An unchanged line-up is still on track for the One New Zealand Warriors’ 24th-round NRL encounter with the Wests Tigers at FMG Waikato Stadium in Hamilton tomorrow night (7.30pm kick-off).
The three players omitted from the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off are prop Bunty Afoa, centre Viliami Vailea and halfback Ronald Volkman.
That leaves hooker Freddy Lussick and winger Edward Kosi in the 19-man game day squad as the Andrew Webster-coached side seeks a fifth consecutive win to solidify its hold on third spot on the ladder.
Taine Tuaupiki was confirmed at fullback on Tuesday to replace the unavailable Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in the only change to the One New Zealand Warriors’ line-up from the side used in last week’s 28-18 win over Gold Coast.
Nicoll-Klokstad is subject to NRL concussion protocols after being forced off the field following a high tackle from Titans prop Moeaki Fotuaika last Friday night.
The 23-year-old Tuaupiki was activated as 18th man to replace Nicoll-Klokstad after Fotuaika was sent off and will start this week in what will be his fourth NRL appearance. He was impressive in his 63 minutes against Gold Coast making 165 metres from 17 runs with six tackle breaks and five tackles.
Match: Wests Tigers v Warriors
Round 24 -
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Jahream BulaFullback for Warriors is number 1 Taine Tuaupiki
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David NofoalumaWinger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Starford To'aCentre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco Berry
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Asu KepaoaCentre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Junior TupouWinger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Daine LaurieFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Luke Metcalf
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Stefano UtoikamanuProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 David KlemmerProp for Warriors is number 10 Mitchell Barnett
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jackson Ford
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 John Bateman2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Marata Niukore
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Fonua PoleLock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu Harris
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Jake SimpkinInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Dylan Walker
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Alex SeyfarthInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex TwalInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Bayley Sironen
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Shawn BloreInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Josh Curran
Replacement for Wests Tigers is number 18 Justin MatamuaReplacement for Warriors is number 18 Freddy Lussick
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
- Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
- Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen
The away game at a sold out FMG Waikato Stadium will be the 700th in the One New Zealand Warriors’ history and the 248th career appearance for halfback Shaun Johnson.
The Warriors haven’t lost an away game since falling to Penrith in early May; with a 7-3 record on the road they have the opportunity this week to equal the club record of eight for most away victories in a season. That was set the last time the Warriors reached the finals in 2018 when they finished the regular season with an 8-4 away record.
Hamilton-raised Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will be looking to extend a stunning try-scoring streak which has seen him score 15 tries in his last 10 outings failing to score only in the home loss to South Sydney. While Francis Meli touched down 10 times in five games late in the 2003 season, no player in the club’s history has matched Watene-Zelezniak’s strike rate over a period of 10 or more matches. Record try scorer Manu Vatuvei had 13 tries in an 11-game stretch in 2010 while David Fusitu’a put together a run of 11 tries in 10 games in 2017.
Saturday’s match will be the One New Zealand Warriors’ fifth NRL outing in Hamilton, a venue where they are yet to win having lost a ‘home’ game there to St George Illawarra (14-30) in 2017 and away matches against Canterbury Bankstown (12-16) in 2014 as well as Parramatta in 2006 (14-22) and 2005 (18-28).