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Makeshift Warriors to face champions Penrith

An injury-hampered Warriors face premiers, the Penrith Panthers
Ali Leiataua will start for the Warriors in the centres in an injury-hampered side against the Penrith Panthers. PHOTO: NRL/BRYDEN SHARP

Major injury problems for the Warriors as they get set to face defending champs Penrith Panthers on Sunday in the NRL's Magic Round.

Half Shaun Johnson has been diagnosed with a minor pectoral strain, which he sustained during the loss to the Roosters. He'll be out of action for the next two weeks, with a likely return after the Warriors' bye week.


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Without Johnson, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad moving to the halves to partner with Te Maire Martin. Taine Tuaupiki has been promoted to the first-grade side to start in the No 1 jersey.

Centre Rocco Berry is another recent addition to the Warriors injury list due to a fractured hand, joining fellow midfielder Rogert Tuivasa-Sheck on the sidelines. He's also expected to return after the bye.

Ali Leiataua earns a start with Adam Pompey in the centres.

Hooker Freddy Lussick is also unavailable (concussion protocols), alongside Luke Metcalf, Marata Niukore, Kurt Capewell, and Chanel Harris-Tavita, who are all injured.

Returning on the left wing is Marcelo Montoya for an occasion which coincides with the 200th career appearance for his established wing partner Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

The starting forward pack is the same as the combination originally selected for last week’s contest with the Roosters. Dylan Walker, Tom Ale and Jazz Tevaga are again on the interchange with rookie Jacob Laban joining them.

The 14th-placed Warriors have had four consecutive losses and have a four-game losing streak against the three-time Premiership winners, who sit in second.

NZ WARRIORS: Taine Tuaupiki, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Ali Leiataua, Adam Pompey, Marcelo Montoya, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Te Maire Martin, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Egan, Bunty Afoa, Jackson Ford, Mitch Barnett, Tohu Harris. Interchange: Dylan Walker, Tom Ale, Jazz Tevaga, Jacob Laban, Zyon Maiu'u, Ed Kosi, Paul Roache, Tanner Stowers-Smith, Ben Farr


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