Head coach Nathan Brown has confirmed the Vodafone Warriors will line up as selected 1-17 for today's ninth-round NRL clash against Cronulla Sutherland Sharks at PointsBet Stadium (4.05pm kick-off local time; 6.05pm NZT).
Bayley Sironen has been named 18th man with Taniela Otukolo in as 19th man.
The five players dropped off the extended bench 24 hours out from kick-off were Edward Kosi, Junior Ratuva, Pride Petterson-Robati, Jayden Corrigan and Jackson Frei.
There has been one notable change in Cronulla's line-up with first-choice winger Ronaldo Mulitalo out of the side; he has been replaced by Connor Tracey.
The Vodafone Warriors will again have four big forwards on the interchange.
With 193cm, 110kg Eliesa Katoa named to start in the second row instead of Sironen, Brown has been able to bring Aaron Pene back on the interchange after his one-match suspension.
Pene (190cm, 107kg), joins the other big forwards used off the bench in the 21-20 golden point win over Canberra last Saturday – Ben Murdoch-Masila (186cm, 118kg), Bunty Afoa (188cm, 113kg) and Jack Murchie (193cm, 105kg).
Ex-Storm front rower Pene is set for his seventh game in his first season with the Vodafone Warrior, his 17th career appearance.
He and the recalled Dallin Watene-Zelezniak are the only changes to the 17-man line-up used against the Raiders.
The 155-game veteran Watene-Zelezniak returns on the right wing being concussed early in the second half of the Vodafone Warriors’ shattering Anzac Day defeat in Melbourne.
Cleared after undergoing head injury protocols, Watene-Zelezniak replaces one-year signing Jesse Arthars, whose impressive start to the season has been blighted by a shoulder injury picked up late in the first half of Saturday’s battle with the Raiders.
Match: Sharks v Warriors
Round 9 -
Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William KennedyFullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione KatoaWinger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse RamienCentre for Warriors is number 3 Viliami Vailea
Centre for Sharks is number 4 Siosifa TalakaiCentre for Warriors is number 4 Rocco Berry
Winger for Sharks is number 22 Connor TraceyWinger for Warriors is number 5 Adam Pompey
Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Matt MoylanFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Daejarn Asi
Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas HynesHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
Prop for Sharks is number 8 Toby RudolfProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke BraileyHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Sharks is number 13 Dale FinucaneProp for Warriors is number 10 Matthew Lodge
2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken
2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Teig Wilton2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Eliesa Katoa
Lock for Sharks is number 15 Cameron McInnesLock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Sharks is number 10 Aiden TolmanInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Jack Murchie
Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Jack WilliamsInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Ben Murdoch-Masila
Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Wade GrahamInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Bunty Afoa
Interchange for Sharks is number 19 Andrew FifitaInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Aaron Pene
Replacement for Sharks is number 21 Mawene Hiroti
Reserve for Warriors is number 18 Bayley Sironen
- Referee: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Darian Furner
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Senior Review Official: Adam Gee
Arthars, who had again been named at right centre, was switched to the right wing but wasn’t able to see out the match after having his left shoulder damaged.
Watene-Zelezniak has opened the season in try-a-game fashion with touchdowns in each of his three outings against St George Illawarra, the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne.
Also out of the starting side is second rower Bayley Sironen, who needed treatment for a leg complaint during Saturday’s contest. He has been named in jersey #18.
After his superb first outing for the club – and his first NRL win in 11 attempts – Daejarn Asi will again be in the halves with golden point match winner Shaun Johnson.
As well as providing two try assists, Asi highlighted his Vodafone Warriors debut with an earth-shaking shot on Canberra halfback Brad Schneider, voted by fans as the NRL’s tackle of the week.
Loose forward Jazz Tevaga edges closed to the Vodafone Warriors’ 100-game club when he makes his 98th career appearance on Sunday while, after scoring his third try of the season last weekend, second rower Euan Aiken is just one short of his 50th career try.
The match will have special significance for Johnson who lines up against his former club at his old home ground for the first time since being reunited with the Vodafone Warriors. He played 44 times for the Sharks from 2019-2021.
Under new coach Craig Fitzgibbon, the Sharks have been transformed into one of the NRL’s best sides so far this season. They come off a 7-16 loss to Brisbane last Thursday night but still sit fourth on the ladder with a 5-3 win-loss record.
In the two games between the sides last year, Cronulla won 20-12 in round 17 but the Vodafone Warriors avenged that result with a brave 18-16 victory in round 21.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS
PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
4.05pm, Sunday, May 8
1 REECE WALSH
2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
3 VILIAMI VAILEA
4 ROCCO BERRY
5 ADAM POMPEY
6 DAEJARN ASI
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (c)
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 MATT LODGE
11 EUAN AITKEN
12 ELIESA KATOA
13 JAZZ TEVAGA
14 JACK MURCHIE
15 BEN MURDOCH-MASILA
16 BUNTY AFOA
17 AARON PENE
18 BAYLEY SIRONEN
20 TANIELA OTUKOLO
21 EDWARD KOSI
22 JUNIOR RATUVA
23 PRIDE PETTERSON-ROBATI
24 JAYDEN CORRIGAN
25 JACKSON FREI
Head coach | Nathan BROWN