Warriors captain Addin Fonua-Blake is rated a slightly better chance of taking his place against North Queensland in Friday night's fifth-round NRL contest at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe (6.00pm kick-off local time; 8.00pm NZT).

Head coach Nathan Brown told the media today that his premier prop could neither be ruled out nor ruled in two days out from the match.

He said Fonua-Blake's prospects had improved slightly from no chance 24 hours ago to a slim chance of playing.

Fonua-Blake is suffering from the effects of a knock picked up in last Saturday's 20-6 win over Brisbane; Brown wouldn't specify the nature of the injury "for obvious reasons if he does play".

The prop was named on the expanded bench in jersey #20 yesterday with Bunty Afoa listed in the starting line-up and hooker Wayde Egan selected as captain. 

Two players - suspended Jazz Tevaga and injured Ben Murdoch-Masila (ankle/foot) - are definitely missing this week but interchange prop Aaron Pene (shoulder) and back rower Bayley Sironen (Covid) have come straight back into the line-up after missing the Brisbane encounter.

Sironen, who was on the bench in the first three rounds, comes into the second row with Josh Curran switched back to loose forward.

While Pene and Sironen make quick returns, first-choice centre Rocco Berry is also back in the extended squad after sitting out last week with a virus. Also included is fellow young centre Viliami Vailea after recovering from the knee injury which sidelined him after the first-round defeat by St George Illawarra.

Brown said while Berry was available again this week, centre Adam Pompey and winger Edward Kosi were retained as a reward for their performances against the Broncos.

For the first time this season, Brown has been able to select the same spine for a second week running with Egan at hooker, Shaun Johnson and Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves and Reece Walsh at fullback.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
  • Winger for Warriors is number 2 Edward Kosi
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse Arthars
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Valentine Holmes
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
  • Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Tom Dearden
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Matthew Lodge
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Warriors is number 20 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Cowboys is number 16 Reuben Cotter
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Tom Gilbert
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Jeremiah Nanai
  • Lock for Warriors is number 13 Josh Curran
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 8 Bunty Afoa
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 10 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Kodi Nikorima
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Jake Granville
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Aaron Pene
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Heilum Luki
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Jack Murchie
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin Neame

Reserves

  • Replacement for Warriors is number 15 Eliesa Katoa
    Replacement for Cowboys is number 19 Brendan Elliot

Match Officials

  • Referee: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated:

Until now Egan had been the only constant in the opening four rounds.

In round one Johnson was with Kodi Nikorima in the halves with Harris-Tavita at fullback while a week later Walsh came in at fullback with Harris-Tavita going to the halves alongside new signing Ash Taylor.

There was another shuffle for the round three contest when Taylor (hip) was ruled out and Nikorima was back in the halves.

It meant Brown was unable to field his preferred spine until last week when Johnson came back from injury.

Last week Matt Lodge, Jesse Arthars, Nikorima and Walsh all lined up against their former club Brisbane; this week the Vodafone Warriors will face three former players in centre Peta Hiku, halfback Chad Townsend and prop Jamayne Taunoa-Brown who were all teammates last season.

Friday night’s second consecutive home game at Moreton Daily Stadium offers up another all-Queensland clash, the third in the opening five rounds for the Redcliffe-based Vodafone Warriors after facing Gold Coast in round two and Brisbane last week.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS

Moreton Daily Stadium, Brisbane

6.00pm, Friday, April 8

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 REECE WALSH

2 EDWARD KOSI

3 JESSE ARTHARS

4 ADAM POMPEY

5 MARCELO MONTOYA

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

7 SHAUN JOHNSON

8 BUNTY AFOA

9 WAYDE EGAN (C)

10 MATT LODGE

11 EUAN AITKEN

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN

13 JOSH CURRAN

Interchange:

14 KODI NIKORIMA

15 ELIESA KATOA

16 AARON PENE

17 JACK MURCHIE

18 TANIELA OTUKOLO

20 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE

21 ROCCO BERRY

22 PRIDE PETTERSON-ROBATI

23 JUNIOR RATUVA

24 VILIAMI VAILEA

25 OTUKINEKINA KEPU

Head coach | Nathan BROWN

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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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