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Watene-Zelezniak back for heritage game against Roosters

 

Experienced winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will make his comeback from a four-match injury lay-off when the Vodafone Warriors face the Sydney Roosters in a sixth-round NRL clash which will evoke memories of the grand final meeting between the two sides 20 years ago.

Watene-Zelezniak has been side-lined since breaking his left thumb in the opening minutes of the club’s opening round loss to St George Illawarra.

After having surgery, the Kiwi captain has been rushed straight back slightly ahead of schedule for the special heritage occasion when the Vodafone Warriors and Roosters collide at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT).

The Vodafone Warriors will wear the iconic jersey instantly associated with the club’s first grand final appearance in 2002 and readily identified with one of the most successful eras in its history.

BUY 2022 VODAFONE WARRIORS HERITAGE JERSEY HERE

Predominantly black with blue, red and white trimming, it’s this jersey which is connected with the Vodafone Warriors delivering a string of exceptional performances on their way to reaching the NRL finals for the first time in 2001 and then winning the minor premiership and playing a maiden home final en route to the grand final the following year.

While the Vodafone Warriors will wear a replica 2002 jersey, the Roosters will be kitted out in the white strip modelled on the one they wore in the title showdown.
Head coach Nathan Brown has named a top 17 which shows two changes from the side used in last Friday night’s dramatic 25-24 golden point victory over North Queensland. That sees Eliesa Katoa coming onto the bench replacing Jack Murchie.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
    Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
    Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Centre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse Arthars
  • Centre for Roosters is number 5 Kevin Naiqama
    Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
  • Winger for Roosters is number 23 Joseph Suaalii
    Winger for Warriors is number 5 Edward Kosi
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Sam Walker
    Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Chanel Harris-Tavita
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Luke Keary
    Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
    Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 24 Drew Hutchison
    Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Lindsay Collins
    Prop for Warriors is number 16 Aaron Pene
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 16 Angus Crichton
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Bayley Sironen
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
    Lock for Warriors is number 13 Josh Curran

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 9 Sam Verrills
    Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Kodi Nikorima
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 11 Nat Butcher
    Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Bunty Afoa
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Fletcher Baker
    Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Eliesa Katoa
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 22 Daniel Suluka-Fifita
    Interchange for Warriors is number 18 Taniela Otukolo

Reserves

  • Replacement for Roosters is number 18 Lachlan Lam
    Replacement for Warriors is number 25 Valingi Kepu

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Dave Munro
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

And left winger Marcelo Montoya has been omitted ahead of facing a contrary conduct judicial hearing tonight with Edward Kosi replacing him.

For the third week running head coach Nathan Brown has been able to name the same spine of Reece Walsh, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Shaun Johnson and Wayde Egan while the pack is the same as one that started against the Cowboys last Friday night.

As well as Watene-Zelezniak, young centres Rocco Berry and Viliami Vailea are again on the expanded bench after playing for feeder club Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup last weekend.

With three straight wins over the Wests Tigers, Brisbane and North Queensland, the Vodafone Warriors start the round in seventh spot on the table with six points; the Roosters are also on six points but sit fifth with a better points for and against differential.

The consistently well-performed Roosters will provide the Vodafone Warriors with by far their sternest challenge of the season so far as they strive for a fourth consecutive win.

The home side is coming off wins over the same opponents the Vodafone Warriors have beaten in the last fortnight. After accounting for the Cowboys 28-4 in the fourth round, they had to rally to overcome the Broncos 24-20.

VODAFONE WARRIORS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS

Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

4.00pm, Sunday, April 17

VODAFONE WARRIORS

1 REECE WALSH

2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK

3 JESSE ARTHARS

4 ADAM POMPEY

5 EDWARD KOSI

6 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA

7 SHAUN JOHNSON

8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (c)

9 WAYDE EGAN

10 MATT LODGE

11 EUAN AITKEN

12 BAYLEY SIRONEN

13 JOSH CURRAN

Interchange:

14 KODI NIKORIMA

15 BUNTY AFOA

16 AARON PENE

17 ELIESA KATOA

18 TANIELA OTUKOLO

20 VILIAMI VAILEA

21 PRIDE PETTERSON-ROBATI

22 ROCCO BERRY

23 OTUKINEKINA KEPU

24 JUNIOR RATUVA

25 VALINGI KEPU

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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