Three of the One New Zealand Warriors’ most experienced forwards have been named to return from injury for Saturday’s 14th-round NRL encounter with the Dolphins at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart (5.00pm kick-off).
Hooker Wayde Egan (calf) and utility Dylan Walker (toe) are both recalled while forward Mitchell Barnett is included on the interchange bench after being side-lined with a neck injury picked up in the round three win over North Queensland in Townsville on April 15.
Egan and Walker were both ruled out of last Saturday night’s match against Brisbane in Napier but will significantly boost the side this week.
Both players are in sight of major career milestones.
The 28-year-old Walker, who’s in his 11th season, is set to make his 198th appearance and Egan (26) his 96th while Barnett (29) is on track for his 132nd career game.
Egan comes in for Freddy Lussick – out with concussion – in the only change to the starting line-up used in the 22-26 13th-round loss to the Broncos.
Match: Warriors v Dolphins
Round 14 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-KlokstadFullback for Dolphins is number 1 Kodi Nikorima
Winger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-ZelezniakWinger for Dolphins is number 2 Jamayne Isaako
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco BerryCentre for Dolphins is number 3 Euan Aitken
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Adam PompeyCentre for Dolphins is number 4 Brenko Lee
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo MontoyaWinger for Dolphins is number 5 Tesi Niu
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Luke MetcalfFive-Eighth for Dolphins is number 6 Anthony Milford
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun JohnsonHalfback for Dolphins is number 7 Isaiya Katoa
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Dolphins is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde EganHooker for Dolphins is number 13 Ray Stone
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Bunty AfoaProp for Dolphins is number 10 Herman Ese'ese
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jackson Ford2nd Row for Dolphins is number 11 Kenneath Bromwich
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Marata Niukore2nd Row for Dolphins is number 12 Connelly Lemuelu
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu HarrisLock for Dolphins is number 14 Jarrod Wallace
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Josh CurranInterchange for Dolphins is number 15 Mark Nicholls
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Mitchell BarnettInterchange for Dolphins is number 16 Mason Teague
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Bayley SironenInterchange for Dolphins is number 17 Valynce Te Whare
Interchange for Warriors is number 18 Tom AleInterchange for Dolphins is number 19 Max Plath
Replacement for Warriors is number 20 Taine TuaupikiReplacement for Dolphins is number 21 Kurt Donoghoe
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Darian Furner
- Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton
The One New Zealand Warriors have a potent interchange made up exclusively of Australian players with Walker and Barnett joining Josh Curran and Bayley Sironen.
The home side lies eighth on 14 points going into this round while the Dolphins are sixth on 16.
History will be a theme of the day with the One New Zealand Warriors playing the NRL newcomers for the first time.
The Dolphins boast strong New Zealand links with their squad featuring former Warriors Euan Aitken – the club’s 2022 player of the year – and Kodi Nikorima as well as Auckland-born and raised Kiwis Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Christchurch-born New Zealand international Jamayne Isaako (the competition’s leading points scorer), Whakatane-born Kiwi hooker Jeremy Marshall-King and Aucklander Herman Ese’ese, a Kiwi in 2018. Four other players in the squad used last weekend were also born in New Zealand – Anthony Milford (Auckland), Isaiya Katoa (Lower Hutt), Valynce Te Whare (Auckland) and Poasa Faamausili (Auckland), who played for the Warriors on loan in 2020.
The One New Zealand Warriors will mark the 20th anniversary of one of the club’s best seasons in this match when they don a replica of the club’s famed 2003 black and grey strip. In that memorable campaign the Warriors fell one win short of a second consecutive grand final appearance.
Among a string of unforgettable matches was the stunning week one finals demolition of the Bulldogs when winger Francis Meli scored a record five tries in the 48-22 victory.