NRL 2021: Injury forces forward reshuffle for NZ Warriors against Manly Sea Eagles

  • 06/04/2021

Injury has forced a host of changes to the NZ Warriors pack to take on Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on Friday.

With props Addin Fonua-Blake (knee) and Bunty Afoa (suspended), plus second-rower Bayley Sironen (knee) sidelined, coach Nathan Brown has been forced to reshape his starting pack and bench.

Tohu Harris will move out of the back row to start at prop, alongside Leeson Ah Mau, with Jack Murchie replacing Sironen in the second row.

NRL 2021: Injury forces forward reshuffle for NZ Warriors against Manly Sea Eagles
Photo credit: Getty/Newshub.

New signing Kane Evans - who joined the Warriors from Parramatta Eels during the offseason - will make his club debut from the interchange bench.

They'll be joined by back rower Josh Curran, Tom Ale and Ben Murdoch-Masila, with prop Jackson Frei and young hooker Taniela Otukolo rounding out the extended bench.

Star off-season acquisition Fonua-Blake left the field just 13 minutes into the Warriors' 32-12 loss to the Roosters last weekend.

The exact timeframe for his return has yet to be determined, but a one-week absence seems a best-case scenario.

His loss will be keenly felt by the Warriors and also denies fans an opportunity to see him take on his former club.

Afoa opted to take an early guilty plea for his shoulder charge on the Roosters' Sam Walker, conceding a one-game suspension, rather than risking two.

Fellow forward Jamayne Taunoa-Brown will serve the last of his three-game suspension for a crusher tackle this weekend.

The backline remains unchanged from that which took the field at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.

But wing Ken Maumalo will celebrate a milestone moment, running out for his 100th Warriors appearance, joining Manu Vatuvei (226) and Francis Meli (110) as the only wings to achieve the mark.

The Sea Eagles have yet to win a game this season and are coming off a 46-6 demolition at the hands of Penrith Panthers.

Join us for live updates of the Warriors v Sea Eagles NRL clash from 8pm Friday