Prop Bunty Afoa, rookie centre Ali Leiataua and winger Edward Kosi have been omitted from the 19-man game day squad for the One New Zealand Warriors’ NRL preliminary final against the Brisbane Broncos at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium tomorrow (7.50pm kick-off local time; 9.50pm NZT).
Retained from the extended squad named on Tuesday are hooker Freddy Lussick and 2023 rookie fullback Taine Tuaupiki.
That leaves the One New Zealand Warriors set to use the same 17 players who lined up in last Saturday night’s impressive 40-10 semifinal win over Newcastle.
The One New Zealand Warriors are in a preliminary final for the fifth time in the club’s history, 12 years after their last in 2011 when they beat Melbourne 20-12 to reach the grand final for the second time.
In their previous grand final qualifiers they beat Cronulla Sutherland 16-10 to reach the 2002 grand final, lost to eventual premiers the Penrith Panthers 20-28 in 2003 and 6-32 to Manly Warringah in 2008 before the Sea Eagles trounced Melbourne 40-0 in the grand final.
Match: Broncos v Warriors
Finals Week 3 -
Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Reece WalshFullback for Warriors is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Winger for Broncos is number 2 Jesse ArtharsWinger for Warriors is number 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Centre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni StaggsCentre for Warriors is number 3 Rocco Berry
Centre for Broncos is number 4 Herbie FarnworthCentre for Warriors is number 4 Adam Pompey
Winger for Broncos is number 5 Selwyn CobboWinger for Warriors is number 5 Marcelo Montoya
Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Ezra MamFive-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Te Maire Martin
Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Adam ReynoldsHalfback for Warriors is number 7 Shaun Johnson
Prop for Broncos is number 8 Thomas FleglerProp for Warriors is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Billy WaltersHooker for Warriors is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne HaasProp for Warriors is number 10 Mitchell Barnett
2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Kurt Capewell2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jackson Ford
2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Marata Niukore
Lock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick CarriganLock for Warriors is number 13 Tohu Harris
Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Tyson SmoothyInterchange for Warriors is number 14 Dylan Walker
Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Brendan PiakuraInterchange for Warriors is number 15 Jazz Tevaga
Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Kobe HetheringtonInterchange for Warriors is number 16 Bayley Sironen
Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Keenan PalasiaInterchange for Warriors is number 17 Josh Curran
Replacement for Broncos is number 18 Corey OatesReplacement for Warriors is number 20 Taine Tuaupiki
- Referee: Gerard Sutton
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
In a season in which the One New Zealand Warriors have won 17 matches so far, it’s a mark of the team’s progress that three of their players were today named in the Players’ Dream Team. In a team voted on by their peers, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who has scored 22 tries in 19 appearances, was named on the wing, Shaun Johnson at halfback and Addin Fonua-Blake in the front row.
Johnson and Fonua-Blake are also among the five finalists for The Players’ Champion award.
This will be the One New Zealand Warriors’ 21st finals match since they first reached the NRL play-offs in 2001.
It will be only the second time they’ve met the Broncos in a play-off, the last being in week one of the 2011 series when they went down 10-40 at Suncorp Stadium before beating Wests Tigers and the Storm to reach the grand final.
It will be the 48th time the two clubs have met more than 28 years after kicking off their rivalry in the Warriors’ debut appearance in the opening match of the 1995 season. The ledger shows 20 wins to the One New Zealand Warriors, 26 to Brisbane and an 18-18 draw at Suncorp Stadium in 2019.
When the teams met for the only time in the 2023 regular season in Napier on May 27, the One New Zealand Warriors were edged out 22-26 after staging a dramatic comeback.
The Broncos were without their Origin players that night while the Warriors were missing hooker Wayde Egan, standoff Te Maire Martin and first-choice forwards Mitchell Barnett, Dylan Walker and Jazz Tevaga.