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Stacey Jones' baptism of fire as an NRL coach continues as the rampant premiers come to town looking to heap more pain on the Vodafone Warriors.

The Panthers could not have been more impressive in their demolition of Newcastle while the Vodafone Warriors started well enough against Cronulla but fell away badly in Jones' first game at the helm.

Ivan Cleary's men have lost just one game all season and have positioned themselves perfectly to emulate the Roosters in 2018-19 and collect back-to-back premierships.

If the Vodafone Warriors are to throw a spanner in the works they will need to get their discipline in check and cut out the simple errors that cost them any chance of victory against the Sharks.

The Rundown

Team news

Vodafone Warriors: Several changes for interim coach Stacey Jones in his second game in charge. Youngster Ronald Volkman will make his NRL debut at five-eighth, pushing Chanel Harris-Tavita to the bench while Jesse Arthars comes into the centres at the expense of Rocco Berry.

With Ben Murdoch-Masila suffering a dislocated elbow, Bunty Afoa moves into the starting side and Aaron Pene rejoins the bench. Euan Aitken misses the game with concussion and his place is taken by Josh Curran.

Hooker Wayde Egan plays his 50th game for the club after joining the Vodafone Warriors from the Panthers on 2020.

Panthers: Skipper Isaah Yeo returns for the premiers after he was given a rest last weekend so Matt Eisenhuth goes back to the reserves. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Reece Walsh
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
  • Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Taylan May
  • Centre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse Arthars
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
  • Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
  • Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
  • Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Ronald Volkman
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
  • Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary

Forwards

  • Prop for Warriors is number 10 Jazz Tevaga
    Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
  • Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
  • Prop for Warriors is number 23 Addin Fonua-Blake
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jack Murchie
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Warriors is number 13 Josh Curran
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
  • Lock for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris
    Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Warriors is number 8 Bunty Afoa
    Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch Kenny
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Chanel Harris-Tavita
    Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott Sorensen
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Dunamis Lui
    Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
  • Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Bayley Sironen
    Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon

Reserves

  • Replacement for Warriors is number 20 Eliesa Katoa
    Replacement for Panthers is number 19 Matthew Eisenhuth

Match Officials

  • Referee: Peter Gough
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Key match-up

Shaun Johnson v Nathan Cleary: Johnson returned to the Vodafone Warriors amid plenty of fanfare in 2022 but the homecoming has been anything but a happy one. The veteran playmaker has copped plenty of criticism as the Vodafone Warriors have slumped to a 4-10 record but he has still come up with 13 forced dropouts, seven try assists and five line break assists. Cleary joined the party late after off-season shoulder surgery but the gifted No.7 has been in majestic form with 10 try assists, 12 forced dropouts and three 40-20 kicks, including a monster against the Knights on Sunday which he launched from his own 30-metre line. Cleary took the heat for the Blues' loss in Origin One and he'll be looking for a big game in his final tune-up for game two.

Stat Attack

The Panthers' points differential in their premiership year in 2021 was +390 at the end of the regular season. With 10 games still to play this season they are sitting on +264, well clear of the Storm on +197 and Cowboys +179.

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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