Interim head coach Stacey Jones has made significant line-up changes for the Vodafone Warriors’ final game at their Redcliffe base before their Mount Smart Stadium homecoming match in Auckland on July 3.
In his second game since stepping in for the departed Nathan Brown, Jones has highlighted his selection by handing 19-year-old Ronald Volkman his NRL and club debut in the 15th-round encounter with the competition-leading Penrith Panthers at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off local time; 7.30pm NZT).
Volkman, who arrived from the Sydney Roosters last month, is poised to become Vodafone Warrior #272 partnering veteran Shaun Johnson in the halves.
Set to re-join the side is first-choice prop Addin Fonua-Blake after being sidelined with a foot injury since the round 11 loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons. He has been named on the extended bench in #23.
There’s a change in the centres with Jesse Arthars coming in for Rocco Berry. Arthars played seven of the first eight games of the season including each of the club’s four wins over the Wests Tigers, Brisbane, North Queensland and Canberra but picked up a shoulder injury in the golden point win against the Raiders.
With Ben Murdoch-Masila (elbow) ruled out, prop Bunty Afoa is listed to start his 99th career game although a front row shuffle is likely if Fonua-Blake comes through training this week.
Experienced second rower Euan Aitken (concussion) has been ruled out which results in Josh Curran coming into the starting back row.
Match: Warriors v Panthers
Round 15 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece WalshFullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-ZelezniakWinger for Panthers is number 2 Taylan May
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse ArtharsCentre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam PompeyCentre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo MontoyaWinger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Ronald VolkmanFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Jazz TevagaProp for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
Prop for Warriors is number 23 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jack Murchie2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
2nd Row for Warriors is number 13 Josh Curran2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
Lock for Warriors is number 12 Tohu HarrisLock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Interchange for Warriors is number 8 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Chanel Harris-TavitaInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Dunamis LuiInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Bayley SironenInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon
Replacement for Warriors is number 20 Eliesa KatoaReplacement for Panthers is number 19 Matthew Eisenhuth
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Senior Review Official: Chris Butler
Chanel Harris-Tavita, moved out of the halves to make way for Volkman, is on the bench to provide utility cover.
The highly regarded Volkman, initially signed on a three-year deal from next season, joined the Vodafone Warriors early last month and will become the seventh player to make his club debut this year.
After coming through the Roosters’ age group sides and the North Sydney Bears in the New South Wales Cup, he has had two outings with the Vodafone Warriors’ feeder club Redcliffe in the Hostplus Cup (Queensland Cup) in the past fortnight.
The Dolphins beat the Ipswich Jets 54-0 on June 4 and the Mackay Cutters 34-32 last week, Volkman marking his second outing with a try, a line break, line break assist and try assist plus five tackle breaks.
He and the rest of his teammates face a huge challenge taking on Penrith in the Vodafone Warriors’ farewell appearance at their adopted home ground in Redcliffe. The Panthers, four points clear at the top of the ladder, have lost only once while scoring the most points (416) and conceding the fewest (152).
Hooker Wayde Egan makes his 50th Vodafone Warriors appearance, achieving it against his former club. The July 3 homecoming match will be his first at Mount Smart Stadium.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v PENRITH PANTHERS
Moreton Daily Stadium, Redcliffe
5.30pm, Saturday, June 18
1 REECE WALSH
2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
3 JESSE ARTHARS
4 ADAM POMPEY
5 MARCELO MONTOYA
6 RONALD VOLKMAN
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 BUNTY AFOA
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 JAZZ TEVAGA
11 JACK MURCHIE
12 TOHU HARRIS (c)
13 JOSH CURRAN
14 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
15 AARON PENE
16 DUNAMIS LUI
17 BAYLEY SIRONEN
18 FREDDY LUSSICK
20 ELIESA KATOA
21 ROCCO BERRY
22 DAEJARN ASI
23 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
Head coach | STACEY JONES