Vodafone Warriors half Daejarn Asi is back in the NRL frontline after a 10-week absence since his last first-grade outing.
After joining the club from North Queensland in late April, the 21-year-old Asi made four consecutive appearances alongside Shaun Johnson replacing an injured Chanel Harris-Tavita but has since been working on his game with feeder club Redcliffe in the Hostplus Cup.
Asi’s last game was the round 11 encounter with St George Illawarra before Harris-Tavita returned from injury the following week.
But interim head coach Stacey Jones has shuffled his deck for Saturday’s away clash against Canberra including a recall in the halves for the left-footed Asi after a series of impressive displays for the Dolphins.
He has been a key contributor in a run which has seen Redcliffe surge into fourth spot on the ladder on the back of an eight-game unbeaten streak.
The Dolphins won just one of their first six games this season but have recovered with seven victories and a draw in the last two months.
Asi has featured in five of those games scoring two tries while providing six try assists – three against Norths Devils last week – as well as two line breaks, four line break assists, eight tackle breaks, five off loads, an effective kicking game and a keenness to run the football.
He has been recalled ahead of rookie Ronald Volkman, who was used at standoff against Penrith and the Wests Tigers but wasn’t considered for last week’s encounter with the Eels.
While Asi comes back into the mix, Harris-Tavita starts at fullback and Reece Walsh moves to the bench for the 19th-round clash at GIO Stadium.
Also back in the side is right winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak after missing last Friday night’s loss to the Parramatta Eels following a positive Covid test.
Match: Raiders v Warriors
Round 19 -
Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Xavier SavageFullback for Warriors is number 1 Chanel Harris-Tavita
Winger for Raiders is number 2 Nick CotricWinger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Raiders is number 3 Matthew TimokoCentre for Warriors is number 3 Jesse Arthars
Centre for Raiders is number 4 Sebastian KrisCentre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
Winger for Raiders is number 5 Albert HopoateWinger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack WightonFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Daejarn Asi
Halfback for Raiders is number 7 Jamal FogartyHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh PapaliiProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Zac WoolfordHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Raiders is number 10 Joseph TapineProp for Warriors is number 10 Tohu Harris
2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Euan Aitken
2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead2nd Row for Warriors is number 17 Jack Murchie
Lock for Raiders is number 13 Adam ElliottLock for Warriors is number 13 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Tom StarlingInterchange for Warriors is number 12 Josh Curran
Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Ryan SuttonInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Reece Walsh
Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Emre GulerInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Bunty Afoa
Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Corey Harawira-NaeraInterchange for Warriors is number 18 Eliesa Katoa
Replacement for Raiders is number 21 Ata MariotaReplacement for Warriors is number 23 Jackson Frei
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Senior Review Official: Kasey Badger
The 23-year-old Harris-Tavita delivered a player of the day performance when he was called in to start at fullback after Walsh (Covid) was ruled out of the homecoming match against the Wests Tigers at Mount Smart Stadium on July 3.
When Walsh returned last week, interim head coach Stacey Jones switched Harris-Tavita to standoff after Volkman wasn’t considered due to his illness.
Watene-Zelezniak, the club’s top try scorer with seven touchdowns in 11 appearances, slots back onto the right wing for Edward Kosi.
While Jones has made selection calls in the backline, the starting forward pack is unchanged from the one originally selected to face the Eels.
Captain Tohu Harris will again wear the #10 jersey following his player of the day display in the loss to Parramatta. In 70 minutes on the field he made 170 metres from 17 runs with a line break, a line break assist and a try assist along with a game-high 44 tackles.
Walsh joins front rowers Bunty Afoa and Aaron Pene plus back rower Jack Murchie on the interchange while hooker Freddy Lussick moves to the extended bench.
The Vodafone Warriors face a Canberra side buoyed by a 20-16 win over Melbourne which has it sitting just outside the top eight.
When the two teams last met in round eight on April 30, Shaun Johnson snapped a golden point field goal to give the Vodafone Warriors their second extra time win of the season.
They have won five of the last nine encounters between the two sides, three of them at GIO Stadium.
VODAFONE WARRIORS v CANBERRA RAIDERS
GIO Stadium, Canberra
3.00pm, Saturday, July 23
1 CHANEL HARRIS-TAVITA
2 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK
3 JESSE ARTHARS
4 ADAM POMPEY
5 MARCELO MONTOYA
6 DAEJARN ASI
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE
9 WAYDE EGAN
10 TOHU HARRIS (c)
11 EUAN AITKEN
12 JOSH CURRAN
13 JAZZ TEVAGA
14 REECE WALSH
15 BUNTY AFOA
16 AARON PENE
17 JACK MURCHIE
18 ELIESA KATOA
20 EDWARD KOSI
21 RONALD VOLKMAN
22 FREDDY LUSSICK
23 JACKSON FREI
Head coach | STACEY JONES