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Wayde Egan to start at hooker for NZ Warriors

Wayde Egan
Wayde Egan returns to the No 9 jersey for the NZ Warriors against the Canberra Raiders. PHOTO: NRL

First-choice hooker Wayde Egan has been named for the NZ Warriors’ historic NRL match against the competition-leading Canberra Raiders at a sold-out Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch on Friday (kick-off 8pm).


The 110-game veteran was originally selected for last Saturday night’s encounter with the Melbourne Storm but was later ruled out with an elbow injury he suffered in the first-round clash against the Cronulla Sharks on March 8.


His inclusion sees re-signed hooker Freddy Lussick listed on the bench in the only change to the starting line-up used in the dramatic 30-26 loss to the Storm.


The Warriors’ visit to Christchurch for their trial against Wests Tigers on February 18 sparked extraordinary interest but anticipation has gone up to another level for an occasion embracing the NRL’s Multicultural Round.


Tickets sold out weeks ago for the first home game the Warriors have taken to Christchurch in the club’s 30-season history.


The Garden City has previously hosted eight NRL matches brought to the South Island by the then-Sydney Tigers (1996), Wests Tigers (2004, 2005 and 2006), Sydney Roosters (2010), Penrith (2016) and Manly Sea Eagles (2018 and 2019).





While Egan has been named to return against the Raiders, frontline fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (hamstring) and back rower Marata Niukore (foot) are still recovering from their injuries.


In Nicoll-Klokstad’s absence Taine Tuaupiki will start in the No 1 jersey for the third week running following his impressive display against the Storm when he made 180 metres from 17 runs, with a line break assist, a try assist and four tackle breaks.


Right wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will achieve the first player milestone of the year when he makes his 50th appearance for the club. His double against the Storm lifted his try tally for the club to 39 in 49 games and 88 in 192 career games.


Wayde Egan
Wayde Egan returns for the NZ Warriors in Christchurch. PHOTO: NRL

The Warriors take two four-point losses into Friday night’s third-round fixture, while Canberra is top of the ladder after convincing wins over Newcastle (28-12) and the Wests Tigers (32-12).


The Warriors won both matches against the Raiders last year, storming to a 36-14 victory at GIO Stadium, before a Shaun Johnson field goal gave them a 21-20 golden point success at Go Media Stadium.


They have won four of the last six matches between the two clubs but Canberra holds a 26-24 edge in 50 battles dating back to 1995.

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