For the first time in three years, the One New Zealand Warriors will have three teams back in business on the same weekend in three different competitions.
The club’s NRL side launches the new era with Friday night’s first-round NRL clash against Newcastle in Wellington followed by the New South Wales Cup team facing the Knights in Pukekohe on Saturday and the SG Ball Cup squad travelling to Newcastle for its match against the Knights on Sunday.
The last time all three teams were in action was the weekend on March 14-15 in 2020 before the onset of the Covid pandemic.
On that occasion Newcastle was also the opposition for the NRL and New South Wales Cup teams in a double header at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 14.
This time the two clubs begin their New South Wales Cup campaigns at Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium in a contest kicking off at 2.00pm on Ssaturday.
Match: Warriors v Knights
Round 1 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 18 Taine TuaupikiFullback for Knights is number 21 Bailey Hodgson
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Setu TuWinger for Knights is number 2 Keanu Wainohu-Kemp
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Ali LeiatauaCentre for Knights is number 3 Thomas Cant
Centre for Warriors is number 21 Viliami VaileaCentre for Knights is number 4 Dylan Lucas
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Moala Graham-TaufaWinger for Knights is number 5 David Armstrong
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Ben FarrFive-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Ryan Rivett
Halfback for Warriors is number 20 Ronald VolkmanHalfback for Knights is number 7 Adam Clune
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Maiu'u ZyonProp for Knights is number 8 David Hollis
Hooker for Warriors is number 14 Freddy LussickHooker for Knights is number 9 Kobe Rugless
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Isaiah VaganaProp for Knights is number 10 Toni Tupouniua
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Kalani Going2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Brodie Jones
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Michael Sio2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Edward Hampson
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Demitric SifakulaLock for Knights is number 13 Ben Talty
Interchange for Warriors is number 9 Paul RoacheInterchange for Knights is number 14 Liam Wilkinson
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Maia SandsInterchange for Knights is number 16 Brock Greacen
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Mosese FaeamaniInterchange for Knights is number 17 Callan Burgess
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Tahi BaggaleyInterchange for Knights is number 18 Sebastian Su'a
Replacement for Warriors is number 22 Nicholas HalaliloReplacement for Knights is number 19 Chris Vea'ila
Only winger Setu Tu and middle forward Isaiah Vagana remain in the line-up from the side beaten 20-16 by the Knights in 2020 although several others are now established in the club’s NRL squad – Rocco Berry, Adam Pompey, Edward Kosi and Tom Ale.
First-year head coach Slade Griffin has named a side short on NRL experience although players omitted from the One New Zealand Warriors’ extended squad for the NRL match in Wellington will be brought into the line-up.
Back rower Demitric Sifakula, recently upgraded to the club’s fulltime NRL squad, has been named to start at loose forward while two of the players on development contracts – centre Ali Leiataua and middle forward Zyon Maiuu – are also included.
Sifakula, Leiataua and Maiuu were all used in the One New Zealand Warriors’ Preseason Challenge match against the Wests Tigers on February 9 while Sifakula also appeared in the following NRL trial against Melbourne.
Griffin has a number of other players who saw action in the trial against the Tigers in ex-Sydney Roosters winger Moala Graham-Taufa, fullback Ben Farr – named in the halves on Saturday – halfback Eiden Ackland, back rower Michael Sio, hooker Paul Roache, second rower Kalani Going, winger-centre Sanele Aukusitino and Vagana.
ONE NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
2.00pm, Saturday, March 4, 2023
Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe
ONE NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS
1 GERONIMO DOYLE
2 SETU TU
3 ALI LEIATAUA
4 ESOM IOKA
5 MOALA GRAHAM-TAUFA
6 BEN FARR
7 EIDEN ACKLAND
8 ZYON MAIU’U
9 PAULIE ROACHE
10 ISAIAH VAGANA
11 KALANI GOING
12 MICHAEL SIO
13 DEMITRIC SIFAKULA
15 MAIA SANDS
16 MOSESE FAEAMANI
17 TAHI BAGGALEY
24 NICK HALALILO
25 SANELE AUKUSITINO
Head coach | SLADE GRIFFIN