David Fusitu'a set for 100th Warriors game as first team of post-Kearney era named

Ken Maumalo and David Fusitu’a are set to be reunited on the wings for the first time this year with the Warriors naming their first team in the post-Stephen Kearney era.

Warriors winger David Fusitu'a scores a try against the Penrith Panthers. Source: Photosport

Maumalo and Fusitu’a have both been named to start by interim coach Todd Payten in Friday’s seventh-round NRL clash against the Melbourne Storm.

It’ll also be a special occasion for Fusitu’a as he brings up his 100th NRL appearance for the Kiwi club.

The Tonga international is the longest-serving Warriors player in this year’s squad, having made his NRL debut against St George Illawarra at Eden Park on March 15, 2014.

While Fusitu’a eyes his 100th game, centre Peta Hiku, halfback Blake Green and prop Agnatius Paasi will all achieve an identical club milestone when they play their 50th match for the Vodafone Warriors.

Aside from Maumalo’s comeback, interim Vodafone Warriors head coach Todd Payten has been forced to make other changes in his first match in charge after taking over from the departed Kearney.

Rookie second rower Eliesa Katoa (ankle) and hooker Wayde Egan (suspended) are both out resulting in new signing Jack Murchie replacing Katoa for his first start after seven interchange appearances and Karl Lawton is in for Egan at hooker.

Coming onto the bench for his first game since the season resumed is Chanel Harris-Tavita while Isaiah Papali’i is named at #17 after missing the fixtures against the Cowboys and the Rabbitohs.

The encounter has been switched from AAMI Park to Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney following a spike in Covid-19 cases in Melbourne.

Warriors: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, David Fusitu’a, Peta Hiku, Patrick Herbert, Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Blake Green, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Karl Lawton, Lachlan Burr, Jack Murchie, Tohu Harris, Adam Blair.

Interchange (from): Chanel Harris-Tavita, Poasa Faamausili, Agnatius Paasi, Isaiah Papali’I, Gerard Beale, Adam Pompey, Josh Curran, Leivaha Pulu